Regional environmental governance and its effectiveness in Southeast Asia

Jong Nam

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis analyses the effectiveness and importance of regional environmental governance in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, focusing on climate change and disaster risk. Three institutions – the Mekong River Commission (MRC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) – are used as case studies. Regional co-operation on environmental issues is examined to determine how environmental regimes were established and have developed from a historical perspective. Second, the environmental issues facing the three institutions are analysed critically, along with the legal, political and other factors to identify the institutions’ problem-solving capacity in relation to the problems they address. Third, the comparative effectiveness of each institution in terms of regional environmental governance is measured.

Regime theory is the underlying theoretical framework and supports the finding that an environmental regime has been created, has evolved, and has been newly restructured at both global and regional levels. It also supports my research in developing a method to measure effectiveness. In this research, regional co-operation tends to focus on the collective optimum for achieving its aims. Thus, achieving the collective optimum would ensure greater effectiveness for environmental governance rather than having a no-regime counterfactual for managing regional environmental issues.

The effectiveness of regional environmental governance can be associated with several factors. First, organisational characteristics can affect the establishment and development of regional environmental governance. Second, its level of compliance is determined by organisations and other agencies, such as national governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Third, monitoring, assessment and enforcement systems are important, but the willingness of states, the capacity of organisations and their approaches to environmental governance are also critical determinants of increased effectiveness. Finally, global and regional environmental governance have similarities and differences. Global environmental governance affects the development of regional environmental governance in terms of networking between global and local, and defining the respective roles at each scale.

This research analyses the effectiveness of regional environmental governance and describes how regional environmental governance is a critical agenda for tackling environmental issues at all levels.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Geography
  • Simon, David, Supervisor
  • Willis, Katie, Advisor
Award date1 Oct 2018
Publication statusSubmitted - 2018

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