Networked governance : China's changing approach to transboundary environmental management (2007)

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Not long ago, China's environmental problems would have barely mattered beyond its borders. Now, while Chinese policy-makers have begun to tackle a wide range of domestic environmental challenges, the transboundary impact of China's domestic environmental difficulties deserves greater attention. Although China has historically neglected the transboundary impacts of its environmental problems, state actors are increasingly focusing on transboundary environmental relations. Based upon extensive field research in the Mekong Region, I have identified a number of situations in which China has sought to engage in transboundary environmental management. However, at the same time, in the same region, I have identified other situations where it has not been willing to take its transboundary environmental management responsibilities seriously. This dissertation seeks to explain this pattern of behavior. In particular, my assumption is that under certain circumstances, non-state actors, including civil society organizations and multilaterals, operating both inside China and in the world-at-large, through a process I call networked governance, are able to influence China's willingness to take its transboundary environmental responsibilities seriously. This research suggests it is increasingly important for these external non-state actors to better understand the mechanisms they can utilize to engage China's decision-makers in collaboratively managing transboundary natural resources. The Chinese central government is slowly relinquishing its role of supreme decision-maker. The Mekong Region is a complex web of inter-organizational networks that reach out, formally and informally, to China's environmental policy and decision-makers, at both the provincial and national levels.
Year: 2007
Language: English
Thesis note: Thesis (Ph. D.) - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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