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The transition towards a low carbon economy is one of the key challenges for mankind in the 21st century. It is crucial that climate change is kept at manageable limits. At the same time, the realization of a low-carbon society offers enormous economic potential.

Low carbon transition processes are largely driven by policies and political programmes developed by multiple actors at various levels of governance, from the local level up through the supra- and international levels. Our Indian-European research network was developed in order to provide for a better understanding of emerging forms of multi-level climate governance in India and Europe. The network aims to shed light onto the question of whether - and how - multi-level climate governance structures yield pathways for effective low carbon transition.

Theorizing on Multi-level Governance (MLG) is concerned with the emergence of new types of governance where authority is increasingly shared and shifting between several policy levels and new actor constellations are formed, including both state and non-state actors. Global warming exemplifies the need for such new types of multi-level governance by changing the relations between higher and lower levels of government as well as redefining them for the sake of greater coherence in policy-making.

In the case of the European Union (EU), the research community has acknowledged and discussed climate change governance and its processes of multi-level reinforcement for several years. However, knowledge about the potentials and constraints of multi-level climate governance in the EU is still fragmented; in particular, the roles played by the subnational state, regional and local levels have been inadequately researched.

As regards the case of India, knowledge about the multi-level climate governance setting and interplay is still “under construction” – even more so then in the EU realm. While India has become a major player at the international climate negotiations, less is known about the multi-level climate governance interplay and the respective roles of higher and lower policy levels in shaping India’s response to climate change.

Until 2016 the Indian-European Multi-level Climate Governance Research Network (IECGN) was funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR, India), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, Germany), and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, The Netherlands) in the context of the Indian-European Research Networking Programme.