Who Participates in Global Governance?: States, bureaucracies, and NGOs in the United Nations, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Who Participates in Global Governance?

States, bureaucracies, and NGOs in the United Nations, 1st Edition

By Molly Ruhlman


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Why are non-state actors sometimes granted participation rights in international organizations? This book argues that IOs, and the states that compose them, systematically pursue their interests when granting participation rights to NSAs.

This book demonstrates that NSAs have long been participants in global governance institutions, and that states and bureaucracies have not always resisted their inclusion. At the same time, this study encourages skepticism of the assumption that increasing participation should be expected with the passage of time. The result is a study that challenges some commonly held assumptions about the interests of IOs and states, while providing an interesting comparison of secretariat and state interests with regard to one particular aspect of IO institutional rule and practice: the participation of non-state actors.

Addressing the regular assumption that the power of states and the efficacy of multilateral governance have simply wilted in the heat of globalization while NSAs have flourished, this work features analysis of key institutions such as UNCEF, UNDP and the Environment Programme. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of international relations, the United Nations, and NGOs.


This work is part of Routledge’s impressive "Global Institutions" series. Ruhlman (Towson Univ.) examines the role of non-state actors (NSAs) within international organizations. Because the constituent, dues-paying members of international organizations are generally nation-states, readers might question whether NSAs play any meaningful role within them at all, although some observers see a declining role for traditional nation-states. --M. F. Farrell, Ripon College

Table of Contents

Introduction, 1. Who participates, and who decides? International organizations as complex actors, 2. Mobilizing public opinion: NGOs and the United Nations, 3. Non-state actors and UNICEF, 4. Non-state actors and the UN Development Programme, 5. Non-state actors and the UN Environment Programme, 6. Interests and participation in multilateralism: seeking innovation amidst stubborn interests

About the Author

Molly Ruhlman is Political Science Adjunct Professor at Towson University, USA

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has two "streams" identified by their covers:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Treaties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations)