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Horizontal institutional interlinkages

This chapter introduces a theory-based concept of institutional interlinkages.

Harro van Asselt / Published on 26 September 2012

Zelli, F., A. Gupta and H. van Asselt (2012). Horizontal institutional interlinkages. In: Biermann, F., and P. Pattberg (eds.), Global Environmental Governance Reconsidered. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. pp. 175-198.

First, it frames regime interlinkages as conflicts among actors, based on a broad sociological understanding of conflict as a ubiquitous and not necessarily negative aspect of social interactions. It then places this behavioral notion of conflict in an overarching context of global norm developments, interpreting positional differences among actors across regimes as articulations of ongoing conflicts (or lack thereof) over broader norms that underpin global environmental governance.

The chapter examines whether this broader context is one where certain global norms dominate and how this shapes regime-specific changes and horizontal institutional interactions. The chapter applies this conceptual framework to the analysis of three dyadic interlinkages: between the UN climate regime and the World Trade Organization (WTO); between the UN climate regime and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); and between the CBD’s Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the WTO. It explains the nature and consequences of regime overlaps in each case, focusing on positional differences among actors and an underlying normative dominance of liberal environmentalism that shapes regime interactions and change.

About the book

The notion of global governance is widely studied in academia and increasingly relevant to politics and policy making. Yet many of its fundamental elements remain unclear in both theory and practice. This book, which is the synthesis of a ten-year “Global Governance Project” carried out by 13 leading European research institutions, first examines new nonstate actors, focusing on international bureaucracies, global corporations, and transnational networks of scientists; then investigates novel mechanisms of global governance, particularly transnational environmental regimes, public-private partnerships, and market-based arrangements; and, finally, looks at fragmentation of authority, both vertically among supranational, international, national, and subnational layers, and horizontally among different parallel rule-making systems.

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Harro van Asselt

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