Since the 1990s international organization have opened up to the participation of non-state stakeholders such as NGOs and business organizations. But do these groups also have influence? And if they have influence, how can this be explained?
In this project on transnational advocacy, financed by the European Research Council (ERC CoG, iBias), I seek to answer these questions through on-the-spot interviews with non-state stakeholders and policymakers at the climate conferences of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the trade conferences of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Innovative about the approach is that the interviews are policy-centered. For the first round of on-the-spot interviews held in December 2015, I identified, for example, 15 issues that were on the negotiation agenda of the WTO and the UNFCCCC. Non-state stakeholders were asked about their reasons to attend the conferences, their policy positions on the selected issues, the strategies used to get their position heard by policymakers and how much policy influence they estimated they had with regards to these issues. These interviews can be compared to the outcome of the negotiations. Besides, I also asked policymakers about their interaction with interest groups and their assessment of the influence of non-states stakeholders. In this way, I expect to develop a better understanding of whether and how non-state stakeholders succeed in influencing international policymaking.