The global governance architecture for climate change has been increasingly marked by institutional fragmentation. A growing diversity of institutions seeks to address dangerous climate change today, including international organizations, club-like forums, multi-stakeholder partnerships, regulated and voluntary markets, subnational efforts and non-state actor initiatives. After taking stock of this fragmentation, this chapter briefly looks at possible theory-driven explanations for this phenomenon. We then touch upon potential consequences of fragmentation, including, for instance, more possibilities for experimentation but also considerable coordination and legitimacy gaps. In light of such negative implications, we argue that the UN process should hold a leading and coordinating position within this growingly complex institutional environment. This implies rethinking the role of the UNFCCC in future climate governance: instead of following a traditionally high regulatory ambition and further overburdening negotiations and agencies, the climate regime has to strengthen its profile as a complexity ‘manager’ or ‘orchestrator.’ We briefly illustrate how such an orchestrating role could look like for the case of international technology initiatives.
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