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Critically Assess The Levers Of Power That Environmental Non Governmental Organisations Have At Their Disposal To Influence Environmental Politics. Us

2512 words - 11 pages

‘Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and advocates have become a significant part of political landscape in a growing number of countries’ (Donnelly, 1998:15). The number of NGOs has increased dramatically in the past 20-30 years and these organisations are increasingly participating in global environmental politics (Betsill and Corell, 2001; Andresen and Gulbrandsen, 2003; Stafford et al, 2000). An environmental NGO is an organisation that is non-governmental and non-profitmaking and engaged with an environmental problem or problems. An NGO is an organisation in the sense that it has at least several full-time people involved, some sort of hierarchy, a budget, and an office (Potter, 1996). Holsti (1998; 141) defines power as the ‘general capacity of a state to control the behaviour of other states’. According to Scruton (1996; 432), power is the ‘ability to achieve whatever effect is desired, whether or not in the face of opposition’. A growing body of evidence indicates that NGOs influence government decision and that NGOs shape international environmental negotiations in a number of ways (Betsill and Corell, 2001; Andresen and Gulbrandsen, 2003). This essay will focus on Insider/outsider methods, the importance of governmental access for NGO’s, sources of leverage that NGOs use to gain power, the Greenpeace Vs Shell event as a key event in making NGO’s highly regarded, the Rio summit and the Fukushima event along with the impact it had on NGOs views towards nuclear power in Germany.
NGOs regularly take part global environmental politics, they do this in a number of ways, such as trying to raise public awareness of environmental issues, lobby state decision makers in a hope to alter domestic and foreign policies and boycotts in efforts to change practices that are deemed harmful to nature (Figure 1) (Betsill and Corell, 2001). According to Alcock (2008) some NGOs will work to create change within established governance institutions while other NGOs will adopt a confrontational stance with respect to those institutions and the actors that they empower. These differing methods have been referred to as insiders vs. outsiders.
Environmental NGOs seek to pursue insider strategies by joining government delegations as advisors or pursue outsider strategies as either activists or lobbyists inside the negotiation venue (Rietig, 2011). The inside approach consists of NGOs trying to gain an influence with governments and negotiators by providing policy solutions and expert advice and engaging in knowledge construction, producing research-based reports and paper (Andresen and Gulbrandsen, 2003). Many US based NGOs adopt this strategy. The outsider approach will consist of NGOs putting pressure on governments, negotiators and target groups through direct actions, protesting, boycotts and even civil disobedience. The goal of the outsider approach is to make companies and countries more flexible in international negotiations by impacting on public opinion,...

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