Environmental Politics and Deliberative Democracy
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Environmental Politics and Deliberative Democracy

Examining the Promise of New Modes of Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand, Jamil Kahn, Annica Kronsell and Eva Lövbrand

Can new modes of governance, such as public–private partnerships, stakeholder consultations and networks, promote effective environmental policy performance as well as increased deliberative and participatory quality? This book argues that in academic inquiry and policy practice there has been a deliberative turn, manifested in a revitalized interest in deliberative democracy coupled with calls for novel forms of public–private governance. By linking theory and practice, the contributors critically examine the legitimacy and effectiveness of new modes of governance, using a range of case studies on climate, forestry, water and food safety policies from local to global levels.
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Chapter 5: The Legitimacy of Global Public–Private Partnerships on Climate and Sustainable Development

Karin Bäckstrand


Karin Bäckstrand INTRODUCTION Global public–private partnerships (PPPs) for sustainable development have been framed as new modes of governance that can potentially reduce the three deficits of global governance, namely the implementation, governance and legitimacy deficits. ‘“Partnerships” as a term is rapidly becoming the new mantra shaping the UN discourse on global politics’ (Martens, 2007, p. 4). Partnerships are underpinned by discourses of participatory democracy, private governance and sustainable development (Mert, 2009). Multistakeholder partnerships are presented as win–win solutions that can increase the democratic credentials of global governance and simultaneously strengthen environmental performance and effectiveness. Accordingly, global public–private partnerships are key tests of the promise of new modes of governance and the deliberative turn, which represent the core themes of the book. Three questions are addressed in this chapter. First, what are global environmental public–private partnerships and how can they be seen as examples of new modes of governance? Second, what is their legitimacy record: do they promote environmental effectiveness and procedural legitimacy? Third, are these partnerships examples of deliberative multilateralism or do they reflect a turn to market environmentalism? Two types of multi-stakeholder partnerships for climate and sustainable development are examined: the Johannesburg partnerships adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)1 and projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which are also analysed in Chapter 4 (this volume).2 These are examples of global public–private partnerships and networked governance. Partnerships are frequently highlighted as innovative and new forms of...

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