Testing the boundaries of subnational diplomacy: the international climate action of local and regional governments


Since the 1990s, a number of local and regional governments around the world have started to engage in a real international or ‘paradiplomatic’ climate agenda. While the multilevel governance approach has advanced the examination of the actors and levels involved in climate governance, there is within this body of literature a limited consideration of the legal capacity of non-state actors to act across scales. This article addresses this gap and examines the potential limitations imposed on subnational diplomacy by international and domestic legal orders. The article draws upon the example of Brazil where, despite constitutional limitations on the involvement of subnational governments in international relations, paradiplomacy has been termed ‘federative diplomacy’ and institutionalized within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and within the Presidency of the Republic. The article shows that the diplomatic activity of local and regional governments is still constrained by international and domestic legal frameworks. If cities and regions are to help in addressing the inadequacies of the international climate regime, then domestic and international legal frameworks will need to further accommodate subnational diplomatic activities.

Setzer, Joana (2015). In: Transnational Environmental Law, 4 (02). pp. 319-337.