Policy entrepreneurship and the management oftransboundary externalities in the Greater Pearl River DeltaRegion

by Ho-yee Vivian Chu

Institution: University of Hong Kong
Year: 2017
Keywords: Pearl River Delta - Environmental management -China
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2155149
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10722/239955


Diametrically asymmetrical governance, apparent inthe relationship between the reunited unhappy bedfellows that areHong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and mainland Chinesegovernments, creates needless problems and hurdles in tacklingtransboundary environmental externalities in the Greater PearlRiver Delta (GPRD) region from an institutional standpoint. The Onecountry, Two systems framework upholds the political divide betweenthe SAR and mainland China, and this division has significantlyhindered inter-governmental cooperation across the boundary.Although cross-boundary platforms have been built to facilitatecooperation, governments of the GPRD region have only manageddisparate attempts in confronting environmental problems such asregional smog and seawater pollution. Despite the persistenceof these environmental problems, only a limited amount of researchhad been conducted on the institutional challenges faced by theGPRD region when managing its transboundary externalities. Thisthesis incorporates the frameworks of governance, policyentrepreneurship and policy diffusion to offer a novel perspectivein understanding environmental cooperation in this context. Itaddresses the question of how and to what extent policyentrepreneurs have tackled the GPRDs environmental externalities,by analysis of the actions taken by these unique actors and theeffects of such actions. In addressing this question, detailedexplanations are provided to delineate the limit to, and progressmade in, cross-boundary environmental cooperation. Through theapplication of the case study method, analysis centring on threespecific issues of the GPRDs transboundary environmentalcooperation was conducted. The first case study investigates HongKong and Guangdong governments joint efforts to establish thePearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network. Itillustrates the journey that was undertaken by a Hong Konggovernment official, acting as a policy entrepreneur, to bringabout this Network. Secondly, the case study of marine emissioncontrol bears witness to a policy entrepreneurs transition fromthe non-state to the state sector, and the implications associatedwith the change of her social position. Finally, research wasconducted on cross-boundary cooperative attempts to protect DeepBays wetland habitat, an extremely valuable ecological sanctuarylocated in the delta region. This case study offers a rare glimpseof NGOs acting as policy entrepreneurs in a boundary region wheretheir role has been constrained. In consonance with theliterature, this thesis argues that in order to circumvent theconstellation of obstacles blocking effectual transboundaryenvironmental management, the presence of multiple cross-boundaryplatforms, benefiting from the inputs of different combinations ofstate and non-state actors, is required. Furthermore, ampleevidence from this study have shown that processes of policydiffusion act as important triggers for more intensive forms ofcross-boundary