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Global partnerships have transformed international institutions by creating platforms for direct collaboration with NGOs, foundations, companies and local actors. They introduce a model of governance that is decentralized, networked and voluntary, and which melds public purpose with private practice. How can we account for such substantial institutional change in a system made by states and for states? Governance Entrepreneurs examines the rise and outcomes of global partnerships across multiple policy domains: human rights, health, environment, sustainable development and children. It argues that international organizations have played a central role as entrepreneurs of such governance innovation in coalition with pro-active states and non-state actors, yet this entrepreneurship is risky and success is not assured. This is the first study to leverage comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis that illuminates the variable politics and outcomes of public-private partnerships across multilateral institutions, including the UN Secretariat, the World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Whose responsibility is it to tackle climate change? ‘Everyone’s and no one’s’, we might glibly reply. Responsibility is diffused across scales, social groups, sectors, countries and generations. The causes of climate change are implicated in everyday acts of production and consumption and relate to the ways in which societies organise their transportation, housing, energy, water and food systems. Recognising the complex and diffuse agencies and authorities that address climate change, the world of climate politics is no longer limited to the activities of national governments, international organisations and interstate bargaining between states. Increasingly, subnational governments, non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals are taking responsibility into their own hands, experimenting with bold new approaches to the governance of climate change (Betsill & Bulkeley 2004; Andonova, Betsill & Bulkeley 2009; Selin & VanDeveer 2009b; Bulkeley & Newell 2010; Hoffmann 2011; Bulkeley et al. 2013). The governance of climate change now takes a seemingly bewildering array of forms: carbon markets, certification standards, voluntary workplace schemes, emissions registries, carbon labelling, urban planning codes and so on. Critical to this transformation of the politics of climate change has been the emergence of new forms of transnational governance that cut across traditional state-based jurisdictions, operate across public-private divides and seek to develop new approaches and techniques through which responses are developed. What sets these initiatives apart from other forms of transnational relations is how they not only influence others, but also how they directly intervene in the governing of global affairs in ways that defy conventional understandings of international relations.
This chapter examines the political dynamics underpinning the emergence of TCCG. In the first section of the chapter, we undertake a temporal analysis of the growth of TCCG, focusing on its parallel evolution with the international climate change regime and the broader political-economic shifts outlined in the previous chapter. In the second section of the chapter, our analysis turns to consider the patterns and drivers of private, hybrid and public transnational initiatives over time and to consider the governance functions that are being pursued in these different forms of TCCG. Through this analysis, we seek to capture the process through which climate politics has pluralised by describing and offering explanations for the growth of institutional diversity over time.
In doing so, the three theoretical lenses discussed in Chapter 3 serve as guides for our analysis. The agency-centred perspective is particularly helpful for highlighting the interests of the actors that populate climate politics, their sources of influence and factors underpinning the demand and supply of new forms of transnational governance. The social and system dynamics perspective helps to explain the diffusion of common practices and governance techniques through communities of environmental practitioners and policymakers. Finally, the critical political theory perspective sheds light on the marketisation of a substantial cluster of TCCG initiatives, the ideological underpinnings of these initiatives and the particular constellations of public and private forces that animate them. We use the TCCG database and illustrative case-studies to interrogate these issues illuminating the relationship between the agency of different actors, market logics, functional imperatives and normative contexts.
Our knowledge of transnational governance has been fundamentally shaped by the theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches that have been used to study it (O’Neill et al. 2013, 444). Primarily using a case-study approach revolving around a few high-profile examples, research on transnational governance has focused on the ways in which actors have sought to engage with different forms of transnational governance, the various functions that such arrangements seek to perform and their potential consequences in terms of legitimacy and effectiveness. Such approaches have yielded significant insights into these aspects of transnational governance but cannot, by their very nature, achieve a more comprehensive or systematic view. As O’Neill et al. (2013) suggest, such approaches may be ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of ‘complexity and uncertainty, vertical linkages across multiple scales, horizontal linkages across issue areas, and (often rapidly) evolving problem sets and institutional initiatives’ that beset global environmental governance research, such that new methodological approaches are required. If we regard transnational governance initiatives as having something in common – in terms of what they are seeking to accomplish, or in terms of the ways in which they are organised and constituted – we suggest that methodological innovations capable of creating a more comprehensive account of the overall phenomenon are required.
In order to develop such a broader understanding of the extent and nature of transnational governance in the climate change domain, our approach extends beyond small n case-studies or surveys of one particular type of transnational arrangement through the construction and analysis of a database of sixty transnational climate governance initiatives. This approach enables an analysis of the contours of transnational climate governance in a way that has not been possible within existing methodological approaches, allowing for a more thorough description of who and what are involved, where it is taking place, and how and why it is being pursued.