Scherer, Roland/ Blatter, Joachim/ Hey, Christian (1994): Preconditions for successful cross-border cooperation on environmental issues. Historical, theoretical and analytical starting points. Freiburg. 91 pp. (translation of dp-32) / PDF-EN
Crossborder Cooperation on Environmental Issues
Crossboarder cooperation on environmental problems is a relatively new policy sector. There is only few scientific literature on this issue. This policy-sector is located in the overlapping spheres of environmental, regional and international policies. Theories of vertical and horizontal “Politikverflechtung” may be applicable as well. The discussion paper (written in german language) is a review of the theoretical approaches on those policy-sectors. Its purpose is to develop a common theoretical framework for the empirical analysis of crossborder cooperation in the lake of Constance region and the upper-rhine valley.
There are strong arguments in favour of crossborder cooperation both because of environmental and of economic reasons. Cooperation may avoid or reduce one- or multiple-way imports or exports of pollutants and hazardous risks. It may prevent the overuse of regional “common goods”. It may furthermore allow an efficient use of scarce resources especially by common infrastructure planning, avoiding overcapacities.
Comparing crossborder cooperation requires certain evaluation criteria such as:
– the profundness and effectiveness of environmental policies
– the strengh of cooperation
– the instruments of cooperation and
– the participation of different actors and different political levels in the cooperation process.
Success and failure basically depends on the interest structure of actors. This structure is influenced by economic, political and cultural factors. An important political factor is the responsiveness of the political-administrative system to environmental interests. If interests strongly diverge, cooperation becomes difficult. Furthermore if administrative structures are not compatible, the decision-making process becomes extremly complicated and cumbersome. The bigger the structural differences are, the more ressources are necessary to bridge them. A decisive factor for successful cooperation are therefore the personal, financial and organisational capacities, which can be invested by the actors.
The paper furthermore discusses the application of the subsidiarity principle on cross-border corporation. It chooses a situational approach not generally pleading for centralization or decentralization. Crossborder cooperation is strong and environmentally effective, if the political level interested in problem solutions and the political level with strong resources for cooperation are the same. The appropiate level of cooperation therefore only can be determined by an analysis of the specific problem constellation.
With the help of such analytical and theoretical tools it will be possible to identify the barriers and preconditions for successful cooperation by empirical case studies and to formulate recommendations for political actors to strenghten crossborder cooperation for the environment.
Scherer, Roland/ Blatter, Joachim/ Hey, Christian (1994): Preconditions for successful cross-border cooperation on environmental issues. Historical, theoretical and analytical starting points. = EURES discussion paper dp-45. ISSN 0938-1805. Freiburg: EURES-Institute for regional studies in Europe. 91 pp., EURO 13,-