Governance of transboundary environmental crisis in the Aral Sea Basin: The role of Uzbek environmental NGOs

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


W. Henry Lambright


Governance, Transboundary, Environmental crisis, Aral Sea Basin, Uzbek, NGOs

Subject Categories

Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The main objective of this dissertation is to empirically assess the role of environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGO) in the governance of transboundary water crisis. Studies of the international relations have focused mainly on states and their relations as the core of governance approach in international affairs. However, the growing power of non-state actors in the global arena became a challenge for scholarly as well as policy debates. Currently, an important number of research in international environmental affairs deals with the roles of non-state actors.

This dissertation takes seriously the idea that NGOs, as actors, are important contributors to transboundary environmental politics. Therefore, this research examined the influence and the role of ENGOs, if any, over the governance of transboundary environmental crisis in the Aral Sea basin. However, the findings of this dissertation, through the survey conducted auprés de Uzbek environmental NGOs in the Aral Sea Basin, reveals a complex picture and challenges some of the conventional wisdom about their contributions in the governance of transboundary environmental crisis.

One can hardly speak about the influence of transnational networks---via ENGOs---by spreading environmental norms and networks in order to change the state behavior. To the contrary, it seems that the diffusion of norms and practices in the area of water related environment issues has been shaped more by basin wide norms and practices than by the norms and practices imported from outside of the basin.

Equally, the findings suggest that ENGOs are the weak factors within the basin wide cultural context as they focus more on issues of importance to people in western world than on the needs of those nearest them. Notably, when it comes to transboundary water crisis in the Basin, their influence on state apparatus is insignificant to nonexistent.


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