Policy-making and implementation in selected subnational policies

Climate change "is the epitome of a multilevel governance challenge".1 Objectives and framework rules are decided at the international level, yet their implementation requires that measures are adopted at different levels of government, including the subnational level.

This project focusses on subnational governments as central players in the integration of climate change considerations in those policy sectors where they exercise legislative powers. The reasons for this focus are explored in depth in the following, but relate to three main factors. First, the impacts of climate change are felt most immediately at subnational and local levels, and require policy responses that are closer to citizens. Second, subnational governments hold powers in most of the sectors either impacted by climate change or that directly affect national and international mitigation and adaptation goals,3 including transport, energy policies (hydroelectric), and spatial planning. Third, there are few comparative studies of climate change integration at the subnational level.

In this context, this comparative project investigates two main research questions:

  • To what extent and by which means have the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano in Italy and Lander Tyrol and Vorarlberg in Austria integrated climate policies in sectors where they exercise exclusive and shared legislative powers?
  • What institutional factors prevent or facilitate this integration at the subnational and local levels, in terms of both policy-making and implementation? Five main institutional factors are argued to play potentially decisive roles: 1) coordination among authorities responsible for sectoral policies (horizontal/vertical and formal/informal); 2) public participation; 3) leadership (both political and in the administration); 4) information on climate change (as available for policy-makers, administrators, and the public) and its communication (at what stage and by what means); and 5) dedicated funding.

Research Team

  • EURAC Research, Bolzano (PI)
  • Louisa R. Parks (Team Leader) (School of International Studies, University of Trento)
  • Niccol├▓ Bertuzzi (Post-doc Fellow) (School of International Studies, University of Trento)
  • Elena Fasoli (Faculty of Law, University of Trento)


Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano - Call Research S├╝dtirol/Alto Adige 2019.