2013-03-05 Transnational Actors and environmental governance.docx

13 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2137
Cameron Harrington

TransnationalActors and environmental governance March 5, 2013 Introduction – Central Questions 1. Who “acts” in international politics?  States?  Individuals?  Networks of experts? (Epistemic communities)  Civil Society? 2. What motivates these actors? 3. How do they behave in global environmental politics? -who is the central actor that has the most influence? -states: issues of sovereignty and territoriality -corporate actors: hugely important; may even be the most important -individuals/civil societies: e.g. Greenpeace, different movements in international policy -more prone to act on behalf of environment -civil societies often made up of localized sites -often advocate solutions related to environment -who acts in international politics? -look to states; states being the important actors -nation states seen as the key unit of action/analysis -doesn’t mean othestscholars and people would also highlight growing roles of civil society, specifically in 21 century, as eroding power and influence of states -goes hand-in-hand with idea of globalization; globalization seen as diffusion of power and erosion of centralized authority (usually invested in state) -new types of social movements, transnational in scope -wasn’t possible 15-40 years ago -there’s also this explosion of transnational corporations and their influence -these new actors have a bearing on the politics of the issues -who is really acting? Central political question -it’s the politics in global environment -how these actors view the environment, act upon environment -what is motivating these different actors? Same motivations of different? -How do they behave in global environmental politics? Locating TransnationalActors in International Relations (IR)  Changing nature of IR: no longer just about relations between states  “Non-state actors” – important but diffuse in character and aims. How do we define them?  Any actor not a state/government? (What about UN/WB/WTO?)  Actors that contest concentrated global power? TransnationalActors: all those non-state actors, such as TNCs, NGOs, or social movements that operate across the globe and form part of global politics. -IR different from 25 years ago -traditionally, IR was all about relationship between states and nations; sometimes talked about IGOs (NATO, UN) -things change -end of Cold War: rapid opening up of states -international politics not just about relationship between states, it’s much bigger -we talk about social relationships, economic relationships, cultural relationships, political interactions (not just state-to-state interaction anymore) -talk about global politics, world politics -take nation-focus out of the equation -not just all about states -there are new actors arisen to take that place -non-state actors: -not just NGOs; it’s a much bigger term/umbrella that encompasses a lot of different actors, sometimes with different competing interests -the boundaries between what makes a state actor or non-state actor are usually blurred -are IGOs state actors or non-state actors (e.g. UN, WB, WTO)? -UN: best to see it as a more like a state channel that state interests travel through -grey area -to be a part of the UN (member of UN), you must be recognized as a state -there are sub-organizations within the UN that are non-state (e.g. UNICEFnot a state or group of states; it’s a sub-organization within the UN that’s focused on child poverty issues) -politics in the 21 century: new types of actors with new types of power and influences are arising every day -UN: we can see it as somewhere in between a state-actor and non-state actor -UN does have quite a lot of power and influence within global politics -there are other actors that challenge that type of global authority; challenge the concentration of global power in states, corporations, IGOs -non-state actors that contest that concentrated global power (we find them in environmental circles) -wide range of environmental grassroots movement that are highly critical of the global order -some want abolishment of certain institutions (not UN, but WTO, IMF, WB) -new actors are in opposition against one another -Transnational actors: vague definition -work almost beside international organizations (rather than a part of international organizations) From International Regimes to Global Governance  End of Cold War = opening of analytical space beyond nation-state  Questions of how to govern the new world order?  Governance is distinguished from government  Government – backed by formal authority  Governance – more encompassing -slow growth of neo-liberalism -people look at these new modes of power that didn’t exist before -1980s: more people looking at from environmental perspective: e.g. multi-lateral environmental agreements -first scholars looking at TNCs in terms of international environmental regimes – we’ve moved passed that -now we look at global governance -global governance is new – it stems from the idea that the world is no longer divided by 5 polar access (West and East), where states are pre-eminent actors -this new international order is vastly more complex and almost constantly evolving in the age of globalization -processes of globalization creating multi-level, multi-sector forms of politics -stems from central challenge to the assumption that the nation-state is the substantial actor -how does it govern a new space? -if states becoming less authoritative, where does this power go? Does it go to new actors? One actor picking up the slack? -what impact does it have on environmental policy? -government and governance -governance: more encompassing than just strictly day-to-day government -every day, governmental and nongovernmental mechanisms help us make policies From International Regimes to Global Governance Governance: “The structures and processes of governing beyond the state where there exists no supreme or singular political authority…it constitutes a broad analytical approach to addressing the central questions of political life under conditions of globalization, namely: who rules, in whose interests, by what mechanisms and for what purposes?” -definition by David Held -definition: it’s a distinctly, modern view of global politics -cannot be written in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s -it has to have come out in the age of globalization because it’s a vision of global political architecture that is multi-layered, pluralistic, structurally complex -national government is important, but they’re no be all and end all like they once were -global environmental politics have come of age in this age of global governance -it reflects the changing nature of politics -environmental politics are transnational, multi-level, interconnected, cross boundaries and borders, can’t be held in isolation from one another othersreflects globalization From International Regimes to Global Governance Many approaches to global governance: Liberal: e.g. Our Global Neighbourhood  New era of:  Democratization  Economic transformation  Multilateralism  Collective responsibility  Non-governmental actors – “global associational revolution”  Increased role of business as a TNA– e.g. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) -new actors are popping up and are having more influence -is it a good thing? Bad thing? -most of the ways to interpret this are classified as liberal -Our Global Neighbourhood -report written by UN -influential: we’re existing in a new era where we see increasing democratization, increasing economic transformation, more multi-lateralization, and growing awareness that we have collective responsibility for one another -it’s got this optimistic view of future: social movements, NGOs, and transnational in scope and makeup are going challenge states authority -not overthrowing state; it’s about influencing how we deal with problems -why haven’t we seen this increase in transnational activism? -one reason: state has become powerless to deal with problems in modern age -no better example than the environment and environmental degradation -environment is clearly a global issue; cannot be localized -cannot be held just by one state -that’s why we see a growth of new actors (especially environmental actors) and try to pick up the slack that the state cannot provide -in both actual policies and interpreting problems -people view this as a challenge to the state system -challenge power and authority of states directly -from the perspective of “Our Global Neighbourhood”: response is not to dissolve state system but welcome challenge by reinvigorating UN and looking to the UN as a type of answer that can manage all of these new complexities and actors in authority and influence -UN seen as able to manage this global associational revolution that NGOs, social movements, TNCs pose -increased role that corporations play -international business have pivotal role to play in terms of environment -corporations, especially large TNCs, are invested in managing the future and trying to predict future (so they can be well prepared) -businesses are at the forefront of future research -trying to forecast what the world is going to look like in 5, 10, 20 years down the road (medium to long-term range) -World Business Council for Sustainable Development: non-state actor comprised of representatives from businesses around the world -try to put forth a specific viewpoint on sustainable development and try to manage and adapt all environmental issues in the next 5, 10, 20 years From International Regimes to Global Governance Critics of liberal discourse:  Liberals overemphasize loss of state power  Sovereignty has not disappeared  International politics remains dominated by Capitalist interests -liberal point of view: generally optimistic in the way that we’re going -but it’s not the only way to interpreting explosion of new actors -there are critics in liberal discourse -1. liberal interpretations overemphasizing loss of state power -state power not being eroded, at least to the extent that it is believed to be -sovereignty still a defining feature of politics -2. sovereignty is going nowhere -states are not relinquishing their power or their authority and control that is within their borders -their political framework of this liberal order hasn’t changed -according to the law, states are the penultimate actor; they create and enact laws and come up with punishment -sovereignty hasn’t gone anywhere -3. some say it all comes down to the power of capitalism dictating the rules of the game -these types of interest have increased in the past few decades -all of these appeals to new borderless, global border that is managed potentially by the UN is a mask for the continuation and the perpetuation of capitalist interests (create levels of inequality and environmental degradation) -according to this viewpoint, put forth by organizations like Earth First, our ideas of environmental global governance today is not about managing environmental problems -it’s about cementing capitalist interest and perpetuating this dominant structure which allows that to take place The Space of Global Civil Society Global Civil Society “Aself-conscious construction of networks of knowledge and action, by decentered local actors, that cross the boundaries of space as though they were not there…with the aim to reconstruct, re- imagine, or re-map world politics” -notion of global civil society has been popping up -civil society: concept that’s been around for a long time it’s pretty old and complex and shifted over time – it shifted in our time -refers to types of governance outside of the official role of government -when we bring it up to new global scale, it’s pretty new -has a lot of different interpretations -global civil society: encompasses corporate actors, businesses, social movements, NGOs, government representatives, academic institutions, scholars, etc. – they can be wrapped up in this idea of Global Civil Society -Global Civil Society definition by Ronnie Lipschutz -Global Civil Society: a network of networks -you have local actors who can organize and come up with ideas and spread those ideas -multitude of actors coalescing around a certain idea or a bunch of ideas (e.g. World Social Forum – alternative forum) -it can be a counter-hegemonic movement, but it’s one that is distinctly modern (it can only exist in today’s age because of communications technology – easier to organize and mobilize across great distances) The Space of Global Civil Society What is the meaning and importance of global civil society? Liberals:  The domain that exists above the individual and below the state but also across state boundaries, where people voluntarily organize themselves to pursue various aims.  Pluralistic, harmonious, sphere Realists:  Skeptical  Used as a tool by powerful states to further own interests Critical:  Also skeptical  Often used as a tool by powerful capitalist interests  BUT also could be a powerful counter-hegemonic solution -Liberals -dominant viewpoint; expressed in Global Neighbourhood -politics will be relatively harmonious -global governance is about adding an additional layer – adding global civil society to this global system -conflict is mitigated -optimistic viewpoint -Realists: -highly skeptical about this notion global civil society about having any type of impact -e.g. TNCs whether they are IGOs or corporations – it only matters to the states because states are using them to further their own interests -international system is still dominated by state interest -Critical: -they do agree with realists – skeptical that civil society will have any kind of real influence -agree they are often used as tools by states -but they also see through a prism – political economy -global capitalization as an overarching force that dicta
More Less

Related notes for Political Science 2137

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.