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Addressing Environmental problems: Local or Global level?

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The growing concern of scientists, politicians and world leaders on environmental issues and expected adverse impacts of future brought them together in international arenas. For years, these people in international arenas have been seeking solutions to global environmental problems. As a result of long searches, international regimes are established. This phenomenon was an evolution of the global governance after World War II. (Ozgercin, Weiss) Regimes were ideas and rules how about states should behave. The concept of global governance was no longer included only international conflicts, peacekeeping issues, but also international environmental problems and other problems that came with globalization. (Ozgercin, Weiss) International regimes of global governance in any kind of global problem should focus on understanding the intricate and changing relationship of states, market actors, private sectors and any institutions in the context of globalization. Thus, international regimes were hopeful solution for states to address global environmental problems.


The significance of establishing these regimes and networks were great. Finally, not only state leaders, but also all who contribute to environmental degradation can join and settle down the problems. Of course, many interests were conflicting and it was very hard to come into one conclusion. Thus, world arena starting to question the mission and vision of these regimes. Why are they there? If they cannot solve the problem, why do we need them? To answer these questions would require great deal of time, but in this essay I want to address my view to transnational networks and their role in global environmental problems. Transnational networks and international regimes are two different animals and their way of addressing the problem differs in a great deal. From decades, we have witnessed what international regimes could do and how much they were successful in their aim. Now, it was turn of transnational networks in global governance.


Third world Cities! In actual, third world cities are the ones that humankind should blame for the environmental issues. As a result of their passion to reach apex of industrialization and globalization, now we suffer from global climate change, etc. (Hardoy, Satterthwaite, 1991 ) Here is a question. Should we address the real problem from where it started? We did actually, we addressed the problem from where it started, highly industrialized third world cities.  In 1993, Cities for Climate Protection program, one type of transnational network, run by ICLEI.  Question that put by Hardoy and Satterhwaite that address problem where it started somehow was a stimulation for CCP. It went to choose highly industrialized cities. Now it was clear why CCP didn’t went to some African or Indian cities that were highly populated but lived in poverty. Least surprising, their houses were the worst served with water and sanitation, garbage collection, paved roads and drains. (Hardoy, Satterthwaite, 1991) However, what CCP chose for its project were not cities that were fist time facing environmental problems, or solutions to prevent global climate change. Some actions were already in progress in those chosen 4 UK cities when CCP came in. Therefore, we question “Why CCP is repeating what is already done? Or What is its real role?” Till know, it is not pure clear to us.


What I know at the end of this discussion is that, the strength of transitional networks is not weaker than international regimes, probably even much stronger. To address one global problem in global arenas is too much noise, too many conflicting interests and too little action. It is like a project management and its scope of planning. You should start from the last sub-divisions and then trace back to top management. Addressing the problem in the industrialized cities probably was the highly effective way for me during the discourse. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much visible or strongly mentioned in agenda in MDGs or even today is SDGs. It is there, but it is too tiny to be visible and hearable.


BY: Zeynab Abdullayeva



  1. Betsill, M. M., & Bulkeley, H. (2004). Transnational networks and global environmental governance: The cities for climate protection program. International Studies Quarterly, 48(2), 471-493.
  2. Hardoy, J. E., & Satterthwaite, D. (1991). Environmental problems of Third World cities: a global issue ignored? Public administration and development, 11(4), 341-361.


About Zeyneb Abdullayeva