Defining Issues in International Environmental Law
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 14: Transparency
1. INTRODUCTION In the parlance of the current literature on international relations, this chapter pertains to considerations such as transparency, and the openness of the mechanisms within the IWC. The specific mechanisms of interest are NGOs and secrecy (via secret voting and media access). This chapter will assess how these issues have been reconciled within the IWC and how it compares to both international principles and other organizations. 2. NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS Non-governmental organizations are just that. Independent organizations which are typically made up of activists, who work upon sets of principled ideas or values.1 These organizations can be nationally or internationally (or both) focused. There are tens of thousands of international NGOs in existence.2 Some of these command annual incomes in the tens of millions, and represent millions of people worldwide.3 When international in character, within the liberal paradigm of international law, they help blur the boundaries in international law and policy and become useful citizens in the global community.4 From the formation of international agreements, through to ensuring compliance5 with them, NGOs are essential actors in the global world as they mobilize information and use it strategically to create new issues and categories and to persuade, pressure and gain leverage over much more powerful organizations and governments. Despite limits on what they can actually achieve in the international world,6 through the politics of symbolism, leverage and accountability, they often create powerful influences. This is done via the framing of debates, encouraging commitments, causing procedural changes, and ultimately affecting...
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