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Publication - A Paradigm Shift in the Governance of Sustainable Development: Citizens’ Empowerment

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A Paradigm Shift in the Governance of Sustainable Development: Citizens’ Empowerment

Rafael Leal-Arcas
Published in
July 2019
This chapter examines a novel approach to sustainable development by focusing on the potential role of citizens in international trade, climate change mitigation, and sustainable energy. This chapter argues that this novel approach is crucial to reach sustainability. This chapter aims to explain the paradigm shift in the governance of sustainable development: the 20th century was characterized by a top-down approach to the governance of climate action (eg., the Kyoto Protocol), energy (eg., inter-governmental energy agreements), and international trade (eg., inter-governmental trade agreements). The 21st century, however, offers a bottom-up approach, marking one of the mega-trends of the 21st century: in climate action, the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is done from the bottom up via citizens, NGOs, mayors, governors, businesses, or smart cities; in energy governance, we are observing energy democratization by decentralizing the governance of energy security and creating new energy actors, namely prosumers and renewable energy cooperatives.