Global Policy Forum

Archived Articles on General Analysis of the Role of NGOs




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Civil Societies Role in Global Policy Making (May 2003)

This article discusses arguments for and against increasing civil society's engagement in global decision making. It outlines ways in which civil society has played an active role in global institutions and analyzes how effective this participation has been. (Alliance)


The Global Accountancy Report: Power Without Accountability? (January 20, 2003)

One World Trust's report compares the accountability of Inter-Governmental Organizations, Trans-National Corporations and NGOs. The report assesses 18 major organizations, focusing on two crucial aspects of accountability: member control and access to information.



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The Role of NGOs in Human Security (November 2002)

This working paper of the Hauser Center at Harvard depicts NGOs as one of the most visible sets of actors in the fields of human development and human rights. The United Nations defines human security as "freedom from want" and "freedom from fear" and has urged the global community to adopt a people-centered approach to security in their work. This paper describes how NGOs are especially well suited to action for human security because of their size and reach, closeness to local populations, willingness to confront the status quo, and ability to address transnational threats through coalition-building. (The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations)

Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOS) and Third World Development: An Alternative Approach to Development (2002)

In regions like Sub-Saharan Africa, where governments and the private sector mutually fail to provide public goods, NGOs often step in to dispense services to marginalized groups. Through this NGO-led "third approach" to development, NGOs can alleviate poverty in an immediate fashion where corrupt elites seize government policy and market operations to harm the poor. (Journal of Third World Studies)

Civil Society in Nepalese Context: Media perspective (November 27, 2002)

After a long period of stunted growth, the emergence of a multi-party democracy in Nepal has given civil society groups and NGOs a chance to flourish. Widespread access to a "vigilant and active" media system is an important factor in building a strong civil society, and lower technology costs have made this a viable possibility. (Nepal News)


The State of Global Civil Society: Before and After September 11 (October 7, 2002)

This paper from Global Civil Society 2002 examines the state of civil society pre-9/11 within the framework of four important global civil society events. It then analyzes how different interpretations of the crisis shaped the responses of civil society, international organizations and governments. (London School of Economics)

Global Injustice Hurts Development (September 20, 2002)

Post 9/11 curbs on civil liberties, visa restrictions and intolerance to criticism undermine civil society's efforts to promote sustainable development. (Mail & Guardian)

In Africa, 'Little Guys' Help Bring Big Changes (September 19, 2002)

Throughout Africa, civil society groups play "an unprecedented role in strengthening African democracy." Civil society has supported Parliament and liberalized the press, among other successes. (Christian Science Monitor)

The Role of NGOs in Human Security (May, 2002)

This Harvard research paper identifies improving development and protecting human rights as two vital ingredients in providing human security. It discusses effective ways for NGOs to achieve these goals and the obstacles which they must overcome. (Harvard University)

Waiting for Godot (Spring/Summer 2002)

This article argues that the Ukrainian youth movement needs "an infusion of ideas and experiences" to strengthen the voice of young people in civil society. (NGO Net)



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Central Role in Development for Thai NGOs? (December 2001)

Government downsizing in Thailand has opened the door for development NGOs to take a lead in social development. This paper looks at the growth of community-based organizations (CBOs), funding challenges, the relationship between CSOs and the government, and the future of CSOs in Thailand. (Alliance)

Rev. Moon and the United Nations: A Challenge for the NGO Community (November 2001)

According to WEED, three Moon front groups operate as accredited NGOs at the UN and more have applied for NGO status. This paper raises questions about who should qualify for NGO status and what protections should be developed against well-financed charlatans.

The role of NGOs in the Age of a Democratic Civil Society (September 28, 2001)

Renate Bloem, president of the Coalition of NGOs, says that the globalization of problems must lead to the globalization of their solutions: NGOs can help to connect the local with the global.

Democracy, Governance and European NGOs (March 2001)

This statement by the Platform of European Social NGOs outlines the value of NGOs and the role which they can play in the development of new forms of governance at a European level.



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Transnational Actors and International Organizations in Global Politics (2000)

People assume too often that international relations consists only of relationships between states. In this chapter from The Globalisation of World Politics, Peter Willets argues that a complete understanding of political change must include the role of non-state actors, such as NGOs.

Latin American Civil Society: Non-Governmental Organizations and Democracy (2000)

Douglas Chalmers, expert on Latin America and Columbia University professor, discusses the role of NGOs in representing the interests of Latin Americans. Growth of civil society especially works to include traditionally marginalized groups, such as women and indigenous peoples, in the democratic process. (Columbia University)


Civil Society Organizations and Service Provision (October 2000)

This report provides an overall analysis of the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in providing services. It outlines the effects funding can have on accountability, the importance of government partnerships, and how CSOs can influence legislation. (UN Research Institute for Social Development)


Civil Society, NGDOs and Social Development (January 2000)

This paper looks at the role and performance of Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs) in promoting social development. It examines the relationship between NGDOs, civil society groups, and aid recipients and outlines how the international aid system limits NGDOs' capacity for self-improvement. (UN Research Institute for Social Development)



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NGOs in a Global Future: Marrying Local Delivery to Worldwide Leverage (December 1999)

This paper explores the main economic, social and political trends affecting the NGO world, and argues that these trends call for major changes in NGO roles, relationships, capacities and accountabilities. (NGO Café)

3rd Assembly of the UN of the People, Perugia, Italy (September 23-25, 1999)

Excerpts from the Assembly's final document : "Role of the global civil society and local communities for peace, an economy of justice and international democracy".



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Learning to Live with NGOs (Fall 1998)

P.J. Simmons attempts to define the role of NGOs in international civil society and determine the potential for NGO-nation state cooperation.

Interview with Michael Edwards on the Future of NGOs (Fall 1998)

Michael Edwards discusses the "increasing links between NGOs, markets, and terms of influencing economic forces".



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NGOs and Global Policy-Making (June 1996)

An analysis by GPF Director James Paul, provides historical background and emphasizes NGOs growing contemporary importance, diversity, impact on policy, etc.

The Paradox of Civil Society (1996)

An article from the Journal of Democracy which contemplates how to distinguish between political associations and the political activities of groups in civil society, from interest groups to religious bodies.



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