Research Südtirol

5c/2022: Climate change integration in the multilevel governance of Italy and Austria

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  • Project duration: September 2020 - December 2022
  • Project status:
    Approval by the Scientific Committee
  • Funding:
    Provincial P.-L.P. 14. Research projects (Province BZ funding /Project)
  • Total project budget: €299,775.96

Climate change “is the epitome of a multilevel governance challenge”. While objectives and framework rules are decided at the international level, the implementation of those same rules requires the adoption of measures at different levels of government, including the subnational level.

This project focusses on subnational governments as central players in the integration of climate change considerations in those policy sectors where they exercise legislative powers. The reasons for this focus relate to three main factors. First, the impacts of climate change are felt most immediately at subnational and local levels, and require policy responses that are closer to citizens. Second, subnational governments hold powers in most of the sectors either impacted by climate change or that directly affect national and international mitigation and adaptation goals, including transport, energy policies (hydroelectric), and spatial planning. Third, there are few comparative studies of climate change integration at the subnational level.

In this context, this comparative project investigates two main research questions:

1) To what extent and by which means have the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano in Italy and Länder Tyrol and Vorarlberg in Austria integrated climate policies in sectors where they exercise exclusive and shared legislative powers? The project will concentrate on the following policies: transport, energy and water, and territorial planning.

2) What institutional factors prevent or facilitate climate change integration at the subnational and local levels, in terms of both policy-making and implementation? Five main institutional factors are argued to play potentially decisive roles: 1) coordination among authorities responsible for sectoral policies (horizontal/vertical and formal/informal); 2) public participation; 3) leadership (both political and in the administration); 4) information on climate change (as available for policy-makers, administrators, and the public) and its communication (at what stage and by what means); and 5) dedicated funding.

These research questions will be investigated by an integrated research team composed of experts in law and sociology of law from Eurac Research, the University of Innsbruck and the University of Trento. The main methodology used will be: a) a thorough literature review; b) text analysis of policy documents, strategies, sectoral plans, and interdepartmental arrangements; and c) interviews of both policy officers and main stakeholders.

Objectives, research questions and methodology

Climate change “is the epitome of a multilevel governance challenge”. While objectives and framework rules are decided at the international level, the implementation of those same rules requires the adoption of measures at different levels of government, including the subnational level.

This project focusses on subnational governments as central players in the integration of climate change considerations in those policy sectors where they exercise legislative powers. The reasons for this focus relate to three main factors. First, the impacts of climate change are felt most immediately at subnational and local levels, and require policy responses that are closer to citizens. Second, subnational governments hold powers in most of the sectors either impacted by climate change or that directly affect national and international mitigation and adaptation goals, including transport, energy policies (hydroelectric), and spatial planning. Third, there are few comparative studies of climate change integration at the subnational level.

In this context, this comparative project investigates two main research questions:

1) To what extent and by which means have the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano in Italy and Länder Tyrol and Vorarlberg in Austria integrated climate policies in sectors where they exercise exclusive and shared legislative powers? The project will concentrate on the following policies: transport, energy and water, and territorial planning.

2) What institutional factors prevent or facilitate climate change integration at the subnational and local levels, in terms of both policy-making and implementation? Five main institutional factors are argued to play potentially decisive roles: 1) coordination among authorities responsible for sectoral policies (horizontal/vertical and formal/informal); 2) public participation; 3) leadership (both political and in the administration); 4) information on climate change (as available for policy-makers, administrators, and the public) and its communication (at what stage and by what means); and 5) dedicated funding.

These research questions are investigated by an integrated research team composed of experts in law and sociology of law from Eurac Research, the University of Innsbruck and the University of Trento. The main methodology used is: a) a thorough literature review; b) text analysis of policy documents, strategies, sectoral plans, and interdepartmental arrangements; and c) interviews of both policy officers and main stakeholders.


Activities divided by work packages

The project lasts 26 months, started in October 2020 and will end in December 2022.

Work Package 1 (months 1-8) was dedicated to preparing the book proposal for an edited volume on the project research results, completing the literature review, collecting the main documents for the textual research foreseen in WP 3, and elaborating the common methodology. The book proposal has been accepted by the publishing house Brill within the book series "Studies in Territorial and Cultural Diversity Governance". The common methodology includes both a method for textual analysis of policy documents and interview data and methods for planning and conducting interviews. This common methodology was shared with the whole project team through a training event for pre and post-doc researchers hold in January 2021. Work Package 2 (months 9-15) in focussing on conducting interviews and compiling data. A second round of interviews will be carried out during months 14-30 if needed. The interviewees were selected based on the inputs provided by the project consortium and the result of the document collection. The guiding criterion for the mapping of the stakeholders was to achieve a balanced representation of both the project relevant sectors (transport, energy and water, and spatial planning) and the institutional factors influencing the integration of climate change at regional and local levels. Work Package 3 (months 16-30) will comprise the following: analysis of the data collected and the drafting of book chapters. Work Package 4 (months 16-30) will address dissemination and includes the identification and compilation of best practices, the drafting of policy recommendations and their dissemination to policy officers, the participation in conferences, the publication of a scientific article and blog posts, and the organisation of a public conference to present the edited volume.

Partner
University of Trento, School of international studies
University of Innsbruck
Project Team
1 - 8

Francesca Rosignoli

Team Member

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Eurac Research is a private research center based in Bolzano (South Tyrol) with researchers from a wide variety of scientific fields who come from all over the globe. Together, through scientific knowledge and research, they share the goal of shaping the future.

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