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Climate change in Lagos State, Nigeria: a polycentric governance approach.

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Human-induced activities that cause climate change occur at multiple scales, yet, most climate governance mechanisms are designed at a single level, such as international, national or regional, which do not provide an effective solution. The international climate change governance regime under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has failed to significantly impact the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and its goal of limiting global mean temperature below 2 degree Celsius. This has led to the emergence of several multilateral, bilateral, subnational, transnational and non-state actors operating outside the UNFCCC. Elinor Ostrom refers to this development as a polycentric approach to climate governance. The literature on polycentric climate governance is growing. Scholars, however, have given significant attention to cities in the global North. This study offered an analysis of the efficacy and effectiveness of polycentrism to climate change governance in Lagos State, Nigeria. The study contributed to the growing body of literature on polycentrism by providing analytical insight into (i) What extent the national and international policies have addressed climate change in Lagos State; (ii) What role has been/can be played by subnational governments in climate change governance; (iii) How polycentrism can be employed to address climate governance in Lagos State; and (iv) How effective polycentric initiatives are in addressing climate change in Lagos State. The study was a single-case endeavour that utilised a concurrent mixed methodology for data collection. The quantitative data are elicited through an open-ended questionnaire while the qualitative data used in-depth interviews and purposive sampling technique to gather empirical data from government officials and community members. The study revealed that a single governance unit could not effectively provide adequate solutions to climate mitigation and adaptation issues in Lagos State. The study further showed that climate change is a polycentric issue that should be dealt with by multiple actors operating at different levels of governance. The study concluded that polycentrism provides an opportunity for experimentation and learning among governance units, and the involvement of different actors in climate change governance has resulted in multiple benefits at diverse levels.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.