In recent times, one of the central dilemmas of development has been to develop and navigate the policy and institutional framework for environmental governance. The recognition of humanity’s impact in driving irreversible global environmental change has brought the question of sustainable governance of environmental resources into the center- stage of policy focus. While the environmental challenges manifest at the global scale, the policies and tools for environmental governance are often implemented at national, sub- national, and local scales. Given the extreme poverty, income, and resource inequalities across the world, especially in the countries of the Global South, such policies often face conflicting objectives – efficiency, equity, justice, and sustainability. Consequently, the environmental governance régime is required to navigate complex dilemmas and facilitate trade-offs among a multitude of oft-conflicting considerations. The Indian policy framework comprises of multiple approaches and institutional mechanisms for environmental governance — public (state-led), private (market-based), commons (collective governance). At the same time, recent policy changes (e.g., EIA, CRZ, Forest policy, etc.) continue to alter the governance framework in fundamental ways, radically reshaping the rights and interests of the key stakeholders. In the backdrop of such large-scale changes in environmental policies over the last few years, development practitioners are increasingly required to engage with contemporary policy debates while carefully navigating the existing policy and formal institutional framework.
This course is designed to sensitize future development professionals, policymakers, and
practitioners to the complexity of environmental governance and appreciate the role of institutions in facilitating sustainable development. The course builds on the discussion on environmental governance and the development debates therein, across core courses in the programme. The central focus would, however, be on developing a robust understanding of the challenges and implications of India’s environmental policy framework. It tries to foster a nuanced understanding of the key policy debates and enable participants to navigate and effectively engage with the environmental policy ecosystem. The course would be particularly useful for students looking at careers in environmental NGOs, policy think-tanks, CBOs, and social movements. There are no prerequisites for students to take this course.