Learning from cross-border arrangements to support climate change adaption in Australia - Stage 1

Climate change Australia Australian Capital Territory New South Wales Queensland South Australia Victoria

This research is funded by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) Adaptation Research Grants Program (ARGP) 2011-2013. The focus is on what can be learnt from existing cross-border regulatory mechanisms with a view to strengthening and improving cross-border climate change adaptation practices in Australia. There is currently little understanding of the range of cross-border mechanisms and regulatory innovations, the efficacy of how they work, nor the key lessons that could be gleaned and adapted from existing initiatives for the purposes of climate change adaptation.

The emphasis of this three-stage project therefore, is on identifying and collating the lessons learnt from existing Australian examples of regulatory reform models, authorities and mechanisms that have emerged to address cross-border issues at the national, state and local level. Using an institutional learning framework, the research offers key insights into the evolution, challenges and potentialities of cross- border governance for Australian-based climate change adaptation.

The cross-border governance ‘problematique’ focuses primarily around two key agendas: [i] the novel re-articulations of power that cross-border innovations pose, involving diverse groups of actors and networks; and [ii] the benefits and dis-benefits of informal collaborative transboundary arrangements as compared to more formalised regulatory state mechanisms. To this end, conceptual and practical understandings of cross-border governance and regulation can be seen to converge in their focus on the political and institutional processes of re-territorialisation.

This monograph focuses specifically on Stage 1 of the project. This has involved a detailed literature review and desktop analysis of four Australian cross-border cases that operate at different levels of scale and complexity including: the Murray Darling Basin Agreement; the Australian Alps Cooperative Management Agreement; the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales Regional Collaboration; and the Cross Border Sub-Plan 2010 between the Gold Coast City, Queensland, and Tweed Shire, New South Wales.

Key findings from Stage 1 include an emphasis on (1) the arrangement, development or formation process which results in (2) the adoption of particular arrangement leading to (3) implementation outcomes and (4) ‘on the ground’ effects. Further to this was the need for cross-border arrangements to re-imagine what was once separate as whole through a re-configuration of geographic (place), administrative (space) and political (territory) fragmentation; that with respect to cross-border governance arrangements there is no ‘one-size fits all’; and the recognition of mutual inter-dependencies and cross-border economies of scale. The implications for climate change adaptation regulatory reform will be further expanded in Stages 2 and 3 of this nationally funded research project.

Authors: Wendy Steele, Ilva Sporne, Scott Shearer, Lila Singh-Peterson, Silvia Serrao- Neumann, Florence Crick, Pat Dale, Darryl Low Choy, Leila Eslami-Endargoli, Anne-Sophie Iotti, Peter Tangney

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