You are looking at 1 - 9 of 9 items for
- Author: Danita Catherine Burke x
- Refine by access: All content x
The World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is one of the most recognizable international environmental non-governmental organizations in the world. The iconic panda symbol is known around the globe but in recent years a different bear has taken centre stage in the organization’s international work: the polar bear. The Arctic has become one of the organization’s key focus areas in the twenty-first century, but what the general public is less aware of is the fact that WWF has been involved in its northern work for decades. Within academic literature about WWF’s Arctic and northern engagement, much attention is given to cursory references to the organization’s participation as an observer within the Arctic region’s pre-eminent forum for environmental protection and economic development work – the Arctic Council. This book delves into the work of WWF in the Arctic and the North and focuses on how it has built its role in regional discussions and decision-making in order to engage different local, national, regional and international audiences.
Chapter 2 explores the WWF legacy. It focuses on the work that the national organizations and WWF Arctic have done to distinguish themselves from the negative legacy of IENGOs in the Circumpolar North, and the Arctic in particular. This chapter discusses the broader legacies of the anti-sealing and anti-whaling movements and WWF’s effort to navigate local perceptions of IENGOs which resulted from the cultural and economic fallout from these movements. The chapter also examines the challenges faced by large international NGOs trying to navigate internal divergences in opinions and interests amongst its various branches. The chapter emphasizes how the work of one national branch can impact the work of another, even when the two sub-organizations are largely disconnected from one another.
WWF is one of the most recognizable international environmental non-governmental organizations (IENGOs) in the world. The Arctic has become one of the organization’s key focus areas in the twenty-first century, but what the general public is less aware of is the fact that WWF has been involved in its northern work for decades. The introduction outlines the book’s rationale and approach for investigating the work of WWF in the Arctic and the North and how it has built its role in regional discussions and decision-making in order to engage different local, national, regional and international audiences.
Chapter 1 contextualizes the book’s exploration of how WWF approaches its Arctic work and how it is received by regional, national and local actors by situating WWF’s work within the wider context of the history of IENGO involvement in the North. It introduces core concepts necessary to understand the operating conditions for environmental and animal rights organizations, and WWF in particular, in the Circumpolar North, and what factors like trust, moral legitimacy and stigma are and what role they play in the capacity of IENGOs to make inroads into the Arctic with different audiences in the region.
Chapter 4 examines the role of WWF’s approach toward scientific engagement. This chapter unpacks the WWF’s promotion of itself as an organization leading with science in all its work. It discusses the role that scientific research plays in WWF’s credibility and how WWF plans its work and frames its contribution to addressing northern issues. The chapter focuses on the repeated claim that WWF’s work is driven by scientific research and how belief in the scientific underpinnings of WWF’s work influences and frames WWF’s lobbying and advocacy efforts, as well as the types of professions that the organization is able to recruit to represent it in its Arctic programme and national offices, as well as in forums like the Arctic Council.
Chapter 6 provides a snapshot of opinions, as expressed by some Arctic states representatives to the Arctic Council and Arctic Indigenous peoples representatives, on WWF’s work and engagement efforts. This chapter helps to triangulate the reception of the key audiences that WWF is trying to engage with, and opens room for discussion about how successful the WWF approach to the Arctic and the North have been to date.
Chapter 3 explores the role of the networks of WWF and its representatives in how WWF has approached its northern work and the reception to its northern work, ideas and proposals. The chapter stresses the value of networks and their necessity to effect any change with actors such as governments and businesses. The chapter also alludes to some of the potential liabilities for an organization’s credibility when it decides to partner with certain actors whose existence or history run counter to an organization’s purpose and stated priorities. It notes the concerns in the non-state actor literature about NGOs being perceived by their supporters as selling out or being co-opted by corporate or government actors when accepting financial support from them and how the challenge of fundraising, partnerships and alliances is navigated by WWF in Circumpolar North/Arctic work.
Chapter 5 delves into the benefits and drawbacks of WWF’s communication style and how that communication style has helped to characterize external expectations of the organization and how it is able to engage on certain topics with different actors. The chapter emphasizes the role of audiences and perceptions of transparency and legitimacy play in all NGO work and how WWF’s communication style is a reflection of its effort to navigate its internal preferences and agendas with external actors’ and audiences’ receptiveness, wants and needs in national, regional and international governance debates and discussions. The chapter points out the potential implications if WWF altered its communication style and some alternative perspectives on its effectiveness.
The conclusion discusses how the framework developed in the book can have broader application for the study of environmental and animal rights organizations, specifically the exploration of organizational evolution and appeal to target audiences. It emphasizes that the book provides insights into the role and appeal of the WWF in Arctic diplomacy and northern environmental issues, and highlights the input of Arctic state representatives and Arctic Indigenous peoples’ representatives as providing triangulating reflections on WWF’s work. However, the conclusion also notes the long-term implications of anti-sealing and anti-whaling campaigning on receptiveness of environmental and animal rights activists in the North and the Arctic, as well as the need for expanded research in the future on in-depth Arctic state specific experiences with IENGOs and more detailed investigation into Indigenous perspectives of WWF, and IENGOs in general.