Assessing Transboundary Governance Capacity in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern


  • Thomas J. Greitens Department of Political Science & Public Administration | Central Michigan University


Areas of concern, Networks, Collaborative governance, Transboundary governance, Implementation


This case evaluates transboundary governance across the Great Lakes “Areas of Concern”
(AOC). Designed with an emphasis on decentralization to sub-national institutions and the
activation of citizen-led groups, the AOCs represent a unique approach to environmental
governance.Traditionally examined with case study research, the individual AOCs are
idiosyncratic with environmental and political challenges that are not always germane to
other AOCs or broader theoretical concepts surrounding environmental governance.
However, by examining the AOCs underlying transboundary governance architecture in
terms of functional intensity, nature of compliance mechanisms, stability and resilience,
and legitimacy a more comprehensive theoretical understanding ofthe successful
governance processes used, as well as the gaps in governance responses observed,
can be realized. The results presented here show that the AOCs can have significant transboundary
governance weaknesses in terms of compliance mechanisms and notions of stability and resilience,
but noteworthy strengths in terms of functional intensity and legitimacy. As a result, transboundary
governance has a tendency to degrade over time in the AOCs, even though initial governance
responses are initially effectively designed with high levels of stakeholder input.


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How to Cite

Greitens, T. J. . (2016). Assessing Transboundary Governance Capacity in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. International Journal of Water Governance, 4, 53–72. Retrieved from

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