Colorado State Professor Dissects Nongovernmental Organizations and Analyzes Effects on Politics in New Book

Colorado State University political science Professor Michele Betsill offers a way to look at the strategies of nongovernmental organizations and how they affect international politics in a new book.

"Today, NGOs participate in international negotiations in large numbers. The big question is how much influence do they really have in politics?" said Betsill, editor of "NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations," published by The MIT Press.

"We find that NGOs do influence negotiation processes and outcomes to varying degrees. This in turn raises important questions about representation, accountability and the democratization of global governance," Betsill said.

The book does not answer the question as to whether it is beneficial to have NGO influence in politics; however, it proposes analytical framework that offers researchers tools to assess systematically how NGO diplomats affect negotiation processes, outcomes, or both. This framework is used to assess the degree of NGO influence on international negotiations in the areas of climate change, biosafety, desertification, whaling and forests.

Through comparative analysis, the book identifies factors that explain the variation in NGO influence, including coordination of strategy, degree of access and alliances with key states in the world arena.  

The book is geared toward multiple audiences including the academic community by showing how to assess NGOs influence in international politics and the NGO community by developing strategies for NGOs.