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Title: Sustainable Development and Transnational Communication: Assessing the International Influence on Subnational Policies
Authors: Happaerts, Sander ×
Van den Brande, Karoline #
Issue Date: Nov-2011
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Pub.
Series Title: Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis vol:13 issue:5 pages:527-544
Abstract: Sustainable development needs to be tackled at different levels of governance. An important role is put aside for subnational entities (such as provinces, states or regions), because of their often large implementation responsibilities. Sustainable development is to a large extent decided in multilateral organizations, such as the UN, the OECD or the EU. Yet unlike nation-states, subnational governments are not formally bound by international commitments. This article uses the concept of transnational communication as a perspective to examine the extent to which international policy and decision-making resonates at the subnational level. Building on the tradition of policy convergence studies, theoretical and methodological refinements are made to explore how the concept can be applied to sustainable development and to subnational governments. Subsequently, we present the results of a comparative analysis investigating how international initiatives have triggered and shaped sustainable development policies in Quebec (Canada), North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and Flanders (Belgium). The findings suggest that international events play a key role in triggering sustainable development policies at the subnational level, but that their impact on policy content is not uniform. It is also stated that political will is needed for sustainable development initiatives to gain ground and that the presence of a strong identity determines whether or not subnational governments are receptive to international influences
ISSN: 1387-6988
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Leuven International and European Studies (LINES)
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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