Subnational Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Subnational Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Transatlantic Cooperation between the United States and Germany

New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Holley Andrea Ralston

This fascinating volume examines the recent increase in subnational environmental policy agreements between different countries, with a particular focus on Germany and the US. Holley Ralston explores why international environmental partnerships are forming at the state level and the factors that both aid and inhibit their long-term success.

Chapter 3: The road to the partnerships: a historical background

Holley Andrea Ralston

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


This chapter looks at the larger context in which the GermanñUS subnational environmental partnerships began to emerge. To this end, it examines how governance for sustainable development had been playing out in a multi-level international system at the time. The international level is first examined, covering the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the International Organization for Standardizationís (ISO) 1996 environmental management system (EMS) standards, and the ongoing political developments related to climate change ñ the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The chapter then considers first how the European Union (EU) responded to this international agenda, followed by the US and German federal and subnational governments. Furthermore, it examines the changing dynamics among the levels of government, including the federal enabling roles, the federal systems in general, state/Land capacities and decentralization. It also considers the larger trends of devolution and the internationalization of subnational politics and the pursuance of economic growth. Finally, the chapter concludes with a look at the first observations of subnational transatlantic environmental partnerships.

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