Table of Contents

Environmental Governance and Decentralisation

Environmental Governance and Decentralisation

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone

This book examines how different countries define and address environmental issues, specifically in relation to intergovernmental relations: the creation of institutions, the assignment of powers, and the success of alternative solutions. It also investigates whether a systemic view of the environment has influenced the policy-making process. The broad perspective adopted includes a detailed analysis of seventeen countries in six continents by scholars from a range of disciplines – economics, political science, environmental science and law – thus producing novel material that moves away from the conventional treatment of decentralisation and the environment in economic literature.

Chapter 19: Trends in Environmental Governance: Evidence from Seventeen Countries and Sundry Reflections Thereon

Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, public sector economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental governance and regulation


19. Trends in environmental governance: Evidence from seventeen countries and sundry reflections thereon Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone In virtually all developed countries, though to a varying degree, the 1970s have seen the concrete appearance and the spread of environmental policies. With a lag of about a decade, developing countries have undergone a similar process but with less intensity, reflecting local circumstances of other urgently felt priorities of human development. Air and water pollution have typically been the prime objectives of regulation. An awareness of the complexity of the interactions between economic activities and ecological systems and the consequent need for integrated sustainable development strategies, however, required another two decades before finding a place on the policy agenda. An examination of the development of governance structures for environmental protection in the 17 countries included in our sample allowed us to bring to light differences and peculiarities, a few interesting trends, and a number of remaining challenges. 1. ECOLOGICAL MODERNIZATION AND MARKET-BASED INSTRUMENTS A need for ‘ecological modernization’, intended as a shift from commandand-control policy tools towards both voluntary approaches and marketbased instruments, is perceived in most countries. Interestingly, even China has experimented with several market-based tools, which have grown in importance along with the ‘socialist market economy’ reform process. The call for such a shift is usually motivated by concerns regarding both the effectiveness and the cost-efficiency of more traditional environmental policy instruments. In Germany, in the 1990s, command-and-control 618 Trends...

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