Global Environmental Governance & NGOs

There are numerous debates that have been going among international relations scholars over the question of whether non-state actors can be perceived as one of the most crucial actors in international relations and how they can influence states. The realist scholars claim that the state is the most powerful actor in international relations. The neo-liberal institutionalists are in agreement with the realists that the state is the crucial actor, in which the role of international institution should be taken into account in shaping outcomes. For instance, the hegemonic stability theory suggests that a regional order will be achieved only in the presence of a hegemon, whether at a global or regional level, with the capabilities to impose peace. Robert Keohane claims that for “ the creation of international regime, hegemony often plays an important role, even a crucial one.” Kenneth Waltz suggests that the “states are the units whose interactions form the structure of international political systems. They will long remain so.” In this paper, I will answer the question of how the strategies used by non-state actors, rather than the state, particularly non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can impact global governance in climate change. I will take as examples the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conferences that were held in 2009 and 2011.