For Sustainability Progress, NGOs are in a League of Their Own

More than two decades ago, government leaders, scientists, NGOs and other change makers gathered in Rio de Janeiro for a historic summit that would set the direction of sustainable development for years to come.
Since the Earth Summit, progress on climate change and sustainability has been uneven and, many will argue, disappointing. As the date of the 21st United Nations climate change conference in Paris approaches, the global community is facing another seminal year, building hopes that the December summit will mark the beginning of a new chapter with ambitious goals and more decisive action.
In our recent GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders Survey we asked expert stakeholders representing business, government, NGOs and academia across 82 countries to evaluate the progress that various institutions have made since 1992 and reflect on their expectations for the next 20 years.
We were not surprised to see in the results the continuation of leadership by non-state actors, especially NGOs, who remain in a league of their own. Their contribution since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio is ranked highest by polled experts in comparison to governments who continue to be perceived as performing poorly, for lack of substantive action.
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