Governance and Policy
Three words are inextricably intertwined with UA expertise in environmental governance and policy: location, location, location. Sitting amid the most studied desert in the world, the UA is uniquely situated to develop creative approaches and policies to address the effects of drought and other climate changes in the Southwest and other arid and semiarid regions of the world. Proximity to Mexico has helped establish the UA as one of the country’s foremost centers of research on the social, political, economic, environmental, and legal conditions underlying cross-border issues. The UA’s extensive network of programs in the social sciences and law bring particular strengths to these issues in water law and policy, environmental economics, natural resource management, and the social dynamics of environmental policy and decision processes.
Governance issues, including the examination of institutional, legal, and decision-making contexts, are a key focus of University of Arizona climate change adaptation research. UA research aimed at exploring the intersection of economics, law, and environment is seeking adaptive solutions to put a value on services provided by the environment, such as water purification and recreational amenities, and to examine the feasibility of using water markets as a strategy for coping with severe sustained drought.
Additional UA research focuses on capacity building in border regions to develop the scientific foundation underlying potential policy changes for sustainable water management at the U.S.-Mexico border. Drawing upon lessons from the arid southwestern U.S., UA researchers also have contributed to achieving sustainable environmental adaptation solutions in highly contentious regions, such as Israel and Palestine, and UA excels in preparing Native Nations and tribes in the development of governance institutions and processes to meet changing environmental conditions.