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NGO capacity and environmental governance in Central and Eastern Europe

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Abstract:

Following the fall of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe, it was envisioned that environmental NGOs would be integral to democratic process by engaging in environmental decision making and policy implementation in the national and sub-national arenas. It was with this goal in mind that domestic and international agencies, governments, and foundations worked to build their administrative, technical and strategic capacities. Although a number of studies have examined environmental NGOs in the region, and the relationship between capacity building efforts and engagement in environmental governance, they focus on a small subset of organizations. To gain a better understanding of developmental trends and engagement in governance processes, a survey was conducted of the population of environmental NGOs in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The results suggest that two clusters of organizations have emerged. The first cluster consists of a small cadre of highly professionalized and internationalized organizations that engage in policymaking in the international and national arenas. The second cluster of NGOs tends to sponsor activities and take action on behalf of their members and provide environmental and government support services at the local level. Although the former cluster is comprised of well-capacitated organizations, NGOs in latter group often are overlooked by agencies, governments and foundations, even though they make important contributions to environmental governance.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/ap.2009.21

Affiliations: Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, 9-320, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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