Inderscience Publishers

Reviewing the high level panel on UN-civil society relations: successes and shortcomings in enfranchising civil society

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This paper examines the work of the Panel of Eminent Persons on UN-Civil Society Relations, as well as the significance and shortcomings of their findings and recommendations. I argue that although the Panel's work is an important first step for promoting the enfranchisement of civil society actors, their findings and recommendations fall short of what is needed. The Panel does not adequately distinguish among the different organisational forms that civil society actors assume; a typology of civil society actors that specifies their forms, functions and tactics would greatly aid the Panel in addressing the problems it identifies. Such a typology would also allow a more precise identification of reforms needed to improve their input than is currently possible. This paper contributes to the beginnings of a typology by defining the characteristics of civil society enfranchisement, offering current examples, and suggesting ways to achieve this engagement in other UN fora.

Keywords: sustainable development, international environmental policy, governance, civil society, participation, UN-civil society relations, United Nations, enfranchisement, typology, policymaking

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