This paper addresses a gap in our understanding of how links between states and nonstate actors intersect with North–South dynamics. It draws together the literatures on NGOs with the debates on privatised forms of global governance to provide a deeper understanding of the growing role of nonstate actors in managing transnational environmental issues. I argue that the inclusion of nonstate actors can serve to reinforce and deepen existing global inequalities. I use the example of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to shed light on the complex dynamics that surround (apparently) interstate environmental governance mechanisms. The CITES is one of the earliest examples of engagement with nonstate actors as shapers and drivers of environmental governance. As such, it provides us with important lessons about the problems associated with including a wider range of actors in global environmental governance mechanisms, especially engagement with Southern partners
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