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Green Federalism: Experiences and Practices

Jul 16, 2015

The book ‘Green Federalism: Experiences and Practices’ draws from the experiences of nine federal countries of the world.

New Delhi: TERI launched the book Green Federalism: Experiences and Practices’ co-edited by its Distinguished Fellow Dr P G Dhar Chakrabarti and Nidhi Srivastava. The book was launched last evening by Ashok Lavasa, Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests on the occasion of the inauguration of a policy dialogue on ‘Environmental Governance in the context of sustainable development in India’.

The book draws from the experiences of nine federal countries of the world – USA, Canada. Australia, Germany, India, Switzerland, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria – on how the problems, issues and challenges of environment have been addressed in multi-level governance systems and provide useful lessons for all federal countries. It is one of the first of its kind on comparative environmental federalism.

Launching the book, Lavasa complimented the efforts of TERI for bringing out the book and said, “The debate of development versus environment is irrelevant. Development is the right of every human being. Everybody aspires to grow and improve his situation. We may debate on what 'improvement' is but the inherent desire to make life more comfortable is fundamental to all creatures. How to achieve these aspirations without causing too much damage to surrounding and without infringing on the rights of others is the question to ask.”

Dr Dhar Chakrabarti said, “This is the first ever book on comparative environmental federalism that covers all major federal countries of the world.” He hoped that the book will be useful to policy makers and researchers on cooperative federalism and environmental governance.

Protection of ecology and environment in federal countries is the distributed responsibilities of the federal, provincial and local governments. Most of the constitutions of the federal countries, as these were originally made, did not have provisions regarding environment.

Therefore environmental legislations had to be introduced either through the process of constitutional amendments, or judicial reviews or exercise residual powers of the federal governments. Federal laws introducing regulations on use of natural resources like water, forests, minerals etc. and stringent standards to control air, water and soil pollution have put enormous responsibilities on the provincial and local governments, but they do not always have the financial and technical means and capacities to enforce the regulations.

These have not only created tensions in relations between the federal and provincial governments, but also left gaps between standards and their enforcement in most of the countries, leading to widespread dissatisfactions among many stakeholders. Various financial, administrative and other methods have been adopted by different federal countries for resolving these issues within a cooperative framework with varying degrees of successes and limitations.

 

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