Regional and Federal Studies vol:20 issue:1 pages:127-149
Subnational entities increasingly exert agency in multilateral decision making. Since they are often not recognized as actors in multilateral bodies, they use several mechanisms to gain representation. An example of an extra-state mechanism is the participation in inter-subnational networks. This article is about the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD), a network that focuses on sustainable development and that has a unique global scope, addressing the UN institutions above all. A first part of our analysis shows that, although it is a relatively young initiative, nrg4SD has evolved into an institution with a permanent character, but subsequently went through a period of stagnation and criticism. It also demonstrates that, besides offering subnational entities an extra-state route to multilateral decision making, it entails an important internal dimension as well, through the promotion of policy learning and bilateral co-operation. The second part of the article offers a comparative analysis of three of the network's members (Flanders, the Basque Country and North Rhine-Westphalia), which shows that they have diverging views on nrg4SD and its functioning and use their participation in very different ways and with different results.