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Multi-Level Governance and the Environment: Intergovernmental Relations and Innovation in Environmental Policy

Abstract : Introduction: Public policy has undoubtedly gone through several very significant changes in the last four decades. In the vast majority of countries and policy areas, the old ‘command and control’ style of decision-making has been initially supplemented and progressively transformed by more complex modes of policy-making, engaging more diversified communities of actors and a wider range of governance patterns. This new institutional setting developed through a combination of processes such as privatization and the use of market instruments, public participation and the mobilization of civil society, and the development of international norms and organizations important in shaping policy-making. Regulation has become the mantra of state intervention in a more open, interactive and participative policy process, where both the market and the society, although with variable access and influence, have become fully legitimate actors. A significant component of these transformations has been a tendency towards decentralization adopted by most countries. Decentralization, understood as the strengthening of capacities for local and intermediary levels of government, has been pursued for a variety of political, economic or cultural reasons. In most cases, central governments turn to decentralization as a strategy to expand the fiscal and administrative capacities of the state. Occasionally, they introduce federal or quasi-federal constitutional arrangements as instruments to manage political conflict. In countries with existing federal constitutions, interactions between states and federal governments tend to intensify as well. A set of converging factors (the expansion of public policies, the search for additional fiscal resources, and the claim for participation and sometimes autonomy at the local level) drives the dynamics of central–local relations. Rather than zero-sum games, they evolve towards patterns of multi-level governance, where central and local levels of governments are increasingly differentiated as well as interdependent. This joint evolution, whereby the differentiation between the levels of governments and the densification of their interaction come together, has been a fundamental element in the transformations of public policy (Loughlin, 2001; Saito, 2008; Fedelino and Ter-Minassian, 2010; Dickovick, 2011)........
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Richard Balme, Ye Qi. Multi-Level Governance and the Environment: Intergovernmental Relations and Innovation in Environmental Policy. Environmental Policy and Governance, 2014, 24 (3), pp.147 - 232. ⟨hal-02182406⟩



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