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Democracy and Accountability in Earth System Governance: Why Does Administrative Law Matter?

Spagnuolo, Francesca. 2011. Democracy and Accountability in Earth System Governance: Why Does Administrative Law Matter? . Earth System Governance Working Paper, No.15.

Abstract

This paper aims to briefly illustrate some early findings of an ongoing research project on procedural democracy in earth system governance. The primary focus is to explore whether administrative-law type mechanisms, such as the right to a hearing, the duty to provide a reasoned decision and to disclose relevant information, could enhance democratic legitimacy and equal participation in earth system governance. The democracy-enhancing potential of these mechanisms, which in the national context have proved to be beneficial in strengthening citizens’ participation and the acceptance of decisions, in the global arena can be limited by a number of factors. By drawing on the current debate concerning the democratic quality of global governance, this paper aims to investigate whether the adoption of administrative- law type principles, mechanisms and rules could lead to greater procedural democracy or turn into an “empty ritual”. The analysis suggests that in order to realize their democracy-enhancing potential, global administrative procedures should be widely perceived as legitimate and fair and be supported by financial and technical instruments enabling developing countries and marginalized groups to engage in dialogue and participation with powerful actors.

The Working Paper is available here (pdf).

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