Municipalities worldwide are increasingly exposed to the impacts of climate change manifesting in a higher incidence of natural hazards. In order to respond to these challenges, local governments need to search for solutions that proved to work elsewhere. Learning exchanges with peers from other municipalities - on the national and international level – appear to be a promising approach for local policymakers. Indeed, particularly in the last two decades cities were globally joining together in transnational municipal climate networks that promote city-to-city learning and the sharing of knowledge among its members. However, our current understanding of the functioning of these network organisations and the significance of the learning processes they facilitate is still very limited. Little is known about their impacts on the ground (e.g. on policy formulation). Moreover, despite numerous attempts to theorise and define policy learning, we still do not know how policymakers actually learn. Drawing mainly on various literature streams on governance and policy learning and policy mobilities literature this thesis explores how learning exchanges among local policymakers within transnational municipal climate networks affect local climate policymaking. The outlined question was explored through expert interviews with local policymakers and representatives of transnational municipal climate networks. The thesis is composed of three distinct research papers. At first, the various transnational municipal climate networks needed to be better defined, systemised and distinguished from another. This was done by way of a two-step desk research methodology consisting of an extensive academic literature study and an analysis of sources provided by the examined network organisations. A key finding was that there are very exclusive elite networks only open to a limited number of municipalities on the one hand, and very inclusive mass networks open to almost all municipalities on the other. Moreover, there is a stark differentiation between traditional public governance oriented networks and new emerging non-state funded networks that call for stronger private-public partnerships. In a further step, a global survey addressing key network and local representatives explored the learning opportunities leveraged from transnational municipal climate networks. In particular, the forms in which cityto-city learning is taking place within networks, alongside a perception of its helpfulness and significance by the policymakers involved. The findings generally confirm that through the participation in climate networks policymakers are enabled to learn from and with their peers from municipalities facing similar challenges. Indeed, in many cases, transnational municipal climate networks act as crucial facilitators of valuable personal contacts among local policymakers. Moreover, it was shown that only some exchanges among local policymakers qualify as learning while the major parts of them were around the sharing of knowledge. The global survey also revealed that many policymakers regard study visits an effective network tool to initiate in-depth learning exchanges. Therefore, in the final paper of the thesis, study visits in climate change adaptation organised by a consortium of European municipal climate networks were investigated. Several interviews with policymakers participating in the study visits showed that – under certain conditions – they increase the credibility of policies within a municipal administration and can initiate policy adoption. However, the research also raises critical questions about the mass suitability of one-sided learning exchanges of inexperienced municipalities from frontrunner or pioneering municipalities. Instead, a stronger emphasis should be placed on mutual learning exchanges between more equal partners that learn and improve together.

City-to-city learning in transnational municipal climate networks: an exploratory study / Haupt, Wolfgang. - (2019 May 10).

City-to-city learning in transnational municipal climate networks: an exploratory study

HAUPT, WOLFGANG
2019

Abstract

Municipalities worldwide are increasingly exposed to the impacts of climate change manifesting in a higher incidence of natural hazards. In order to respond to these challenges, local governments need to search for solutions that proved to work elsewhere. Learning exchanges with peers from other municipalities - on the national and international level – appear to be a promising approach for local policymakers. Indeed, particularly in the last two decades cities were globally joining together in transnational municipal climate networks that promote city-to-city learning and the sharing of knowledge among its members. However, our current understanding of the functioning of these network organisations and the significance of the learning processes they facilitate is still very limited. Little is known about their impacts on the ground (e.g. on policy formulation). Moreover, despite numerous attempts to theorise and define policy learning, we still do not know how policymakers actually learn. Drawing mainly on various literature streams on governance and policy learning and policy mobilities literature this thesis explores how learning exchanges among local policymakers within transnational municipal climate networks affect local climate policymaking. The outlined question was explored through expert interviews with local policymakers and representatives of transnational municipal climate networks. The thesis is composed of three distinct research papers. At first, the various transnational municipal climate networks needed to be better defined, systemised and distinguished from another. This was done by way of a two-step desk research methodology consisting of an extensive academic literature study and an analysis of sources provided by the examined network organisations. A key finding was that there are very exclusive elite networks only open to a limited number of municipalities on the one hand, and very inclusive mass networks open to almost all municipalities on the other. Moreover, there is a stark differentiation between traditional public governance oriented networks and new emerging non-state funded networks that call for stronger private-public partnerships. In a further step, a global survey addressing key network and local representatives explored the learning opportunities leveraged from transnational municipal climate networks. In particular, the forms in which cityto-city learning is taking place within networks, alongside a perception of its helpfulness and significance by the policymakers involved. The findings generally confirm that through the participation in climate networks policymakers are enabled to learn from and with their peers from municipalities facing similar challenges. Indeed, in many cases, transnational municipal climate networks act as crucial facilitators of valuable personal contacts among local policymakers. Moreover, it was shown that only some exchanges among local policymakers qualify as learning while the major parts of them were around the sharing of knowledge. The global survey also revealed that many policymakers regard study visits an effective network tool to initiate in-depth learning exchanges. Therefore, in the final paper of the thesis, study visits in climate change adaptation organised by a consortium of European municipal climate networks were investigated. Several interviews with policymakers participating in the study visits showed that – under certain conditions – they increase the credibility of policies within a municipal administration and can initiate policy adoption. However, the research also raises critical questions about the mass suitability of one-sided learning exchanges of inexperienced municipalities from frontrunner or pioneering municipalities. Instead, a stronger emphasis should be placed on mutual learning exchanges between more equal partners that learn and improve together.
City-to-city learning in transnational municipal climate networks: an exploratory study / Haupt, Wolfgang. - (2019 May 10).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12571/9733
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