International NGOs and the Climate Sector: Global Governance in the 21st Century

12 March 2019

Academic and Administration Building, Hong Kong Baptist University

15 Baptist University Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

1:00-3:00 p.m. – Room 1312, 13/F, Department of Geography

Dr. Rio Howard

Former OECD official

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris

NGOs, especially the large international NGOs, have become more visible as de facto developers of global policy, a development which raises significant questions about their standing in the structure of global governance. What criteria establish the credibility and legitimacy of NGOs and by whom or what are these judgements made? Is there a potential or actual conflict of interest between the ‘donors’ which support an NGO or between an NGO and the beneficiaries of its activities? Should international NGOs be regulated, and if so, by whom or by what? The climate negotiations provide a good illustration of this issue. In sheer numbers alone, NGO presence is difficult to miss: some 1,100 were registered for the COP meetings in Paris in 2015, with over 7,000 participants, a presence which has not diminished with subsequent COP meetings.

Dr. Howard is a former official at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, where she served as Principal Administrator in the Council and Executive Secretariat. She holds Masters and Doctoral degrees from Cornell University in the United States and has taught in American universities including the University of California at San Diego and Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Her research experience includes the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and the Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique in France. Her current research interests include the role of international non-governmental organizations in the climate sector.