Is the coordination functioning, and if it is, how effective is it?
Two types of coordination are necessary for the implementation of sustainable development policies: horizontal and vertical coordination. Horizontal coordination (see Figure 1) refers to the coordination of activities between different ministries at the same level in the government bureaucracy. On the other hand, vertical coordination refers to the coordination of activities between local, state (or provincial) and national governments, or between different layers of line staff within a given ministry. In general, there is an inverse relationship between the degree of vertical coordination and the degree of decentralisation of the government structure. That is, the more autonomous local governments are, the less is the need for vertical integration. Furthermore, the bigger a country, the greater the levels of hierarchy and hence the greater the need for vertical coordination.
The extent of vertical coordination in a given country bears an inverse relationship with the degree of decentralisation of the government's administrative structure. That is, the more autonomous local and regional governments are, the less is the incidence of vertical integration. Furthermore, the bigger a country, the greater the levels of hierarchy and hence the greater the incidence of vertical coordination. It is often the case that in situations where there are high levels of vertical coordination, horizontal coordination appears to be lacking. Horizontal coordination is important in the process of integrating environmental concerns into economic policies due to the cross-sectoral nature of the environment. Excessive vertical coordination and/or lack of (or inadequate) horizontal coordination results in fragmentation in decision making and duplication of effort among government agencies.
In general, the decision-making process regarding environmental issues tends to be fragmented among various government ministries. Even in cases where there is a national inter-agency coordinating body, both vertical and horizontal coordination has not been effective.
Examples of fragmentation in environment-related decision making include the following:
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