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Environmental paradiplomacy: the engagement of the Brazilian state of São Paulo in international environmental relations

Setzer, Joana (2013) Environmental paradiplomacy: the engagement of the Brazilian state of São Paulo in international environmental relations. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This study analyses the international environmental relations undertaken by subnational governments, a phenomenon conceptualised as environmental paradiplomacy. Research on paradiplomacy examines subnational governments’ international relations without considering their engagement with environmental issues, while multilevel governance (MLG) theory focuses on the rescaling of governance of environmental problems without addressing subnational engagement in international relations. Combining paradiplomacy studies and MLG theory, the thesis develops an original conceptual framework to investigate a leading example of environmental paradiplomacy. The conceptual framework is applied to the case of the state of São Paulo, a regional government in Brazil that, since the 1970s, has strongly engaged in international environmental activities. In contrast with other findings on paradiplomacy, the state of São Paulo engages in international relations not only as a way of challenging, but also of collaborating with the national government. The major empirical data informing the thesis was gathered through participant observation and semi-structured interviews with key figures involved with environmental governance in the state and at the national level, as well as representatives from NGOs, universities, the private sector and foreign policy-makers. The study furthers the understanding of paradiplomacy offering analytical insight into: (1) how subnational governments engage in transnational relations; (2) the reasons driving them to undertake paradiplomacy; and (3) the outcomes of their actions. It also contributes more generally to research on global environmental governance, new theoretical insights on the roles of subnational governments and the changing relationships between different levels of government in national and international policymaking.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Joana Setzer
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Mason, Michael

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