Participation and Privatization Institutionalizing Civil Society Involvement

A second example of a reform debate deals with the increased participation of non-state actors in global environmental governance. This participation has not been without friction. Developing countries, in particular, often object to increases in the influence of non-governmental organizations in international forums because they view these groups as being more favorable to northern agendas, perspectives and interests. Developing countries argue that most associations are headquartered in industrialized countries, that most funds donated to their cause stem from northern organizations, both public and private, and that this situation influences the agenda of these groups to be more accountable to northern audiences [33]. However, these suspected biases in the work of non-governmental actors should not lead to a decrease in the participation of civil society, but rather to the establishment of mechanisms that ensure a balance of opinions and perspectives.

I offer as an example the recent institutionalization and formalization of the advice of scientists and other experts on climate change. The key institution here is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The evolution of the IPCC is typical for the functioning of global governance; it has been initiated not by governments but by international organizations—the WMO and the UNEP. It is compriseed of private actors—experts, scientists and their autonomous professional organizations—that are nonetheless engaged in a constant dialogue with representatives from governments. The final summary conclusions of IPCC

reports are drafted by scientists, but are submitted to a line-by-line review by governmental delegates. The reports from the IPCC are partially commissioned by public institutions—the UN climate convention—but are structured and organized by the expert community itself.

Typical for global environmental governance has been the continuous struggle for influence in this body, especially between industrialized and developing countries [52,73-77]. When IPCC was set up in 1988, only a few experts and scientists from developing countries were actively involved. This has led, as many observers from developing countries argued, to a notable lack of credibility, legitimacy and saliency of these reports in the South. Continuous complaints from delegates from developing countries has led to a number of reforms since 1989, which resulted in an increasing institutionalization of the involvement of private actors in this subsystem of global governance [74]. For example, current IPCC rules of procedure now require each working group of scientists to be chaired by one developed and one developing country scientist. Each chapter of the assessment reports must have at least one lead author from a developing country. IPCC's governance structure now has a quota system that rather resembles public political bodies, such as the meetings of parties to the Montreal Protocol, the executive committee of the ozone fund or the GEF, all of which are governed by north-south parity procedures.

These changes have ameliorated, yet not abolished, existing inequalities between the north and south in global governance. Financing, in particular, remains a problem. Most research institutions in developing countries lack funds to send their scientists to professional conferences abroad. This has been addressed for direct participation in IPCC working groups. Still, general communication between southern and northern scientists is scarce compared to transatlantic or intra-European cooperation [74,78]. Nonetheless, the institu-tionalization of the involvement of scientists in IPCC has helped to increase the legitimacy of the panel in the South.

Negotiating Essentials

Negotiating Essentials

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