NGOs and the development of international environmental law.
The following paper examines the growing role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other non-state actors in the development of international environmental law. The most important functions within this role will be identified, characterized and critically discussed. Subsequently conclusions will be made on whether or not or to what degree these functions and this role serve a useful purpose.
2. The fundament.
Historically as well as theoretically, international law is centred around sovereign states. The main actors are states, each governing their own territory, and with the clear and fundamental rule deriving from the principle of state sovereignty, that the jurisdiction of each state is limited to their own territory. In the acknowledgment of the advantages and necessity of international cooperation when dealing with problems and concerns that goes beyond state boarders, the states have created a comprehensive international society with a vast number of inter-governmental bodies. .
However, the restrictions in the dealing with international issues that follow from the characteristics of the sovereign state has caused frustration and states have been said to be inefficient in the creation and development of international law and policy. In contrast to the states, the NGOs does not limit themselves to state boarders. Furthermore each NGO chooses its own area of interest and let the concern of other competing interests be up to other NGOs. The NGOs get their support from the public and corporations etc. who positively "vote" for them by becoming a member of the organization or by in other ways giving financial support. As pointed out by A.D. Tarlock the NGOs "fill out a niche in international law created by the state-centered notion of international law." .
Furthermore the public seems to trust NGOs more than governments, the reason being, I would argue, that there in many ways seems to be greater distance between the citizens and the decision makers especially on inter-governmental areas.