International NGOs in Global Governance. The Case of Climate Negotiations and Climate Finance

Nowadays, Global Governance is not only the purview of state actors interacting through international treaties but also a space where many diverse non-state actors participate in decision making. It is particularly prominent in climate change diplomacy given the variety of scientific, policy, technical and financial expertise it requires and which non-state actors can provide. As demonstrated by the last conference of parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), INGOs participated in the negotiations as observers, representing the interests of local governments, indigenous people, women, youth, business and industry, and the scientific community.


International NGOs in Global Governance: The Climate Sector

NGOs, especially the large international NGOs, have become more visible as de facto developers of global policy, a development which raises significant questions about their standing in the structure of global governance. What criteria establish the credibility and legitimacy of NGOs and by whom or what are these judgements made? Is there a potential or actual conflict of interest between the ‘donors’ which support an NGO and the beneficiaries of its activities? Should international NGOs be regulated, and if so, by whom or by what? The climate negotiations provide a good illustration of this issue. In sheer numbers alone, NGO presence is difficult to miss: some 1,100 were registered for the COP meetings in Paris in 2015, with over 7000 participants, a presence which has not diminished with subsequent COP meetings.

INGOs also prominently figure in the process of financing climate change not only as third-party accreditors and channels of funds from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) but also as potential brokers reconciling global norms with local needs.

In this workshop, the program will be composed as follows:

-Opening Remarks by Dr. Peter Hefele (Director, Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Hong Kong)

-Keynote Speech "International NGOs in Global Governance: the case of Climate Negotiaions" by Dr. Rio Howard (former Official, OECD, Paris/France)

-Commentary "Governing the Green Climate Fund: Reconciling Global Norms with Local Needs" by Dr. Maria Francesch-Huidobro (Principal Consultant, Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Hong Kong)

-Panel Discussion with Dr. Peter Hefele as a chair; Dr. Rio Howard, Dr. Maria Francesch-Huidobro and Jean-Marc Champagne (Head of Environmental Finance, WWF Hong Kong)

-Lastly, the Concluding Remarks by Professor Benoit Mayer.

The workshop will address the role of INGOs in global governance and green finance:

1. What is the standing of international INGOs in current international public law? Other than legal legitimacy, what else provides INGOs with credibility in climate negotiations? What does INGO inclusion in global governance mean for the future climate governance?

2. How can INGOs help to reconcile global norms with local needs, i.e in relation to the Green Climate Fund (GCF)? Can they reduce the complexity of global governance and develop a more adequate approach to diverse geographical, socio-economic and environmental settings?

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