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Non-governmental organization (NGO) is a term that has become widely accepted as referring to a legally constituted, non-governmental organization created by natural or legal persons with no participation or representation of any government. In the cases in which NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status and excludes government representatives from membership in the organization. Unlike the term intergovernmental organization, "non-governmental organization" is a term in general use but is not a legal definition. In many jurisdictions these types of organization are defined as "civil society organizations" or referred to by other names.

The number of internationally operating NGOs is estimated at 40,000.[1] National numbers are even higher: Russia has 277,000 NGOs.[2] India is estimated to have between 1 million and 2 million NGOs.[3]

Contents

History

National NGOs go back to antiquity. International non-governmental organizations have a history dating back to at least 1839.[4] Rotary, later Rotary International, was founded in 1905. It has been estimated that by 1914 there were 1083 NGOs.[5] International NGOs were important in the anti-slavery movement and the movement for women's suffrage, and reached a peak at the time of the World Disarmament Conference.[6] However, the phrase "non-governmental organization" only came into popular use with the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter[7] for a consultative role for organizations which are neither governments nor member states—see Consultative Status. The definition of "international NGO" (INGO) is first given in resolution 288 (X) of ECOSOC on February 27, 1950: it is defined as "any international organization that is not founded by an international treaty". The vital role of NGOs and other "major groups" in sustainable development was recognized in Chapter 27[8] of Agenda 21, leading to intense arrangements for a consultative relationship between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.[9]

Rapid development of the non-governmental sector occurred in western countries as a result of the processes of restructurization of the welfare state. Further globalization of that process occurred after the fall of the communist system and was an important part of the Washington consensus [10].

Globalization during the 20th century gave rise to the importance of NGOs. Many problems could not be solved within a nation. International treaties and international organizations such as the World Trade Organization were perceived as being too centred on the interests of capitalist enterprises. Some argued that in an attempt to counterbalance this trend, NGOs have developed to emphasize humanitarian issues, developmental aid and sustainable development. A prominent example of this is the World Social Forum which is a rival convention to the World Economic Forum held annually in January in Davos, Switzerland. The fifth World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January 2005 was attended by representatives from more than 1,000 NGOs.[citation needed] Some have argued that in forums like these, NGOs take the place of what should belong to popular movements of the poor. Others argue that NGOs are often imperialist in nature, that they sometimes operate in a racialized manner in dominant countries, and that they fulfill a similar function to that of the clergy during the high colonial era. The philosopher Peter Hallward argues that they are an aristocratic form of politics. However, this philosophy would suggest that organizations of indigenous peoples are not represented, which is untrue.[11] Whatever the case, NGO transnational networking is now extensive.[12]

Types of NGOs

Apart from "NGO", often alternative terms are used as for example: independent sector, volunteer sector, civil society, grassroots organizations, transnational social movement organizations, private voluntary organizations, self-help organizations and non-state actors (NSA's).

Non-governmental organizations are a heterogeneous group. A long list of acronyms has developed around the term "NGO".

These include

  • CSO, short for civil society organization;
  • DONGO: Donor Organized NGO;
  • ENGO: short for environmental NGO, such as Global 2000;
  • GONGOs are government-operated NGOs, which may have been set up by governments to look like NGOs in order to qualify for outside aid or promote the interests of the government in question;
  • INGO stands for international NGO; Oxfam is an international NGO
  • QUANGOs are quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). (The ISO is actually not purely an NGO, since its membership is by nation, and each nation is represented by what the ISO Council determines to be the 'most broadly representative' standardization body of a nation. That body might itself be a nongovernmental organization; for example, the United States is represented in ISO by the American National Standards Institute, which is independent of the federal government. However, other countries can be represented by national governmental agencies; this is the trend in Europe.)
  • TANGO: short for technical assistance NGO;
  • GSO: Grassroots Support Organization
  • MANGO: short for market advocacy NGO
  • CHARDS:Community Health and Rural Development Society

There are also numerous classifications of NGOs. The typology the World Bank uses divides them into Operational and Advocacy:[13]

The primary purpose of an operational NGO is the design and implementation of development-related projects. One frequently used categorization is the division into relief-oriented versus development-oriented organizations; they can also be classified according to whether they stress service delivery or participation; or whether they are religious or secular; and whether they are more public or private-oriented. Operational NGOs can be community-based, national or international.

The primary purpose of an Advocacy NGO is to defend or promote a specific cause. As opposed to operational project management, these organizations typically try to raise awareness, acceptance and knowledge by lobbying, press work and activist events.

USAID refers to NGOs as private voluntary organisations. However many scholars have argued that this definition is highly problematic as many NGOs are in fact state and corporate funded and managed projects with professional staff.[citation needed]

NGOs exist for a variety of reasons, usually to further the political or social goals of their members or funders. Examples include improving the state of the natural environment, encouraging the observance of human rights, improving the welfare of the disadvantaged, or representing a corporate agenda. However, there are a huge number of such organizations and their goals cover a broad range of political and philosophical positions. This can also easily be applied to private schools and athletic organizations.

Methods

NGOs vary in their methods. Some act primarily as lobbyists, while others primarily conduct programs and activities. For instance, an NGO such as Oxfam, concerned with poverty alleviation, might provide needy people with the equipment and skills to find food and clean drinking water, whereas an NGO like the FFDA helps through investigation and documentation of human rights violations and provides legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses. Others, such as Afghanistan Information Management Services, provide specialized technical products and services to support development activities implemented on the ground by other organizations.

Public relations

Non-governmental organizations need healthy relationships with the public to meet their goals. Foundations and charities use sophisticated public relations campaigns to raise funds and employ standard lobbying techniques with governments. Interest groups may be of political importance because of their ability to influence social and political outcomes. A code of ethics [14] was established in 2002 by The World Association of Non Governmental NGOs.

Consulting

Project management

There is an increasing awareness that management techniques are crucial to project success in non-governmental organizations.[15] Generally, non-governmental organizations that are private have either a community or environmental focus. They address varieties of issues such as religion, emergency aid, or humanitarian affairs. They mobilize public support and voluntary contributions for aid; they often have strong links with community groups in developing countries, and they often work in areas where government-to-government aid is not possible. NGOs are accepted as a part of the international relations landscape, and while they influence national and multilateral policy-making, increasingly they are more directly involved in local action.

Staffing

Not all people working for non-governmental organizations are volunteers. The reasons people volunteer are not necessarily purely altruistic, and can provide immediate benefits for themselves as well as those they serve, including skills, experience, and contacts.

There is some dispute as to whether expatriates should be sent to developing countries. Frequently this type of personnel is employed to satisfy a donor who wants to see the supported project managed by someone from an industrialized country. However, the expertise these employees or volunteers may have can be counterbalanced by a number of factors: the cost of foreigners is typically higher, they have no grassroot connections in the country they are sent to, and local expertise is often undervalued.[13]

The NGO sector is an important employer in terms of numbers.[citation needed] For example, by the end of 1995, CONCERN worldwide, an international Northern NGO working against poverty, employed 174 expatriates and just over 5,000 national staff working in ten developing countries in Africa and Asia, and in Haiti.

Funding

Large NGOs may have annual budgets in the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. For instance, the budget of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) was over US$540 million in 1999.[16] Funding such large budgets demands significant fundraising efforts on the part of most NGOs. Major sources of NGO funding include membership dues, the sale of goods and services, grants from international institutions or national governments, and private donations. Several EU-grants provide funds accessible to NGOs.

Even though the term "non-governmental organization" implies independence from governments, most NGOs depend heavily on governments for their funding[10]. A quarter of the US$162 million income in 1998 of the famine-relief organization Oxfam was donated by the British government and the EU. The Christian relief and development organization World Vision collected US$55 million worth of goods in 1998 from the American government. Nobel Prize winner Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (known in the USA as Doctors Without Borders) gets 46% of its income from government sources.[17]

Monitoring and control

In a March 2000 report on United Nations Reform priorities, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote in favor of international humanitarian intervention, arguing that the international community has a "right to protect" citizens of the world against ethnic cleansing, genocide, and crimes against humanity. On the heels of the report, the Canadian government launched the Responsibility to Protect R2PPDF (434 KiB) project, outlining the issue of humanitarian intervention. While the R2P doctrine has wide applications, among the more controversial has been the Canadian government's use of R2P to justify its intervention and support of the coup in Haiti.[citation needed]

Years after R2P, the World Federalist Movement, an organization which supports "the creation of democratic global structures accountable to the citizens of the world and call for the division of international authority among separate agencies", has launched Responsibility to Protect - Engaging Civil Society (R2PCS). A collaboration between the WFM and the Canadian government, this project aims to bring NGOs into lockstep with the principles outlined under the original R2P project.

The governments of the countries an NGO works or is registered in may require reporting or other monitoring and oversight. Funders generally require reporting and assessment, such information is not necessarily publicly available. There may also be associations and watchdog organizations that research and publish details on the actions of NGOs working in particular geographic or program areas.[citation needed]

In recent years, many large corporations have increased their corporate social responsibility departments in an attempt to preempt NGO campaigns against certain corporate practices. As the logic goes, if corporations work with NGOs, NGOs will not work against corporations.

In December 2007, The United States Department of Defense Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) S. Ward Casscells established an International Health Division under Force Health Protection & Readiness [1]. Part of International Health's mission is to communicate with NGOs in areas of mutual interest. Department of Defense Directive 3000.05 [2], in 2005, requires DoD to regard stability-enhancing activities as a mission of importance equal to warfighting. In compliance with international law, DoD has necessarily built a capacity to improve essential services in areas of conflict such as Iraq, where the customary lead agencies (State Department and USAID) find it difficult to operate. Unlike the "co-option" strategy described for corporations, the OASD(HA) recognizes the neutrality of health as an essential service. International Health cultivates collaborative relationships with NGOs, albeit at arms-length, recognizing their traditional independence, expertise and honest broker status. While the goals of DoD and NGOs may seem incongruent, the DoD's emphasis on stability and security to reduce and prevent conflict suggests, on careful analysis, important mutual interests.

Legal status

The legal form of NGOs is diverse and depends upon homegrown variations in each country's laws and practices. However, four main family groups of NGOs can be found worldwide:[18]

NGOs are not subjects of international law, as states are. An exception is the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is subject to certain specific matters, mainly relating to the Geneva Convention.

The Council of Europe in Strasbourg drafted the European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organizations in 1986, which sets a common legal basis for the existence and work of NGOs in Europe. Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to freedom of association, which is also a fundamental norm for NGOs.

Citizen organization

There is a growing movement within the “non”-profit and “non”-government sector to define itself in a more constructive, accurate way. Instead of being defined by “non” words, organizations are suggesting new terminology to describe the sector. The term “civil society organization” (CSO) has been used by a growing number of organizations, such as the Center for the Study of Global Governance.[19] The term “citizen sector organization” (CSO) has also been advocated to describe the sector — as one of citizens, for citizens.[20] This labels and positions the sector as its own entity, without relying on language used for the government or business sectors. However some have argued that this is not particularly helpful given that most NGOs are in fact funded by governments and business and that some NGOs are clearly hostile to independently organized people's organizations.[10][21]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ (Anheier et al., "Global Civil Society 2001", 2001)
  2. ^ Hobbled NGOs wary of Medvedev - - chicagotribune.com
  3. ^ http://www.indianngos.com/ngosection/newcomers/whatisanngo.htm "What is an NGO?" January 5, 2007
  4. ^ The Rise and Fall of Transnational Civil Society: The Evolution of International Non-Governmental Organizations since 1839. By T. R. Davies City Universipawel is gayty London Working Paper. Steve Charnovitz, "Two Centuries of Participation: NGOs and International Governance, Michigan Journal of International Law, Winter 1997.
  5. ^ Subcontracting Peace - The Challenges of NGO Peacebuilding. Edited by: Richmond, Oliver P., and Carey, Henry F. Published by Ashgate, 2005. Page 21.
  6. ^ Davies, Thomas Richard (2007). The Possibilities of Transnational Activism: the Campaign for Disarmament between the Two World Wars. ISBN 978 9004162 58 7. 
  7. ^ Charter Of The United Nations: Chapter X
  8. ^ Agenda 21 - Chapter 27: Strengthening the Role of Non-governmental Organizations: Partners for Sustainable Development, Earth Summit, 1992
  9. ^ 1996/31. Consultative relationship between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations
  10. ^ a b c Pawel Zaleski Global Non-governmental Administrative System: Geosociology of the Third Sector, [in:] Gawin, Dariusz & Glinski, Piotr [ed.]: "Civil Society in the Making", IFiS Publishers, Warszawa 2006
  11. ^ See his, Damming the Flood (Verso, London, 2007.)
  12. ^ Stone, Diane. "Transfer Agents and Global Networks in the ‘Transnationalisation’ of Policy", Journal of European Public Policy.austiniskewl, 11(3) 2004: 545–66.
  13. ^ a b http://docs.lib.duke.edu/igo/guides/ngo/define.htm World Bank Criteria defining NGO
  14. ^ http://www.wango.org/codeofethics.aspx
  15. ^ http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/CCS/pdf/int-work-paper4.pdfPDF (100 KiB) Mukasa, Sarah. Are expatriate staff necessary in international development NGOs? A case study of an international NGO in Uganda. Publication of the Centre for Civil Society at London School of Economics. 2002, p. 11–13.
  16. ^ "Poll shows power of AIPAC drops slightly". Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. 1999-12-19. http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/12687/edition_id/245/format/html/displaystory.html. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  17. ^ http://www.intractableconflict.org/m/role_ngo.jsp Intractable Conflict Knowledge Base Project of the Conflict Research Consortium at the University of Colorado.
  18. ^ Grant B. Stillman (2007), Global Standard NGOs, Geneva: Lulu, pp. 13-14.
  19. ^ Glasius, Marlies, Mary Kaldor and Helmut Anheier (eds.) "Global Civil Society 2006/7". London: Sage, 2005.
  20. ^ Drayton, W: "Words Matter". Alliance Magazine, Vol. 12/No.2, June 2007.
  21. ^ South African Grassroots Movements Rebel Against NGO Authoritarianism

Further reading

  • Mark Butler, with Thulani Ndlazi, David Ntseng, Graham Philpott, and Nomusa Sokhela. NGO Practice and the Possibility of Freedom Church Land Programme, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 2007 [3]
  • Olivier Berthoud, NGOs: Somewhere between Compassion, Profitability and Solidarity[4], PDF [5] Envio, Managua, 2001
  • Terje Tvedt, 19982/2003: Angels of >Mercy or Development Diplomats. NGOs & Foreign Aid, Oxford: James Currey
  • Steve W. Witt, ed. Changing Roles of NGOs in the Creation, Storage, and Dissemination of Information in Developing Countries (Saur, 2006). ISBN 3-598-22030-8
  • Cox, P, N Shams, GC Jahn, P Erickson and P Hicks. 2002. Building collaboration between NGOs and agricultural research institutes. Cambodian Journal of Agriculture 6: 1-8. [6]
  • Ann Florini, ed. The Third Force: The Rise of Transnational Civil Society (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Japan Center for International Exchange, 2001).
  • Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink. 1998. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Cornell University Press
  • Rodney Bruce Hall, and Biersteker, Thomas. The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance (Cambridge Studies in International Relations, 2003)
  • Dorthea Hilhorst, The Real World of NGOs: Discourses, Diversity and Development, Zed Books, 2003
  • Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003).
  • Ian Smillie, & Minear, Larry, editors. The Charity of Nations: Humanitarian Action in a Calculating World, Kumarian Press, 2004
  • Simon Maxwell and Diane Stone. (eds) Global Knowledge Networks and International Development: Bridges Across Boundaries (Routledge, 2005: I-xix; 1-192).
  • Sidney Tarrow, The New Transnational Activism, New York :Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • Thomas Ward, editor. Development, Social Justice, and Civil Society: An Introduction to the Political Economy of NGOs, Paragon House, 2005
  • H. Teegen, 2003. ‘International NGOs as Global Institutions: Using Social Capital to Impact Multinational Enterprises and Governments’, Journal of International Management.
  • Jennifer Brinkerhoff, Stephen C. Smith, and Hildy Teegen, NGOs and the Millennium Development Goals: Citizen Action to Reduce Poverty, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • S.Goonatilake. Recolonisation: Foreign Funded NGO's in Sri Lanka, Sage Publications 2006.
  • Teegen, H. Doh, J., Vachani, S., 2004. “The importance of nongovernmental organisation in global governance and value creation: an international business research agenda“ in Journal of International Business Studies. Washington: Vol. 35, Iss.6.
  • K. Rodman, (1998)."‘Think Globally, Punish Locally: Nonstate Actors, Multinational Corporations, and Human Rights Sanctions" in Ethics in International Affairs, vol. 12.
  • Grant B. Stillman (2006), NGO Law and Governance: a resource book, ADB Institute, Tokyo, ISBN 4-89974-013-1.

More useful are regional histories and analyses of the experience of NGOs. Specific works (although this is by no means an exhaustive list) include:

  • T. R. Davies, The Possibilities of Transnational Activism: The Campaign for Disarmament between the Two World Wars, Brill, 2007. ISBN 3-598-22030-8
  • H. Englund, Prisoners of Freedom: Human Rights & the Africa Poor, University of California Press, 2006
  • Carrie Meyer, The Economics and Politics of NGOs in Latin America, Praeger Publishers, July 30, 1999
  • Chhandasi Pandya. 2006. Private Authority and Disaster Relief: The Cases of Post-Tsunami Aceh and Nias. Critical Asian Studies. Vol. 38, No. 2. Pg. 298-308. Routledge Press: Taylor & Francis Group
  • Maha Abdelrahman, Civil Society Exposed: The Politics of NGOs in Egypt, The American University in Cairo Press, 2004. Al-Ahram Weekly has done a review of the book.
  • Sangeeta Kamat, Development hegemony: NGOs and The State in India, Delhi, New York; Oxford University Press, 2002
  • Adama Sow, Chancen und Risiken von NGOs – Die Gewerkschaften in Guinea während der Unruhen 2007EPU Research Papers: Issue 03/07, Stadtschlaining 2007 (German)
  • Lyal S. Sunga, "Dilemmas facing INGOs in coalition-occupied Iraq", in Ethics in Action: The Ethical Challenges of International Human Rights Nongovernmental Organizations, edited by Daniel A. Bell and Jean-Marc Coicaud, Cambridge Univ. and United Nations Univ. Press, 2007.
  • Lyal S. Sunga, "NGO Involvement in International Human Rights Monitoring, International Human Rights Law and Non-Governmental Organizations" (2005) 41-69.
  • Werker & Ahmed (2008): What do Non-Governmental Organizations do?
  • Steve Charnovitz, "Two Centuries of Participation: NGOs and International Governance," Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 18, Winter 1997, at 183-286.

The de facto reference resource for information and statistics on International NGOs (INGOs) and other transnational organisational forms is the Yearbook of International Organizations, produced by the Union of International Associations.

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See also ngo

Contents

English

Initialism

NGO

  1. Non-Governmental Organization

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