Professional Success and Political Failure: Environmental NGOs in the Palestinian Authority
Zwirn, Michael J.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: This thesis explores the role of Palestinian and Palestinian-Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the development of environmental policy and sustainable development priorities in the Palestinian Authority. The thesis focuses on the experiences of en... read morevironmental NGOs in two related components of state and society building: First, in their contribution to institution-building and policy-making in the environmental sector within the Palestinian Authority; second, in the larger process of expanding civil liberties, developing a functional model of participatory politics, and furthering Palestinian civil society. This paper argues that while environmental NGOs have recorded small but substantive achievements in civic education and capacity-building for environmental protection, they have largely failed in the promotion of participatory policy-making in the Palestinian Authority. Three types of environmental NGOs are examined in the context of their relations with the Palestinian Authority: research organizations and policy centers, public awareness and education NGOs, and binational (Israeli-Palestinian) environmental NGOs. Particular attention is paid to the political conflicts over legislation to regulate NGO activities, the al-Aqsa Intifada, and the problems faced by binational NGOs in their struggle for legitimacy in the Palestinian Authority. The paper concludes with an assessment of professional successes and political failures of environmental NGOs, and an analysis of future scenarios and prerequisites for policy-making that is more inclusive of non-governmental interests.read less