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Accountability and Representation: Nonstate Actors in UN Climate Diplomacy

Kuyper, Jonathan W, Karin Bäckstrand. 2016. Accountability and Representation: Nonstate Actors in UN Climate Diplomacy. Global Environmental Politics, 16 (2): 61-81.

Abstract

Observer organizations in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are clustered into nine constituency groups. Each constituency has a “focal point” (representative) to mediate between the Secretariat and the 1800 NGOs admitted during each Conference of the Parties meeting by collating information, coordinating interactions, offering logistical support, and providing collective representation. Drawing upon a series of interviews with constituency groups and other qualitative data, we explore how the focal point of each constituency group remains accountable to the observer organizations he or she represents. We make two major contributions. First, we map the accountability mechanisms that exist between the observer organizations and focal points in each constituency. Second, we argue that variation in the usage of accountability mechanisms across constituencies corresponds to the existence of parallel bodies operating outside the UNFCCC. This article speaks to broader issues of accountability and representation in global climate governance.

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