Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here


  • Fariborz Zelli
  • Harro van Asselt
  • Karin Bäckstrand
  • Eva Lövbrand
Publishing year: 2016
Language: English
Pages: 121-131
Publication/Series: Research Handbook on Climate Governance
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing

Abstract english

The global governance architecture on climate change has been increasingly marked by institutional fragmentation. A growing diversity of institutions seeks to address dangerous climate change today, including international organizations, club-like forums, multi-stakeholder partnerships, regulated and voluntary markets, sub-national efforts and non-state actor initiatives. After taking stock of this fragmentation, the paper briefly looks at possible theory-driven explanations for this phenomenon. We then touch upon potential consequences of fragmentation, including, for instance, more possibilities for experimentation but also considerable coordination and legitimacy gaps. In light of such negative implications, we argue that the UN process should hold a leading and coordinating position within this growingly complex institutional environment. This implies re-thinking the role of the UNFCCC in future climate governance: instead of following a traditionally high regulatory ambition and further overburdening negotiations and agencies, the climate regime has to strengthen its profile as a complexity ‘manager’ or ‘orchestrator’. We briefly illustrate how such an orchestrating role could look like for the case of international technology initiatives. The UNFCCC could extend existing functions like acting as a clearing house for technology cooperation. But in addition, it could establish common financing criteria and monitoring provisions for the various initiatives.


  • Political Science
  • fragmentation
  • complexity
  • climate change
  • institutions
  • global governance
  • climate governance
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • Institutional analysis
  • Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)
  • Transnationalism


  • ISBN: 9781783470594
Fariborz Zelli
E-mail: fariborz [dot] zelli [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Department of Political Science

+46 46 222 47 64



Associate professor

Department of Political Science



Fariborz is director of the NAVIGOV project. He received the outstanding Ph.D. thesis award of the University of Tübingen and the award for outstanding teaching performance of the German state of Baden-Württemberg.

Ongoing research projects

Department of Political Science
Lund University
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5H (House: Eden)
Postal address: Box 52, SE-221 00 LUND
Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences