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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).
One thing should already be clear from the preceding chapters: transnational climate governance is qualitatively different from the standard multilateral model that has characterised the last two decades of climate change governance. The multilateral model is a hierarchical one; it functions through the generally accepted legitimate authority of nation-states to act on issues that transcend borders. In the multilateral process, a legally binding global treaty engages all nation-states in a common (and hopefully enforceable) purpose. In theory, there is an assumption of smooth vertical development of policy that draws on the legitimate, traditional authority of nation-states, both in constructing the international treaty and formulating national regulations. International law translates to national regulation, which directs domestic actions at more local levels. Alternatives to the authority and legitimacy of the multilateral process are rarely considered quite simply because the global system has functioned through this process for over a century (Denemark & Hoffmann 2008) despite criticisms about the interests served by this system and whose order it seeks to preserve (Cox 1987; Murphy 1994; Cox & Sinclair 1996). The emergence and functioning of TCCG asks us to question and engage questions of authority and legitimacy with a more critical eye, to understand how, in Hajer’s (2003) words, we can have policy without a polity, or how, as Rosenau asks, a range of actors can govern without the legal authority to do so (Rosenau & Czempiel 1992).
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.
Our intention at the outset of this project was to move beyond the focus on individual cases or particular segments of the world of TCCG in order to examine what we might be able to discover collectively about this phenomenon. In this final chapter, we return to this overarching theme and identify the ways in which our analysis of TCCG contributes to ongoing debates in the field.
Underpinning this contribution, we suggest, are two novel aspects of our work. First, the book provides the first analysis of transnational governance that includes both an extensive database of a large number and a diverse array of particular case-studies. Existing research in the field of transnational governance has been mostly based on either individual examples or a small number of cases; whereas these can provide rich and nuanced analyses, there is nevertheless a significant value added in attempting to say something about this phenomenon as a whole. While we have not been able to survey the entire universe of cases in the transnational climate governance arena, a task that would be difficult to undertake given that much of this activity is relatively unknown, we have devised a strategy to maximise the diversity of cases we explore. In the sense that the approach we have developed includes the full variety of forms of TCCG, we thus suggest that it can be regarded as representative of the phenomenon as a whole. The database approach has enabled us to see patterns in the types of initiatives that predominate in TCCG, in terms of the types of actors, the issues upon which they focus, the forms of institutionalisation, the practices of governance, the claims to legitimacy and the geographical reach of TCCG initiatives.