Enacting Accountability- Networked Governance, NGOs and the FCTC

Raphael Lencucha, Anita Kothari, and Ronald Labonté

Accountability is a pressing challenge within the present system of international lawmaking. Scholars continue to examine the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to encourage the accountability of governments during this process. The negotiation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) provides an important context to examine accountability as it is and was inherently influenced by corporate interests and government economics, and involved extensive NGO participation. We conducted in depth interviews and document analysis to examine the role of Canadian NGO representatives in the negotiation of the FCTC. We highlight two sets of findings about Canadian NGO enactment of accountability during FCTC negotiations. First, we describe the efforts of the NGOs to ensure that the FCTC gave precedence to population health over tobacco-related trade agreements (external accountability) between WHO member states. We then describe the efforts of this group to include NGOs from low and middle income countries (internal accountability). The implications of these findings within the broader discourse on accountability in international lawmaking are discussed.