Assessing the Transformative Effects of Transparency in Global Governance: The Case of Climate Change


The last decade has seen a rapid increase within global governance of novel, non-binding ‘pledge-and-review’ approaches to dealing with contested global challenges, such as climate change. In such a novel approach, the transparency of country commitments becomes key. Transparency is widely assumed, both in policy practice and scholarly literature, to help promote accountability, enhance trust and improve envi-ronmental outcomes through greater information disclosure. Yet these assumptions are still under-theorized, and their realization in practice has not been systematically analyzed. This project addresses this crucial research gap, with a focus on voluntary climate commitments of countries relating to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Elaborate transparency systems are now at the core of global climate governance, in order to ‘make visible’ what countries are doing, with the assumption that this facilitates accountability, enhances mutual trust and thereby helps to ratchet up climate ambition. Extensive resources are now in-vested in these systems, with high policy expectations about the positive effects of climate transparency. But there is only anecdotal evidence available on what these systems in fact deliver. TRANSGOV proposes an urgently needed, theoretically informed, in-depth multi-level empirical analysis of variable country en-gagement with the ever-expanding transparency arrangements in global climate governance, and the politi-cal effects of such engagement. Through an innovative mixed-methods approach that includes developing a global data base of variable participation in these systems, as well as expert surveys, interviews and four national case studies, TRANSGOV will advance much-needed theoretical and empirical knowledge about transparency’s transformative potential in global governance.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. A. Gupta

Affiliated with

Wageningen University & Research, Maatschappijwetenschappen, Milieubeleid (ENP)

Team members

R. Bergsvik, S. Konrad


01/03/2020 to 31/12/2023