The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Paul Martin and Amanda Kennedy
Chapter 14: Regulators networks: collaborative agency approaches to the implementation and enforcement of environmental law
Regulators, irrespective of geographic location, the entities and sectors they regulate and the nature of the commodities regulated, face a common challenge of maintaining institutional capacity for undertaking effective regulatory activities. This chapter considers how agencies engaged in environmental regulation and enforcement use network learning to close this capacity gap. The chapter consists of five sections. Section 1 consists of a brief introduction, providing some context around environmental regulation, environmental regulatory tools and regulator networks. Section 2 profiles several networks designed to aid environmental regulation and enforcement. Section 3 explores some benefits and functions of networks including learning and capacity-building. Section 4 explores how network efficacy may be evaluated. Section 5, the conclusion, includes a research agenda to advance the utility of networks as a tool for implementing environmental law. Environmental regulation and enforcement involves distinct challenges when compared to mainstream law enforcement, including complexity and culture. Complexity arises due to regulatory schemes which have been designed to serve differing and sometimes poorly enunciated goals, developed over relatively short periods of time. Most environmental legislation has evolved over recent decades and includes relatively novel components. Consequently these regimes lack an extensive body of case lawor common lawconsidered critical enablers to effective regulation and enforcement. A volatile policy context is ensured by rapidly advancing scientific understanding of environmental harms, shifting popular and political responses, and a dynamic biophysical environment. The cultural challenges relate to tensions between different expectations of the role and function of environmental agencies.
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