International Encyclopedia of Civil Society

2010 Edition
| Editors: Helmut K. Anheier, Stefan Toepler

NGOs and Sustainable Development

  • Raul Pacheco-Vega
Reference work entry


The term sustainable development was coined around the mid-1980s, although the concept has been constantly evolving since its inception. More dynamic and ever-changing governance structures in the domestic and international arenas have encouraged increased participation of non-state actors in policy design and implementation. Highly touted as “the new governance style,” participation by civil society at different scales has been increasingly accepted and encouraged by national governments and international umbrella institutions. Demands on citizen involvement in domestic and international environmental policy-making have grown. The number of nongovernmental organizations focused on environment and sustainability issues (ENGOs) has increased as well. Recent research suggests that civil society organizations, both on their own and as part of transnational citizen networks, are able to raise international awareness, shape global policy agendas, educate governments, citizens...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References/Further Readings

  1. Alger, C. (2002). The emerging roles of NGOs in the UN System: From Article 71 to a People’s Millenium Assembly. Global Governance, 8(1), 93–117.Google Scholar
  2. Arts, B. (1998). The political influence of global NGOS: Case studies on the climate and biodiversity conventions. Utrecht, The Netherlands: International.Google Scholar
  3. Betsill, M., & Corell, E. (Eds.) (2008). NGO diplomacy: The influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in international environmental negotiations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Corell, E., & Betsill, M. M.(2001). A comparative look at NGO influence in international environmental negotiations: Desertification and climate change. Global Environmental Politics, 1(4), 86–107.Google Scholar
  5. Edwards, M., & Gaventa, J. (Eds.) (2001). Global citizen action. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  6. Friedman, E. J., et al. et al. (2005). Sovereignty, democracy and global civil society: State-society relations at UN World Conferences. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  7. Gulbrandsen, L. H., & Andresen, S. (2004). NGO influence in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol: Compliance, flexibility mechanisms and sinks. Global Environmental Politics, 4(4), 54–75.Google Scholar
  8. Humphreys, D. (2004). Redefining the issues: NGO influence on international forests negotiations. Global Environmental Politics, 4(2), 51–74.Google Scholar
  9. Jelin, E. (2000). Towards a global environmental citizenship. Citizenship Studies, 4(1), 47–63.Google Scholar
  10. Keck, M. E., & Sikkink, K. (1998). Activists beyond borders: Advocacy networks in international politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Pacheco-Vega, R. (2005). Democracy by proxy: Environmental NGOs and policy change in Mexico. In A. Romero & S. West (Eds.), Environmental issues in Latin America and the Caribbean Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.(pp. 231–249).Google Scholar
  12. Pacheco-Vega, R. (2006). Accountability and transparency in international environmental policy: The experience of the North American Pollutant Release and Transfer Registries. International Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  13. Pacheco-Vega, R. et al. et al. (2001). The challenge of sustainable development in Mexico. In P. N. Nemetz (Ed.), Bringing business on board: Sustainable development and the B-School curriculum Vancouver, BC: JBA Press.(pp. 715–739).Google Scholar
  14. Skodvin, T., & Andresen, S.(2003). Nonstate influence in the International Whaling Commission, 1970–1990. Global Environmental Politics, 3(4), 61–86.Google Scholar
  15. von Frantzius, I. (2004). World Summit on Sustainable Development Johannesburg 2002: A critical analysis and assessment of the outcomes. Environmental Politics, 13(2), 467–473.Google Scholar
  16. Wagner, L. M. (1999). Negotiations in the UN Commission on Sustainable Development: Coalitions, processes and outcomes. International Negotiation, 4(2), 107–131.Google Scholar
  17. Wapner, P. (2003). World Summit on Sustainable Development: Toward a post-Jo’Burg environmentalism. Global Environmental Politics, 3(1), 1–10.Google Scholar
  18. WCED. (1987). Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raul Pacheco-Vega
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Resources, Environment and SustainabilityUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada