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-The Role of NGOs and Civil Societyin Global Environmental GovernanceBarbara Gemmill and Abimbola Bamidele-IzusummaryThis chapter identifies five major roles that civil society might play inglobal environmental governance: (1) collecting, disseminating, andanalyzing information; (2) providing input to agenda-setting and policydevelopmentprocesses; (3) performing operational functions; (4)assessing environmental conditions and monitoring compliance withenvironmental agreements; and (5) advocating environmental justice.Three case studies – the Crucible Group,TRAFFIC, and global ecosystemassessment processes – illustrate the success NGOs have had in steppingup to these roles.International decisionmaking processes seek legitimacy through theinvolvementof civil society,yetformal mechanisms for NGOparticipation within the UN system remain limited. Ad-hoc civil societyparticipation should be replaced by a strengthened, more formalizedinstitutional structure for engagement. The chapter offers concretesuggestions for such measures, including:•Wider use of the “commission” model for long-term, substantiveinvolvement of civil society in global policymaking processes;•Assistance for the development of NGO networks;•Developmentof standards for civil society participation andengagement in international decisionmaking processes;•Creation of a comprehensive database of information and analysis atdifferent geographic and political levels;•Involvementof a larger partof the public in issue spotting,assessment, and monitoring functions;•Supportfor knowledge-generating institutions in developingcountries.
introductionGlobalization has considerably weakened traditional governanceprocesses. Increasing global economic integration has reduced thepower of national governments while granting other economic andpolitical actors access to the world stage. The 1990s witnessed a dra-matic increase in the involvement of non-governmental organizations(NGOs) in global governance (Charnovitz, 1997).NGOs and other civil society groups are not only stakeholdersin governance, but also a driving force behind greater inter-national cooperation through the active mobilization of pub-lic support for international agreements.Enabling the constructive participation of civil society in globalenvironmental governance is thus one of the most important tasks forpolicymakers concerned with the effectiveness of global governance(Gemmill, Ivanova, and Chee, 2002).This chapter explores the potential for strengthened roles for civilsociety, and especially non-governmental organizations, within a newor a restructured global environmental governance system. We arguethat civil society should play a major role in five key areas:•Information collection and dissemination;•Policy development consultation;•