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The emerging global NGO system
Political Globalisation at UNCHE 1972 and UNCED 1992
By Tord Björk
- Mobilization from habitus to reform or revolution
- Intermediary concepts
- - Finding specific occasions to study
- - Spontaneity and direct democracy
- NGOs, international diplomacy and development activity
- "Environmental" popular movements and NGOs
- - Official and unofficial UNCHE preparatory process
- - UNCED preparatory process
- Popular movement and NGO Participation
- Unpriviliged and priviliged actors
- - Working class
- - Women
- - Youth
- - Business
- - Local movements and glocal connections in Rio de Janeiro
- Habitus and conflict
- Broader habitus pattern
- - Selected alliances among the priviliged
- - Participatory alliances among and with the under priviliged
- - UNCED habitus
- Spontaneous and planned capacity at emerging situations
- - Symbols
- - Direct Democracy
- - - UNCED participatory process
- - - Indepedent sector
- - - Challengers in the north and the south
- - - Independent sectors
- - - ELCI and Agenda Ya Wananchi
- - - International NGO and Social Movement Forum
- Generalists, specialists and lay persons
This study aims at analysing non-governmental organisations, NGOs, and their international cooperation from a popular movement and anthropological perspective. Two events of crucial importance for multi-issue international NGO movements are studied, United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm 1972 and United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro 1992.
The questioned posed is if a global NGO system have been established.
The starting point is the conventional description of NGOs contrasted with both oral history, analysis and some written accounts. To bring us further both a diacronic and a synchronic account is necessary for our understanding of the NGOs, not as isolated bounded homogenic entities but changing phenomena interacting with a wider context. A brief attempt at such accounts is made. The historical account is primarily the global history of relevant popular movements and NGOs. The two UN events of crucial importance for multi-issue international NGO movements are especially studied with an anthropological approach and from what is here termed as a glocal popular movement perspective. The events are not seen as global events that happens to take place in any city but as events taking place in a specific local context with specific possibilities for local and transnational popular participation in globally relevant activities. What is avoided here is a description of the grand global narrative of established societal institutions whether state, marketoriented or popular where only the visible result in mass scale or change in established institutions counts. Here the view is more critical, not only of business and state institutions but also of popular initiatives and NGOs. How different actors relate to both transnational and local popular participation and how they organize the pattern of interaction in both thinking and acting is being studied. By looking not only at what is said and how the official institutions are influenced but also how bodies move, spontaously react, and get arranged it is possible to grasp some of the workings of habitus and at the same time to make inner contradictions and hidden histories visible.
By contrasting similar events with twenty years between them it is also possible to see some of the changes taking place.
The microphone was on its way to be handed over by the chairman Peter Scott, a British upper class gentlemen from World Wildlife Fund to the American professor Paul Ehrlich at the opening of the most heated discussion at the Environmental Forum parallell to the first United Nations Conference on environment in Stockholm 1972. Before Ehrlich got the microphone it was taken over by Dora Obi Chizea, a biologist from Ibadan in Nigeria coming up from the audience. She said "This discussion is about us so we take over now".
This act was a disturbence of order that still is reflected in books decades after the incidence. The women from Ibadan was one out of 50 people from the third world forming the Oi Committee who participated at the Environmental Forum and challenged the overwhelmingly Northern biased environmentalism that otherwise had been given more or less the whole space at this world event (note 1).
What furiated the Oi Committee and many others from the third world was the view, held by Ehrlich and others in the north, on the population growth, especially in the South. Ehrlich's book The Population Bomb, commissioned by the founder of Friends of the Earth and spred internationally by Friends of the Earth groups in three million copies (note 2). It propagated obligatory sterilisation in the third world and had a lot of influence on the international environmental discussion. In United States and many other places in the North the growing number of people, especially in the third world, was held responsible for the problem of environmental destruction on earth.
Third world people not accepting the way a debate had been arranged and physically demonstrating their right to intervene was provocative for many. Anglo-American observers described this act as if a leftist coup had taken over the whole Environmental Forum (note 3). They reacted when the monopoly to speak from the podium of highly respected scientists was taken over by those directly effected by policies for reducing population in the South with the argument to save the natural resources of the planet for humanity. The dominant discourse was also challenged on the streets A demonstration with 7.000 participants protested against the use of Agent Orange in US ecocidal warfare in Vietnam.
The demonstration was part of an effort to create people's participation in world environment problems by making a People's Forum and other activities protesting against the UN Conference. Other protests from scientists and popular organisations made the issue intensively debated in spite of protests and many other attempts to stop public discussion from the US. The Swedish prime minister Olof Palme addressed it at the official conference and the US stopped using Agent Orange in Vietnam before the war ended. A key factor in the integration of different international alternative activities in the streets and discussion fora was the local social and environment group that both before and since then has maintained a strongly participating and initiating international activitities cooperating with many different popular movements.
Unchallenged consensus at Rio
Twenty years later a viking ship sailed into the Flamengo Bay in Rio de Janeiro. The ship was filled with children carrying messages of hope from children of the world for a common future and protection of the environment to the inauguration of Global Forum, an equivalent to Environmental Forum in Stockholm but a lot bigger (note 4). The microphone at the most comprehensive and broadest of the activities at Global Forum, the International Non-Governmental Organizations and social movements Forum, INGOF, was this time already from the start in the hands of a woman from the third world, from the Phillippines. INGOF was going to be held during twelwe days with some thousand participants working in a lot of specialized workshops discussing a broad range of environment and development issues.
There was only few hours set of for a joint plenary discussion separated in two parts the two first days. These plenary sessions were important for building a political momentum and focus. The chair decided instead to dissolve the first plenary in favour of participation at the inauguration at the beach with the viking ship. The floor was not asked about its priorities and nobody took the microphone on her own initiative lika twenty years earlier. Nothing were supposed to disturb the image of a unifying celebration at the beach.
The Global Forum took place in a large park down-town surrounded by fences and a lot of heavy-armed military with machine guns, in the air rows of helicopters circled and further away tanks pointed their cannons against the favelas. Welcoming the ship at the beach at what was labelled a global civil society event was the whole range of established people from the non-NGO sector, the Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, chair of the commission launching the report on sustainable development and a common future that became a main document for the official conference, the minister representing EU at UNCED, the wife of UNCED general secretary Strong, a well-known Canadian businessman. But not only did governmental persons inaugurate the alternative event. Many of them should the next day also inaugurate the official conference were they spoke about the problems of population growth in a hall where a clock outside the doors showed how many more people were born and the Earth had to carry for each secund. Also the coordinator of the Global Forum Warren Lindner was there and other prominent figures of which nobody was known for any critical independent view in relation to the official conference or the Brundtland Report ideology.
The idea was to celebrate at the beach how everybody, children and grown-ups, women and men, civil society, business and government in cooperation should discuss and work for sustainable development. No actor on the beach from all the social movements and diverse NGOs changed that picture of harmony. The children's viking ship could undisturbed get closer until suddenly out of the water banners protesting against the Global Forum and the event was raised. It was street children who acted. They had been forced by the authorities away from their sleeping quarters in the beach park now taken over by the Global Forum. Their protest was quickly ignored and only caused some minor remarks as an oddity in the daily alternative conference newspapers. Cooperation as defined by established political and economical actors had beed established as the basic idea for the Global Forum.
The alternative activities continued to be organized in the same way making it impossible to accumulate any wider forces for challenging the dominant idea of cooperation with established organisations for protection of the environment and social domestic and international equality. Full freedom existed also for almost all confrontational messages. But they by their own will and the way the whole Global Forum and the wider context in Rio and the UNCED-process functioned could only develop within peripheral small niches. Everyone with sufficient resources could have their own tent or meeting place at the global Forum but there was no place where you together with most or many of the others jointly could work out a common agenda and focus. The attempt that existed in this direction, mainly INGOF, also splitted up in smaller groups before any joint discussion had a chance to influence the priorities. To link with other actors like the popular movements in Rio de Janeiro that so succesfully from the outset had been possible in Stockholm was this time only possible after a long struggle within INGOF with the result that it was to late for any effective results. The popular movements were also divided and no strong combination of activities focusing on one or a few politically important topics emerged. The result in terms of living up to the financial needs stated in the action Agenda 21 of UNCED was devastating. Out of the 125 billion US dollar a year in additional international funding for sustainable development indicated in Agenda 21 only 0.8% actually has been provided and out of the promise of an increase from 0,33% to 0,7% of GNP in development aid the actual result has been a decrease (note 5).
Non-governmental organizations, NGOs, and a global civil society are in many contexts
presented as crucial new international or global factors in solving current social and
ecological crisis (note 6). This has been referred to by a somewhat broad range of persons from Hillary Clinton and the US government (note 7), Sridath Rampal and Ingvar Carlson heading the World Commmission on Global Governance (note 8), businessman Maurice Strong to Subcomandante Marcos. Many characteristics have been given to the concepts of NGOs and civil society, presented as a contrast to those of government as participatory, diversity, small-scale, socially learning and innovative (note 9). According to many observers the interest in global environmental issues really became important in the 1980s, and 1992 is seen as a major break-through for global cooperation between environmental and other so called NGOs thanks to UNCED (note10). The amount of success for NGOs also in main-stream thinking have been proved by pointing at the broad acceptance of concepts like sustainable development, human rights and the catch-phrase thinking globally, acting locally. Critical voices have mainly raised concern about cooptation of the protests against global development schemes into yet one new development programme and formulated their world-view in terms of global oppression of the local (note 11).
How can a critical perspective be justified and
fruitful? What we here put under scrutiny is
Concepts like indepedent sectors or civil society and NGOs are given a high status in the UNCED process by most official and non-state actors (note 12). Words that indicate putting a high value on being separate from the state and governments. How come then that the selfproclaimed independent actors in Rio was far less independent than similar actors in Stockholm and the separation from governments so central in the definition of the own identity in Rio actually characterized organizations far closer to governments than the organizations active in Stockholm that seldom if ever called themselves NGOs, independent sector or civil society? How come that the internationally much more wellorganized movement in 1992 (note 13) has more problems in getting results and in emphasizing a critical position when the much less organized movement in 1972 achieved better results?
To find organizations calling themselves NGOs in a consistent way including also a significant group of other organizations also willing to label themselves NGOs in the same way is hard if not impossible (note 14). To find professional observers capable of establishing a definition aiming at some consensus in a critical discourse is also hard if not impossible (note 15).
The vast majority simply avoids the problem. If
they define NGOs they prefer to limit their interest arbitrary
to a limited sector of the cathegory like development (note
The definition of NGO under circumstances of pressure for clarity is non-governmental, non-profit and not working for profit-making corporations organization. The normal way of writing it is non-profit NGOs. The extra negative definition excluding also organisations working in the interests of profit-making corporations is simply needed at international occasions as ICC, the International Chamber of Commerce and similar organisations are non-profit NGOs as they have no profit motive for their own activity. Still this triple negationed definition leaves us in uncertainty about such common oddities at international event as local governments counting as NGOs or scientific institutions. The triple negationed NGOs and their interaction with lay persons is the main object of this studie. For the technical broad definition of the term including all non-governmental organization will the somewhat broader term non-state actors instead be implied. For non-profit NGOs related to profit-making organisations the term business NGOs will be used. explained as New Governmental Organisation.
Theories of what NGOs or the global civil society are and their place in human and ecological relations are even more rare than good definitions (note 20). The probably historically and functionally most comprehensive and theoretically broadest was made by Jørgen Lissner published in 1977 (note 21). Social movement theory that has well-established different theoretical schools of similar or the same phenomena as NGOs are mostly overlooked (note 22). If social movement theory is taken into consideration it can be simplistically dismissed as irrelevant as the theories are said to limit their focus on national state societies and the supposively new with NGOs are their international or global character (note 23). After that the old theories have been by-passed rather than critically elaborated and incorporated in new more comprehensive theories, we get theories of big NGOs presented in fields limited to efficiency in change of institutional subunits in societies or advocating change within limited international issue-regimes. Empirically the professional litterature have the similar limitations as the theories except for established international NGOs in their function as interacting with the UN (note 24).
What we simply can do when left practically abandoned by the scholars we can go ourselves to meet the global civil society and the NGOs without professional intermediaries. We can use lay person participatory action methods or professional participatory observation for collecting knowledge. This can be measured equally against scientific criteria of inner coherence and empirical relevance for society as well as equally scrutinized in terms of how the discourse it is part of influences the field to be researched.
But observation of data in the field is of course not enough. The search for knowledge also needs a perspective which implies some kind of theory however provisory. Here an attempt to revert the conventional positions between academic and lay person science. We can test if oral lay person theory in the field can bring us further.
The oral theory and empirical findings that will be used for this test have emerged in a socially engaged and environmental group in Stockholm named locally Alternativ Stad, Alternative City (note 25) and nationally in the environment and alternative movement with the organizational core in Miljöförbundet, Environmental Federation, in the beginning of the 1980s. An interest developed after the defeat in the referendum on nuclear power 1980 in the concept of "folkrörelse" - popular movement and their history, current existence and future. The key of the self-reflective definition of popular movements is seen as the simultanous attempt to both practise what one preaches collectively and try to change the whole society or social system also when it becomes necessary to choose sides in conflicts.
It has been customary in the group, especially by Birgitta Henriksson, to point at that the boundary of the society relevant for the environment conflict may well exceed local or national territories. The tendency of organizations or movements to pick only the most opportunistic single-issues leaving the broader work to others has also been criticised and by Kajsa Falkner conceptualized as nichomania (note 26). The goal of organisations within popular movements is seen as to make themselves superfluous by solving the problems causing their foundation. Although democratic participation in building a socially and environmentally better society is seen as a good in itself the forms of that democratic participation can differ. A choice between participatory or representative democracy is avoided on the grounds that the kind of conflict at stake finally may make it necessary to use also representative forms of democracy. On similar grounds is a choice between revolution and reform avoided. State and market forces are seen as routines incapable of solving all upcoming problems, something the more amorphous popular movements are set in motion to solve. A key issue for popular movements is considered to be the relation between lay persons and professionals (note 27). Apart from external reasons for failure or success the internal development of professionals is a recurring problem for popular movements to maintain their double character of both building alternatives here and now and at the same time struggle to gain victories in conflicts and change the whole society, a practical-holistic dimension. Here it will be put to test if the definition of popular movement and the further developed glocal (note 28) perspective emphasising direct local partcipation in global events have explanatory power beyond its familiar usage among insiders in a critical assessment of NGOs and the global civil society.
This rudimentary oral definition and theory that now is turned into written form after debating in the Alternativ Stad study group will be complemented with two academically developed provisionary theories or models, one emphasising dynamic interplay between generalists, specialist and lay persons, the other connections beetwen habitus and conflict.
They are chosen because they in combination adds a higher degree of differentiation to the rudimentary oral theory. The first by giving us a dynamic model of complex systems possible to extend for finding some pattern and capacity to accumulate some kind of complexity in a global civil society consisting of overlapping sectors according to both gender, functional, geographical and other cathegorizing. The second by giving us detailed descriptions and provisionary theory of how far present science can conceptualize steps in formation of popular movements and collective conflicts.
One kind of NGOs might basically interact within a specific sector of society separated from other sectors were other kind of NGOs and different actors interact. Yet there are much overlapping, especially at the local level. At international NGO meetings a wide range of different popular movements and others meet. The number of internationally involved NGOs has radically grown during the 1980s and 1990s (note 29). Whether the complexity of this system of NGOs also has expanded can be seen from different perspectives, what is clear is that changes within this system takes place at a quick pace, both in terms of expansion and change of issue focuses and ways of working.
Social movement theory, as popular movement theory is labelled in academics mostly, has made few attempts to analyse the global level (note 30). Attempts during the 1980s tended to either focus on large scale processes of movements of worker's, national and ethnic (note 31) or ecological, peace, feminist and anti-developmentalist (note 32) focusing on diversity and smallscale. Wallerstein that made some of these attempts already predicted in the 1990s a long period of fragmentization in smaller group identities with few chances for coherent action among third world or other groups with wider interests (note 33).
Most social movement theory focuses upon the national level. To simply enlarge theories from this level to the global runs into immediate problems. Basically all models are build upon industrial societies in a world where the majority of humanity do not belong to such societies and even if they might be marginalized from the global NGO system they cannot be excluded from a serious analysis pretending to analyse a global phenomenon supposively representing and enabling participation from the unpriviliged. Structural biased theories have a tendency to focus upon one leading social movement that is seen as a main carrier of change of the whole social order, the worker's movement in the industrial society (note 34) and for some thinkers the ecological movement in a post-industrial society(note 35). In the third world none of these movements plays a dominant role and among global NGOs other cathegories like development NGOs are central. Structural approaches have certain advantages that cannot be ignored, like not forgetting about the society as a whole, but have less to say on a global level. At a first look an action-oriented resource-mobilsation approach does not run into the same problem (note 36) and much of the NGO litterature uses this approach. Global civil society is seen as a set of rational NGO resource-mobilizers. But outside the context of one state ,and probably so also within the state, NGOs are not only an instrument for interests but part of a wider movement that is acting in an environment were the states no longer have monopoly on sovereignity. The movement and the NGOs are not necessarily only influencing others but might be partly political autonomous actors creating culture and not only representing interests.
Social movement theory focusing on culture have other problems. Melucci presents a useful understanding of popular movements as a latent system that in modern complex society with the fragmentation of the earlier relatively autonomous class cultures anyway is able to create fast and well-organized outburst of activity as well as institutionalisation of new professions and democratic spaces (note 37). His empirical focus on a big city in the North with its possibilities for face-to-face interaction, fast-moving fashion in politics and culture and quick access to central points in the global order like universities, organizational headquarters or media centers makes his model less applicable to understand a global system linking highly differentiated political cultures and locales.
A multilayered system of lay persons, specialists and generalists
What we here need, if we cannot hope for a more total global theory, is a model or a theory of middle range. As the field we want to research is highly differentiated and quickly redifferentiated it is useful with a model capable of giving us some conceptual tools for coming to grips with an over-whelming empirical material. In his account of contemporary cultural complexity Hannerz (note 38) takes a more global look at culture both theoretically and empirically. Building on Gouldner he divides producers of expanding culture critique into two groups, intelligentsia that remain within the boundaries that was constructed around their discipline as they moved forward within the set cognitive limits and the intellectuals confronting conventional ways of searching knowledge and often transgressing boundaries between established fields of knowledge (note 39). For our purpose these two groups are more easily understood if we rename them into specialists and generalists. Both groups interact according to Hannerz with each other and with lay persons. The specialist is the one that produces new knowledge on his bounded quest giving him a powerful role of expert. This new knowledge can be integrated into coherent cultures or shown to be incoherent and irrelevant by the generalist. Thus a critical discourse cultural system expands and is connected with the help of storage over time in different media. The lay person with his common sense can either become a client of the expert or challenge the experts tendency of expanding their compulsary advisary role. A temporal alliance with generalists building their role on critical discourse and lay person building on common sense can be made against the expansive specialists and a do-it-yourself response evolve.
This model of interplay between specialists, generalists and lay persons can easily expand and be multi-layered. Each group of specialists can have their own organic intellectuals, their generalists and so can each system of specialists, generalists and maybe also lay persons or at least popular movements whether the system is geographically, functionally or otherwise bounded. Still we do not get necessary a hierarchic pyramid with smaller unimportant systems or subsystems at the bottom and the dominating group of generalists and specialists at the top. The lay persons have at least the theoretical possibility in this model of uniting themselves and dismantle power accumulated by the generalist and specialist. A problem with the model is that it defines the opposite to the role of specialists and generalists or intelligentsia and intellectuals as common sense and link the lay person to the latter. On the one hand both generalists and specialist are parts of a critical discourse which is opposite to common sense according to Hannerz, on the other hand in movements lay persons readily accepts intellectual generalists as leaders in spite of the inherent tension between critical and common sense discourse. Another similar problem seemingly establishing a hierarchy linking lay persons to common sense and intellectuals and intelligentsia to flux and critical discourse is how oral and written words are contrasted to each other, "a spoken word is an event, a written word a thing. The latter remains, while the utterance disappears immediatly. It is through the ability to conserve the products of the elaboratness and flexibility of the linguistic mode that the greater possibilities for scrutiny, reflection, and new synthesis are realized" (note 40). For the specialist this holds true but for the generalist it can be questioned especially for the kind of questions put under scrutiny here concerning how to change society and towards what goal. The vast majority of people living in social and ecological crisis have the oral words and similar means to express themselves. It is not necessary so that they have less complex and relevant ideas about the most general problems of our time than the writing elite.
The model of complex culture systems will here be used as a model also for the global NGO-system as a whole including its non-cultural functions. Hannerz have already put the model in a wider economical, political and movement perspective and shown that it is not necessarily reductionist. The kind of relations between generalists, specialists and lay persons can be seen not only as a cultural interaction but also economical and political. Also in these other sectors we have professional specialists and generalists as well as customers and voters or non-professional involvement in economics and politics by other roles. From the outset the model is already social. The model could be applied in different ways. At first it will be used for analysing differences between NGOs in terms of generalists and specialists but also between groups of NGOs with other functional sectors in society. The distinction between lay persons and experts whether generalists or specialists will be tried in some different ways.
The complexity model can give us some dynamic idea how the system functions. In a way it has some similarities with other theoretic models focusing on change rather than stability. The sequence of specialist domination challenged by a combine effort from generalists and lay persons resulting in a new set of specialist practices is close to the dialectical model of thesis being replaced by anti-thesis resulting in a new synthesis. The difference is that the complexity model might also focus upon contradicting tendencies within each stage, something that might be of special importance within the anti-thesis stage when generalists and lay persons might be able to overturn the earlier conventional specialist models. This makes the complexity model strong as it can focus on shifts without overlooking conflicts among opponents of conventional practice. But the complexity model lacks an understanding of deeper conflicts in terms of processes including the society as a whole. A complement is needed. To this end Baders protheory of social movement and collective conflict (note 41) is useful.
Mobilization from habitus to reform or revolution
Bader sees social movements as a too fluid phenomena
to capture with a theory. What can be established instead is a
provisory theory limiting its scope of knowledge to middle range
concerns. With this in mind he analyses possible steps in the
formation of collective action while at the same time saying that
the process can fail at any stage and that it can make quick jumps
over many steps at the same time. Potential groups of conflict
exists due to the combination of long term structural changes
and objective life conditions. In a society with structural social
inequalities there is a high potential for conflicts. On a global
level this is quite relevant with expanding gaps between powerful
and repressed both within and between nations. The more or less
endless and heterogenous possibilities for conflict have to be
articulated. They have to be felt, payed attention to or experienced.
Individuals carry sediments of collective and individual experience,
they have their history structured in their habitus. On a more
more conscious level collective identity have to be established
by subjective definition of interests which gets its stability
from structural causes. When becoming a more long-term social
movement a more elaborate articulation of themes, oppositions,
strategy and tactics have to emerge. An ideology and utopia is
formulated. To be able to act collectively there is a need for
informal or formal leadership and at least informal organisation
that can develop into broad networks including formal organisations.
Finally resources have to be mobilized. At this stage Bader introduces
factors that he says is there all along. It is the external factor
or factors including opposition and third parties forming action
opportunities before the final collective conflict and its intended
How can we grasp these four dimensions in our study of global popular movements and NGOs, the practical-holistic, glocal, lay-specialist-generalist dynamics and hbaitus-conflict aspects? All dimensions tells us to look for integration of cathegories regarded as highly different by conventional academic thinking. The popular movement concept as a historic subject of lay persons beyond established hierarchical social roles makes it necessary to show a degree of conscious collective acting with those not having established roles as at least partly initiators in the process we study. The anthropological emphasis on both informal and formal processes and both cultural, economical and political aspects makes it necessary to look at how well these aspects and processes are integrated and addressed. The emphasis on all levels from habitus to direct political conflict makes it necessary to include an extremely wide range of different levels in the forming of collective action. The dialectical emphasis on the interaction between specialists, generalists and lay persons and finally the global and local linkage does not make the task easier.
There are some ways out of the dilemma. The first is to find some specific occasions to study, the other is to find aspects that are especially important when looking from our perspectiove of lay participation in world politics.
Specific occasions should preferably be highly representative, also from the point of view of conventional academic anthropology, polical science, sociology or other social sciences. Criterias for being of global importance from these kind of academic aspects can be e.g. globally challenging eurocentric dominance in content or form with third world as driving force, strong habitus and informal component in the capacity to make this challenge, change in the formal global political order or challenging established social roles.
Challenging eurocentric dominance at the global level has been going on since this dominance emerged. At least from the succesful slave rebellion and Haitian revolution 200 years ago this challenge have been an open economical, political, military and cultural battle against the "universal" French ideal that all men are equal unless they are not of european decent. The struggle against European or capitalist imperialism from third world countries but also from within imperialistic states is of global importance. But mainly this struggle ends in efforts to copy the Western model with the state as prime motor enabling national development. In spite of decolonialisation and the forming of the non-aligned movement global politics was dominated by two blocs with Western states as leaders of both, on the one hand the US allied with Western European capitalist states and on the other hand the Soviet Union allied with other planned economy states. This bloc model is challenged from outside and within by strengthening third world liberation wars and leadership as well as cultural and political movements within Western countries. These tendencies converge in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Of special interest is that now also the Western development model is questioned at the same time as third world enters the scene of formal global diplomacy with Communist China taking its seat in the UN and the security council. The first time Communist China enters actively into a global negotiation conference is at the Stockholm Conference 1972. This is also the first time that critical aspects of the Western development model is addressed at an international conference aiming at action.
New social movements have been proclaimed to mobilise people in a new manner linking direct participation and establishing new ways of life with challenging the political order and hierarchical roles in interaction among people (note 42). The environmental movement is often pointed at as the prime example together with the student's or solidarity with the third world movement, the renewed women's movement, the anti-racist civil right's movement and peace movement all supposively emerging during the 1950s and 1960s. All these movements converged temporarily at the UN Conference on Human Environment in 1972 including a strong direct participation from the third world.
The result was the establishment of a new political world order meating criterias of relevance for conventional political science while at the same time having aspects of direct participation and new social movement practices that included capacity to challenge established social roles also on the global level (note 43).
Twenty years later the first UN environmental conference
was in formal aspects repeated at UNCED, but then with considerable
larger number of participation and organisational
Spontaneity and direct democracy
The four dimensions makes it necessary to look for other concepts that are capable of focusing upon conscious participation by lay persons in challenging the world order. Here we can be helped by two concepts developed by American students of social movements and spontaniety. Rosenthal and Schwartz (1989:33) elaborates upon what is often described as spontanous actions. "Demonstrations, massmeetings, protest marches, sitdowns, wildcats, and even riots - those volatile and unpredictable actions appear to take place outside of, and sometimes in the absence of, any apparent organizational context - play substantial roles in the history of a protest movement. They are often unplanned and unanticipated, and sometimes even undocumented" (note 45). In the study of social movements the relation between individual spontaneity and organizational strategy have been either seen as opposing tendencies or strengthening each other. Rosenthal and Schwartz takes the latter position and sees spontaneity as often "indicative of a particular organizational form - the primary movement group, and of a characteristic mode of decision making - direct democracy" (note 46). They attempt at finding a way out of the impasse in the American study of social movements constructed by resource mobilisation theory emphasising structural context and collective rational decision-making and theories focusing on collective behavior stressing the primacy of unplanned and impromptu actions. Oberschall and Farris tries to overcome this impasse by creating a continium from tight structure working according to resource mobilisation theory and loose structure were spontaneity play a central role due to the lack of highly organized rational structures (note 47). Rosenthal and Schwartz agrees to this attempt at integrating the two theories but challenges the view that tight structure is linked to planned action while loose structures are linked to spontaneity at the opposite ends of a continium. They claim it is the intermingling of spontaneous and planned action that is causing the unique dynamic of social movements. Tightly organized structures also engage in spontanous actions and loose structures are capable of strategic premediated action. From this questioning also stems their challenge of the assumption that spontaneity is associated with expressive an sometimes irrational behavior. They argue that "spontaneity reflects the existence and dominance of a particular structural milieu in which previously existing primary groups utilize direct democracy to develop and sustain group unity and coordination" (note 48). Rosenthal and Schwartz concludes by stating that rather then more or less emotional and effective rational choices the difference between so called spontanious and preplanned actions is the "nature of rank-and-file involvement in movement decision-making".
"Direct democracy is more than the principle of 'one person, one vote.' It is the process by which choices are framed and emerge as well as that by which decisions are made. In a social movement setting, democracy exists in sofar as the action reflect the collective (or majority) will of the rank-and-file. This typically occurs when a large number of movement participants gather together at a single place and undertake an interchange of ideas about the immediate or ultimate direction of the movement. The process (explicitly or implicitly) involves considerations of alternatrive actions, and is sometimes concluded by the group as a whole making a collective decision, either through consensus or a formal vote" (note 49).
Central to our study of a global NGO system from a popular movement perspective is then the concepts of direct democracy and primary group expressed in capacity to act unplanned and impromptu or what appears as spontanous at emerging circumstances. While Rosenthal and Schwartz exemplifies primary groups as founded on face-to-face interaction, "among people who knew each other personally" (note 50) and have a tendency to equite primary groups with small informal groups based on local already existing ties we expand this definition to include also translocal groups built by face-to-face rank-and-file interaction. At the global level such ties can also be built impromptu at the few occasions when such possibilites occur at an international meeting or other kind of international activity.
Popular movements, defined as above, can be dated back for centuries and more (note 51). They often took the form of peasant or slave rebellions or religious more long-lasting communities and movements. Within these movements there could arise conflicts reminding of the one focused in this paper. The medieval peace movement, for example, early gave rise to two tendencies (note 52). One tried to raise the king above the roving aristocracy to keep peace among them, with ambigous results. Another tried to mobilise the people and by the way institutionalised the concept of democratically ruled municipalities when they united the citizens in Cambrai in 1077 to fight the warlords.
The non-local permanent organisation with formal membership, fees and elected functionaries is a child of the 19th century (note 53). It was invented by the Irish in 1823 as part of defending the interests of the Catholic community. But the dominating tradition of permanent organisations belong to the Labour movement that from the 1850s had trade unions organised from China to Chile (note 54).
19th century popular movements tended to combine building their own alternatives - cooperatives, nonconformist churches, choirs singing their own language - meanwhile demanding rights to change the system. But around 1900 participation in movements began to differentiate into roles expressing themselves in five different ways.
The first model was a continuation of the 19th century lay movement that simultaneously promoted alternative self-sufficient social practices to the dominant development model and at the same time collectively struggled for social and political changes. This model got a much smaller scope as the century went on, but the Gandhian popular movement in India is the foremost example.
Another model developed in the US. There a farmers movement of producers cooperation, cultural assertiveness, alliances with workers, and leaders of the same background as the rank-and-file, had been defeated by its own politicians striving for positions inside the established system (note 55) -a shadow movement, as the historian Goodwyn calls them (note 56). Instead a system of lobbyists, foundations and mass media emerge, were the rank-and-file are separated from a professional leadership focused on single-issue politics (note 57). The typical organisation has an economic instead of a democratic relation between lay person and the professional specialist, but the separation is equally thorough in federal membership organisations.
In Russia the separation between leaders and rank-and-file members of a movement is established by Lenins rule that only professional revolutionaries, or what here in this text is termed generalists, are allowed as members in the Bolshevik party. This model becomes highly succesful in being the only social democratic organisation internationally fully defending the decision by the Second International of opposing any war between nations. They are also capable of establishing an alternative development path with planned industrialisation for nations outside the core of the world market as well as before many industrialised countries granting social rights to women and workers. As challengers of the dominating colonial countries and the capitalist system the model also resulted in inspiring liberation movements in the third world and struggle for reform in the interest of workers in capitalist countries.
In Europe the repression and cooptation of the workers movement resulted in a special combination. Professional generalists in the parliament represented the movement as a whole while sectorised popular movements with professional specialists and lay members enabled mass participation. This fourth combined model bureaucratised the movement (note 58).
The fifth European model developed out of the crisis following upon the professionalised social democratic parties acceptance of the war. It had a formal assemblance with the model of professional generalist combined with sectorised and specialised popular movements. Mass lay participation remained in sectorised popular organisations but instead of many competing professional generalists in the parliament this level was replaced by one generalist dictator.
The national movements liberating the Third World from the colonial powers were dominated by the professional generalist model by focusing upon the way the whole society was ruled and how to manage state development planning. The popular movements in the North had been coopted into the established system by different arrangements to find consensus between workers and employers as well as governments.
At that moment a new wave of popular movement activity
started as single-issue movements. It began in Southern United
States among the blacks. Here the combination of establishing
facts by refusing to leave the seat in a bus reserved for whites
Simultaneous mobilisation in many parts of the world
in the form of anti-colonial or liberation struggle or new and
old popular movements shook established political systems and
erupted in the student revolts and workers strikes in the end
of the 1960s (note 60).
NGOs, international diplomacy and development activity
As a phenomena the same kind of organisations that today most commonly are described as NGOs working with development projects have existed since long. The oldest NGO still working with the same educative and literacy purposes as when it started begun 1653 is the Canadian society "Les Soeurs de la Congregation de Notre-Dame" in Montreal (note 61) NGOs working for peace and global reform can also trace their history in their modern organisational form almost as long back as the church-related international development organisations. The kind of international negotiating institutions through which NGOs became a more common term was promoted by a liberal movement for political reform for individual human rights, free trade, abolishment of slavery, social welfare and an end to war in the begining of the 19th century (note 62). Local peace associations developed and 1843 the first World Peace Congress assembled in London. The hopes of this peace movement often carried by leading cultural personalities and parliamentarians were mostly directed towards the heads of states and appealing to them to negotiate to establish international law and arbritation. This was achieved with the peace congress in the Hague 1899 and 1907 on disarmament and regulations of the use of weapons and warfare (note 63). The reform-oriented pacifist movement had problems in building an alliance with the anti-militarism of the workers movement in spite of that efforts were made. 1902 the international cooperative movement joined and soon many trade unions followed suit. But the unified movements and the official peace conferences could not stop the the first World War.
After the war the League of Nations as envisioned by the peace movement was established but at the same time was the peace movement split in one dominating group of associations to support the League of Nations and the more radical pacifists and anti-militarists going separate ways. A growing number of international NGOs working in the fields from organising christian youth, organising labour, the liberal reform issues, humanitarian aid to law and technical cooperation. They began being established from the 1850s and their numbers started to grew at the turn of the century. In general NGOs did not get a formalised relationship with the League of Nations. A decision to make it possible for the patronage of the league to be given to all international organisations under certain conditions was reversed two years later. A new decison came to the conclusion that "it is not desirable to risk diminishing the activity of these voluntary organisations, the number of which is fortunatly increasing, by even the appearance of an official supervision" (note 64). But informally there was at times strong contacts, ad hoc arrangements made and some NGOs had special relations in specific fields, especially the International Chamber of Commerce, ICC, the International Federation of Trade Unions, IFTU, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and national Red Cross societies.
The term non-governmental organisation or in its more commonly used abbreviation NGO has become familial language first through the United Nations. NGOs are mentioned and widely defined as a function of the information need of the UN system. The UN charter article 71 states: "The Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for the consultation with non-governmental organizations which are concerned with matters within its competence" (note 65). In practice other UN bodies use the same kind of arrangements as the Economic and Social Council although there are strong restrictions against making oral or written statements to the General Assembly. The dominating NGOs related to the UN in the beginning were international and national trade unions (note 66) Gradually different kind of organisations developed contacts with the UN and a broad range of organisations were included in the term also in practice. But the concept rarely if ever was used by the actors themselves outside the context of world diplomacy and academic litterature during the first four UN decades.
There is one group of organisations that uses the term NGO more frequently than others. It is expressed by the commonly used abbreviation NGDO, Non-Governmental Development Organisations. There are many different variations of abbreviations covering different relations to governments or business or geographical characteristics but few that delimits NGOs working with as specific issue. This expressed by adding the issue specific term to the NGO abbreviation, like in environmental NGO. The development organisations frequently also include NGO in the names of their organisation (note 67). The other group of organisations that during the UNCED era began to use the NGO concept have started to become more reluctant expressed by the attempts to replace NGO as a concept for environmental organisations by the abbreviation ECO, meaning Environmental Citizens Organisations or replacing NGOs with POs, popular organisations.
"Environmental" popular movements and NGOs
As a word the environmental movement is an invention of the 1960s. When earlier attempts by the natural food movement to link issues of poisoning nature with health had failed the book Silent Spring 1962 by Rachel Carson and the reaction from the industry helped amalgating a new popular movement. She described how the same poison that is enriched in food chains in the nature and kills animals is the same poison that can kill or hurt the health of people. Two earlier separate movements, the protection of people's health with the worker's movement as main actor in the North and the conservation of nature with scientists and the upper class as main actors merged into the concept of environment movement (note 68). The result was a growing number of local conflicts on pollution of water, land and air, combined with critique of consumerism and the existing development model building an identity of an emerging popular movement. As such the same kind of conflicts had existed before. Protests against unhealthy activities or the exploitation of natural resources carried out by actors outside the community have existed both long before the 1960s or the industrial revolution in all or most parts of the world.
The emergence of a permanent continuity of environmental
awareness and organisation is conventionally situated in Great
Britain with the establishing of the Society for the
Wild life protection societies started in the Natal province in South Africa and nature conservation associations sprang up in the US and in European countries at the turn of century, often with upper class and scientists as members and closely related to government officials. Attempts were made to build an international organisation for the conservation of nature at the beginning of the century. First when UNESCO took the initiative was an organisation established in 1948 with the formation of the International Union for the Protection of Nature, which in 1956 would become the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, IUCN. This organisation expressed the very close relationship between the conservation societies and governmental level by including both voluntary associations and state institutions in its membership. In spite of this hybrid character it is one of the organisations most often refered to as an international environmental NGO. The International Youth Federation for the Study and Conservation of Nature, IYF, was also established 1948 in close relation to IUCN helping a small but growing interest among young people to experience fauna and flora. During the 1950s concerns grew for the future of wildlife protection in the colonies after liberation. 1961 World Wildlife Fund, WWF, was established to raise money more efficently for the protection of wild animals and their habitat supported by notabilities, businessmen and scientists. Meanwhile a more confrontational concern opposing dam projects or pollution resulted in the emergence of the popular environmental movement.
Both UNCHE and UNCED were in terms of content and organisation to a large extend the same (note 71) The outcome was percieved as a general declaration of principles, a program of action, funding the actions and reinforcement of or new institutions. The non-binding outcome was the Stockholm Declaration and the Rio Declaration, Stockholm Principles of Action and Agenda 21 and promises to fund environmental instutions and development aid.
At Stockholm it was decided to start what became UNEP, at Rio to complement UNEP with the Commission on Sustainable Development, a yearly meeting to review the progress of Agenda 21. Four Preparatory Committee meetings were held both times with NGOs present, so called PrepComs. Differences were in the format. The declarations were of equal size but the Rio action program Agenda 21 was a 800 page document covering almost all different environmental and development issues. Agenda 21 was considerably larger than the Stockholm equivalent but the content was not as different, environment and development was already at the Stockholm conference (note 72). At UNCED parallel international negotiation processes on climate change and biological diversity conventions also took place. Another difference was the considerable increase in prestige expressed in the number of participating heads of states, 2 at Stockholm and 118 at Rio de Janeiro. The most significant difference between 1972 and 1992 was the status of NGOs and the role they were planned to play. The similarities were enforced by the appointment of the same general secretary, Maurice Strong, for both conferences, a key position that he actively used at both times. "Traumatized as he had been by heavy social movements protest in Stockholm 1972, Strong was determined from the beginning to pre-empt any opposition to UNCED" (note 73).
When the decision to hold a UN Conference on the Human Environment was made in 1968 the conference was percieved as a conventional meeting for experts helping governments by searching for knowledge within the field of environmental issues (note 74). What became new with the UNCHE compared to earlier international conferences was that popular movements invited anyone to participate in parallell activities in the conference city and decentralised actions internationally at the same time as these parallell activities interacted with the official conference and with each other. This established a new bifurcated model in world politics that since then has become an established pattern at most intergovernmental conferences of importance, whether within the UN system, Bretton Wood institutions, G-7 or regional organisations like EU, NAFTA and APEC. What also characterised UNCHE compared to earlier environmental conferences was its actionorientation.
This aim was not there from the start when the UN 1968 decided to convene the conference but became explicit in March 1970. What made UNCHE exceptional as well was the broadening of the issue to cultural, economical and military aspects most prevalent among popular activities but also expressed in the official process due to pressure from third world countries and when concerning economic and moral issues North American business and closely related interests.
In none of these three more unique aspects, open popular participation, action-orientation, and broadening of the issues, were the UN the initiating force with the exception of the role of third world governments in bringing up the economical development issue on the agenda. Neither were the established NGOs. IUCN played no central role in the broader public activities in Stockholm and gave UNCHE a low priority both in the preparation and in its assessment afterwards. The scientific community held the Biosphere conference 1968 organised by UNESCO as its historical event and the following international conferences was seen more as follow-up activities than breaking new ground. The Biosphere conference was the first broad environmental conference since the UN Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Resources at Lake Succees in 1949 which had for the first time brought wider nature conservation concerns onto the agenda of global intergovernmental businees. Smaller or emerging NGOs like Friends of the Earth played innovative roles but did not take intiatives that also became a democratic plattform for many others.
The two main actors that during a ten year period accumulated interest and capacity to take initiatives that broadened the UN Conference idea was on the one hand a business NGO linked with North American capital and related politicians based at Aspen in the Rocky Mountains and a globally oriented group of young theosophists in Stockholm linked with third world interests. The business NGO Aspen Institute for Humanistic studies exercised its expanding influence through duplicating closely related institutions funded by Robert O. Andersson while simultanously creating strong personal ties to the official UNCHE secretariat and individual scientists having high global status.
The theosophist glocal primary group cooperating
with liberation movements in the South gradually developed its
scope of issues and ways of working integrated with emerging solidarity,
environmental and peace movements. Finally the young theosophists
could merge their interests with two other parallell lay person
movements. One centered around the FNL groups supporting the national
liberation front of Vietnam and the other around the local group
Alternative City working on direct democracy, anti-commercialisation,
social equality, urbanisation and environmental issues.
UNCED preparatory process
In the official preparations for the second UN conference
on environment participation
Popular movement and NGO Participation
Both at UNCHE and UNCED popular movements and NGOs
has similar possibilites to
At both occasions two demonstrations became main attempts to mobilise local and international popular concerns, in Stockholm one main demonstration with thousands of partcipants and one small with mainly international and especially US participation, in Rio two bigger main demonstrations. There was also manifold interaction between the official and the popular activities including direct participation of both groups in the activities of the other. At both occasions groups or cathegories percieved as under-priviliged like the third world, working class, youth, women and indigenous people played important roles in terms of making decisions for the popular participation or the focus of the issues. Lifestyle issues and their linkage to global conflicts were addressed at both occasions both at the practical and ideological level as well as integration or separation of issues and movements. There was a number of unplanned circumstances facing popular organisations and NGOs in both processes when decisions had to be made concering the relation to symbols, political choices or the identity of cooperation partners.
Popular gatherings at official conferences structures spaces in hierarchical orders were those places with most attention are valued the most (note 76). Highly valued places are those organised in time an space in such a way that it is possible for groups with more limited issues or representing more narrow groups to attend. Such a place is most often the podium in plenary sessions, especially at the start and the end of a gathering. Also the streets, inside the official conference or other occasions with direct interaction between the official and the popular actors or the mass media are places of importance. The way plenary sessions, demonstrations or interaction with the official process is arranged is thus frequently controversial issues. Lack of participation at the podium of the popular gathering can be compensated by tighter primary group culture capable of challenging the official actors or established popular and NGO representatives in the streets or other places. The structuring of the spaces from the street to plenaries made lay mobilisation and direct confronation with the official delegates possible 1972. At Rio the structure was such that each lay participant was directed to an NGO niche with very few possibilites to challenge the official delegates jointly or to influence the proceedings through plenaries.
The main popular and the official NGO fora at both Stockholm and Rio were similar in many ways. At both occasions there was on the one hand from the outset a more openly democratic and more explicitly popular movement oriented forum attempting at building a more coalescent program and on the other hand fora established in closer relation to the official secretariat having no or little intention from the outset to contribute to coalescence among actors in a distinct different role from governments. The popular movement oriented fora were the People's Forum 1972 and INGOF 1992 while the Environmental Forum and the Global Forum represented spaces with more of a plurality of professional NGO identity, less distinct from the official conference. The relation of the number of participants in the popular and NGO fora respectively was similar at both occasions but between the 1972 and 1992 approxiamtly a tenfold increase took place. Some hundred persons participated at the People's Forum and some thousand at the Environmental Forum 1972 and approximatly two thousand at INGOF and 20.000 at Global Forum 1992 not including the hundreds of thousands of local visitors to the exhibitions and information stands. Both Environmental Forum and Global Forum were heavily subsidised by official donors and both turned heavily indepted, while the popular fora went on low or extreme low budgets and the smaller economic losses were easily overcomed.
The popular and the official NGO fora at both Stockholm
and Rio were relating to each other in opposite ways. 1972 formally
People's Forum was totally distinct from the semiofficial Environmental
Forum and highly critical. 1992 INGOF was formally a part of Global
Forum. But informally the original political perspective of People's
Forum highly influenced the Environmental Forum. 1992 it was rather
the semi-official NGO forum that
Unpriviliged and priviliged actors
The third world participation in the UNCHE popular and official process turned the perspectives and ways of working upside down. The dominant perspectives carried by North American environmental and business NGOs were challenged both in content as well as in there practical capacity of being those deciding in advance the agenda of a meeting as described in detail at the beginning and later in this paper. The third world participation was a lot more well-organised from the outset of the UNCED-process. Environment and development NGOs from the third world played a significant role. Politically the Third World Network vigorously brought North-South power relations to the fore. Organisatorically the Nairobi-based ELCI with most of its membership in the third world played a key role in organising the broadest NGO preparatory meeting with a majority of the participants from the South. Still the big NGOs from the North could dominate the political NGO-input to the conference and the total structuring of the popular participation favoured fragmentation of economic other issues of special importance for the third world. No clear confrontations between third world and big Northern NGO perspectives occured either. In Stockholm the leadership of both the popular and NGO fora were in Swedish hands who strongly favourde thrid world partcipation and opinions. In spite of that the NGO Forum 1992 was held in a third world country the leadership had been given to the American former secretary of the Brundtland commission together with another person from the north appointed by the Brazilian NGO Forum, Tony Gross, a British citizen working for an NGO in Brasil (note 77).
In terms of working class participation and influence on the agenda of popular fora there was contradictory tendencies. While both People's Forum and the Environmental Forum emphasised the working environment as a main theme and gave it full days in their programmes was it excluded at INGOF. Efforts of bringing the issue of trade unions rights to interpose their veto against unhealthy industrial processes was dismissed by the environmental and development voluntary organisation in the regional European and North American preparatory work and this issue or working environment did not come back in the NGO treaty process negotiated at Rio (note 78). Established trade unions were in terms of participation much more present in the UNCED-process. But they organised themselves in their own sector making themselves very little present in joint popular movement or NGO activities and almost invisible, especially compareble to their main adversary, the employers. 1972 there was almost no trade union participation. The succesful stronger emphasis on worker's right to healthy working conditions was instead expressed by socialist single-issue groups focusing on working environment cooperating with worker's and experts concerned. These groups worked within People's Forum. The general political climate made the topic a central theme at the Environmental Forum as well. On the streets in Rio de Janeiro trade unions, working class women's organisation, and shanty-town residents played the central role in both main demonstrations contrary to Stockholm were they had almost no role at all. But the demonstrations in Rio had almost no linkage to the popular and NGO fora resulting in very little joint impact. The main demonstration in Stockholm was as radical as the demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro and closely related to the popular forum. Its US-critical anti-Vietnam war demand also dominated the politically most controversial debate at the Environmental Forum as well as being strongly addressed during the official conference.
At Stockholm issues of power relations in the production process and health issues with more power to the trade union and other working class organisations were seen as essential by many groups even when not explicitly socialist. At Rio these themes were marginalised more or less totally. Conflictive class relations were often replaced by geographical contradictions between the local community and the outside world of large scale corporations and governments. Thus working class power issues were more influential without the help of established trade unions 1972. 1992 they were almost totally marginalised in spite of strong professional trade union representation in a sectorised lobbyprocess. In the streets of Rio different local trade unions were at the core of competing initiatives for demonstrations, both unsuccesful in influencing the agenda of other actors at UNCED.
Women's participation was strong both 1972 and 1992 but in contrary ways. 1972 women held key power positions which were used to change the whole political perspective towards generally more radical and third world oriented themes challenging perspectives brought forward by predominantly white anglo-saxon males. The two top positions at Environmental Forum were held by women, Ingrid Segerstedt-Wiberg as chairwoman of UNA Sweden and Elisabet Wettegren as director. Three weeks before the Environmental Forum should start Segerstedt-Wiberg fund-raised the travels of 50 third world participants from the Oi committee which drastically changed a programme totally dominated by North-Atlantic representatives to a program less Western biased. The strongest rebellion during the whole Environmental Forum against North American environmentalist male views was led by a women from the Oi Committee as described in the beginning of this paper. Nuclear power was a controversial issue that few environmental organisations at Stockholm dared to address although it soon afterwards became the main focus for environmental mass mobilisation. This issue was put on the agenda during the popular activities by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
1992 women's participation was organised as a special
women's sector with the tent La Planeta Feminina at the Global
Forum as a focal point. They were highly efficient in lobbying
for wordings in the official documents recognizing women's right
to participate and become a special "major group" recognized
in Agenda 21 (note 79). But noone of the two
top leaders of the Global Forum were women. At the few occasions
when women held key positions like in the opening plenary of INGOF
this was used to deradicalise the process. But women have been
able to instutionalise their lobbying during and after the UNCED
process through networks like Women's Environment and Development
Organization, WEDO. They have also with some success been able
to bring environmental issues back to basics by emphasising the
linkage to health questions like breast cancer (note
80). Working class women's organisations protested against
attempts to make population control and population growth a central
environmental issue at the official conference. Especially big
North American NGOs like World Resource Institute tried to once
more make population growth the main social environmental issue
in the UN conference process especially drawing attention to the
95% occuring in "developing" nations. But no attempts
were made from La Planeta Feminina with its women middle class
lobbyists to link to the women working class movement demonstrating
on the street. When Brazilian women raised their concern and outrage
against sterilizing as a means of population control and integrated
women's issues with questioning the macrosocietal order they were
left alone by the wellorganised middle class lobbyists in sharp
contrast to the way these protests carried by women and men were
at the core of the Environmental Forum.
The model so succesfully applied during the UNCED-process to globally construct from above different sectors of cathegories like "women", "youth", "workers and trade unions", "farmers", "indigenous people", business", "science" etc. was for the first time tested in the preparation for UNCHE. The UNCHE secretariat in cooperation with the established NGOs in the field as well as the International Youth Federation for the Study and Conservation of Nature, IYF had arranged a prepatory global meeting. The program, key concepts and ways of working was set up by Northern experts (note 81). In proportion to inhabitants in each country the participants came in an unbalanced high proportion from the North. It was still less biased than normal and in total with a third world majority among the participants. The attempt was to get a "youth" input to UNCHE. The result was that the constructed "youth" destroyed the whole plan, made a revolution at the meeting taking over the leadership and by direct democracy set up a new agenda. They finally brought their efforts into the general popular and NGO fora at Stockholm as advocats from the majority of people in the world and no longer representing the "youth" working in the name of the Oi Committee. Young people also dominated the People's Forum and demonstrations in the streets while having a strong influence also at the Environmental Forum both as new political solidarity movement and as established youth organisations through the National Youth Council that co-arranged the Environmental Forum with UNA Sweden. At Stockholm there were no such thing as a separate youth sector but instead young people dominated or held strong positions in all main broad popular and NGO efforts.
The radical youth environmental movement started actively to prepare for the Rio conference already in 1989. To begin with a similar process of integration with other popular movements in the North and the third world took place manifested by the joining of all theses groups at the SEED Popular Forum i1990 parallel to the official ministerial conference for industrilialized countries in preparation for UNCED (note 82). From then on the youth environmental organisation choosed to separate their organisational efforts from the rest of the popular movements and NGOs disillusioned by the outcome of the official Bergen conference and disillusioned by the broader NGO preparations. A year later European Youth Forest Action meet their US student's environmental organisation and decide to form an international network. Inspired by the SEED Popular Forum it is given the name A SEED, Action for Solidarity, Equality, Environment and Development. It is soon established on all continents. Together with finnish and swedish solidarity and environmental organisations special international action days were coordinated for land reform and human rights in Brasil to protect the rain forest and against road traffic 1992 to influence the Rio conference. But primarily A SEED became the organiser of special youth events and participation at UNCED. In Europe a youth environmental UNSAID festival and gathering was arranged in Freiburg parallel to the Rio Conference with 400 participants and a mixture of actions, plenaries and workshops as the SEED Popular Forum at Bergen. In Rio A SEED was organising daily actions with a special youth tent as its base. A SEED activist Wagaki Mwangi from Kenya was elected to speak at the official conference as youth representative and when she made her speach A SEED and other youth activists made and action inside the offcial conference building causing a lot of attention and that their accreditation cards were taken from them (note 83). In the end youth had chosen and were helped to establish their own separate sector at UNCED making radical actions and statements but not as at Stockholm integrating and being part of the leadership of the broader popular and NGO activities.
While many "cathegories" lost at least political influence due to the establishment of sectors, even when gaining access to a sectorised opportunity to lobby, one cathegory expanded its political influence significantly. This was business. Contrary to most accounts business played a crucial role already at UNCHE, through the secretariat and the UNCHE general secretary, through US state administration and other industrial nations government and through established eminent persons clustering in initiatives like the Club of Rome or business NGOs like Aspen Institute. Special meetings with Strong together with ICC and a number of chief executive officers in TNCs were also arranged i New York and Paris in connection with the Stockholm conference. At Rio this influence became visible. Strong appointed a special business advisor who established Business Council for Sustainable Development, BCSD, with priviliged access to the preparations. As sponsors of UNCED and well-funded lobbyists corporations made their presence strongly felt and obvious at Rio.
Both environmental and other local organisations from Stockholm and Rio de Janeiro played significant roles in the UNCHE and UNCED process. In both cities there existed an experienced lay ecological movement organisation or network with broad perspectives and international contacts. In Stockholm a number of local action groups among neighbours had mushroomed since 1968 promoting direct democracy and action calling themselves "byalag" refering to old direct democracy traditions in villages dating back to the medieveal ages. Simultanously Alternativ Stad, Alternative City, emerged as a group for broader regional issues and the city center where few lived and thus a neighboorhood organisation had no chances of confronting other commercial interests. The links between Alternativ Stad and the byalagmovement were informal and tight. The indepedence towards the parties was well-established. In its struggle against the demolition and modernisation of large parts of the city centre Alternativ Stad had similar political demands as a value-conservative opinion and the conservative party against the social democrats. But the group maintained contacts with all parties. The idea to use the positive opinions for its environmental and city-planning demands to start a party and run the elections 1970 was rejected by the group.
Alternativ Stad early got a central role in the
popular preparations for UNCHE. Many of the core members of the
local group also were key figures in the preparations of the
Direct democracy by citizens acting themselves and simultanously influenced politicians was the main ideology behind Alternativ Stad. A greater involvement of local citizens in their own affairs was the main solution to social and ecological problems. This idea made Alternativ Stad to oppose ideas to bring many activists to Stockholm. Instead the idea was that environmental activists should stay at home and make actiona where they lived. When American hippies arrived stating that a hundred thousand young people would arrive and a camp had to be arranged the Peoples Forum was from the outset sceptical. The idea to make a huge fair for travelling youth was rejected by the local groups in Stockholm. Instead the idea to make simultanous local actions world-wide and link all groups all over the world critical towards the conference through a newsletter was promoted.
Alternativ Stad also organised their own actions
specifically targetting any official image of politicians as unquestionable
environmentally friendly. This was expressed through the many
struggles concerning activities symbolizing the environmental
interest of the official conference delegates on bicycles or caring
for trees with Alternativ stad as the main popular actor at each
case. It was also expressed by competing with the official city
guide tour by arranging alternative tours in a bus driven by chicken-shit
to the parts of the city and environmental problems that the authorities
did not want to present. These actions got quite wide attention
in both national and itnernational media and was also positively
presented in one of the books evaluating UNCHE. Thus Alternativ
stad was able to make both local conflicts and the local environmental
movement visible and at the same time as being an influential
partner shaping the way the popular activities were organised
and emphasized on both action world-wide and popular forum in
In Latin America many local environmental groups have emerged during the last decades working in very similar fashion to its Northern counterparts, although often having a wider scope in its activities ranging from administrating a nature reserve to dealing with all local environmental conflicts as action groups elsewhere to organising the local competition in electric organ (note 84) One difference is that these local groups seldom are organised together with other local environmental groups in regional or national federations dominated by the local groups. Instead the environmental movement is often dominated by institutions, foundations or other kind of groups not democratically based in local communities. It is these non-local organisations that have accumulated most resources and are capable of controlling much of the central initiatives and spaces in the movement like environmental newspapers, office resources, external funding and representing the movement at national and international level.
The strongest exception to this pattern is Brasil. Here local groups formed regional networks of considerable strength that organised large campaigns against the building of new airports or acid rain and industrial emmissions. In these networks also some institutions participated but the local groups dominated. Networks with many local groups also exists in other countries like Argentine and Chile but here national organisations without a base in local groups within the network are considerably stronger then the network themselves and the local groups plays a more marginal role.
The Brazilian environmental movement made its first experience in the early 1970s. The first new kind of environmental organisation started in the Southern state Rio Grande do Sul. In1973 a single person started to demonstrate on the streets of Sao Paulo becoming the pioneer of the strong local environmental movement in the city and state. Local groups started to emerge at many places and environmental conflicts played an increasingly important role in questioning the lack of democracy during the dictatorship similar to the way environmental issues became central issues for popular mobilisations questioning the legitimacy of the communist regime in Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the 1980s.
Local environmental groups formed regional networks strengtheming their coordination and impact. During the democratisation process and the gradual demise of the military regime the environmental movement formed a national network 1987 active in influencing a broad constitutional process together with other popular movements (note 85). 1988 the number of environmental NGOs mushroomed due to the wide Brasilian and international interest in news reports on increasing forest destruction in the Amazon and the murder of rubber tapper leader Chico Mendes.
Two of the strongest regional networks were Assembléia Permanente das Entidades em Defesa do Meio Ambiente do Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, APEDEMA-SP and APEDEMA-RJ. Having their own direct international contacts and approximatly one hundred groups as members they had the capacity to make broad campaigns and influence political decisions. APEDEMA-RJ included groups working to protect the mangrove forests to a group of young philosohically minded ecologists and actions groups defending the interest of small local communities as well as some few local environmental groups with sizeable constituencies in towns and cities in the Rio de Janeiro state. A difference with Alternativ Stad was that quite a few of the central activists also were active in political parties and worked for the local government. In Rio de Janeiro big institutionalised NGOs like Instituto Brasileiro de Análisis Sociais e Econômicas, IBASE and Federação de Orgãos para Assistência Social e Educaional, FASE also were involved in environmental issues besides their broad social concerns but they prefered to organise their work separately.
When the need to initiate popular activities parallell to the official Rio conference started to become acute in the spring 1990 APEDEMA-RJ soon came into a central position. Internationally the global consensus management strategy promoted by the Brundtland report had caused a momentum and was well-organised and well-funded through the Centre for Our Common Future office in Geneva. At the meeting in Vancouver when the Centre tried to establish a legitimate base for organising all popular and other non-state input to the official conference did the organisation Pro-Rio turn up. It was supported by local business in Rio de Janeiro from tourist and other industries interested in getting the conference to the city as well as environmental organisations peripherical to broader environmental local conflicts and big NGOs like IBASE and FASE (note 86). Pro-Rio claimed to represent the whole Brazilian civil society. Many environmental organisations of national importance, often based in Sao Paulo, and other environmentally interested NGOs outside Rio de Janeiro had strong rejections against cooperating with business in their preparations towards UNCED and the claims made by Pro-Rio of representing the Brazilian civil society. They started to form the Brazilian NGO and social movement Forum, BNGOF.
But without any organisation in the conference city backing the forum there was practical obstacles to become central in the process. The only organisation in Rio de Janeiro with a strong legitimacy in the field that opposed cooperation with business and refused to participate in Pro-Rio was APEDEMA-RJ. With this help the Brazilian NGO Forum was able to side-step Pro-Rio and become the main cooperation partner for international NGOs both when organising the Global Forum and INGOF. Pro-Rio stepped back and maintained a limited role for practical arrangements. APEDEMA-RJ was elected as one of three organisations in the executive committe of the Brazilian NGO Forum.
The Brazilian NGO Forum grew rapidly organising national and regional meetings including all kinds of organisations from conservationists to trade unions and nongovernmental institutions. 1.200 organisations became members in the end, most of them smaller environmental groups of the same kind that dominated APEDEMA-RJ. The forum made radical criticism of the Brazilian government and the dominant world order. The neoliberal proposals from president Collor to reduce state ownership of companies and regulations by privatisation and emphasis on market forces was disapproved. Structural adjustment programmes demanded by IMF was denounced as having perverse consequences and the environmental policies put forward by Collor were described as relativly advanced rethoric (note 87). The ideology of the forum thus was challenging the present development model focsuing upon conflicts rather than cooperation with government and business.
With the rapid growth of the forum and new tasks the board and executive function had to expand. Among the many new active members in the forum were the non-governmental institutions IBASE and FASE in Rio de Janeiro that at first had chosen to not take side with APEDEMA-RJ but supported Pro-Rio. The discussions became controversial when elections for leadership took place. The proposal was to exclude APEDEMA-RJ from the executive board and replace them with IBASE, FASE and other rich organisations including trade unions while the two other organisations from the original executive committee should remain there, SOS Mata Atlantica, a foundation not democratically based in local communities and CEDI, an ecumenical non-governmental institution. The argument was that APEDEMA-RJ lacked sufficient communication capacity like a faxmachine to be able to take part in the daily work of the executive committee. Instead they and other similar organisations should be part of the board were all important political decisions should be taken.
The debate became heated when Betino, the nationally well-known left-wing director of IBASE that lived in exile during the military dictatorship and made himself a prominant name in the struggle for democracy, was attacked from the floor at one of the forum meetings. Betino argued that the smaller environmental groups did not have capacity enough to be members of the top leadership in the executive committee and was met by spontanous protests when participants shouted democracy!, democracy!. But APEDEMARJ was excluded and non-governmental institutions and foundations without democratic base in local communities or environmental groups together with trade unions formed an executive committee of seven organisations.
In spite of their majority position the small local groups were never capable of putting their concerns in the center for the way of working or positions taken by the forum. The demands from outside claiming that Brazilian organisations had to have the technical capacity to host tens of thousands of visiting NGO activists from the rest of the world and the constructed need to respond to UN and state policies was percieved as the unquestionable main tasks. Thus the kind of plans important 1972 emphasising joint local actions and close integration between a popular forum and demonstrations in the street during the official conference was marginalised or never came to the mind of the participants.
The Brazilian NGO Forum did not restrict itself
to only lobbying the government in relation to the official UNCED
process although local actions did not occupy its agenda. Controversy
erupted on the issue of Pilot Programme for the Brazilian Amazon
initiated by the G-7. Radical environmental groups and well-funded
institutes like IBASE and FASE in Southern Brasil voiced their
concerns against the choice of demonstration projects and how
the programme could lead to co-optation and bureaucratic solutions.
The end result was that APEDEMA-RJ was virtually
made invisible in spite of that they as
Another difference between Stockholm and Rio de Janeiro was the relationsship between the regionally oriented environmental network and the local neighboorhod groups. In Stockholm Alternativ Stad defined itself rather as part of a movement for direct democracy belonging to the same identity as the emerging local neighboorhod groups in the byalag movement and did not ally itself to nature conservationist or environmental issues when social dimensions were excluded. Also within the established tenants organisation and other popular movement organisations dominated by the social democrats with broad working class participation did demands for direct democracy have an appeal although the conflict between these new ideas and the established leadership often were sharp. At times the local chapter of the tenant's organisation organised itself as byalag when more radical actions were organised. The same persons shifted identity according to what was most appropriate for the political purpose. In Rio de Janeiro there was no common identity between APEDEMA-RJ and the neighboorhod organisations. When the class composition of APEDEMA-RJ was similar to that of Alternativ Stad the neighboorhod organisations were dominated by working class.
These neighboorhod organisations were the driving force together with other working class movements behind arranging demonstrations during the official conference. One of these demonstrations had many links the Brazilian NGO Forum including CUT, the main trade union and a organiser of the demonstration as well as member of the BNGOF executive committee. But the idea to make these demonstrations closely linked to INGOF did not occur to the organisers at first. It was international participants, first publically proposed during INGOF by the Latin American caucus, who started to strive for this linkage and that the programme should be adjusted to enable participation.
In the end the proportion of the participation between different kind of activities at Stockholm and Rio de Janeiro became highly different. At Stockholm the popular forum gathered some hundred and the NGO Forum in its most populous plenaries had 700 participants and in total some thousand participants while there were 7.000 in the biggest demonstration. At Rio de Janeiro 2.000 participated in the popular movement oriented INGOF and some 20.000 in the Global Forum while approximatly 10.000 marched in the biggest demonstration. At the same time did 500.000 local inhabitants visit the Global Forum where the global civil society was exhibited. At Stockholm the confrontational demonstration outnumbered any other activity many times while at Rio de Janeiro the demonstration was outnumbered by the global Forum two times when only accounting for the international participants and 50 times when accounting for visits to the exhibitions and other activities at the consensus-oriented Global Forum.
The differences in relation between the local movements
in the conference city and national and international levels cannot
be explained primarily by different conditions in industrialised
countries and the third world. At the Social Summit in Copenhagen
1995 the Global Forum model from Rio de Janeiro was copied with
even less possibilities to concentrate joint popular political
pressure compared to Rio de Janeiro (note 89).
1996 at the UN Conference on housing in Istanbul popular movements
organised a countermeeting
The pattern of relation between habitus and open political conflict differed 1972 and 1992. With Bader (note 92) we can focus the notion of habitus in such a way that it is useful for understanding popular movements and apply it to the UNCHE and UNCED process. The core of the understanding of habitus is maintained as a unity of unconscious subjectivised embodied social structure with psychical, cognitive and normative aspects crystalized in specific lifestiles and cultures. A close functionalistic and structural unity between habitus and homogenous class position is here replaced by a more broader understanding including also other e.g. elite or ascriptive discriminating positions of social inequality that cannot be reduced to class relations. Bader explicitly simplifies the notion of habitus making it useful for understanding the structuring of chances and forms of collective action by unifying the different dimensions of habitus on a continium from habitualised adaption to habitualised protest. This includes the social constitution of the body ranging from obsequiousness or self-conscious disciplined elegance to bodily freedom and laughter, seldom studied but often immediatly recognised in familiar conversations and expressed in political charicature or other art forms. It includes psychic habitus on a scale from internalisation of the oppressers into authorian attitudes to critical self-confidence able to turn into questioning and changing the system. Cognitive attitudes are ranging from generalised fatalistic world views to cognitive optimism and at the other end a generalised critical basic view were all cognitive claims are open to rational reflexion. Normative basic views range from habitualised conformism to generalised sensivity for injustice and critical assessment of normative assumptions.
Bader concludes on the influence of collective habitus on collective action by quoting a hypothesis: "The more homogenized habitus is within a potential collective actor ... and the wider the distance or gap is to collective habitus of potential conflict opponents, the greater the chance for establishing collective identity." The problem in studying habitus lies in the way questioning it immediatly becomes a threat to the whole personality as well as its unconscious character. Furthermore while its expression in outwardly visible lifestyles and symbols does not come about from itself in relation to other collective habitus' but is the result of conscious and unconscious strategies to distinct oneself from the other. The other collective habitus is more than different, it is unnatural and alien. As the habitus is unconscious as a unity although sometimes by others and those carrying it able to look at as expressed in specific behaviour or lifestyles it is hard to study. From the observers point of view habitus is latent rather than immediatly accesible. At the same time when deeper identity is concerned distinctions are highly emotionally laden and not always for participants or outside observers easy to analyse. But it is in unplanned situations when a collective is faced by initiatives or opportunities to act or react that one can find clear distinctions expressed that shows boundaries of underlying collective habitus. But habitus can also be studied in its more subtle commonplace form. What we can add to Baders scale from habitualised adaptation to habitualised protest is a more spatial view present in Bourdieu's habitus analysis of cabyle houses and villages (1977). This kind of spatial dimension also elaborated by Hunt (1977) and Björk (1995) is useful for studying the face-to-face interaction at international conferences.
For us the focus is on the whole scale between habitus
and open political conflict. But when open political conflict
is both empirically and theoretically well covered in most accounts
of international conferences the linkages to habitus is more seldom
if ever studied (note 93). Here the strongest
political conflicts during UNCHE and UNCED processes among popular
movements and NGOs, in their relation to governments, and the
way these conflicts are related to different habitus' are the
most interesting aspect. This will here be done in two steps.
First the broader collective habitus pattern at both occasions
will be accounted for. Secondly dimensions of expressing this
habitus in relation to symbols and other emerging situations were
unplanned or planned action takes place. Here attitudes, values
and corporal behaviour linked to protest habitus will be looked
at expressed as capacity for impromptu or quick action against
authorian initiatives and rank-and-file direct democracy, and
the way the whole collective is mobilising. The relations between
the global NGO level and the local movement already accounted
for also have habitus aspects from conventional ignorance of local
popular movements to have a main emphasis on protest which becomes
stronger with local mass mobilisation.
Broader habitus pattern
The two main clusters of actors initiating non-governmental
processes in the UNCHE process are embedded in two distinct and
contrasting collective habitus. On the one hand selected individuals
and professional institutions belonging to the global economic,
political and scientific elite working in informal and formal
hierarchic manners. Proposals for changing lifestyles are made
into an individual moral issue and no change of the position of
their own group rather than a question of collective creation
of new ways of life combined with macro-societal changes. Their
mode of behaving builds on excluding
The other cluster of groups of people are more open to anyone valuing the under-priviliged globally or in their own country and willing to act and change their own ways of life while also attempting at changing society. Their mode of behaviour have been characterized in the new social movement studies as making the level of activity contribution from the members decisive in their influence rather than an elected formal board or their position in other societal rankings (note 95) It has also been stated that they are working in a segmented way without hierarchic formal structures building coordination through many personal network links between different groups, with many leaders or everybody having the possibility to be leaders, the so called SPIN model (segmented, polychepalos, interactive and networking).
In this way committed participants are created and changes of society established as much through direct results of the groups own activity as through broadening ways of participating for everybody in politics rather than through established parties or hierarchically organised pressure groups (note 96). Rather than having political impact by rational resource-mobilisation in a number of delimited policy areas societal change is produced by changing and challenging conventional habitus patterns.
Selected alliances among the priviliged
Two elite groups played crucial roles in shaping the global environmental debate in the period when UNCHE was officially prepared from 1968 to 1972. Both consisted of people with similar background and their projects were financed in similar ways. One group brought forward visions of global management and a fatalistic world view claiming that humanity would face a catastrophy due to exhaustion of natural resources if the development was not changed. Population and production growth had to come to a halt and a zero-growth at a global equilibrium level was required. These ideas were put forward by the Club of Rome, a self-appointed group of businessman, scientists and high governmental officials funded by the Ford and Volkswagen foundation. The group was founded in 1968 and started what they called their commando action by launching the book Limits to Growth spread free to 15.000 decision-makers in more than 2 1/2 million copies and translated into more than 20 languages (note 97). The book came to dominate the public debate in many countries. Its biologistic paradigm stating that nature puts limits to society still is influential although its predictions have been wrong so far. Besides the limits to growth message the Club of Rome also had other views on how the necessary societal changes have to be prepared. In their view the majority of people have a very short time-horizon and capacity to think in broader perspectives. Also politicians have a to limited thinking focusing on next elections. But also mental models and the human brain are to primitive to grasp the complex and long-term nature of the problems facing humanity. What is needed is a elaborated computer programming and the insights among the elite capable of thinking in long terms.
The other group was directed by Joseph Slater in his capacity as director of Aspen Institute of Humanistic studies and Anderson Foundation as well as initiator of International Institute on Environmental Affairs, IIEA (note 98). This network of organisations worked in close relation with business, the UNCHE secretariat, the US State administration as well as the International Association for Cultural Freedom (note 99) when establishing a way to handle the environmental issue. At the core of the network were regular summer universities for directors of corporations and a few trade union leaders and cultural personalities at Aspen in the Rocky Mountains. Here key figures in business and those with compatible interests could have deeper discussions on great Western ideas or find ways to actively handle crisis in society. In a report Thomas Wilson (who worked at first for the State Department, then for Aspen Institute and finally in the UNCHE secretariat) funded by Anderson Foundation formulated the way to handle the environmental conflicts: The international risks inherent in the present situation can be sensed if we imagine the disastrous consequences for a spaceship if it were manned by a crew comprised of a dozen astronauts, each with a different idea about where he wants to go and about the goal of the mission. Yet the imaginery picture is the real picture of how things are with Spaceship Earth. It is manned by more than a hundred governments with different and often conflicting missions and with nobody in charge of the crew (note 100). When the UNCHE general secretary Strong wanted to create a conceptual framework by making a report on the human environment for the UN conference he wanted to invite to a broad meeting with concerned scientists. But he was adviced with the experience from Aspen Institute to use a more closed way of working by appointing two key persons and bring in selected persons for parts of the work with the help of IIEA, a model that also was chosen (note 101). The analogy of a Spaceship Earth in need of someone in charge of the crew above the conflicting governments was effectively disseminated and arranged in practice.
Participatory alliances among and with the under priviliged
On the opposite side of the selected few three groups
building on lay participation initiated and gave the strength
to the open popular activities in the UNCHE-process. The most
consistent building of a momentum towards UNCHE was represented
by TUG, the
Spatially these contradictory habitus patterns among popular actors and NGOs resulted in strong confrontations at numerous places and content-wise in broad general confrontational debates in plenaries. The same confrontation that mobilised most people on the streets and resulted in the strongest debates at Forums was also brought into the official conference.
The UNCED process was formed during the peak of the cold war when millions marched the streets in Europe and North America afraid of a nuclear war. The World Commission on Environment and Development, WCED often named the Brundtland commission after its chairwoman, was established by the UN 1983. It formed the ideology of both political solutions and ways of organising the political process solving environmental and development problems in the UNCED-process. This time the governments themselves and the UN took the initiative rather then waiting for other actors to form the way of working and the action-oriented strategy.
Dialogue is promoted as the key solution delinked from questions of power or socioeconomic structural change (note 103). These controversial issues are avoided by stating but not arguing that technological efficiency can make growth sustainable (note 104). A change in the structure of power or socio-economic relations do not need to take place as the present conflicts can be solved by technological efficiency resulting in sustainable growth in the future.
This authorian attitude against any challenging of the present development model is combined with an open invitation to participate in lobbying world leaders and become a selected co-operation partners in global sustainable development management. Environmental protection and sustainable development must become an integrated part of the mandate for all governmental international organisations and all important private organisations (note 105). As cooperation-partners in the transformation towards sustainable development are specifically mentioned World Industry Conference on Environmental Management, International Chamber of Commerce, ICC, Environment Liaison Center, ELC, Internationa Institute on Environment and Development, IIED, Worldwatch Institute, World Resource Institute, WRI, and a report is mentioned on Youth Nature Conservation Movements in the Socialist Countries (note 106). Business, institutes often financed by business and facilitating centers with one exception. Finger describes the new global pattern: In this view of global politics promoted by the the Brundtland Commission and later implemented by and via the UNCED process, it is said that global environmental problems will ultimatly be solved, once the worlds governments establish a dialogue among themselves as well as with the main non-governmental actors. It was therefore essential that the right, that is the most influential, dialogue-partners were associated with the UNCED process (note 107).
WCED carried out its visions immediatley in practice. The public opinion is what you see in this room. You see influential leaders from all over Brasil. From the rubber tapper, who yesterday was standing under a palm tree and here speak to the UN-Commission, to independent leaders. The population of Brasil needs somebody to talk to and discuss with. a journalist stated at one of the public hearings arranged by WCED when making the report (note 108). All in all 7.000 NGOs were involved in dialogue with WCED. This consensual interpersonal dialogue model became dominant all through the UNCED process.
At the bottom "private" sectorized interests have the role to be listened to, make the UNCED process known and accepted and implement the decisions resulting from the dialogue. This level at the bottom is best symbolised when legitimising UNCED by people like children, a rubber tapper, indigenous people, women and the like. Above them were the governments that had the priviliged role of representing the public interest and the sole responsibility to make formal political decisions. But the key actor in the main strategy, how to create sustainable growth that could solve the problems according to the Brundtland and UNCED ideology, is at a level of general industrial competence above the governments, the TNCs. The industry "is maybe the foremost instrument having an impact on the environment and the resource base" states the Brundtland report. It continues "The industry of the world have taken some important steps by making voluntary policies" and proposes "mutual advice and support" expressed by "common councils for sustainable development" appointed by governments and industry "for cooperation when creating and implementing policies, laws and rules concerning a more sustainable development" (note 109).
There was no longer as in 1972 a need for hiding the kind of strong personal links between business and government. Instead the links could be openly displayed. TAs Principal Advisor for Business and Industry UNCHE general secretary Strong appointed Stephen Schmidheiny, a Swiss businessman, one of the main owners of ABB and a board member of Nestlé (note 110). Schmidheiny selected some 50 collegues and formed the Business Council for Sustainable Development, BCSD. A special private Eco-Fund was set up by Strong financed by transnational corporations, among them Atlantic Richfield Company that played such a crucial role in funding business intervention at UNCHE 1972. The Eco-Fund payed among other things parts of the salary of the official UNCHE staff. BCSD and the TNCs had no problems in getting their political goals into the process and the final Rio documents. A code of conduct for TNCs prepared during 15 years by the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations was not allowed to be distributed at the preparatory meetings (note 111). Instead of proposals prepared by the UN voluntary TNC self-regulation was the solution primarily promoted by UNCED. Free trade, technological efficiency and internalisation of environmental costs in the prices of products within the present socioeconomic system together with information to the public should result in the sustainable development solving the global ecological crisis.
The consensual dialogue model also established arenas for all under-priviliged sectors and their cooperation including those that normally opposed consensus and were in conflict with business or governments (note 112). A layer of coalitions were established from global to national and sometimes lower levels including or excluding sectors defined as relevant or unacceptable. The dominant pattern was to deflect the UNCED input from confrontational campaigning and action into these coalitions.This resulted in marginalising of broad participatory campaigning critical towards politicians or companies. This resulted in marginalising of broad participatory campaigning critical towards politicians or companies.
It was possible even when the majority of participating groups built their strength on this kind of work. At least three factors contributed to this pattern. Firstly the implicit problems when broader groups should unite their concerns without any limitis to a common politicial and critical idea. Thus the only common demand often became promotion of the idea of Sustainable development and UNCED together with demands for more access to the official process. Secondly funding was made available in huge sums for facilitating lobbywork and travels to international preparatory meetings but little or nothing for mobilising people collectivly and democratically in critical campaigns (note 113). Thirdly, the conflicting need of the coalitions for being well-funded facilitators of a process and avoiding controversial representative functions together with the need for producing some lobby input of critical value in a broad multi-issue area resulted in a culture dominated by professionals specialised in knowing how to manoeuvre in this contradicting environment while lay people got marginalised.Instead of a continuous political work in a popular movement dominated by lay commitment like in the new social movements the work was shaped by making applications for projects to coalitions or governments for UNCED campaigning or becoming marginalised in relation to well-funded other NGO UNCED activities. In this atmosphere of professional project administration and lobbying the kind of socialisation and personal hierarchic networks characterising the business and top level officials behaviour in the UNCHE process now also became a part of the NGO and popular movement behaviour.
Bergen ECO issued by the Norwegian Campaign for Environment and Development describes the new model when comparing with 1972 in an article titled "NGOs: a force for 1992": "the Environmental Forum itself was a jumble of protest about the Vietnam War and freedom fighters around the world. One newspaper reported the scene as looking 'like a school opening evening without any parents'. Almost twenty years later on, the environmentalists of 1990 are likely to sit down with top government officials" (note 114). The likelihood that the person on the other side of the table representing the government earlier was an environmentalist is positively valued and a number of cases accounted for.
The closeness between governments and NGOs became something to take for granted in the UNCED process. In the Norwegian Campaign for Environmant and Development finally the government itself had to react and wihtdraw from its seat in the steering committee when they recognised that it was problematic to sit on a board of an organisation that among other things could lend support to activities of groups of NGOs or popular movements critical to the government. The NGOs and popular movements themselves had not seen this as problematic that they demanded this move (note 115).
Also the young activists were socialised in the UNCED process into lobbying within the limits put by the official agenda and the roles given by the established society. In a report from the third UNCED prepatory meeting two young Swedes refers without comment a meeting with Greenpeace UN lobbyist giving advice: "As youth you probably have a greater chance at influencing politicians than most others, if you are fairly well-informed about the subject you are discussing. To link researchers to you and refer to their knowledge and conclusions and thus get a solid base of facts to stand on is a god idea. As voters in the future and people starting your career people should listen to you. Because as you get on in the world when so young you will for certain get important positions in the future." (my translation) (note 116).
The closeness between the official and the non-governmental level became evident in Rio.
The highest position at both the official and the NGO conference were held by North Americans, both with high level positions in industry and officially appointed groups behind them and both old personal friends and business companions (note 117). Strong was general secretary of UNCHE and Warren Lindner representing the International Facilitating Committee and coordinator of the Global Forum. What had failed in Stockholm, to get control of the NGO and popular participation, was this time turned into a succesful implementation of the original ideas from 1972. What then had caused such fear of"uncontrolled participation" and a "counter-conference" became in 1992 what Peter Stone, P.R. senior officer in the UNCHE secretariat had envisioned twenty years earlier: "I had imagined an Environment Forum in the shadow of, but apart from, the main conference. It would be arranged more or less like an exhibition and anyone could put up a stall and do their thing, provided they satisfied a few basic requirements such as financial solvency and a genuine interest in the environment" (note 118).The professional intermediaries had created what their professional role gave them the insight to do, and other actors allowed them to do it.
A habitualised protest also existed but was completely
marginalised. The youth nature conservation movements in
the socialist countries specifically referred to by WCED
as the only lay movement among institutes and business developed
strong contacts with the environmental protest movements in Western
Europe in the middle 1980s. Some of the core groups in the Central
and Eastern European environmental or alternative movement went
through very identical periods with countercultural happenings
and opposing any authorian rules as those preparing popular actions
1972 (note 119). This included campaigns for
consciousness conscription, building an alternative culture with
festivals and music
EYFA broadened its scope and became strongly involved in preparations for UNCED protesting against the way the official agenda left many important issues unaddressed and linked themselves to other protest movements. But this attempt became incapsulated and sectorised as "youth", one among other inputs from the civil society at the Global Forum.
At the global level action networks had started earlier focusing on a single issue.They were dominated by strong unpaid commitment building personal ties and a simple way of life to enable low-budget campaigning.The first was International Baby Food Action Network, IBFAN, established in 1978 and protesting against Nestlé breast milk products. Later Pesticide Action Network, PAN, International Rivers Network, IRN, Rain Forest Action Network, RAN, and World Rain Forest Movement, WRM, as well as others followed. They strongly linked the struggle in the third world with protests in the North. PAN and the World Forest Movement also had its leadership in the South. These international action networks were often well integrated to other existing international organisations oriented towards popular participation like ELC, International Organisation of Consumer Unions, IOCU and Friends of the Earth International, FOEI but they could express a more radical criticism. What they did not was to develop mass popular movements and they stayed within fairly narrowly defined issue limits.
Also the single-issue networks developed a space for addressing broader issues although they themselves with the exception of EYFA did not broaden their scope.They effected already existing organisations like FOEI by bringing in more social and radical concern in its campaigning and a growing number of member groups in the south. In Malaysia PAN and WRM were based and both FOEI and IOCU had national members all working closely together. They took part in the initiative to establish a new broad issue network integrating also wider social and economic concerns. 1984 the Third World Network started with members from all continents in the South (note 120). With its broad and protest-oriented orientation it soon came into a key position in the UNCED preparations. But it was only indirectly linked to popular movements building on lay mobilisation and was dominated by professional generalists and their institutes providing one way of having stability for sustained criticism.
Kolk accounts for a shift globally among forest protesting groups from action to adminstration of small-scale projects. "Generally speaking, effective mobilisation was converted into consultation from the late 1980s on, and increasing number of NGOs started to fokus on the implementation of projects" (note 121).
Spatially the dominance of one homogenized collective
habitus in dialogue with the official process among popular actors
and NGOs resulted in each being isolated within his niche related
to others by market mechanisms for visibility and funding. Content-wise
it resulted in a lack of confrontations. The huge amount of professional
effort as the Issue director of US Citizens' Network on UNCED
describes it gives the result that "citizens' groups barely
scratched the surface of the official documents. Bits and pieces
were tinkered with and modified here and there, but the structure
of the agreements, the context within which they were considered,
and the level of political and fincial investment, all conformed
to governments' expectations, not NGOs" (note
How different actors relate to emerging situations
and direct democracy is of special interest when key symbols,
how conflicts are handled and large numbers of concerned people
Many efforts were made both 1972 and 1992 to symbolise different initiatives and their broader concerns. As already described in the beginning of this paper the main encounter 1992 between the official governmental conference and the whole civil society was given a symbolic character by the viking ship with children coming to the beach were the encounter and the inauguration of the global forum took place. No actor apart from the street children made serious attempts to challenge the picture of a common future and consensus. 1972 the main encounter between the official conference and the popular activities also took place at the NGO-Forum. The US-delegation at UNCHE had been invited to Environmental Forum to address a panel and the audience to discuss ecocide and the war in Vietnam. William D. Ruckelshaus, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency went although he told the press he sensed a lynching, with himself as a "lynchee" (note 123). The plenary was filled up to the walls and both the panel with many prominent Americans and others as well as the audience were highly critical. 1992 the encounter is accompanied with the we are all in the same boat symbol and accepted by the main actors, 1972 the encounter is accompanied by the analogy of lynching. Trees are a key symbols at both UNCHE and UNCED. Both the official and the main popular initiative used the combination of man and vegetation in their symbols 1972. The official was a graphically simplified human being surrounded by the naturalistic leaves from the UN symbol, the popular was a clump of trees in naturalistic style with their combined tree-tops formed as one clenched fist. The clump of trees were those from the Battle of the Elms saved by civil disobedience 200 meters away from the entrance of the official conference building. Together with the tree fist a manifesto was distributed that equally stated that "we must create a new way of life" and "now we must find new ways of production that allow us to live with the resources of the earth instead of poisoning and eroding them" and "we must solidarise us with the oppressed fighting for their liberation in poor countries and at other places." From the UN was only empty rethoric excpected. The official participants made more initiatives to further their environmental image by using care for trees as a symbol in Stockholm. The chief US delegate Russell Train wanted to show that also he supported local inhabitants protecting their trees. Alternativ Stad was asked to come to the elms to meet Train and his wife. The world media was well informed.
When Train talked about how much he liked trees and the need to save them Göran Folin and Ralph Fidler who initiated the succesful struggle to save the elms started to ask questions - "if you as an representative for the US likes trees so much why do you not stop the destruction of trees in Vietnam?" The cheeks fell visibly of both Train and his broad shouldered company who quickly lost their disciplined charm (note 124).
Pauline Strong, the wife of the UNCHE general secretary had no better luck with her attempt to contribute to the tree symbolic power to the official conference. Here spade broke into pieces when she started to dig for the plantation of a tree in memory of the environmental conference at Djurgården, a park area in the more luxurious part of the city. Alternative City turned up also here, this time asking why the tree was not planted in the working class suburb Tensta instead, something the press noted (note 125).
The use of the tree, that was so contested 1972, became unchallenged 20 years later. Standing as a uniting symbol of the dialogue between people and governments in the middle of Global Forum, a metal tree was placed. In the metal construction paper leaves hung with messages from people all over the world to the politicians. The campaign to organise this Tree of Life had called people to make a personal plea at the same time as a letter to the official conference was sent. The collective call for jointly creating a new way of life and production not expecting the politicians to do much else then producing empty words in 1972 had changed into a call from self-appointed NGO leaders for moral individual pleas and hopes that the politicians should do something in 1992. The recurring focus 1972 on the oppressed or under-priviliged as hopes for change globally or locally was replaced with a focus on the official conference 1992 and the world leaders as managers of a common future.
Five groups and fora provided space for participatory preparations for popular and NGO activities in 1972: NGO participation in the official preparatory meetings, the Powwow group, the Hamilton conference, Peoples Forum and the Environmental Forum. One played almost no role in spite of the opportunity. NGOs present at the official preparatory meetings whose numbers peaked to 53 did not organise any joint efforts to provide broader or a more politically focused participation in spite of their priviliged position to take an initiative. The key group that initiated participatory activities was the Powwow-group which was the outcome of efforts from international young theosophists. Internally the group functioned as an extreme type of direct democracy. Everyone was entrusted to speak on behalf of the whole group and take decisions unless specific decision had been taken. This open and self-assured attitude also aligned easily and immediately with other key actors.
Only one official initiative was made for a broader international preparation of input to UNCHE from popular actors and not only scientist, expert and business NGOs. Supported by the UNCHE Secretariat, IUCN and the International Youth Federation for the Study and Conservation of Nature, IYF and some other institutes and UN organisations 163 young people gathered from 75 countries at the International Youth Conference on the Problems of the Human Environment, IYCHE at Hamilton in Canada in 1970. The majority came from the third world. The programme was filled with lectures by people from North America and Britain. At the presentation of the meeting, the agenda was sharply criticised for representing a Western way of looking at the problems. This point was made already the first day in plenary by Jurgenne Honculada Primavera from the Phillipines and Sylvanus Ahade from Togo. Jan Fjellander who represented the Powwow group was moved - "Here was what I had been searching for so many years. Here was radical and well-articulated people. I had felt that there was something wrong in our worldview but I couldn't get it straight. It was necessary with emotional contribution from the third world delegates to make me understand what" (note 126).
In the premises many not so young persons including
people from the top of US foreign policy advisory groups and IUCN
were around carefully following the event. Soon people started
to get worried about each other and especially people present
that did not seem to actively participate in the proceedings and
had cameras. The common CIA paranoia at international meetings
during this period started to block the possibilities to do serious
This became the secret signal for a conspiracy.
A systematic mapping of all participants started checking their
opinion en passant on a number of issues. After two or three days
the whole conference was taken over. As the Oi Committe International
The conference worked effectively according to new ideas resulting in over 100 pages reporting from the six regional and six issue workshops and recommendations to UNCHE. The joint conference message is clear, "[without] making prior commitments to bring about basic change in the present social and economic relations between the rich and the poor, it becomes fruitless to discuss the solution of the problems implied by the agenda of the United Nations 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Problems of the Human Environment .." (note 129).
IYCHE elected a women from Vietnam as representing the global youth at UNCHE challenging the US and demanded resources for a parallell conference completly distinct from UNCHE. Such a conference was initiated by the Powwow-group inviting all interested groups in Stockholm to participate in the preparations of a Peoples Forum. The forum was also arranged although a split occured among the organisers. A constellation of the succesful counter-culture millionaire and a hippie commune working as security guards at big youth festivals from the US turned up and approached Peoples Forum (note 130). They together offered funding if they could become responsible for the information exchange during the event. Suspision grew concerning the fact that the the counter-culture groups were making propaganda for drugs and cooperated with the Kaplan fund which had been proven to channel CIA money.
During the conference constant confrontations took place between the American hippies and those opposing the US war in Vietnam and the liberal use of drugs. The press conferences and plenaries of Peoples Forum became battle grounds, in the streets when people invited to the microphone choose to criticise US warfare and attempts were made to silenced them by hippies and at the final session at Environmental Forum when the US warfare should be discussed and instead the American hippies invaded the podium and managed to dissolve the meeting before the discussion was finished. In the confrontational and conspicious atmosphere Peoples Forum split as the international cooperation partners choosed to leave. The radical participants from the third world at the Hamilton conference had established the Oi committee international with Fjellander as their representative in Stockholm. In the tense situation in the Peoples Forum Fjellander saw no other option than to leave the cooperation only some weeks before UNCHE should start with no other possibility at hand as much conspiciousness turned against him and the Oi Committee for not taking a firm stand against any direct or indirect CIA funding.
The Environmental Forum was under press from both official and popular actors to neither turn into a counter conference nor work dependent on any conditions set by the governments. Meanwhile the Peoples Forum was as a constant alternative and ahead in the preparations in spite of immensely smaller proportions of resources thanks to the many volunteers at their disposal. The original idea at the UNCHE secretariat of making an exhibition and a gathering in the shadow of the official conference (note 131) was even in such an uncontroversial form to controversial for the UN. The responsibility was instead given to the Swedish government to arrange a NGO-Forum which in their turn gave it to two broad popular movements networks, UNA Sweden and the National Council of Youth Organisations. The pressure from independent groups criticising any control from governments and internal problems became an open split within the secretariat when it was revealed that the director was employed by the government and not by the popular movement coalitions. In the middle of the crisis Fjellander came and offered his practical help in organising and political help with contacts to the third world. A programme dominated by the same North American and European institutes that had dominated the Hamilton conference at the start was to a large extend replaced when 50 members of the Oi Committee were invited payed by the Swedish International development Agency.
The strong direct democracy process among local
popular movements in preparing Peoples Forum and at Hamilton
finally also put such a pressure on the semi-official NGO Forum
that much of its character changed in favour of the third world.
Both the Oi Committee and the strong FNL movement cooperating
both within the Peoples Forum, as main organiser of the
demonstration and within the Environmental Forum could make this
shift a reality within a democratic structure and culture open
to some pressure. Also the director of the Environmental Forum
appointed by the Social democratic government, a Social democrat
herself from a popular movement supporting sexual information
and contraceptives, was part of the direct democracy wave in Sweden
at the time. She was a chairwomen of one of the Social Democrat
local chapters known for its rotation of posts and ambitions to
involve the members in the activity of the party.
UNCED participatory democracy
The possibilities to participate in preparations for UNCED was at a first look limitless, in contrast to 1972 There was countless global, continental, national, state or subregional and local preparatory meetings for all sectors or for all popular movements or for specific groups like business, women, youth, indigenous people, trade unions farmers etc. Many of the preparatory meetings had numbers of attending NGOs that well exceeded any earlier prescendents including many normal parallell events to official conferences. The record was held by the Womens preparatory meeting in Miami in 1991 with 1.500 participants. A preparatory meeting for all NGO sectors except business, arranged in Paris with 1.000 participants, and had for the first time a balanced participation according to number of population resulting in an overwhelming majority from the third world. At the central prepatory meetings during the UNCED process nothing occurred of the kind that happened at Hamilton when the audience took over the whole meeting, in the secretariat or plenary of the Environmental Forum or the split in Peoples Forum after CIA funding was suspected.
There were only some minor conflicts, like controversies
on the use of language and who to include and exclude from joint
preparatory processes. They were solved with minor adjustments
and division of labor. At the global level there was basically
three processes that encompassed broader groups of NGOs. One was
initiated by the Centre for Our Common Future, a private foundation
consisting of some few persons formed around the secretary of
the Brundtland Commission and businessman Warren Lindner. CoCF
was established to disseminate the Brundtland report and create
a "Brundtland-community" by issuing regular publications
and organising public hearings on sustainable development since
the report was released 1987. The second was centered around ELCI
which consisted of some three hundred environmental and development
NGOs mainly from the third world working as a liason centre in
relation to UNEP in Nairobi since 1975. The third group was based
on those NGOs attending the official preparatory meetings. Challengers
were integrated in the sectorised partcipatory pattern after some
conflicts in the beginning.
CoCF gained legitimacy by appointing as working partners organisations asking for information writing to the CentreSome few established organisations had close relationships with CoCF but there was no democratic control. As the centre was wellfunded by private North American foundations and governments in Scandinavia and elsewhere and well-informed working in close relation with Strong it had the resources to take fast initiatives. A meeting planned by CoCF in Vancouver in February 1990 parallell to a Eco-business Globe '90 fair was turned into a conference for some 150 NGO representatives.Brundtland was present and stated that cooperation and compromise with industry is necessary. Strong emphasised how population growth and the growing gap between rich and poor countries is bringing the world on the road towards a catastrophy which can only be avoided through a radical change of the world economy and the emergence of a new global alliance. While Brundtland and Strong held their speaches at Globe 90' environmental and indian organisations held a press conference criticising the event as an "expensive PR show" trying to hide the inactivity of the industry and the government in solving the present environmental problems. But a critical Indian chief was allowed to speak to the delegates who gave him a standing ovation. The outcome showed no disturbing divergence of opinions. In the concluding discussion of seven working groups during the NGO conference it was stated that there is a risk for cooptation and due to this it is important with a alternative parallell conference and that CoCF could carry a role of coordination and call to a new similar meeting. A conceptual framework for the process renaming all kinds NGOs including industry independent sector was widely spread.
Challengers in the north and the south
In the Nordic countries alternative movements working with environmental, solidarity, peace, women and EU-critical issues had close contact. The anti-nuclear power issue was a central focus. Close contact had developed between the movements through nordic environmental summer camps during the 1970s and a Nordic Campaign for Alternatives in the beginning of the 1980s. The contacts between the nordic alternative movement continued and the Brundtland-process was closely followed as the Norwegian groups had first hand contact with the development. In December 1988 Environmental Federation and Future in Our Hands arranged a nordic meeting in Stockholm were criticism of the Brundtland report and the process was one of the main topics. Thomas Wallgren, a solidarity movement activist from Finland and vice-chairman of a development NGO, accused the Brundtland report of being pseudodemocratic. The premises for participating in the global dialogue on sustainable develoment was to accept the report and the idea of "economic expansion" or sustainable growth and the lack of taking conflicting interests and social struggle seriously as the foundation for the discussion (note 132). The proposal was to not take too much notice of the Brundtland report but instead continue to develop own critical ideas and campaigns on the relation between environmental and other social issues. This strategy made Finland almost the only country in Western Europe were a critical discourse towards the Brundtland report dominated both popular movements and NGO cooperation.
Instead of well-funded Brundtland lobbying as in most other countries mass mobilisation developed as the main campaigning method during the years of the UNCED process. With much less funding ten of thousands participated in campaigns on fair trade, human rights in the Amazon, climate action days and marches against the building of motorways with people from the third world walking side by side with their Finnish fellow activists knocking the doors along the way on the houses threatended by the motor way project. In Latin America a politically oriented environmental movement had emerged. In the Southern part of the continent international conferences against nuclear power had started building on lay activism and small budgets. The Brundtland process was used to build a more wide-spread Latin American network by using the funds available for Brundtland dialogues. A meeting took place at Las Vertientes in Chile 1989 organised by Instituto de Ecologia Politica, IEP, with NGOs and popular movement networks from the whole continent. The main political focus at this meeting was to link the environmental problems with debt issues and specifically be critical towards "debt for nature swaps" as a way to condition the state environmental policies and "hamper the activity of independent popular environmental groups" (note 133). The meeting formed the South American Pact for Ecological Action, El Pacto, which welcomed linkages to the environmental movement in the North. El Pacto gained a lot of influence in the Latin American preparatory process with its strong agenda linking envionmental with social issues and criticism towards industrial countries.
Center for Our Common Future initiated with similar professional NGOs a broad meeting in Latin America to spread the Brundtland report and UNCED message and give a Latin American civil society input to the official Rio conference. It was dominated by foundations and NGO institutes as well as many universities and governmental officials but some few democratically based networks of local environmental groups and actionoriented organisations also participated. "The meeting did not develop as planned" states the official report diplomatically. El Pacto succeed in strongly influencing the statement of the working group on economics and environment including its critical and controversial proposals on debt for nature swaps and the need to question the legitimacy of debts to industrialised countries. These views were adopted in consensus in the common Declaración de los Andes (note 134).
The organizations present at the Nordic December meeting 1988 together with EYFA joined their efforts and initiated a popular initiative for the official preparatory conference for Europa and North America arranged by the UN Economic Commission to be held in May in Bergen in Norway 1990. Simultaneously the Norwegian government as hosts of the official conference asked EEB (European Environmental Bureau), to convene a preparatory process for all voluntary organisations to enable a unique possibility to participate in joint negotitations with governments and other NGO sectors at Bergen in the spirit of the Brundtland report. At a meeting of some 30 Nature conservations societies often working close to governments and other EEB members in Brussels elected a steering committee and gave it a mandate. The problem for the meeting was that they lacked contacts in Eastern Europe. There the environmental movement in the late 1980s that was not coopted by the one-party state communist governments worked with a distance if not in total opposition to the government. The EEB organisations lacked contact with the new oppositional groups that gained more and more legitimacy as organisations close to the governments lost their appeal both at home and internationally. Those contacts had instead been built by lay activists and especially succesful by the EYFA network. So when EEB asked EYFA activists for addresses it had to be explained why they were needed and thus the venue of the meeting in Brussels came to the knowledge of activists. Dag Høystad, an activist experienced in contacts with Eastern Europe from Norway,went to the meeting as EYFA had a strong interest in the UNCED process. But he was refused to enter the meeting which was locked for everybody except the selected few (note 135).
The Nordic and EYFA activists started a newsletter and an open preparatory process in the autumn of 1989 with the strength mainly building on voluntary work by many nonprofessional activists and strong links to Eastern European environmental movements in opposition to their governments. The idea was to arrange a parallell popular meeting focusing on the own agenda of the movements, networking and joining with the efforts of the local groups to make actions against the official conference. The initiative was labelled SEED Popular Forum, SEED meaning solidarity, equality, ecology and development stressing both third world solidarity and equality within a society. Soon International Rivers Network and The Ecologist was involved in the plans and links were made to third world movements.
Meanwhile the steering committe elected by the closed EEB meeting continued their preparations by organising the Bridging the Gap conference for the voluntary environmental and development organisations in Vienna and Budapest in March 1990. For the first time ever ten environmentalists and some few solidarity and development organisations respresentatives could meet and discuss common problems together with some EYFA and other activists. The presence of activists from all over Europe influenced the common statement where some radical demands on reduction of military expenditure and reducing road traffic was included. Attempts to use the unique opportunity to discuss campaigning and networking was strongly opposed by those chairing the meeting appointed not by the participants but by the steering committee. Even discussions on how the cooperation could continue after the Bergen meeting towards the Rio conference were opposed by the steering committee as being outside the mandate. Growing discontent among the participants finally resulted in a vote against the right of the steering committee to choose any additional 15 delegates to the Bergen conference that they wanted when all the 35 nations had elected one delegate from their country, a decision that the steering committee almost fully ignored.
At Bergen the SEED Popular Forum gathered 500 participants out of whom 35 came from the third world and 150 from Eastern Europe (note 136). The forum started with discussing in a joint plenary the issue of development in a critical sense. Next followed plenaries interchanged with working groups on the themes of the global crisis, and the role of the industrialised countries with energy as a critical example in developing new paths.The final day the role of popular movements was addressed. From the start in the plenaries plans to a make mass actions organised by local popular movements were announced in the plenaries. Although there were no formal linkage between SEED Popular Forum and the action, that had no police permit, was informally given a high value and presence at the international gathering. The action consisted of 800 people surrounding the official conference and not letting the official delegates get out to an evening dinner. Hundreds of signs saying BLA! BLA! BLA! made good media pictures. Confrontations with the police and police dogs became slightly harsh but without any outbrake of collective violence as many local and international participants were experienced in effectively blocking the police but not letting polarisation twist the action into something uncontrollable. For an hour the official delegates were stopped until the effect of the action had been reached. When they came back the action continued during the night whith people cheering in the streets surrounding the building to make the discontent of the lack of result of the negotiations felt inside. After midnight two representatives were finally allowed to enter the conference hall and put forward the statements from the demonstrators. A victim of the US industry in Bhopal in India was sent together with someone from Europe. The next day the action with its many BLA! BLA! signs was well-recieved by the mass media and in the SEED plenary a person that had an ear and head attacked by a police dog got an ovation when protesting against the police violence. The whole gathering ended by sending embassadors with the SEED manifesto to many other popular movement meetings and the start of a bicycle tour to the EYFA summer camp in Hungary.
50 delegates from Bridging the Gap conference attended
a session with joint negotiations with the industry, youth, science,
trade unions and governments. In a final plenary a debate started
on how to organise joint campaigning and proceed towards Rio.
The steering committee still maintained the position that this
was outside the mandate of the meeting to discuss until finally
it was proposed that in that case the meeting could make a short
brake and start again on a new mandate. This was approved by the
meeting and the steering committee resigned while those protesting
took over the chairing of the meeting. At this moment other proposals
that had been kept secret but already were on their way were presented.
They were organised by ELCI in close cooperation with EEB. It
took some time for the participants to come to their own idea
about how to organise further work. A majority of the delegates
signed a letter asking SEED Norway, the Norwegian Campaign on
Environment and Development and the Norwegian Alternative Future
project to take on the task to initiate a preparatory process
for Europe and North America towards UNCED including an open democratic
procedure giving also new participants the right to influence
the agenda and as well discussions on joint campaigning and not
only lobbying the official process.
The Bergen events were followed by a meeting arranged by CoCF. It was held in Nyon in France in June 1990. The concept independent sector, introduced by Strong and Lindner at the first meeting arranged by CoCF in Vancouver, had caused criticism as many organisations did not want to belong to the same cathegory as business. This was solved by replacing the term independent sector with independent sectors thus indicating a plurality of sectors instead of one homogenous sector. When the meeting after some debate accepted that industry also was one independent sector a new body was established with the aim to facilitate all independent sectors in the process towards UNCED. This coalition of coalitions called International Facilitating Committee, IFC, included both global and regional organisations like IUCN, ICC, The International Council of Scientific Unions, the Asian NGO Coalition etc. With such different organisations there was no interest in cooperation for popular mobilisation or in any political sence except for limiting IFC to inform NGOs on how to participate in UNCED and organise the parallel alternative conference in Rio de Janeiro called the Global Forum. Here 1.600 organisations participated actively and 20.000 people attended. NGOs and commercial organisations could exhibit their information and concerns and meet in a fragmented and decentralised manner if the organisation was not rich enough to carry its message through to more people. One exception was INGOF, consisting of social movement oriented NGOs that arranged a special meeting inside the Global Forum. All in all CoCF reached its goal without any serious challenges or controversies, a parallel forum to the official conference was arranged that gave legitimacy to UNCED by the high amount of participating organisations and visitors. No joint concentrated criticism against the consensus on sustainable development and cooperation could occurred.
ELCI had their own plans and kept a critical eye
on other initiatives. With their main bases in the third world
but at the same time close to the United Nations Environmental
Programme they were reluctant to Nothern dominated coalitions
and business. Although they participated at Nyon they finally
decided to articulate a strong criticism against the use of the
term NGO including also business. The same kind of criticism was
also expressed by Friends of the Earth International that stated
that environmental organisations often could be more close to
governments than to industry and also reacted against being identified
in the same cathegory as business. ELCI initiated an alternative
NGO coalition to prepare for UNCED and especially compete with
IFC in arranging a big global NGO preparatory conference. In August
an International Steering Committee with Friends of the Earth
International and Brazilian NGO Forum as co-chairs, six ELCI organisations,
one from IUCN and seven other NGOs not mainly involved in environment
was set up to guide ELCI in their work towards UNCED (note
137). The French government offered funding in November 1990,
for an international conference with 850 participants in to be
held in December 1991. The participants at the meeting from environment
and development NGOs were represented in proportion to the number
of inhabitants in the country they came from which resulted in
an unprecendented extra-ordinary well-balanced and just distribution
in possibilites to attend. The main pattern during the UNCED process
had its strong influence anyway. The delegates in Paris had more
of a common interest in criticising environmental destruction
and the present development model, than the IFC-organisations.They
had often often having a proclaimed interest in social movements
and popular mobilisation, but campaigning was in spite of that
often excluded from the agenda. The small attempts made at the
end of the meeting met no response (note 138).
The only outcome was a joint plattform called Agenda Ya Wananchi
with general criticism against the present international economic
and political order and specific proposals on solutions but nothing
on organising joint critical campaigns with local popular partcipation
in relation to UNCED or other relevant issues (note
139). The huge conference and its document was soon forgotten
and played almost no role in the discussions among NGOs only six
months later at Rio.
Another third group also emerged,partly overlapping with the ELCI initiative. It developed more graduallyas it was established through the cooperation among NGOs at the official preparatory meetings, and was equally sceptical as ELCI towards business. These NGOs started to prepare what at first was called the International Civil Society Conference but had as its final name had the International Social Movement and NGO Forum, INGOF. A INGOF a steering comittee was set up including the more politically oriented NGOs and popular movements. Among them were IEP that had initiated El Pacto in Latin America and many members of Alliance of Northern People on Environment and Development, ANPED, the final outcome of the initiative taken at Bergen to start a preparatory process for Europe and North America towards UNCED. The INGOF steering committee prepared the social movement and NGO event in Rio de Janeiro which was going to be held within the practical arrangements organised by Global Forum. A common assessment developed among all the NGO-lobbyists at a succesion of prepatory meetings. The experience they had told them that the chances for influencing the negotiations in Rio de Janeiro were minimal as most substantive issues already were settled and the few still in question gave little chances for thousands of NGO participants at Rio to jointly do much about. Instead the idea emerged to focus on discussing NGO cooperation and making own statements at Rio, something called NGO-treaties - "The intention of the process was to produce citizens' treaties which gave a brief statement of principles outlining the problem as percieved by the group concerned and the otuline a plan of action which detailed what NGOs were prepared to do to solve the problem" (note 140). INGOF should become an exercise in international diplomacy between NGOs rather then fruitless attempt to influence an already settled official agenda.
At Rio this caused problems hard to handle. The number of people and NGOs present were approximatly ten times bigger than at the preparatory meetings. The proportion of unexperienced persons were also bigger at Rio than at the lobby specialised preparatory meetings. The INGOF steering committee had appointed themselves to chair the plenaries.
The idea was set for arranging the meeting according to the original plan with almost all time given to decentralised workshops on any kind of NGO-treaty that a sufficient number of NGOs wanted to negotiate. A three hour plenary was planned on both first days to discuss the purpose and content of the meeting. From the very start this was changed. After INGOF made their plan the Global Forum had arranged its inauguration cermony at the beach were all participating organisations were supposed to celebrate the opening of the event with prominent official and other guests.
When the chair announced the closing of the plenary in favour of the inauguration at the beach point of order questions were ignored and noone in the plenary of approximatly 1.000 people insisted in pushing them. Instead the role of floor was seen as asking for information, a recurring way of focusing the way to handle questions from the floor the coming days. The following day the plenary had only 3 hours to handle the original 6 hours programme. Time constrains made it necessary to limit who was allowed to speak. Most of the plenary debate was used for reports from the INGOF steering committee on the preceedings and the idea with INGOF and 5 minutes reports from the continental caucuses that met almost every night during INGOF. Latin America introduced to the plenary the idea of international participation from INGOF in demonstrations during UNCED. The 1992 chair had problems with such a new idea outside the original plans made by the steering committee as well as other questions concerning how to act against the official conference or how important the NGO-treaty process was and the purpose of it. Discontent among the many delegates was expressed and sensed by the chair but had no clear focus. Before much could happen the time was over and no more plenary for the whole INGOF was planned to be held until the last days.
Backstage the INGOF steering committee met to discuss how to handle the situation as organisers of the meeting. All but one, Peter Padbury, addressed the issue as a question of lack of information about the idea behind the NGO-treaty process. That a time-limited critical discussion in plenary with the floor would have resulted in more understanding of the purpose of the workshops and participation in the shaping of the meeting was outside the thinking of the prepcom lobby experts. The attention in the discussion was instead on the lack of experience among the participants. The interest in participating in demonstrations and actions against the official conference had taken the steering committee by surprise. There had been no decision to arrange for INGOF participants to take part in actions. As UNCED any way was to late to influence according to the INGOF steering committee and they had decided to put the main focus on future NGO cooperation.
Demonstrations were something that had not been considered and maybe was dangerous with the latent explosive social conflicts in Rio de Janeiro and strong military and police presence in the streets. Furthermore there were no more democratic options were everybody at INGOF could approve a decision to take active part in demonstrations or inform about them as no more plenaries without competing workshops and other parallell events would take place until the proposed demonstrations were over.
The European caucus proposed a way out of the problem at the back stage meeting. It was to make the process democratic by establishing an international mobilisation committee at INGOF assembled by the different continental caucuses and approved by the morning plenary. These morning plenaries were not possible to attend for everyone but if approval was given by both regional caucuses and the plenary the proposal could be democratically handled. Finally the steering committee agreed to accept the model and it was endorsed as planned. Still the democratcically elected working group had problems to be allowed to inform about some demonstrations from the podium and the reluctance towards supporting the new INGOF international mobilisation committee continued from the steering committee.
The NGO treaty working groups were very different in composition and addressed a broad range of 46 issues from capital flight and corruption to biotechnology, arid an semi-arid zones, racism, urbanisation and a code of conduct for NGOs. The discussion varied but Latin Ameriecans dominated. In the large treaty-group on environmental education it was, according to Per Janse (note 141), very hard to get a holistic language included. The key people in the editing committee could, even when approved in the big meetings of the whole group, suspect it,.of being against their left-wing scepticism of concepts they believed belonged to capitalistic ideology. Only after being able to address himself directly to the editing group backstage and vividly claim to have struggled personally against US imperialism at the UN Conference on environment in Stockholm 1972 was the concept of "holistic approach" accepted in the final treatyIn treaty groups on key environmental issues like climate change the discussion was dominated by professional NGOs based in the north. Here there was a resistance even to the possibility of discussing NGO and popular movement cooperation,in spite of that concrete proposals for campaigns existed. The counter-argument was that it was not possible to reach a consensus on anything else than lobby-proposals with demands on governmental policies. When it was insisted that cooperation between popular and other non governmental organisations also was legitmate issues to dicuss a new counterargument was raised: In that case all climate campaign proposals from everyone had to be included and as such information was not at hand no specific proposals at all should be included. Instead general wording on "increase awareness" and "[s]upport citizen activism on all levels" (note 142) among local citizens' groups together with a dominating specific list of demands on governmental policies. The hope expressed by those that initiated the treaty process was wrenched by lack of direct democracy involving the partcipants in a general discussion on the main purpose of the meeting and the workshops. Instead of fulfilling hte dream that "[t]here is no question that the idea of joint action campaigns involving an international mix of non-profit organisations and social movements has caught the imagination of many in the international development and environmental communities" (note 143) the result was a constituency fragmented by NGO professionals afraid of general plenary debates and involving the participants in the leadership of the meeting. Almost noone of the 46 treaties with sustainable agriculture as the most outstanding exception had any follow-up.
The discontent became more openly expressed in the final plenaries. Suspiscion against any continued mandate for the steering committee prolonged the debate. This suspicion was to a large extend remaining conflicts within the Brazilian NGO Forum were the democratic issues had made smaller and radical groups highly critical towards the leadership (note 144), a criticism which also included the international steering committee. One African member of the steering committee, Godfrey M'Mwereria, sensed the need for the steering committee to step back from chairing the meeting and a Brazilian outsider was chosen instead. This chairman managed to finally reach a consensus on a one-year mandate for distributing the treaties and encouraging regional networks to assess interest in the treaty process while the creation of a central infrastructure to promote the treaties was rejected (note 145).
Generalists, specialists and lay persons
The change between 1972 and 1992 can be described as going from a confrontation between generalist-issue lay movements and professional NGO generalists to consensus management by professional NGO generalists of specialised professional NGO and sectorised lay movement participation.
In 1972 many different popular movements had expanded lay participation in societal matters at both national and international levels. In the North these movements often had been specialised on single-issues but inspired each others as well as was inspired by movements in the South. The most generalising of these lay movements and groups are those that take the initiative to set in motion broader popular activities without restrictions set by the UN, not the more specialised nature conservation or even environmental organisations. They are confronted by professional elite groups closely related to business, governments and science. These elite groups are also more generalists than specialists.
What might look confusing at the first sight from a habitus perspective is that hippies with their corporal and ideological anti-establishment attitudes make alliances with the most established forces within the UNCHE and US delegation leadership. When looking at the hippies that intervened in the UNCHE process from a lay versus professional perspective the relation looks different. The Hog Farm had specialised in working as "crowd control" guards at bigger events like Woodstock. They were payed to come to Stockholm in this function by Kaplan Fund and Stewart Brand, well recieved by the authorities hoping for adverting attention away from the city center to the Skarpnäck Airfield where the hippie commune Hog Farm was the central organisers of a youth camp. Stewart Brand who jointly with Hog Farm organised the cultural and political inititiative had made himself a fortune as a professional hippie counter-culture entrepreneur (note 146). Professional generalists without democratic ties to local lay activists stood against lay generalists democratically tied to local groups.
The popular and NGO activities 1972 was also characterised by a dialectic relation between general plenaries and specialised workshops at both People's Forum and Environmental Forum. There existed continuous possibilites to take part in general discussions on specific issues that through the general debate could be developed into a broader concern, where different more specialised groups could meet and find common or controversial ground.
The result of the clash between lay movements integrating their different concerns and professionalised generalists attempting to build environmental protection institutions within the present economical order is a stalemate. UNCHE becomes the starting point for a strong emergence of governmental environmental protection agencies and the founding of the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, based in Nairobi with Maurice Strong as director. The lay movement continues to challenge consensus but mainly on single-issues like nuclear power, baby food, nuclear weapons and forests. With growing unemployment and economic constrictions single-issue movements in the North get less interested in challenging the socio-economic system and the issue of nuclear weapons is turned into a question of survival (note 147). In the South and in Eastern Europe new social movements struggle under conditions of state repression and economic stagnation or crisis which makes it hard for popular movements to challenge the system as a whole but gives some chances for lay activists in new social movements (note 148).
The generalist environmental issue is to a large extent taken care of by professionals Green parties contributes in making the generalist environmental question more professionalised and closer to established systems. IUCN and WWF together with UNEP formulates the World Conservation Strategy released 1980 where the concept sustainable development gets its first wider use. But the participation at yearly international environmental NGO meetings in Nairobi is steadily decreasing while mass participation in nuclear demonstrations is increasing.
1982 a UNEP Special Session was held in Nairobi on the occasion of the ten year anniversary of UNCHE. The outcome of the parallell NGO Forum, where a large number of environmental organisations met for the first time since Stockholm, was not met by much enthusiasm. One observer that attended both the Stockholm and the Nairobi meetings wrote in the New Scientist: Their [the NGOs] statements to the conference was as statemenlike, as carefully qualified and as boring as the speaches of most governments (note 149). The only organisations from the North representing the mass lay anti-nuclear movements were environmental organisations from Germany and Sweden. They were to few to be able to make an alliance with the groups from the south and marginalise the more established northern environmental organisations. In response to the special session in Nairobi the UN General Assembly decided to appoint an independent World Commission on Environemnt and Development chaired by the Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The UNCED process had started well intergrated with the established environmental NGO strategies proposing sustainable development.
UN issue conferences on population, food, women and special sessions in the general assembly on disarmament followed the environmental conference at Stockholm. The kind of combined broad participation and confrontations on a wide range of topics that characterised UNCHE did not occur again although the number of participants at the NGO Forum parallel to the UN conferences on Women 1975 and 1980 were considerable (note 150). At the UN General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament II in New York 1982 the mass participation at UN Conferences reached it highest peak ever with almost 1 million people marching for peace and nuclear disarmament in the streets to influence the official conference (note 151).
Specialised issue conferences where conflicts at least on one core single-issue often were addressed changed 1987 by a new way of integrating all popular movements and NGOs into the same generalist global development management model. This year the Brundtland report Our Common Future was launched that presented the new ideology to solve ecological and social crisis by global dialogue and consensual action for sustainable development. The same year the mass lay movement against nuclear weapons had resulted in another UN Conference. This time the issue was not any longer only the specific singleissue as before but a single-issue combined with "development" (note 152). This was partly in response to popular peace movements that wanted to broaden the technological issue of nuclear weapons disarmament to also include economic and social changes necessary to build peace. The result was further studies to be made and that the question of taking resources from military expenditure to sustainable development became part of UN rhetoric. The result was also that an integration started more intensively between the NGOs representing the specific concern addressed by the conference and the development NGOs (note 153).
Both the popular movement oriented INGOF and NGO oriented Global Forum were structured in such a way that generalising debates and partcipation from the participants in forming the general opnions were marginalised or made impossible. Global Forum was structured in such a way that everyone having something to say having with enough resources to come there and pay the fee were offered an information booth. But there was no space to concentrate the efforts and confront the official conference. INGOF got structured the same way. Everyone that wanted could set up his workshop on a specific NGO-treaty and hope for participants in the discussion. But there was no dialectic interchange between specialised workshops and general debates where all could attend continuously throughout the forum. The sheer size of INGOF was no impossible obstacle. Environmental Forum had maybe half the amount of participants but at Rio there was a bigger plenary hall. At Rio de Janeiro general confrontations with the official delegates, where the pressure from many lay and other partcipants play a significant role in mass plenaries,or demonstrations in the street as in Stockholm, were also either excluded or marginalised at Rio. The many less professional and more lay person oriented participants at Rio were structured into specialist functions within a broader sustainable development framework intiated by the UN and managed by NGO professionals. In this sustainable development model,each NGO professional was given a specialised role including one of criticism but was detached from popular mass mobilisation.
This model became stabilised by the row of UN conferences in the 1990s all adding development to their specific issue, environment and development, population and development, social development, women and development and housing and development. Or with their full name UN Conference on Environment and Development, UNCED, Rio de Janeiro 1992; International Conference on Population and Development, ICPD, Cairo 1994; World Summit on Social Development, WSSD, Copenhagen 1995; and Habitat II, Istanbul 1996. Also at the Fourth World Conference on Women, FWCW, Beijing 1995 did sustainable development play an important role. One more conference belonged to the same cathegory of bigger UN issue conferences during the 1990s, the second World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna 1983 (note 154). Here development was a more controversial issue from the perspective of Industriliased countries that prefered that the conference dealt with individual political rights and not the socio-economic collective rights. At all conferences including WCHR the Women's Environment and Development Organisation, WEDO, played a central role in bringing sustainable development and an American model of lobbying through caucuses into the process (note 155). The number of participants reached a peak at Beijing with 30.000 at the NGO Forum and in the mass media attention were at times higher for the parallel event then for the official especially at Beijing.
The UNCED-process produced the integrating ideology and practical model for cooperation, sustainable development and concensual dialgoue and global management. The Rio Conference became the foremost mentioned UN Conference when giving an example of a new global civil society emerging in world politics (note 156). Sustainable development became the key concept also at the following UN Conferences. We protect the coherence of the sustainable development concept stated the US State department at the Social Summit. Vice president Al Gore announced an increase of the proportion of development assistence channeled through NGOs to 40% (note 157). When the total amount of aid is decreasing NGOs can become more integrated with governmental policies and increase their relative influence by having agreater share of governmental funding. Within this generalist development framework are all NGOs given as specialised role as partners in an emerging global governance. The days of state directed development solutions of the 1970s, market-solutions only as prompted during the 1980s in the development debate was now under the 1990s changed to market and civil society (note 158). When the structural adjustment programs that before was used in the third world also begun in the North making their social effects clear NGOs and civil society was also launched as a solution in many industrialised countries (note 159).
As a response to the specialised versions of global
sustainable development management a generalist perspective has
developed, criticising the global and promoting local diversity.
But the strength of the criticism against these tendencies is remarkbly sharp in its description of the dominant trend while very vague when describing alternatives (note 161). Opposition against the dominant development model is placed within cathegories global versus local or global scientific management versus local knowledge and self-reliance (note 162).
The problem with this discourse is that it is mainly
carried by professionals at institutions above the local level.
Its emphasis on diversity is not reflected in the way the discourse
is organised among professional generalists,informally and sometimes
formally organised with many international links above local popular
movements. Sachs is ironically himself employed at one of the
worlds leading scientific environmental institutions, the Wuppertal
Institute, which has strongly contributed to the scientification
of the environmental movement.
Parallel to the consensual UNCED-process a more confrontational glocal popular mobilisation has evolved, building international alliances to solve the social and ecological crisis It is yet to early to say if this popular mobilisation carried by local popular movements coordinating themselves nationally and transnationally has a political coherence making it able to continue having a growing impact. There is also a lack of systematic studies making it hard to assess the development so far. Recent litterature on international affairs focus upon policy negotiation and the building of specific issue regimes, seldom making any distinction between specialised professionalised NGO expertise lobbying and broad local popular mobilisation if such at all is mentioned. NGOs becomes a intermediary level while people acting themselves as historical subjects in formally or informally organized popular movements becomes invisible or made into recievers of service and economic contributors.
With these restrictions in mind it is still possible to point at some trends among international popular movements mobilisation. Instead of the worker's movement as earlier or a set of single issue "new social movements" as recently it has rather been the peasants and farmers that have formed the most consistent basis for confrontational mass mobilisation the last decade,in alliance with other popular movements and NGOs, notably labor, consumer and environmental (note 163). This trend is not the only trend and in some regions like Eastern Europe it has rather been middle class movements that dominated the development, in others peasants have been a too small group in society to play a central role. Yet in terms of influencing global negotiations and agreements and linking this local mass mobilisation, farmers have had an initiative. Like their precursors a hundred years earlier forming the Populist Party, North American small farmers were hit by economic hardships in the 1980s. Instead of only using national political systems they this time arranged the International Farm Crisis Summit 1983 with the intent to form alliances with peasants organisations in other regions of the world against free trade agreements. In the US they lacked political power to influence the position of the government but hoped for better possibilites for farmers in other countries (note 164). This resulted in campaigning against the GATT agreement and at the GATT-meeting in Brussels, where 30.000 people demonstrated with considerable delegations of peasants from the third world and other countries. Mass mobilisation with examples as the 500.000 demonstration by peasants in Bangalore 1993 against intellectual property rights proposed in the GATT-negotiations and direct action against offices of transnational corporations in India showed capacity to mobilise in confrontational actions. Peasants in Latin America organised themselves to a growing extend as Indians and formed an alliance against the official celebrations of the 500 year anniversary of Columbus coming to America. In Ecuador all main highroads were blocked when the Indians/farmers demanded their land rights back as part of the campaign and all over the two American continents people marched and protested. On the same day as the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, came into force the Indianspeasants of Chiapas in Southern Mexico rebelled and occupied their region of the country.
On their own initiatives broad multi-issue international gatherings of popular movements have been arranged outside the framework of official conferences. 1989 the first People's Plan for the 21st Century, PP21, gathering was arranged at Minamata in Japan with popular organisations from all over the Asian-Pacific region (note 165). Later PP21 gatherings have been held in Bangkok, Central America and Kathmandu. The International Forum on Globalization starting as a reaction to the simultaneous WTO and NAFTA negotiations has contributed to integration of protests against different regional, world and TNCs free trade rule by arranging public Globalization Forums beginning in 1995, campaigning and networking (note 166). The Zapatistas arranged the first international anti-neo-liberal meeting in the Lacandón jungle in 1996 and a second gathering in Spain 1997 with thousands of participants from all over the world and a growing number of regional and national preparatory and follow-up meetings and building of networks. In Europe a period of less internationally significant mass mobilisation have shifted towards a reemergence of mobilisation also across borders. The international support for the strike at the Vilvoorde car factory in Belgium resulted in unprecedent large foreign delagations at a protest demonstration in Brussels in the spring 1997. 1.000 local actions was organised by the Euromarch against unemployment and social exclusion walking through all EU-member states and som adjoining countries ending in a joint demonstration at the EU Summit in Amsterdam with 50.000 participants.
It is to early and the knowledge is to dispersed to say whether these glocal lay popular movements can grow and have more influence in the future challenging the dominant system of global specialised professional sustainable development management. What can be stated is that lay popular movements still plays a role and that a system of professionalised NGOs managing different sectors of consensual sustainable development model is not the only alternative.
We have seen how gradually a cathegory of professional NGOs gets established, with the global level of official diplomacy and development management as its key integrating factor and identity. These NGOs are in the beginning integrated not with each other but part of institutions percieved as separate like the church, the science community or secular relief organisations. With the help of popular peace movements establishing international negotitation an finally the UN a global diplomatic level is shaped were the NGOs can play a formal role. First 1972 at UNCHE in Stockholn can popular movements on their own invitation participate at this level of world politics. Specialist institutions and the UN is challenged by generalist lay movements and generalist business NGOs. The result is continued popular mobilisation but more in single-issues reaching a maximum with the anti-nuclear weapon demonstrations in the beginning of the 1980s. A professional generalist perspective is developed in close collaboration between big NGOs, business and government during the 1980s resulting in the UNCED model combining sustainable development with consensual management. Faced with this initiative popular movements find no way within in the framework of the UN Conferences to organise and formulate an alternative. At the same time is the UNCED pattern promoted by a more general trend towards market-orientation and civil society as providers of social goods further marginalising those popular movements striving for changing the system. The end result is the establishment of a system of specialised NGOs under the hegemony of consensual sustainable development and world market rule. A model which has been described in the context of UNCED as a globalisation of the US model of politics (note 167). The system of professional specialists emerging at the turn of the century that have dominated US politics with its system of checks and balances has penetrated much wider the political, cultural and economical systems of other countries and at the global level. Hannerz model can help us in seeing some of these patterns in long and shorter waves and as well tell us that the end result may not last for ever.
The habitus dimension showed how the hypothesis referred by Bader has a clear case in point. When there are two different homogenised habitus collective idenity emerge easy at UNCHE which is expressed in contrasting symbols, confrontations at bigger events, the capacity to act in surprising situations, and challenging the rules of the game.These distinct habitus patterns was missing 1992. There was in the rethoric used differences but in terms of symbols, how bigger events were used, the capacity to act in unplanned situations, and the rules of the game challenged there was considerably less in the UNCED process.
The glocal dimension shows the biggest differences. It cannot be explained in terms of radical political views as the institutes that out-manouvered APEDEMA-RJ made Brzilian NGO Forum to take radical standpoints both concerning UNCED and other current Amazonian development issues. Still the total effecting the capacity for integrating the popular activities at Rio and contributed to a deradicalisation of the total outcome. The dreams of many local environmental groups in Brasil to join hand with the world-wide environmental movement and other popular movements globally was turned into project for non-governmental institutes.
The practical-holistic dimension in the oral definition of Alternativ Stad debate group shows a crucial factor in all the dimensions above when challenges are not only in words but also results in changes. The practical-holistic attitude, primary groups and rank-and-file direct democracy can influence far beyond the local level that conventionally is stated to be its rea of influence.
Whether a NGO system have been established or not can be discussed. What is clear is that the integration between popular movements now to a large extent is replaced by integration of professionals in NGOs from different issue fields. To be able to study this phenomena at the possible limit to it anthropological patcipatory and lay movement participatory action methods have shown to be productive. Instead of the conventional description of the fact that the same big NGOs influenced the process both 1972 and 1992 (note 168) anthropology can account for deeper and more empirical findings of wider interest.
Contrary to those who sees a future for anthropology
in specialising the subject to help global management (note
169) here another approach have been tried. As Chris Hann,
Annika Rabo, and others (note 170) have pointed
out there is still much to say as an anthropologist when the rest
of established society claims NGOs and civil society to be solutions
without contradictions for the future.
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13 Since mid 1980s there has been a tremendous growth in the membersship of professional environmental organisations in the North, a tendency also existing in Brasil, for som European countries Kriesi et al (1995:124) accounts for extraordinary figures, for Brasil Hochstetler 1994.
14 The amount of odd and familiar versions of the NGO concept is impressive. Popular are GONGO, Governmentally Organised Non-Governmental Organisation which is an NGO initiated or closely related to a government, QUANGO, Quasi-NGO often used prerogativly, BINGO - Big NGO and NGI - explained as New Governmental Organisation.
15 Gordenker and Weiss, 1995, have observed the same problem "theoretical explorations have tended to be few in number and specific to a particular sector of activity, especially aspects of economic and social development and environment." Their own proposal for a consensus definition is organisations consisting of "durable, bounded, voluntary relationships among individuals to produce a particular product, using specific techniques." pp358-9. This definition is not used by NGOs and do not include the possibility of collective members which is common. When opening for organisations as members the authors get other problems that NGOs under pressure for clarity at international events must meet. Their definition nor their later additions (p360) does not stand for a test in practical life nor by critical scrutiny.
16 Edwards and Hulme 1992, Edwards and Hulme 1994. In Gardner and Lewis a short version presented under "glossary, development jargon" can be found: "NGOs are non-profit development organisations, many of which depend on donations from members, the public or development agencies. In the US NGOs are often known as private voluntary organisations (PVOs)" 1996:xiii.
21 The Politics of Altruism, a study of the political behaviour of voluntary development agencies. It is written just before the NGO concept became internationally fashionable in the 1980s outside technical UN jargon, a time still deriving the use of words from positive definitions in national contexts.
22 The problems has been described by one NGO observer: "At the extreme, one person is accredited to a UN meeting on behalf of several INGOs , claiming to speak on behalf of each one, but apparently going on an ego-trip. It is no womder that those who are concerned about social movements are at times hostile to analysis that is focused on NGOs rather than movements." Willets 1996b:60
25 Some of the discussion in the group that has continuously worked since 1983 have been written down although only a small portion of the experience gathered and theories developed. A basic document is the almanac Hela Livets Kalender 1986, a critique of the peace movement in Folin, ed 1985 as well as booklets and anthologies. The group have arranged some 20 seminars both locally and nationally and been invited to events to speak or exchange experience about popular movements also internationally.
27 The lay person role is here not seen mainly as the other side of a dichotomic relation to a specific professional role. Lay persons are rather seen as people before or beyond they are put into specific role cleavages. It has also been used for a general group of people in mutually excluded relationship to the whole group of professional functionaires of a movement.
28 Björk, Climate Action News
spring 1995. Vandana Shiva makes this poin that the global does
not exist, also actors percieved as global like TNCs have local
34 For a typical textbook opening remark see Scott 1992: Most commentators agree that social movements are the historical product of industrialization, and many would identify the workers' movement as the first social movement. For class focused but also broadly culturally informed theory (opposing new social movement theory in a footnote) see Bader 1991.
51 Wiklund, unpubl. not dated manuscript. Much of the empirical basis for the following historical account
57 Peter Drucker (1989:101) claims that Pulitzer and Hearst were able to use their mass-circulation papers to start a "single-issue mass movement" and organise their readers. The publishers made war with Spain
75 McCully 1993, Finger 1993, Finger 1994, Conca 1995, Morphet 1996, Willets 1996b. These together with participatory observation by the author and the use of informants will be the basis for the UNCHE part of the following comparisment when not other sources are mentioned.
91 On Bangkok, Rich, 1994 5-24, on Madrid, Björk, 1995. Also in other terms there are similarities between the north and the south. Both at Stockholm 1972, Bangkok 1991, and at Rio de Janeiro 1992 the area close to the official conference center and central parts of the city were poor people and socially excluded removed by the authorities. Their sleeping quarters were taken away and police harassed them, on Stockholm Björk 1997, on Bangkok 1991, Rich 1994:1-4.
99 This association had a new name due to the exposed CIA funding in 1967 of the predecessor Congress .... interest towards biology and environment. At the same time the Aspen Institute started its environmental interest including co-arranging a seminar with the International Association for Cultural Freedom. For an uncritical and detailed account of the informal ways the different persons, institutes and governments cooperated, see Hyman, 1975.
113 Access to funding was furthered by joining one of the many coalitions for environment and development that was a new feature in such a broad scale in the UNCED-process. These coalitions could consist of all parties from the left to the conservatives as in Norway or from business to environmental organisations as in the International Facilitating Committee, IFC. The result was that many organisations did not take seriously the common political work but remained in the coalition to get more funds.
127 The public explination given afterwards that Oi was an abbreviation of Ote Iwappo, a proverb in Swahili meaning all that is, must be considered, was a clever cover-up. For the public version see Oi committee 1972:i.
147 There are also opposite trends in developing an alternative movement building economic an d social alternatives and broadening the nuclear war issue to the question of using military expenditure for social needs, especially in the South. These trends are marginalised by the more survival or in some cases nuclear disarmament and freedom within Europe perspectives of the mainstream peace movement.
152 Already in 1984 an issue conference was held with this development addition, the Second International Conference on Development and Development (the first in 1974 was called World Conference on Population.) But this conference was not within a field were lay mass movements existed. Earlier also UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, had used the combination, also under circumstances were no broader popular movements existed on trade issues.
154 For regular coverage of NGO participation at these conferences UN Non Govermental Liaison Service newsletter Go-Between or Le Messager and Women's Environment & Development Organization newsletter WEDO News & Views provides information. At all these conferences development NGOs played an important role, including WEDO which to some extent is integrated with the development NGOs. For more critical comments see SEEDLinks issued by A SEED.
155 In the UN-NGO relations development have been a key issue for establishing close relations between the official and NGO level. 1980 a joint UN-NGO Group on Women and Development was established to produce and distribute joint UN/NGO development education material. This is claimed to be the first time that UN Agencies and NGOs collaborated in this way and remaining a unique example of cooperation. NGLS, 1992:135.
164 "We learned to reverse the old slogan 'think globally, act locally', We learned you have to act globally to succeed locally. You have to go to Brussels to save your farm in Texas." Mark Ritchie quoted by Brecher and Costello, 1994:96.
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