Is Spotlighting Enough? Environmental NGOs and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation

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The initial questions of our survey questionnaire focused on whether ENGOs were familiar with the CEC, and if so, how frequently they followed the proceedings of the CEC Tables 1 and 2 clearly illustrate that a substantial majority of respondents were not familiar with the CEC (66.3%) and that only a small percentage of those who were aware of the CEC frequently followed its proceedings (18.5%).5 In short, our survey results indicate that the CEC has a long way to go gain the attention of most ENGOs in both Canada and the United States. A Canadian ENGO leader said, "It's a matter of resources: ENGOs do not have enough to be consistent players." An American ENGO head added, "It doesn't mean there's no interest in the CEC... but there are no resources to be engaged with it." An interesting comparative note from the results listed in Tables 1 and 2 is that while a larger percentage of Canadian ENGOs than United States ENGOs (40.5% to 28.3%) said they were familiar with the CEC, a much higher percentage of United States respondents than Canadian respondents who were familiar with the CEC (30.8% to 7.1%) said they "frequently" followed the proceedings of the CEC. Again, this finding may well be an illustration of the lack of resources available to Canadian ENGOs. Reflecting on this point, a Canadian ENGO member stated "ENGOs are too dependent on Environment Canada for funding... The ENGOs are often put in the position of pushing for governmental environmental initiatives against business and industry. Environment Canada can also use the ENGOs as a counterweight.

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