Environmental Regionalism: Moving In From the Policy Margins

Pacific Review

Author/s (editor/s):

Lorraine Elliott

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
Taylor & Francis

Lorraine Elliott, ‘Environmental Regionalism: Moving In From the Policy Margins’, Pacific Review, 30(6) 2017: 952‒65.

In the last 30 years, environmental challenges in the Asia-Pacific have gone from sitting at the margins of political discourse to featuring prominently in academic and policy debates about institutional capacity, economic sustainability and regional futures. Those challenges are extensive: they include loss of biodiversity and species, land degradation and deforestation, water pollution and scarcity, drought, wildlife smuggling, ozone depletion, other forms of atmospheric pollution, and climate change. This article explores regional responses to environmental challenges through a global governance lens. It examines the ways in which vertical and intergovernmental arrangements have been supplemented by institutions and networks that reflect horizontal and transnational approaches. It reveals that this has been an uneven process, with coherence and fragmentation equally represented. In its focus on the two key subregions of Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia, it shows how environmental cooperation has been implicated in a crisis of regionalism and caught up in states’ efforts to demonstrate that governance can still be effective in the absence of binding multilateral agreements.

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