The success of green federalism depends on what institutional mechanisms are created to deal with tensions and conflicts between the various tiers of government. The proper division of responsibilities for promoting green federalism or environmental protection between federal and sub-national has long been the subject of fierce debate. The federal government depends on the state/local governments to take up the responsibility of carrying out required activities whereas the state governments depend on the federal government for institutional and financial support to perform the activities. Besides this it is important to look into which Government Departments and Ministries will need to be involved on a horizontal level. Addressing an issue like climate change for example cannot be dealt by units that are responsible for the environment but also needs to involve thinking about relationships with health, urban planning, management of traffic and transport or energy.
Why green federalism? Because sustainable solutions can only come from the ground up. Nowadays, we are too busy with devising technological fixes to what we have broken and forget that we always have to address the root causes. National and sub-national governments are fighting yesterday’s battles. The extend of the current ecological crisis and challenges to sustainable development demand that they fight a current battle. Taking green debates and federalism serious is the need of today.
This publication documents a dialogue on “Green Federalism: Sharing Best Practices” held in Kolkata in November 2018 involving academics, practitioners, journalists and other experts from India, Nepal and Myanmar. The dialogue was organized by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung in collaboration with the Institute of Social Sciences and Burma Centre Delhi. It was structured around sub-themes like federalism and sustainable development, federal and sub-national domains, management of natural resources and cooperative federalism. The overriding emphasis was given on sharing best practices. Besides bringing clarity to some of the key concepts and approaches it made space to listen to experiences of communities and their needs and interests. Therefore, this proceeding makes valuable contributions to academic and real global discourse on aspects of green federalism.