The Institutionalisation of Climate Policy in India: Designing a Development-Focused, Co-Benefits Based Approach

By Navroz K Dubash and Neha B Joseph
20 May 2015

While there is growing attention to climate policy, effective coordination, design and implementation of policy require attention to institutional design for climate governance. This paper examines the case of India, organized around three periods: pre-2007; 2007–2009 and 2010-mid-2014, providing institutional charts for each. Several key themes emerge. First, the formation of climate institutions have frequently been driven by international negotiations, even while filtered through domestic context. Second, once established, institutions tend not to be stable or long-lasting. Third, while various efforts at knowledge generation have been attempted, they do not add up to a mechanism for sustained and consistent strategic thinking on climate change. Fourth, coordination across government has been uneven and episodic, reaching a high point with a specialised envoy in the Prime Minister’s Office. Fifth, the overall capacity within government, in terms of specialised skills and sheer numbers of personnel remains limited. Sixth, capacity shortfalls are exacerbated by closed structures of governance that only partially draw on external expertise. Seventh, institutional structures are not explicitly designed to enable India’s stated objective of climate policy in the context of development, which implies specific attention to co-benefits and mainstreaming.