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Fariborz Zelli

Fariborz Zelli

Associate professor

Fariborz Zelli

International Governance: Polycentric Governing by and beyond the UNFCCC


  • Harro van Asselt
  • Fariborz Zelli


  • Andrew Jordan
  • Dave Huitema
  • Harro van Asselt
  • Johanna Forster JordanHuitemavan Asselt

Summary, in English

The Paris Agreement seemingly reaffirmed the central place occupied by the regime established by the UNFCCC in the international governance of climate change.
Although the UNFCCC can be viewed as a form of ‘monocentric’ governance, it has become increasingly clear that the UNFCCC operates as part of a polycentric governance system. Due to the physical and socio-economic interconnections between climate change and a range of other issue areas, institutional overlaps between the climate regime and other international institutions from other domains such as trade and investment, human rights, other environmental issues (e.g. ozone depletion and biodiversity loss) and specific sectors (e.g. aviation and maritime shipping) are inevitable.
In this chapter, we systematically sketch the domain of international climate change governance from the angle of polycentricity, focusing on intergovernmental multilateral institutions. We pursue two objectives: characterising this governance system as polycentric; and then discussing to what extent certain implications of this polycentricity have already materialised in this system.


  • Department of Political Science
  • BECC - Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate

Publishing year







Governing Climate Change : Polycentricity in Action?

Document type

Book chapter


Cambridge University Press


  • Political Science


  • polycentricity
  • climate change
  • global governance
  • Kyoto protocol
  • complexity
  • fragmentation
  • institutions and institutional change




  • ISBN: 9781108418126