International Governance: Polycentric Governing by and beyond the UNFCCC

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


The Paris Agreement seemingly reaffirmed the central place occupied by the regime established by the UNFCCC in the international governance of climate change.
Although the UNFCCC can be viewed as a form of ‘monocentric’ governance, it has become increasingly clear that the UNFCCC operates as part of a polycentric governance system. Due to the physical and socio-economic interconnections between climate change and a range of other issue areas, institutional overlaps between the climate regime and other international institutions from other domains such as trade and investment, human rights, other environmental issues (e.g. ozone depletion and biodiversity loss) and specific sectors (e.g. aviation and maritime shipping) are inevitable.
In this chapter, we systematically sketch the domain of international climate change governance from the angle of polycentricity, focusing on intergovernmental multilateral institutions. We pursue two objectives: characterising this governance system as polycentric; and then discussing to what extent certain implications of this polycentricity have already materialised in this system.


External organisations
  • Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • polycentricity, climate change, UNFCCC, global governance, Kyoto protocol, complexity, fragmentation, institutions and institutional change
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGoverning Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationPolycentricity in Action?
EditorsAndrew Jordan, Dave Huitema, Harro van Asselt, Johanna Forster
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781108418126
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1
Publication categoryResearch

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