This paper explores the ways in which civil society actors and developing countries are limited in their engagement in global governance for sustainable development. Beginning with the relevant literature about how these social actors face obstacles to full participation, we present the notion of what we call “disenfranchisement” to describe the condition of being marginalized within the global policy-making arena. We put forward a conceptual framework that outlines what we identify as the three dimensions of disenfranchisement. By dis-aggregating the notion of disenfranchisement into its constituent dimensions, we outline potential operationalizations of these dimensions. Through the dimensions, the framework explicitly describes the mechanics of disenfranchisement, outlining the reasons that these actors become disenfranchised. We conclude by presenting the ways in which this framework can be applied in future empirical research, which will be critical to understanding the challenges to meaningful inclusion of stakeholders in global governance for sustainable development.

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