Carole-Anne Sénit, Agni Kalfagianni, and Frank Biermann (2016). Cyberdemocracy? Information and Communication Technologies in Civil Society Consultations for Sustainable Development. Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations: October-December 2016, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 533-554.
Résumé [en anglais] :
Information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly used to engage civil society in intergovernmental negotiations on sustainable development. They have emerged as a potential remedy to the democratic legitimacy deficit that pervades traditional mechanisms for civil society representation and, ultimately, intergovernmental policymaking. However, many observers have contested the benefits of ICT for democratization on both theoretical and empirical grounds. This article contributes to this debate by evaluating the democratic legitimacy of ICT in civil society consultations in intergovernmental policy, taking the numerous online dialogues of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 conference) as a case study. The article argues that, despite its promise, ICT reinforce rather than reverse embedded participatory inequalities in a global context, and fail to substantially increase transparency and accountability. This prevents, in turn, a meaningful participation of civil society in intergovernmental negotiations, thus indicating the limits of “cyberdemocracy.”