Urban Environmental Governance: Bangladesh as a Case in Point

  • Nidhi MittalEmail author
  • Luca Petrarulo
  • Nipunika Perera
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Given the rapid urbanisation trends and the strategic and economic significance of cities in Asia, sustainably managing urban environments needs to be an urgent priority. Taking Bangladesh as a case in point, the authors have sought to validate their core premise that effective urban environmental governance at all levels is crucial for building sustainable and climate resilient cities. Bangladesh prides itself with exemplar macro-level environmental policy and governance instruments, but these have failed to translate into practice, due to weak policy enforcement and implementation on account of a number of systemic barriers and constraints. This paper maps the role and dimensions of urban environmental governance and the systemic barriers, opportunities and pathways for strengthening this at all levels in the Bangladesh context.

The paper draws on the concept of multi-level governance to rationalise and define some enabling structures, mechanisms and processes to strengthen urban environmental governance, as a basis to build sustainable urban futures. Drawing on a range of primary and secondary evidence, the authors argue that addressing the systemic barriers especially at the municipal governance or ‘meso’ level is instrumental for the effective implementation and enforcement of national and sub-national ‘macro’ policies to deliver intended environmental outcomes and services for urban communities at the ‘micro’ level.

A harmonized, vertically and horizontally coordinated and collaborative effort by donors, civil society, and private sector, to address the persistent and entrenched systemic governance challenges and barriers, and replace these with systemic enablers especially at the local level, can stem the tide of this environmental deterioration and catalyse transformative changes in urban contexts. The authors conclude with a discussion on how the reflections and analysis drawn from the Bangladesh context may apply more widely and transfer across other South Asian contexts which share similar urbanization and environmental governance challenges.


Urban environmental governance Bangladesh Environmental change Climate change Urbanisation and environment Urban sustainable development Asian cities Urban environments Urban sustainability Multi-level governance South Asia 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ricardo-AEA LtdLondonUK

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