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Part I Context, Ch.4 Multilevel and Polycentric Governance

Jeffrey L Dunoff

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (2nd Edition)

Edited By: Lavanya Rajamani, Jacqueline Peel

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 June 2023

Natural resources — Climate change

This chapter discusses leading conceptual approaches to international environmental governance. These approaches draw on arguments found in diverse literatures, including writings on fiscal federalism, the new institutionalism, international relations, and international law. The chapter first reviews a prominent set of arguments in favour of decentralized environmental governance, and a competing set of claims in favour of greater centralization of governance authority. These approaches, in general, seek to produce the appropriate ‘match’ between the level or scope of governance and the level or scope of the relevant environmental issue. The chapter then considers ‘multilevel governance’ (MLG), an approach that does not view the allocation of authority among levels as mutually exclusive but rather explores how authority can be simultaneously exercised by multiple agents. It also looks at approaches that emphasize the horizontal sharing of governance authority. Finally, the chapter presents strategies for advancing understanding of international environmental governance.

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