Alumni Senior Fellow

Dr Fariborz Zelli

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel:  +49 (0)203 29861-141
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: zelli@spam


Dr Fariborz Zelli joins Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Senior Fellow. He will be conducting his research in Research Unit 3 "Global Governance Revisited" from September 2016 to July 2017.

Research Project at the Centre

The Institutional Fragmentation of Global Governance - Impacts on Cooperation and Legitimation

One of the core institutional phenomena and challenges in today's international relations is a growing degree of complexity or fragmentation. While a certain pluralism of institutions for a given issue of world politics is not new per se, ongoing regulatory processes have in recent years led to considerable material and functional overlaps between international institutions, that is, among international regimes and international organizations.

Fragmentation, some scholars have argued, can be seen as an institutional mirror image to the growing material complexity in the Anthropocene. It reflects the increasing interdependence of, and possible conflicts between, preferences, norms, cultures and discourses that shape organizations and treaties today. This growing institutional fragmentation matters. The various rules addressing a specific area of global governance do not always make up a fully coherent system—with considerable consequences for key aspects like compliance, problem-solving effectiveness, coordination, legitimacy, participation and inclusiveness.

Against this backdrop, I develop and apply a theoretical framework to examine how increasing institutional fragmentation affects patterns and outcomes of cooperation and legitimation in global governance. This main research objective unfolds into the following steps and questions: What is the degree of institutional fragmentation in selected areas of global governance at the intersection of climate change, international development and global trade? How can this degree of fragmentation be explained with different theories of cooperation and international relations? Which impacts does institutional fragmentation have on the legitimacy of global governance efforts in the selected areas?

Research Interests

  • Institutional Complexity
  • Political Theory
  • Global Environmental Governance
  • The World Trade Organization
  • Climate Change Governance
  • Forestry Governance

Current Projects

  • Research Project on 'Navigating Institutional Complexity in Global Climate Governance'
  • Research Project on 'Forest Fauna Conservation – A Stepchild in the Debate on Payments for Ecosyst'em Services’
  • Research Programme on 'Legitimacy in Global Governance' (Globala institutioners legitimitet)
  • Research Project on 'Challenges and Options in Fragmented Global Climate and Energy Governance' (Utmaningar och möjligheter i en fragmenterad global klimat- och energistyrning)
  • Earth System Governance Project
  • Research Network on 'Fragmentation and Complexity in Global Governance' (FCGG)
  • European Cooperation in Science and Technology (EU-COST) – Action IS1309 on 'Innovations in Climate Governance'
  • Strategic Research Area BECC ('Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Changing Climate')


Since 06/2014 Lund University, Sweden
Department of Political Science
Associate Professor
12/2011-05/2014 Lund University, Sweden
Department of Political Science
Assistant Professor
02/2009-11/2011 German Development Institute, Bonn, Germany
Department of Environmental Policy and Management of Natural Resources
Senior Researcher
06/2006-01/2009 University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Senior Research Associate
07/2003-05/2006 German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU)
Ph.D. Stipend
04/2001-07/2003 University of Tübingen, Germany
Institute of Political Science
Center for International Relations
Research Associate
10/1995-07/2000 University of Heidelberg
Institute for Political Science
Master of Arts

Selected Publications

Pattberg, Philipp, and Zelli, Fariborz, (eds.) (2016): Environmental Politics and Governance in the Anthropocene: Institutions and Legitimacy in a Complex World, London: Routledge.

van de Graaf, Thijs, and Zelli Fariborz (2016): Actors, Institutions and Frames in Global Energy Politics, in Thijs Van de Graaf et al. (eds.), Palgrave Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pattberg, Philipp, and Zelli, Fariborz (eds.) (2015): Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Governance and Politics, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Zelli, Fariborz et al. (2014): Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Peru: A Challenge to Social Inclusion and Multi-level Governance, Bonn: German Development Institute (together with Daniela Erler, Sina Frank, Jonas-Ibrahim Hein, Hannes Hotz, and Anna-Maria Santa Cruz Melgarejo).

Zelli, Fariborz et al. (2013): Global Climate Governance and Energy Choices, in Andreas Goldthau (ed.), The Handbook of Global Energy Policy, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 340–57 (together with Philipp Pattberg, Hannes Stephan, and Harro van Asselt).

Zelli, Fariborz, Gupta, Aarti, and van Asselt, Harro (2013): Institutional Interactions at the Crossroads of Trade and Environment: the Dominance of Liberal Environmentalism?, Global Governance 19(1): 105–18.

Zelli, Fariborz, and van Asselt, Harro (eds.) (2013): The Institutional Fragmentation of Global Environmental Governance, Special Issue of Global Environmental Politics 13, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Zelli, Fariborz (2011): The Fragmentation of the Climate Governance Architecture, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 2(2): 255–70.

Zelli, Fariborz (2011): Regime Conflict and Interplay Management in Global Environmental Governance, in Sebastian Oberthür and Olav S. Stokke (eds.), Managing Institutional Complexity: Regime Interplay and Global Environmental Change, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 199–226.

Biermann, Frank, Pattberg, Philipp, and Zelli, Fariborz (eds.) (2010): Global Climate Governance Beyond 2012. Architecture, Agency and Adaptation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Simmons, Benjamin, van Asselt, Harro, and Zelli, Fariborz (eds.) (2009): Trade and Climate Policies in a Post-2012 World, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and ADAM Project 2009, Geneva: UNEP.

Zelli, Fariborz et al. (2009): The Fragmentation of Global Governance Architectures: a Framework for Analysis, Global Environmental Politics 9(4): 14–40 (together with Frank Biermann, Philipp Pattberg, and Harro van Asselt).

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Winter 2002/2003: 'The United Nations System – Politics and Policies' (with Volker Rittberger), M.A. course, Tübingen University, Department of Political Science
  • Winter 2002/2003: Preparation and Coordination of Student Delegation of the University of Tübingen to the National Model United Nations simulation exercise., M.A. simulation, Tübingen University, Department of Political Science
  • Summer 2003: 'Einführung in die Internationalen Beziehungen' (Introduction to International Relations), B.A. course, Tübingen University, Department of Political Science
  • Summer 2010: 'Globale Klimapolitik: Institutionen, Akteure und Überlappungen' (Global Climate Politics: Institutions, Actors and Overlaps), M.A. course, Tübingen University, Department of Political Science
  • Winter 2010/2011: Supervisor of Country Working Group on 'Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon' as part of the 46th Postgraduate Course of the German Development Institute (intensive training programme for young postgraduates on conducting field research and providing policy advice on a selected topics of development politics), Postgraduate, German Development Institute
  • Fall 2014: 'The Politics of the Environment and Sustainable Development', B.A. course, Lund University, Department of Political Science
  • Fall 2014: 'Policy Processes - Actors, Causes and Consequences', M.A. course, Lund University, Department of Political Science
  • Spring 2015: 'Environmental Governance', B.A. course,  Lund University, Department of Political Science
  • Fall 2015: 'Global Environmental Governance – Actors, Institutions, Complexity', PhD course, Lund University, Department of Political Science
  • Spring 2016: 'Politics, Power and the Environment', M.A. course, Lund University, Department of Political Science

Expertise and Consulting Work

On Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (May–November 2012):

  • United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (launch of Global Forest Expert Panel report at COP 18 in Doha)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Global Forest Expert Panel report presented at COP 11 in Hyderabad)

On Avoiding Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon (September 2010–May 2011):

  • German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) (information meeting, presentations, report)
  • German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) (information meetings, presentation, joint workshop in Lima, joint technical note)
  • Peruvian Ministry for the Environment (MINAM) (information meeting, joint publication)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (information meetings, presentation joint publication)
  • Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) – Entwicklungsbank (presentation)

On International Climate Negotiations and Adaptation to Climate Change (February 2009–August 2010):

  • German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) (information meetings, presentation)
  • UK Department for International Development (DFID) (lecture on ‘International Climate Change Negotiations and the Policy Landscape’ for a training programme on climate change for employees)

On Policy Options for Post-2012 Climate Governance (June 2006–January 2009):

  • Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission (information meetings, presentations, project deliverables)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (joint workshop in Geneva, joint report)

Seminars and Conferences

  • 02/2017: 58th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association in Baltimore: Programme Chair of the Environmental Studies Section
  • 12/2016: Earth System Governance Conference in Nairobi: Lead organiser & chair
  • 05/2016: Expert Workshop on 'Enhancing Legitimacy in Polycentric Climate Governance' at the European University Institute in Florence: Lead Organiser & Chair, Joint workshop of Lund University, Stockholm University and the European University Institute
  • 03/2016: 57th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association in Atlanta: Programme Chair of the Environmental Studies Section
  • 12/2014: 20th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Lima: Organiser, Chair and Presenter at the side-event on 'REDD & Beyond: Lessons from Alternatives and Indigenous Strategies for Climate & Forest Protection'
  • 09/2014: 8th General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) in Glasgow: Organiser and Chair of the conference section on 'Politics and Governance in the Anthropocene'
  • 05/2013: Expert Workshop on 'Navigating the Jungle: Assessing the Diversity of Monitoring Approaches to Forest Carbon Stocks and Good Forest Governance' in Lund: Co-organiser & presenter
  • 08/2011: Expert Workshop on the 'Institutional Fragmentation of Global Environmental Governance' in Bonn: Organiser & Chair (with Harro van Asselt, Oxford University)
  • 04/2011: Workshop on 'REDD and Social Inclusion in Peru' in Lima, Co-sponsored by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Peruvian Ministry for the Environment (MINAM) and German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU): Chief organiser & chair, Presentation of research results of project on deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon (see above) to national and international practitioners and scholars
  • 09/2008: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) & ADAM Expert Workshop on 'Climate and Trade Policies in a Post-2012 World' in Geneva: Co-organiser of workshop
  • 08-09/2002: 12th Summer Workshop of ACUNS and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) on International Organization Studies in Windhoek and Johannesburg: participation and presentation on 'International Regime Conflicts on Environmental Issues': upon selection and invitation by ACUNS and Yale University


  • Lund University Graduate Research School for Ph.D. students on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (ClimBEco), since 01/2013: Member of Board
  • International Studies Association (ISA): Vice-chair and Programme Chair of the Environmental Studies Section (since 03/2015), Member of the Sprout Award Committee of the Environmental Studies Section (04/2014 – 02/2015), Member of Executive Committee of Environmental Studies Section (04/2012 – 03/2014)
  • German Political Science Association (DVPW): Board Member of the Environmental Policy & Global Change Working Group (09/2009 – 09/2015)
  • Earth System Governance Project: Academic Advisor (since 01/2015), Research Fellow
  • Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP): Member and contributing author of the panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+ (2012)
  • German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU): Member of Alumni Network (since 2009)


  • 07/2010: Award for outstanding PhD thesis of the University of Tübingen
  • 02/2004: Award for outstanding teaching performance ('Landeslehrpreis') of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany (with Volker Rittberger)
  • 07/2003 – 05/2006: PhD Stipend, German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) (further Ph.D. stipend offers by Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the state of Baden-Württemberg)
  • 04/2003: Distinguished Delegation Award for the University of Tübingen delegation at the National Model United Nations Conference (as team coordinator)
  • 07/1993: Award for best 1991 high school leaving exam / A-levels ('Abitur') in Political and Social Studies of the State of Saarland, Germany

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