Global Policy Forum

Links and Resources on NGOs

This page contains a selection of links and resources on each of the topics in the NGO portfolio.

Basic Information on NGOs at the UN| NGOs and the Official UN Documentation
| Successful NGO Campaigns| Academic/Research Centers |
  NGO/UN Links | Other Links | Bibliography

Basic Information on NGOs at the UN

NGO Status at the UN

Information about the UN resolution on arrangements for consultation and the different categories of formal NGO status at the UN.

List of Accredited NGOs

In September 2010 there were 3382 NGOs in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in three different categories: General, Special and Roster.

Partnerships, Non-Governmental Organizations and the United Nations System

UN table offering links to NGO sections of various UN Bodies, Agencies and Programs.

Calendars for NGOs at the UN

Links to different calendars of UN events open to NGOs.

NGOs and the UN Official Document System

NGO Access to the United Nations "Official Document System" (May 2003)

Global Policy Forum gives a detailed description of past and present developments of NGO efforts to obtain a free and open access to the UN Official Document System (ODS).

Memo to Secretary-General Kofi Annan (April 25, 1997)

Twelve NGOs urge a review of UN policy of access to the optical disk system in a major statement.

United Nations Opens Official Document System to General Public (December 23, 2004)

After seven years of petitioning and lobbying, NGOs have succeeded in gaining public access to the United Nations Official Document System (ODS) as of December 31, 2004. The ODS currently contains most UN documents, including UN resolutions and selective UN commission documents, mainly from 1993 to the present.(UN Press Release)

NGOs Win ODS Access (January 26, 2004)

In late December 2003, the UN finally approved funding for open public access to the organization's Official Documents System. Global Policy Forum has been leading a campaign for this important information tool for seven years. Lobbying by many NGOs worldwide helped carry the day.

Interim Statement by President Cardoso on Access to the ODS (November 14, 2003)

The Chair of the Panel of Eminent Persons on UN-Civil Society Relations has encouraged the Secretary General to ensure ODS financing in the 2004 budget plans. The Secretary General intends to urge the General Assembly to approve the ODS budget.

Letter on the ODS to Mr. Nitin Desai by the World Federalist Movement (September 18, 2003)

This letter to Mr. Desai, Special Adviser to the Secretary General for the World Summit on the Information Society, asks for support within the framework of the WSIS to secure NGO access to the UN Official Document System.

CONGO Resolution on the ODS (June 26, 2003)

The board of the Conference of NGOs (CONGO) adopted a resolution, recognizing information provided by the United Nations Official Document System as "essential to the work of the NGO community."

Statement on Access to the ODS (June 4 – 6, 2003)

This statement, signed by thirty five NGO leaders, underlines the importance of free access to the ODS for the NGO community.(Global Policy Forum)

Letter Sent by the World Federalist Movement to Secretary General Kofi Annan (May 19, 2003)

This letter requests the Secretary General's support in providing universal access to the Official Document System (ODS), a database containing all UN documents in the six official UN languages. This initiative would help NGOs located far from the UN while offering the public an invaluable resource. (World Federalist Movement)

The ODS Episode: A Danger Signal from the Secretariat (July, 1999)

A short description of the battles for access to the ODS in 1996 – 1997. During this period the Secretariat imposed a change for the ODS, favoring a fee - for - service approach to this informative resource. (Global Policy Forum)

Letter from the Summer Institute of Linguistics to the Secretary General (April 16, 1999)

Dr. Clinton Robinson of SIL writes to the Secretary General to request that fees for access to the UN's optical disk system be lowered or abolished.

Discussion on the Access to the Optical Disk System at the UN (April - May 1998)

Several comments are assembled here on the issue of the access to the Optical Disk System at the UN.

Access to the Optical Disk System (February 25, 1998)

Report of the Secretary-General

Access to the Optical Disk System (August 21, 1997)

Report of the Secretary-General.

Letter by Samir Sanbar, Assistant Secretary-General for Public Information (June 19, 1997)

A letter written to all signers of the 25 April 1997 memorandum, promising that a policy review is under way.

Memo to Secretary-General Kofi Annan (April 25, 1997)

Twelve NGOs urge a review of UN policy of access to the optical disk system in a major statement.

Secretary General Responds to a Question on the ODS at a Briefing (March 18, 1997)

The SG gives a vague reply to a journalist's question on ODS, but suggests that a policy of openness will eventually prevail.

Letter to Amb. Ahmad Kamal (February 28, 1997)

Protests high charge that the UN has imposed on NGO use of the ODS and argues for free NGO access.

Letter to Amb. Ahmad Kamal (February 7, 1997)

Discusses the UN's new optical disk system and the problem of NGO access to it.

Successful NGO Campaigns

NGOs and the International Criminal Court

The NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court successfully campaigned for the establishment of the International Criminal Court in 2002. The Coalition continues to campaign for further ratification of the Rome Statue and to work against US efforts to undermine the Court.

NGOs and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) laid the groundwork for the International Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, which has been signed by 150 countries and ratified by 141 in 2003. The ICBL continues to work on ratification of the treaty by the remaining signatories and to promote the treatys implementation.

NGO Working Group on the Security Council

The NGO Working Group on the Security Council founded in 1997 brings together thirty major NGOs for a series of weekly meetings with Council ambassadors. The exchange of information contributes to the transparency and accountability of the Council.

NGO/UN Links

NGOs and UN Conferences

Link to reference document on the participation of civil society in United Nations conferences and special sessions of the General Assembly during the 1990s (Version 1 August 2001)

UN/Civil Society

Link to UN Website : "Partners in Civil Society" initiative.


The NGO Section of the Department of Public Information (DPI) at UN Headquarters serves as the liaison between the UN and NGO associated with DPI.


UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) section on NGOs offers information on how to obtain status and how to get a pass to the UN. There is also a link to the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, responsible for accreditation and suspension of NGOs.

United Nations Non-Governmental Liasion Service (NGLS)

The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) is a small inter-agency programme established in 1975 to strengthen UN-NGO dialogue and cooperation, particularly in the fields of development education, information and policy advocacy on global sustainable development.

Conference of Nongovernmental Organizations

The Conference of Nongovernmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. This is an independent, international and not-for-profit membership association of nongovernmental organizations that facilitates the participation of NGOs in United Nations debates and decisions.

The NGOs Network

A website with information and recent developments regarding the NGO access debate to the UN.


CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court

NGOs at the Commission for Sustainable Development

NGO Committee on Disarmament

Our World Is Not for Sale

Focus on the Global South

NGO Café

Work by Peter Willetts on NGOs


Mary Anderson
"Humanitarian NGOs in Conflict Intervention" in: Chester Crocker and Fen Osler Hampson with Pamela Aall eds. Managing Global Chaos: Sources of and Responses to International Conflict
Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1996

Marcos Arruda
NGOs and the World Bank: Is It Possible to Collaborate Critically?
Rio de Janeiro: PACS, 1995

I. Atack
Four Criteria of Development NGO legitimacy
World Development, Vol. 27, pp. 855-64

Benchmark Environmental Consulting
Democratic Global Governance: Report of the 1995 Benchmark Survey of NGOs
Portland: Benchmark Consulting, 1995

Kees Biekart
The Politics of Civil Society Building: European Private Aid Agencies and Democratic Transitions in Central America
Utrecht: International Books, 1999

John Boli and George Thomas
Constructing World Culture: International Nongovernmental Organizations Since 1875
Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999

John Boli and George Thomas
"World Culture in the World Polity: a century of international non-governmental organizations"
American Sociological Review, 62, no. 2 (1997): 171-190.

Thomas Carroll
Intermediary NGOs: the supporting link in grassroots development
West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press, 1992

Catholics for a Free Choice
Bad Faith at the UN: drawing back the curtain on the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute
Washington, DC: Catholics for a Free Choice, 2001

Steve Charnovitz
"Two Centuries of Participation: NGOs and International Governance"
Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Winter, 1997), pp. 183-286

Pei-heng Chiang
Non-governmental Organizations at the United Nations: Identity, Role and Function
New York: Praeger, 1981

Ann Marie Clark
"Non-Governmental Organizations and their Influence on International Society"
Journal of International Affairs, Winter 1995

Alan Durning
"People Power and Development"
Foreign Policy 76 (1989): 66-82

Michael Edwards and David Hulme (eds.)
Beyond the Magic Bullet: NGO performance and accountability in the post-cold war world
West Hartford: Kumarian Press, 1996

Michael Edwards and David Hulme
NGOs, States and Donors: Too Close for Comfort?
New York: St.Martin's Press, 1997

Michael Edwards and John Gaventa (eds.)
Global Citizen Action
Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2001

John Ehrenberg
Civil Society: The Critical History of an Idea
New York: New York University Press, 1998

Daniel Esty
"Non-governmental Organizations at the World Trade Organization: Co-operation, Competition, or Exclusion" Journal of International Economic Law, vol.1, March 1998

Tom Farer
"New Players in the Old Game"
American Behavioral Scientist, May 1995

Julie Fisher
The Road from Rio: sustainable development and the nongovernmental movement in the Third World
Westport: Praeger, 1993

Ann M. Florini (ed.) et al.
The Third Force: The Rise of Transnational Civil Society
Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2000

John Foster with Anita Anand(eds.)
Whose World is it Anyway? Civil Society, the United Nations and the multilateral future
Ottawa: United Nations Association of Canada, 1999.

A. Fowler
Relevance in the Twenty-First Century: The Case for Devolution and Global Association of International NGOs
Development in Practice, Vol. 9, pp. 143-151

Jonathan A. Fox and L. David Brown (eds.)
The Struggle for Accountability: The World Bank, NGOs, and Grassroots Movements
Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998

Global Policy Forum
NGOs and the United Nations
New York: Global Policy Forum, 1999

Klaus Hüfner
Non-Governmental Organizations in: Rüdiger Wolfrum (ed.): United Nations: Law, Policies and Practice, Vol.2.
Munich/Dordrecht: C.H. Beck/Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1995, pp. 927-935.

Harold K. Jacobson
Networks of Interdependence: international organizations and the global political system
New York: Knopf, 1984

Yolanda N. Kakabadse and Sarah Burns
Movers and Shapers: NGOs in International Affairs
Washington DC: World Resources Institute, 1994

Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink
Activists Beyond Borders
Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1998

Aynsley Kellow and Hannah Murphy-Gregory (eds.)
Handbook of Research on NGOs
Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018

David Korten and Antonio B. Quison
Government, NGO and International Agency Cooperation: whose agenda?
Kuala Lumpur: Asian Pacific Development Centre, 1991

Jens Martens
"NGOs in the UNCED Process: Test Case for More Participation in the UN System?"
in In the Aftermath of the Earth Summit
Bonn: Stiftung Entwicklung und Frieden, 1993

Jessica Mathews
"Power Shift"
Foreign Affairs, January/February 1997

Antti Pentikaiinen
Creating Global Governance - The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the United Nations
Helsinki: Finnish UN Association 2000.

Middle East Report
"Critiquing NGOs: Assessing the last Decade
[special issue]
Spring 2000, number 214

Peter M. Schulze
NGOs - Non-Governmental Organizations, in: Helmut Volger (ed.): A Concise Encyclopedia of the United Nations
Leiden/Boston, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, second revised edition 2010, pp. 492-503.

Tessa Morris-Suzuki
"For and Against NGOs,"
New Left Review 2, March-April, 2000, 63-84.

Paul J. Nelson
Conflict, Legitimacy and Effectiveness: Who speaces for whom in transnational NGO networks lobbying the World Bank?
Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 26, pp.421-41

Paul J. Nelson
The World Bank and NGOs: The Limits of Apolitical Development
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995

Non-Governmental Liaison Service
Social Priorities of Civil Society: Speeches by Non-Governmental Organizations at the World Summit for Social Development
Geneva and New York: UN-NGLS, 1996

Dianne Otto
"Nongovernmental Organizations in the United Nations System: the emerging role of international civil society"
Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 1 (February, 1996), pp. 107-141

Pal Pareg and Dan C.O. Kaseje
"Growth of Civil Society in Developing Countries: implications for health"
Lancet 351 (March 14, 1998): 819-822

James A. Paul
"NGO Access at the UN: A Narrative Account"
New York: Global Policy Forum, 1998

James A. Paul
"NGOs, Civil Society, and Global Policy Making" New York: Global Policy forum, 1997

Thomas Princen and Matthias Finger
Environmental NGOs in World Politics
London: Routledge, 1994

Kenneth Rodman
"'Think Globally, Punish Locally': Nonstate Actors, Multinational Corporations, and Human Rights Sanctions"
Ethics in International Affairs, vol. 12, 1998

Wendy Schoener
"Non-Governmental Organizations and Global Activism: Legal and Informal Approaches"
Global Legal Studies Journal Vol.4:537, 1997.

General Review of Arrangements for Consultations with Non-Governmental Organizations
United Nations: Economic and Social Council, 26 May 1994
plus addendum dated 1 June 1994

Arrangements and Practices for the Interaction of Non-Governmental Organizations in All Activities of the United Nations System
United Nations: July 10, 1998

P.T. Simmons
"Learning to Live with NGOs,"
Foreign Policy Fall, 1998

Gunner Sí¸rbí¸, Macrae Joanna, Wohlgemuth Lennart
"NGOs in Conflict: An Evaluation of International Alert"
Michelsen Institute Report SeriesVol.6
CMI Bergen, Norway 1997

Peter Spiro
"New Global Communities: NGO Organizations in International Decision-Making Institutions"
Washington Quarterly,Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 45-56

Peter Spiro
"New Global Potentates: Nongovernmental Organizations and the 'Unregulated' Marketplace"
Cardozo Law Review, December 1996

Stanley Foundation
The United Nations and Civil Society: The Role of NGOs
30th United Nations Issues Conference 1999
Muscatine: Stanley Foundation, 1999

Harry J. Steiner (ed.)
Diverse Partners: non-governmental organizations in the human rights movement
Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law School and Human Rights Internet, 1990

John Clayton Thomas
Public Participation in Public Decision: New Skills and Strategies for Public Managers
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995

United Nations Research Institute for Sustainable Development
"Partners in Time? Business, NGOs and Sustainable Development"
Geneva: UNRISD, 1999

The United Nations and Civil Society: proceedings of a seminar (October 12, 1995)
Cambridge, Boston Research Center for the 21st Century, 1995
[also a second volume of proceedings for a seminar held November 21, 1995]

Paul Wapner
Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics
Albany: SUNY Press, 1996

Thomas G. Weiss (ed.)
Beyond UN Subcontracting: task-sharing with regional security arrangements and service-providing NGOs
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997

Thomas G. Weiss & Leon Gordenker (eds.)
NGOs, the UN & Global Governance
Boulder, Lynne Riener, 1996
[first published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly in 1995]

Peter Willetts (ed.)
"The Conscience of the World" -- the influence of non-governmental organizations in the U.N. system
Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1996

Peter Willetts
"From 'Consultative Arrangements' to 'Partnership': The Changing Stutus of NGOs in Diplomacy at the UN," Global Governance, Vol. 6 (2000), 191-212.

Peter Willetts (ed.)
Pressure Groups in the Global System
London: Francis Pinter, 1982

World Bank
Working with NGOs: a practical guide to operational collaboration between the
World Bank and non-governmental organizations

Washington, World Bank, 1995

World Vision
Transnational NGOs and advocacy
World Vision Discussion Papers, Vol.5

 Updated: November 2011


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