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Non-State Actors in the New Landscape of International Climate Cooperation

2012 - 2015
Project Status: Completed

Funded by:
The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)

The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas)


The programme is organised around three research tasks. First, it studies the governance functions of non-state actors in multilateral climate diplomacy both within the context of the current UNFCCC review of non-state actors’ roles in the international climate change conferences and through the self-images of non-state actors and perceptions on negotiators and other actors. Second, it examines non-state actors’ transnational governance experiments beyond the international regime and how these activities interact with the UN climate conferences. This is done through several case studies, such as the Clean Development Mechanism, REDD+ as well as arenas that are linked to international climate policy such as the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20). Finally, we assess what implications our conclusions from the two first questions have on intergovernmental diplomacy, transnational governance, and global democracy.

In order to systematically examine the different actors’ roles the project employs several methods: surveys among participants at the international climate change conferences and their side-events, semi-structured interviews with key people within the UNFCCC Secretariat and representatives from states that have made submissions on the on-going review of the role on non-state actors, document analysis and observations on the negotiations. These results will then be interpreted in light of three current theories on transnational governance and non-state actors’ ole in decision-making. The combined results of the research questions will advance our understandings of transnational governance and no-state actors’ significance for governance, transparency, legitimacy, effectiveness and the symbolic value of international cooperation. The project will moreover contribute to our understanding of the role that intergovernmental diplomacy has for these organisations. By combing empirical and methodological experience with theoretical expertise on global climate governance and democratic theory the project will seek to make new empirical and theoretical contributions with relevance for the international cooperation in the field of environment and development. The study will also develop an internationally unique database of questionnaires that are conducted yearly at the international climate change negotiations.

Partner Organisations:
Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research and Unit of Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University

Department of Political Science, Lund University

DEV Key Contact:

Heike Schroeder