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13 - Hierarchization

from Part III - Policy Responses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2020

Frank Biermann
Affiliation:
Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
Rakhyun E. Kim
Affiliation:
Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Summary

Hierarchization is a deliberate process to create a vertically nested governance architecture where actors and institutions in a lower rank are bound or otherwise compelled to obey, respond to or contribute to higher-order norms and objectives. Drawing on this definition, we review recent research on hierarchization in earth system governance and the political and legal processes that establish, maintain and legitimize it. Here we present three mutually non-exclusive forms of hierarchization – systematization, centralization and prioritization. Each involves different actors and rationales, mechanisms and strategies, while achieving different purposes with varying governance outcomes. We illustrate our argument with empirical examples including the proposed Global Pact for the Environment, the proposal to establish a world environment organization and the Sustainable Development Goals. We conclude with an assessment of the benefits and drawbacks of hierarchization as an approach to some of the challenges inherent in earth system governance, and offer suggestions for future research.

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Chapter
Information
Architectures of Earth System Governance
Institutional Complexity and Structural Transformation
, pp. 275 - 296
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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