Decentralised International Cooperation: Enhancing Conservation and Sustainable Management of Transboundary Natural Resources

Mitrotta, Emma (2019) Decentralised International Cooperation: Enhancing Conservation and Sustainable Management of Transboundary Natural Resources. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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The concept of decentralised international cooperation promotes the involvement of sub-national actors, both local communities and local authorities, in the governance of transboundary natural resources and spaces. This concept describes a global legal phenomenon that can be observed in different regions of the world wherever decentralised cooperative mechanisms are at work. These mechanisms are context-specific and tailor cooperation to geographical peculiarities and local needs. They have a transboundary but localised spatial dimension that is ecologically functional, complements inter-state cooperation, and enables the participation of sub-national actors across borders. This thesis explores both the theoretical and practical dimensions of decentralised international cooperation. This concept is framed in existing international environmental law principles and regimes, and is used as an interpretative approach to provide an innovative and bottom-up reading of international environmental law. I argue that this concept acknowledges and legitimises the role of local actors at the international level and has implications in terms of effective participation, benefit-sharing, and environmental governance more generally. Four case studies are used to show how this concept has been operationalised in the European and southern African contexts: respectively, two European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs) – the ZASNET and Alpi Marittime-Mercantour – and two Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) – the Kavango Zambezi and Great Limpopo. A comparative analysis of these cases provides a useful approach not only for understanding and potentially strengthening existing instances of decentralised international cooperation, but also for facilitating the developement of such cooperation in other contexts. This comparison revealed a number of trends (legal harmonisation, stretching of normative boundaries, etc.) that may be useful in improving biodiversity conservation. Moreover, the availability of institutional mechanisms appears to affect how quickly and efficiently participation of local actors can take place. The main strengths of decentralised international cooperation are that it promotes the transboundary dimension of nature conservation and the active involvement of sub-national actors. By so doing, it bridges between governance levels and can contribute to shaping a more appropriate and participatory framework for the governance of shared natural resources.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:International Studies
PhD Cycle:30
Subjects:Area 12 - Scienze giuridiche > IUS/13 DIRITTO INTERNAZIONALE
Repository Staff approval on:11 Jun 2019 16:43

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