In the Books: Theoretical Outlines
The political process model and the RMA together give a theoretical
basis for looking at the behavior and attitude of environmental
NGOs. A problem is that both theories describe social movement
organizations and their activities very universal and in a general
way, with only limited attention to cooperation, especially across
borders. In order to set the hypotheses for this research the
more practical approach of Rucht helps us to focus on cross-national
relationships between more specified organizations. As we have
seen in 1.3, the Problem Statement, East-East cooperation
might be relevant and rational in five situations, which are build
upon the nine arguments Rucht gave for cross-national cooperation.
[Rucht, 1993, p. 77-78]
Rucht's arguments for cross-national cooperation, connected to
the RMA and the political process theory results in different
factors determining the behavior and attitude of environmental
NGOs towards East-East cooperation. These factors can be divided
into five groups. I consider these groups a clear arrangement
of the potential important factors for East-East cooperation among
environmental NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe. Out of each
group of factors a general hypothesis describing the expected
attitude and/or behavior of the NGOs is given as well.
The first category gives the topic related factors, those are
mainly abstracted from Rucht's arguments for cross-national cooperation.
The second category contains political-historical factors. These
three factors are highly connected to the political opportunities
structure of McAdams' political process model. Historical backgrounds
do influence the current attitude and behavior of people, this
means that historical factors are part of the relevant surroundings
of the environmental movement as well. Especially in the case
of CEE, where the influential communist era has just ended. Current
politics are of course part of the NGOs political opportunities
structure. Just as the third category of factors, the socio-cultural
factors. Here the expected influence of the social and cultural
surroundings on the attitude and behavior of the environmental
movement towards East-East cooperation is given. The fourth category
of factors is connected with the organization itself. In this
category the resource mobilization approach appears. An East-East
cooperative NGO might have some special characteristics, or special
features are needed. The latter in the sense of available resources
and skills necessary for mobilizing enough resources. The last
category of factors contains the social-economical factor, which
has both political process model and RMA characteristics. The
social economical situation in a country influences the possibilities
for a developing environmental movement, in this sense the social
economical situation is part of the political opportunities structure
of McAdam. But of course the social economical situation has its
influence on available resources and the strategies of resource
mobilization as well.
Topic related factors
- East-East cooperation does make sense in the case of a common environmental problem localized at the border between two (or more) countries.
- East-East cooperation is effective and rational when NGOs are interested in the same items. Such a common environmental issue should have international aspects or should be similar in two or more countries, then East-East cooperation is likely to become established. Examples of this type of environmental topics are macro transboundary problems like air pollution or a similar environmental problem in more than one country like nuclear power plants. East-East cooperation on education and public information about the environmental problem in order to raise the awareness of a broader public in more than one country might be possible forms of East-East cooperation in this case.
- During the process of jointly becoming part of an international environmental policy making administrative body, like the EU, East-East cooperation can be interesting for environmental NGOs. International lobbying, exchange of experiences with the same process and working on alternative policy making might be forms of East-East cooperation in this case, although East-West cooperation can be expected as well.
The hypothesis coming forth from these three topic related factors
is that a specific topic and/or a very similar situation is needed
before East-East cooperation will be established by the environmental
NGOs in Central Europe.
- Because of the forced East-East cooperation under the former communist governments the willingness to cooperate with the Eastern neighbors will not be very big.
- Expectations of assistance in economical, social and political way of Central European countries are focused towards the Western countries. Environmental NGOs in CE will have the same expectations.
- The existence of an unstable political situation in some CE countries, because of the lack of experience with democratic elections, the historical and nationalistic sentiments and sometimes the difficult structure of the authorities in a country, will also influence environmental NGOs in that country. For example in the sense that NGOs are primarily focused on national level, instead of being interested in East-East cooperation. Another consequence might be a lack of political interest for environmental issues, which supports again a national, or even local focus of the environmental movement. Finally a lack of interest in environmental issues in general might be a consequence of an unstable political situation, so that mobilizing participants for the environmental movement will be difficult.
The hypothesis coming forth from these three political-historical
factors is that the attitude of environmental NGOs towards East-East
cooperation will be one of doubts about the surplus value of East-East
cooperation in combination with a focus on national or local level
- Nationalistic sentiments which can be found in several Central and Eastern European countries will not facilitate external (international) cooperation. Especially not East-East cooperation because of historical sentiments, racial differences, nationalistic political leaders and the nationwide 'lack of self-confidence'. A lot of people from CE look negatively towards their region. They expect the best things to come from Western-Europe or the United States, but at the same time they want to be proud on their own country. This might be a reason for the recognized preference for East-West cooperation instead of East-East cooperation, connected with growing nationalistic sentiments.
- Cultural differences can also be seen on micro scale; the different habits, way of acting, atmosphere and choice of methods can make all kinds of cooperation difficult, so also East-East cooperation.
- Language differences between the CE countries will influence East-East cooperation so that only people who speak English or each others language will be able to work together. The variety of languages might make East-East cooperation difficult.
The hypothesis following from these socio-cultural factors is
that East-East cooperation will take extra effort of the NGOs
to overcome language problems, cultural differences and/or nationalistic
Organization connected factors
- Cooperation can take place among all kinds of organizations, but it is most likely that organizations with goals in the same field, with similar (environmental) priorities, the same organizational structure and style of activism will cooperate.
- A certain organizational level and enough institutional capacity is required to be able to take part in East-East cooperation.
For East-East cooperation, like with all cooperation, it will
be necessary to find a similar NGO with enough institutional capacity
in the other country.
- Because of the economical changes after the political changes
in the CEE countries, these countries are in economical transition
which causes several economical problems. As a result of economical
problems, among others, social dissatisfaction increases. The
material welfare is still not what most of the people expected
after the changes in 1989-1990, so getting material welfare will
be the main daily activity and one of the first more ideological
action points for the population.[Hontelez, 1993, p. 178] Since
the environmental NGOs are not able to give an immediate solution
for the socio-economical problems, most people will not be active
or interested in environmental NGOs. It will be difficult for
environmental NGOs to mobilize enough active members and financial
supplies to keep continuity in the organization. East-East cooperation
might cost more resources than national of local activities, those
extra resources are not available. So that already busy and poor
NGOs might not have enough human power and financial resources
left to establish East-East cooperation.
The hypothesis following from the social-economical situation
in CE is that a lot of environmental NGOs will have problems in
mobilizing the necessary resources, so only if East-East cooperation
brings extra resources it might be interesting for them to establish
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