Volume 48 (2014) / Issue 3
The ongoing failure of the multilateral trade regime to deliver on global development priorities has produced a new brand of expert. Embedded NGOs have emerged with the expressed aim to socially embed global markets, carve out additional policy or development space for developing countries, increase their negotiating capacity, and promote the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, social and environment. Eschewing conventional advocacy or protest work that challenges received wisdom, Embedded NGOs leverage their legal and technical trade-related expertise across a range of issue areas that are of primary concern to poor countries. This article develops a conceptual framework for analysing the impact of Embedded NGOs on the World Trade Organization's (WTO) accountability regime. While Embedded NGOs show good prospects for improving the inclusion and negotiating capacity of developing countries, the institutional and geographical attributes of Embedded NGOs, the uneven engagement by Embedded NGOs with developing countries, their commitment to a liberal economic order, and the internal and external accountability of Embedded NGOs themselves serve to reinforce dominant trade narratives and power asymmetries in global trade.
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