Civil Society Inclusion in Global Governance: Insights from Climate Politics

39 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2012 Last revised: 20 Dec 2013

See all articles by Tobias Boehmelt

Tobias Boehmelt

ETH Zürich

Vally Koubi

University of Bern - Department of Economics

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich

Date Written: 2012


A somewhat unique feature of the global climate negotiations is that most governments allow representatives of civil society organizations to be part of their national delegation. It remains unclear, however, why states grant this access in the first place. While there are likely to be benefits from formally including civil society, there are also substantial costs stemming from constraints on sovereignty. In light of this tradeoff, the paper argues for a ‘contagion’ effect in order to explain this phenomenon. States, which are more central to the broader network of global governance, are more likely to be informed of and influenced by other states’ actions and policies toward civil society. In turn, more central governments are likely to include civil society actors if their counterparts do so as well. This argument is tested with data on the participation of civil society organizations in national delegations to global climate negotiations between 1995 and 2005. To further uncover the underlying mechanisms, the paper also provides an analysis of survey data collected at the recent UNFCCC negotiations in Durban in 2011.

Keywords: civil society, climate change, global governance, social network analysis

Suggested Citation

Boehmelt, Tobias and Koubi, Vally and Bernauer, Thomas, Civil Society Inclusion in Global Governance: Insights from Climate Politics (2012). Available at SSRN: or

Tobias Boehmelt

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015

Vally Koubi (Contact Author)

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

Schanzeneckstrasse 1
Bern, CH-3001

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)


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