Central governments can establish responsibilities for local governments by introducing targets, regulations and guidance on developing and implementing green initiatives. This can include laws or guidance requiring subnational governments to develop their own plans and strategies. This type of national intervention can be effective in setting a long-term green growth agenda and fostering green growth actions across regions in an integrated way.
For example India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) provides strategic guidance and structure for each state to develop its own State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC). Prior to the NAPCC few state governments were directly engaged with climate change concerns. Now, more than 20 states have prepared documents on the SAPCC – for example, the state of Orissa has developed a comprehensive plan of climate change programs which it aims to finance from federal, state, and donor sources (Mishra et al., 2011).
Central governments have also developed building energy efficiency codes adopted by subnational governments (UNEP, 2012). Analysis of experience of building codes in countries including China, India, Egypt, Mexico and the US State of California finds that one of the main drivers for successful implementation is a political commitment at the national and the subnational level to energy efficiency or sustainable energy sector development (Feng et al., 2010). A potential downside of this type of approach is that it is not clear whether diverse regional contexts and different needs are taken into account, as national regulations tend to set uniform standards. Therefore, engaging subnational government in the development of relevant regulations at the national level is crucial.