Global environmental governance is growing increasingly complex and recent scholarship and practice raise a number of questions about the continued feasibility of negotiating and implementing an ever-larger set of global environmental agreements. In the search for alternative conceptual models and normative orders, regional environmental governance (REG) is (re)emerging as a significant phenomenon in theory and practice. Although environmental cooperation has historically been more prevalent at the regional than at the global level, and has informed much of what we know today about international environmental cooperation, REG has been a neglected topic in the scholarly literature on international relations and international environmental politics. This introduction to the special issue situates theoretical arguments linked to REG in the broader literature, including the nature of regions, the location of regions in multilevel governance, and the normative arguments advanced for and against regional orders. It provides an overview of empirical work; offers quantitative evidence of REG's global distribution; advances a typology of REG for future research; and introduces the collection of research articles and commentaries through the lens of three themes: form and function, multilevel governance, and participation.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.