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The world trade regime and non-governmental organisations: addressing transnational environmental concerns

Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science
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  • Hb Economic Theory
  • Ge Environmental Sciences
  • Communication
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Political Science


The paper examines new opportunities within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for the representation of transnational environmental concerns by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Even prior to the Seattle protests in 1999, social movement pressure had prompted the WTO to increase its engagement with civil society groups, but this communication has deepened since 2001: it includes the de-restriction of documents, access to ministerial meetings, and the facilitation of NGO-oriented symposia and briefings. A survey of NGO participants in recent WTO environment briefings reveals shared goals for institutionalising civil society input. The feasibility and legitimacy of these proposed accountability gains are discussed.

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