Public pressure versus lobbying – how do Environmental NGOs matter most in climate negotiations?

Produced as part of the Climate change governance for a new global deal CCCEP research programme theme

Working Paper 70


Advocacy nongovernmental organisations have the largest influence on the outcome of climate negotiations when they mobilise public pressure in collaboration with the media.

Environmental NGOs can pursue insider strategies by joining government delegations as advisors or pursue outsider strategies as either lobbyists inside the negotiation venue or as activists.

This article presents an analytical framework that can determine the influence of NGO outsider-strategies on climate change conferences based on indicators. Influence for NGOs within the conference centre depends on their policy entrepreneurial strategies, their representatives’ personal capabilities, how early in the negotiation cycle they are active and if they gain insider status with government delegations. As lobbyists remain outsiders, their influence remains usually low.

Advocacy NGOs also strive to influence climate negotiations from outside the conference centre with demonstrations.

Their influence depends on a clear message, favourable media coverage, a critical mass representing a majority of voters and peaceful protest.

Katharina Rietig