Transnational municipal networks: Harbingers of innovation for global adaptation governance?

Abstract

Few studies have examined transnational actors involved in global adaptation governance, despite their growing influence. This paper focuses on 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), a transnational municipal network (TMN) that has created governance instruments with potential for contributing to global adaptation governance. Despite their different nature from international actors (states and intergovernmental organizations), the distinct practices of TMNs and how they might influence global adaptation governance are uncertain. Vague claims suggest that TMNs are innovative, but what this innovation consists of remains unclear. Therefore, the research question here is: how do TMNs innovate in global adaptation governance? This paper strives to answer this question, by building an analytical framework to identify types and features of governance instruments, based on the literature on policy instruments, global environmental governance and global climate governance. It presents a case study of 100RC, based on an in-depth documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews. The results suggest that TMNs can be innovative, if they, like 100RC, create original governance instruments instead of using the existing tools of international or other transnational actors. While some of 100RC’s tools favour a more recent, soft and indirect approach, its considerable use of hard practices with significant obligation is particularly interesting considering the general characterization of TMNs as voluntary and soft. The governance practices of 100RC are thus not in stark contrast with those of international actors. Their diversity could provide inspiration for future action to improve the effectiveness of global climate adaptation governance, and the analytical framework developed here could be applied in further studies.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Formerly known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.

  2. 2.

    Michael Bloomberg has notably been using this famous C40 motto on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikebloomberg/status/375346397870313473?lang=fr (last accessed January 31, 2019).

  3. 3.

    Henstra (2016) is an interesting exception.

  4. 4.

    Four interviewees represented city members, five were from 100RC’s partner organizations (one of which was close enough to participate in 100RC’s staff meetings), and two were employed by 100RC.

Abbreviations

100RC:

100 Resilient Cities

ACCCRN:

Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network

C40:

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

COP:

Conference of the Parties

CRO:

Chief Resilience Officer

ICLEI:

ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability

IGO:

Intergovernmental organization

IPCC:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

PRA:

Preliminary Resilience Assessment

TMN:

Transnational municipal network

UNFCCC:

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

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Acknowledgements

This research was made possible thanks to a grant from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec Société et Culture. The author is especially grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the editors of this special issue for their relevant comments, as well as to the rest of the organizing team and to the participants of the 2017 Stockholm Environment Institute workshop during which an earlier version of this paper was presented. She is also thankful to those who took the time to discuss her work, particularly Jean-Frédéric Morin, Anne Bach Nielsen, and several INOGOV members.

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Papin, M. Transnational municipal networks: Harbingers of innovation for global adaptation governance?. Int Environ Agreements 19, 467–483 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10784-019-09446-7

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Keywords

  • Transnational municipal networks
  • Global adaptation governance
  • Governance instruments
  • Innovation