Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


The global governance architecture on climate change has been increasingly marked by institutional fragmentation. A growing diversity of institutions seeks to address dangerous climate change today, including international organizations, club-like forums, multi-stakeholder partnerships, regulated and voluntary markets, sub-national efforts and non-state actor initiatives. After taking stock of this fragmentation, the paper briefly looks at possible theory-driven explanations for this phenomenon. We then touch upon potential consequences of fragmentation, including, for instance, more possibilities for experimentation but also considerable coordination and legitimacy gaps. In light of such negative implications, we argue that the UN process should hold a leading and coordinating position within this growingly complex institutional environment. This implies re-thinking the role of the UNFCCC in future climate governance: instead of following a traditionally high regulatory ambition and further overburdening negotiations and agencies, the climate regime has to strengthen its profile as a complexity ‘manager’ or ‘orchestrator’. We briefly illustrate how such an orchestrating role could look like for the case of international technology initiatives. The UNFCCC could extend existing functions like acting as a clearing house for technology cooperation. But in addition, it could establish common financing criteria and monitoring provisions for the various initiatives.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • fragmentation, complexity, climate change, institutions, global governance, climate governance, UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Institutional analysis, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), Transnationalism
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Climate Governance
EditorsKarin Bäckstrand, Eva Lövbrand
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781783470594
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch