Environmental Governance in Federal Regimes

Environmental degradation and climate change not only erode existing quality of life, but create multiple stresses on economic activity and health. Impacts may not be limited to any one jurisdiction or country, but can also be global or regional in scale. Within borders, many environmental issues are local and some cross jurisdictions. Crafting meaningful policies on the environment requires coordination between the national, sub national and local levels. Federal systems are well placed to do so but, within the context of national policy making, federal structures do add an element of complexity, as constitutionally entrenched subnational entities may have policy priorities that do not align with that of higher order governments.

While climate change may require an international agreement amongst national governments, the role of constituent units in federal regimes can influence commitments and performance. The Forum in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India and the World Bank works on a joint program addressing the vulnerability of subnational units to climate change and how to incentivize subnational units to integrate environmental concerns into their policy planning framework.

The Forum also continues its work with Mexican states on the development of climate change policies involving state governments from the North, Central and Southern regions of the country. Organizational partners include the National Federalism Institute/ Interior Ministry, Federal Ministry of Environment and the Mexico office of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). The focus is on the important role for sub-national governments in climate change planning, not only to assist in the implementation of national strategies, but also to develop local planning to address regional challenges.

For further inquiries please contact Diana Chebenova at Chebenova@forumfed.org