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Since the Rio Summit in 1992 and the proclamation of Agenda 21, sustainability has been at the centre of the international political agenda (Bernstein, 2002). But making sustainability work under conditions of globalization poses difficult challenges. In the South, corruption and weak administrative capacities are the main obstacles to implementing sustainable practices. In the North, where states are strong, public regulators remain constrained by international borders and therefore find it difficult to regulate transnational production networks. At the same time, states are as reluctant as ever to confer authority to supranational bodies and many intergovernmental forums currently experience stalemate as the result of an increasingly heterogeneous international system. To overcome these
challenges to implementation, the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development of 2002 actively promoted collaboration between public and private actors. Working with firms and non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the context of public-private partnerships was seen as an important mechanism for achieving sustainability goals. The role of private regulation in global governance has also become a major topic in academia. Whereas some criticise it as a capitalist “smokescreen” and for “crowding out” the state, others
acknowledge its potential to complement public frameworks (Abbott & Snidal, 2009b; Bartley, 2005; Howard, Nash, & Ehrenfeld, 2000). Belonging to the latter, Abbott and Snidal, for example, call for a stronger integration of public and private regulation. In their view, states and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) should actively support, facilitate and endorse private regulation. They call this orchestration and believe that it could improve the efficiency, reach and legitimacy of international regulation (Abbott & Snidal, 2009b)… http://sustainablerio.eu/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Making-Sustainability-Work-Philip-Schleifer.pdf

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