Global Policy Forum


Representatives of independent citizen organizations are increasingly active in policy making at the United Nations. These organizations - known at the UN as "non-governmental organizations" or "NGOs" - are often the most effective voices for the concerns of ordinary people in the international arena. NGOs include the most outspoken advocates of human rights, the environment, social programs, women's rights and more. This page links to information and analysis about NGOs at the UN and in global policy-making more broadly.

Introduction to NGOs

GPF Perspectives on NGOs

This section contains all GPF work on NGOs.

Defining NGOs

This section looks at how different definitions of "NGOs," "Civil Society" and similar concepts can have different political implications.

General Analysis of the Role of NGOs

This page posts information analyzing the role of NGOs in general.

Credibility and Legitimacy of NGOs

Are NGOs the "conscience of humanity" as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said, or are they unrepresentative and meddling elites as some critics like to argue?

Funding for NGOs

NGOs finance their work through a variety of sources including membership dues, foundation and government grants, sales of services and business activities like credit cards, cruises and tee-shirt sales. How do funding sources influence NGO policy choices and public credibility?

NGOs and the UN

NGOs and UN Main Bodies

This section discusses NGO access and physical participation in major UN organs such as ECOSOC, the General Assembly and the Security Council. It also covers speeches by the Secretary General and reports on NGOs.

Relations between NGOs and the UN

This section analyzes the role, participation and contribution of NGOs in the UN system.

NGO Access at the UN

NGOs face a perpetual struggle for access to UN bodies and meetings. This page follows NGO access issues and also includes in depth coverage of access to the Official Document System.

Problematic NGOs at the UN

This section considers issues of accredited NGOs that challenge UN values and damage NGO reputation. It also considers problematic NGOs that seek accreditation or access to UN meetings and conferences.

NGO Working Group on Access

List of Members

List of Campaigns

Role of NGOs in the International Arena

NGOs in the Field

This section looks at the challenges that NGOs face "in the field", providing humanitarian relief and development assistance in countries around the world.

NGOs and States

The relationship between NGOs and states is linked to new issues in international law. Do NGOs threaten state sovereignty, or on the contrary are NGOs too weak and subordinate to more powerful forces in the international system?

NGOs and Business

This section looks at the variety of relationshisp between NGOs and businesses.

NGOs and Regional/International Institutions

This section looks at the relationship between NGOs and International Institutions, such as the World Bank, IMF, etc.

Tables and Charts

This page provides tables and charts on NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC by category and region.

Links and Resources

Links to NGO-related web sites and bibliography of books and articles.


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