We investigate the impact of performances of failure in nature conservation by means of a detailed reconstruction of the implementation of European Union conservation directives in the Netherlands. We distinguish performance and performativity, whereby the latter is the reality-effect of discourses affecting policy, and partly the result of deliberate performance. It is argued that the implementation history in the Netherlands reveals that even long-standing traditions of deliberation and spatial planning can be disrupted as an unintended consequence of international policy implementation. What was intended as a tool to promote long-term planning for nature conservation can in effect undermine both nature conservation and long-term planning. Only a high degree of reflexivity in the planning system can diminish the chances of misconceiving the spaces for negotiation and deliberation that are left open by the EU directives. Otherwise, a combination of unexpected events and unreflected routine responses will in all likelihood produce results highly diverging from the initial ambitions.
- natura 2000
- danube delta