Openness, sustainability, and public participation

New designs for transboundary river basin institutions

Lenard Milich, Robert G Varady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The world's transboundary environmental institutions typically are driven from the top, function behind closed doors, disregard sustainability, and rely on technical fixes or regulatory mechanisms. This article compares those approaches, as manifested in various river basin commissions, to a new, more democratic model being tested in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Water factors into many transboundary environmental problems. More than 300 river basins are shared by two or more countries. The authors examine seven international river basin compacts, sketch four common conceptual paradigms, and argue that these models mostly ignore local needs and public inputs and sometimes also fail in their explicit objectives. The border between the United States and Mexico offers a more promising design. There, as a result of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, a new, innovative authority, the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC), has emerged. This institution has been fashioned to protect local interests and to sustain its activities environmentally and financially. We examine how well the BECC has fulfilled its promise of openness, transparency, and binationality, and conclude that properly adapted, the model's roots-openness, transparency, capacity building, bottom-up design, and sustainability-could take hold in other transboundary areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-306
Number of pages49
JournalJournal of Environment and Development
Volume8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

river basin
river
sustainability
transparency
participation
Mexico
NAFTA
border region
capacity building
free trade
environmental impact
paradigm
water
public participation
border
co-operation
public
international river basin
need
world

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Development
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Openness, sustainability, and public participation : New designs for transboundary river basin institutions. / Milich, Lenard; Varady, Robert G.

In: Journal of Environment and Development, Vol. 8, No. 3, 09.1999, p. 258-306.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{18d855576059474cb58c91db3bba59a2,
title = "Openness, sustainability, and public participation: New designs for transboundary river basin institutions",
abstract = "The world's transboundary environmental institutions typically are driven from the top, function behind closed doors, disregard sustainability, and rely on technical fixes or regulatory mechanisms. This article compares those approaches, as manifested in various river basin commissions, to a new, more democratic model being tested in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Water factors into many transboundary environmental problems. More than 300 river basins are shared by two or more countries. The authors examine seven international river basin compacts, sketch four common conceptual paradigms, and argue that these models mostly ignore local needs and public inputs and sometimes also fail in their explicit objectives. The border between the United States and Mexico offers a more promising design. There, as a result of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, a new, innovative authority, the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC), has emerged. This institution has been fashioned to protect local interests and to sustain its activities environmentally and financially. We examine how well the BECC has fulfilled its promise of openness, transparency, and binationality, and conclude that properly adapted, the model's roots-openness, transparency, capacity building, bottom-up design, and sustainability-could take hold in other transboundary areas.",
author = "Lenard Milich and Varady, {Robert G}",
year = "1999",
month = "9",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
pages = "258--306",
journal = "Journal of Environment and Development",
issn = "1070-4965",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Openness, sustainability, and public participation

T2 - New designs for transboundary river basin institutions

AU - Milich, Lenard

AU - Varady, Robert G

PY - 1999/9

Y1 - 1999/9

N2 - The world's transboundary environmental institutions typically are driven from the top, function behind closed doors, disregard sustainability, and rely on technical fixes or regulatory mechanisms. This article compares those approaches, as manifested in various river basin commissions, to a new, more democratic model being tested in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Water factors into many transboundary environmental problems. More than 300 river basins are shared by two or more countries. The authors examine seven international river basin compacts, sketch four common conceptual paradigms, and argue that these models mostly ignore local needs and public inputs and sometimes also fail in their explicit objectives. The border between the United States and Mexico offers a more promising design. There, as a result of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, a new, innovative authority, the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC), has emerged. This institution has been fashioned to protect local interests and to sustain its activities environmentally and financially. We examine how well the BECC has fulfilled its promise of openness, transparency, and binationality, and conclude that properly adapted, the model's roots-openness, transparency, capacity building, bottom-up design, and sustainability-could take hold in other transboundary areas.

AB - The world's transboundary environmental institutions typically are driven from the top, function behind closed doors, disregard sustainability, and rely on technical fixes or regulatory mechanisms. This article compares those approaches, as manifested in various river basin commissions, to a new, more democratic model being tested in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Water factors into many transboundary environmental problems. More than 300 river basins are shared by two or more countries. The authors examine seven international river basin compacts, sketch four common conceptual paradigms, and argue that these models mostly ignore local needs and public inputs and sometimes also fail in their explicit objectives. The border between the United States and Mexico offers a more promising design. There, as a result of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, a new, innovative authority, the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC), has emerged. This institution has been fashioned to protect local interests and to sustain its activities environmentally and financially. We examine how well the BECC has fulfilled its promise of openness, transparency, and binationality, and conclude that properly adapted, the model's roots-openness, transparency, capacity building, bottom-up design, and sustainability-could take hold in other transboundary areas.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0033453292&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0033453292&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 8

SP - 258

EP - 306

JO - Journal of Environment and Development

JF - Journal of Environment and Development

SN - 1070-4965

IS - 3

ER -