Wildlife NGOs: From Adversaries to Collaborators

Photo credit: shellac / Foter / CC BY

Many governments perceive a ‘contested ground’ between Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and governments in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Governments have asserted a concern that increasing NGO involvement is an erosion of their sovereignty. The other side of this coin is that wildlife related MEAs including the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) are a low order political priority and government budgets for these environment issues are stretched. Many governments lack even basic implementation budgets, let alone capacity for progressive work. MEA secretariats are funded so minimally that there is insufficient facility to really progress implementation. A recent review of wildlife related NGOs associated with the work of the CMS family has found that NGOs will commit to increase implementation efforts if the right dynamic is created. Moving beyond the impression of ‘contested ground’ to a ‘collaborative governance’ future, where all participants are invested in policy, discourse, negotiation and arbitration could increase human and financial resource and in turn increase implementation for the CMS family.


Wildlife MEAs have minimal financial resource available to them.
There is significant scope for NGOs to provide specific types of implementation activity within the CMS family, especially where taxonomic or geographical gaps are identified or capacity building is needed.
Increasing NGO implementation efforts will require the right dynamic to be created. This could be delivered through a ‘collaborative governance’ model that includes mechanisms for the NGO community to contribute more systematically, consistently and transparently to the work of the CMS.