Private Governance and the South: lessons from global forest politics
Private governance beyond the state is emerging as a prominent debate in International Relations, focusing on the activities of private non-state actors and the influences of private rules and standards. However, the conceptual framework of governance has until recently been employed predominantly with reference to the OECD world. Despite this restricted view, a growing number of processes, organisations and institutions are beginning to affect developing countries and new institutional settings open up avenues of influence for actors from the South. In the context of a lively debate about global governance and the transformation of world politics, this article asks: what influences does private governance have on developing countries, their societies and their economies? What influence do southern actors have in and through private governance arrangements? I argue that we can assess the specific impacts of private governance, as well as potential avenues of influence for actors from the South, with regard to three functional pathways: governance through regulation, governance through learning and discourse, and governance through integration. Focusing in particular on private governance in the global forest arena, I argue that, while southern actors have not benefited so much economically from private certification schemes, they have been partially empowered through cognitive and integrative processes of governance.