Abstract

This paper investigates a rarely visited theme in academic research, namely the reasons hindering successful trans-national networking of environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs). We visit this theme by analyzing the MEDSETCON initiative, an attempt in the late 1990s-early 2000s to create a Mediterranean Sea Turtle Conservation network, which ultimately bore no fruit. Prior research had emphasized the role played by individual and organizational characteristics as well as the issue's urgency, relevance and importance. In the case of MEDSETCON, all of these “environmental” conditions were met, yet the network did not materialize. We argue that this was because, albeit necessary, the conditions identified by other research are not in themselves sufficient. Thus we inform prior research by pointing out that networking is, ceteris paribus, also the outcome of successful resource exchanges between prospective members. Accordingly, we argue that individual ENGOs pursue networking to the extent that they feel that this will enhance some of their sources of leverage (the intellectual, political, fiscal and membership assets they need for operating and promoting their agenda), thus in effect exchanging stocks of one kind of leverage for another.

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