Researching role of non-governmental organizations in international environmental governance

Environmental governance at all levels requires a new partnership between governments and civic society that can foster the eradication of poverty and an equitable distribution of environmental costs and benefits. Signs of such new partnerships and the development of regionally-conducive frameworks - such as in the European Union - are emerging but too often remain restricted to wealthier regions and to multinationals which are under public scrutiny from pressure groups in the developed world.

The increasing involvement of civil society alongside the public and private sectors is a significant new development in environmental governance. In North America, for instance, there were civil society consultations in late 1996 leading to the Hemispheric Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development.

Civil society groups in many parts of the world are involved in community indicator networks, watershed-based initiatives, efforts by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, Habitat's network of community initiatives, and the environmental activities of indigenous people's and women's movements. This localization of national and global initiatives is an appropriate way to tackle many types of environmental problems and should become increasingly important in the future.

An exhaustive evaluation began in 1992 by the UN Economic and Social Council of mechanisms for managing relations between the UN and NGOs. The review covers the last 25 years with a particularly thorough assessment of the last decade so that existing mechanisms can be adapted to current needs and realities. Both the evaluation and the new scheme should be ready in 1995. By then, the UN should have assessed its overall effectiveness in incorporating the perspectives of civil society through including NGOs in UN activities.
We should completely review the system of mechanisms with the UN to increase the participation of nongovernmental organizations (Maurice F Strong, UNCED Secretary General).
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal