Development, NGOs, and Civil Society
Deborah Eade (editor)
The rise of neoliberalism and the so-called
Washington Consensus have generated a powerful international agenda of
what constitutes good governance, democratisation, and the proper role
of the state and civil society in advancing development. As public
spending has declined, the NGO sector has massively benefited from
taking on a service-delivery role. At the same time, as civil society
organisations,, NGOs are a convenient channel through which official
agencies can promote political pluralism. But can NGOs play these roles
simultaneously? Can they both facilitate governments’ withdrawal from
providing basic services for all and also claim to represent the poor
and the disenfranchised? Are NGOs legitimate political actors in their
own right? Jenny Pearce introduces papers that describe some of the
tensions inherent in the roles being played by NGOs, and asks whether
they truly stand for anything fundamentally different from the agencies
on whose largesse they increasingly depend.
Globalization and Civil Society: NGO influence in
Since the 1980s, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have emerged as
an important force on the world stage working to democratize
decision-making processes, protect human rights and provide essential
services to the most needy. Underpinning this expanded role in global
governance has been a certain disillusionment with the role of the
state in facilitating sustainable human development and the belief that
more flexible, motivated and decentralized structures have the required
skills and responsibility to undertake this role.
Civil Society, NGDOs and Social
Development: Changing the Rules of the Game
This paper broadly evaluates the role and performance of
non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs) in promoting social
development before and since the 1995 World Summit for Social
Development. Two kinds of analysis and recommendations are offered. The
first concerns the practices of NGDOs and their relationships with
other “partners in development”. The second focuses on the deep-rooted
pathologies of the aid system that condition the form and effectiveness
of many development interventions not only by NGDOs but also by the
larger universe of entities comprising civil society organizations
(CSOs). This review concludes that, in the absence of thoroughgoing
reform, the aid system will continue to hinder mobilization by the
larger civil society with NGDOs to bring about genuine development in
the Third World.
| About sociodynamics and
of Political Economy integrates anthropology, economics, history, law,
political science, philosophy and sociology by offering ways of
understanding the ... world and providing tools for analyzing
contemporary problems. Political Economy seeks to study how such
problems interweave and overlap, how they evolved, how they are
understood, how and why certain decisions are made about them, and how
these issues impact the quality of human life. At its best, Political
Economy provides the interdisciplinary tools needed to analyze
strategies for social change, historically and in the present, and
explore alternatives to the current global system. Major social
problems are deeply grounded in theories and history of cultural,
philosophical, social, economic and political practice. Their
understanding involves exploring basic analytic concepts and values
(freedom, equality, justice and democracy) and their meanings today.
Political Economy looks at societies as dynamic and ever-changing
systems, comparing them in different countries and cultures and
evaluating their impacts on the everyday lives of all affected people."
(Dr. Peter Bohmer, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, U.S.A.,
Towards a theory of Latin America's
The collision, dissolution and fusion of two modes of production.
A short digression is necessary at this stage: my concept of "collision
of modes of production" refers to the interaction (military or
economic, or both) between different social formations as an historical
event. The outcome of that collision amounts to the outcome of the
interaction of different economic, social, political and ideological
instances, resulting -if one social formation does not destroy the
other -in a new complex structure (the fabric of the new social
On the one hand, in any
mode of production, each one of the four instances is simultaneously
cause and effect within the complex structure, and in their mutual
relation (from here derives the notion of "relative autonomy" attached
to social, political and ideological instances, because unlike the
economic instance, they are not limited by technological aspects). Thus
the complex structure reacts over each one of the instances and
viceversa. On the other hand, the appropriation of nature being the aim
of human beings grouping in societies, the economic instance (as
organisation of the labour process) appears as the first cause, but it
is not an isolated instance above the entire process (clearly so
because all four instances and the complex structure exist only as
relations between human beings grouped in societies). Therefore, this
economic instance is limited by both the others and the complex
structure, and simultaneously the former (economic instance) poses a
limit to all of them.
more on this
| From Idealist
NGO Global network
| James Petras - Monthly Review,
49, Issue 07 (December)
Imperialism and NGOs in
As opposition to neoliberalism
grew in the early 1980s, the U.S. and European governments and the
World Bank increased their funding of NGOs. There is a direct relation
between the growth of social movements challenging the neoliberal model
and the effort to subvert them by creating alternative forms of social
action through the NGOs. The basic point of convergence between the
NGOs and the World Bank was their common opposition to “statism.” On
the surface the NGOs criticized the state from a “left” perspective
defending civil society, while the right did so in the name of the
market. In reality, however, the World Bank, the neoliberal regimes,
and western foundations co-opted and encouraged the NGOs to undermine
the national welfare state by providing social services to compensate
the victims of the multinational corporations (MNCs). In other words,
as the neoliberal regimes at the top devastated communities by
inundating the country with cheap imports, extracting external debt
payment, abolishing labor legislation, and creating a growing mass of
low-paid and unemployed workers, the NGOs were funded to provide
“self-help” projects, “popular education,” and job training, to
temporarily absorb small groups of poor, to co-opt local leaders, and
to undermine anti-system struggles.
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provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for independent sources
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stay strong. Please keep us at the forefront of anti-censorship and support us
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| The WWW Virtual Library on Non-Governmental
Realizing the growing importance and voice of NGOs in development in
general, the NGO Café was set up on the internet as a think tank for
NGOs to discuss, debate and disseminate information on their work,
strategies and results.
The basic objectives of the Café are to assist NGOs in enhancing and
improving their programmes and activities; to effect a better
understanding of NGOs in general; and to enable NGOs to network at
local, regional and international levels.
The Global Development Research Center
The relationship between
the state and the voluntary sector
In some countries,
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are major contributors to
development processes. This is not uniform, however. In a number of
countries, NGOs are weak or play more of an oppositional rather than
operational role and governments are highly suspicious of them. A
number of factors influence the development impact of NGOs; many of
which are determined by the relationship between the NGO sector and the
This paper describes the characteristics of this relationship,
concentrating on issues which affect the efficacy of NGOs, the
attainment of governments' poverty reduction and other social
objectives, and collaboration between NGOs and the public sector. It
explores the main elements of government policy and practice which
affect NGOs and which could foster a more conducive environment for
positive NGO contribution to development. A study series is proposed to
examine these issues in a range of countries. The studies will feed
into a synthesis report (to be prepared in FY95) which will indicate
areas of "best practice" of relevance to poverty reduction,
participatory development and "good governance."
The NGO Café
|NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security
is a committee of 26 organizations working towards disarmament
worldwide. For over 30 years, we have provided services to groups
concerned with the UN's peace and disarmament activities. As a
conference organizer, publisher, and UN liaison, we support movements
for arms control, peace and disarmament.
NGOCDPS provides information on the status of negotiations, country
positions, obstacles and opportunities, and supports NGOs in their
advocacy on peace and disarmament issues.
|United Nations Non-governmental
The NGO Relations Cluster is the link to over 1,500
Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) associated with the Department of
Public Information and supports their efforts to interact effectively
with the United Nations in their areas of expertise.
The Cluster is also responsible for facilitating the exchange of
information and developing partnerships with civil society. It plays a
coordinating role within the UN Secretariat to reach out to civil
society partners around the world and enhance their interaction with,
and understanding of, the work of the UN.
The Cluster proactively reaches out to representatives of civil society
who seek information about the UN and look for opportunities to support
the Organization at the international, regional, national and community
annual UN DPI/NGO Conference is the NGO Relations Cluster’s premier
event at the United Nations, attracting around 2,000 NGO
representatives from approximately 70 countries.
of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with the
The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in
Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) is an
independent, international, non-profit membership association of
non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It facilitates the participation
of NGOs in United Nations debates and decision-making. CONGO is most
active at the major UN centres of New York, Geneva and Vienna but its
work stretches out to all regions of the world.
CONGO was founded in 1948. Since then it has relentlessly worked to
ensure that NGO voices be heard throughout the international arena.
CONGO's role in mobilizing NGOs to form the first worldwide NGO forum
on human rights in 1968, its role in conceiving forms of NGO
participation in UN world conferences and its advocacy on behalf of
NGOs at UN Headquarters highlight CONGO's chief objectives: to ensure
that NGOs be present when governments discuss issues of global concern
at the United Nations and to facilitate NGO discussions on such issues.
CONGO does not take positions on substantive matters. However, CONGO
does provide, through special and ad hoc NGO
Committees, fora for discussion of substantive matters by its
members with officials of the UN Secretariat and UN system agencies, UN
delegations and other experts.
|The International Budget
If you want to fight poverty, you
need to care about government budgets. As the specific plans for how
public funds will be raised and spent, budgets are the government’s
most powerful tool to meet the needs and priorities of a country and
its people. The aim of the International Budget Partnership (IBP) is to
ensure that government budgets are more responsive to the needs of poor
and low-income people in society and, accordingly, to make budget
systems more transparent and accountable to the public.
The IBP believes that the public has a right to comprehensive, timely,
and useful information on how the government manages public funds. Our
experience shows that when ordinary people have information, skills,
and opportunities to participate, broader public engagement in
government budget processes can promote substantive improvements in governance and poverty.
In order to foster more open, participatory, and accountable public
budgeting, the IBP partners with civil society organizations around the
world, leveraging their knowledge of their country’s political context,
their experience navigating policy processes for social change, and
their relationships with the public in order to transform their
country’s budget system.
World Bank and civil society
The World Bank first began to interact with civil society
in the 1970s through dialogue with non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) on environmental concerns. Today the World Bank consults
and collaborates with thousands of members of Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs) throughout the world, such as community-based
organizations, NGOs, social movements, labor unions, faith-based
groups, and foundations.
The World Bank has learned through these three decades of interaction
that the participation of CSOs in government development projects and
programs can enhance their operational performance by contributing
local knowledge, providing technical expertise, and leveraging social
capital. Further, CSOs can bring innovative ideas and solutions,
as well as participatory approaches, to solving local problems.
Initiative: NGO empowerment
The New Partnerships Initiative (NPI) seeks to support
the capacity of local actors to participate in the development process.
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) together with small businesses and
local governments, comprise the core components of effective local
USAID will pursue programs which foster at all levels of government an
"enabling environment" favorable to NGO empowerment and which directly
bolster the capacity of local NGOs. The Agency will utilize
intermediaries, especially U.S. PVOs, to carry out much of the work to
strengthen local NGOs.
USAID's goal is to create a large, diverse community of local NGOs
capable of promoting sustainable development. Each country is
different; the nature and roles of NGOs will differ significantly from
country to country. Still, NGOs are everywhere a potentially critical
vehicle for articulating collective interests and for ensuring citizen
participation in the development process. In countries where the
linkages between local NGOs, small business, and local government are
strong and where there appears to be sustainable progress toward
democracy and free-enterprise, NPI can set the stage for graduation
from USAID assistance.
Monitoring and Evaluation NEWS is
a news service focusing on developments in monitoring and evaluation
methods relevant to development programmes with social development
objectives. Managed by Rick Davies, since 1997
To enhance the capacity and effectiveness of not-for-profit, community
and non-governmental organisations by facilitating the provision of
premier on-line communication and publishing services, tools and
resources, wherever possible free of charge
ActionAid is an international
anti-poverty agency whose aim is to fight poverty worldwide. Formed in
1972, for over 30 years we have been growing and expanding to where we
are today - helping over 13 million of the world's poorest and most
disadvantaged people in 42 countries worldwide.
In all of our country programmes we work with local partners to make
the most of their knowledge and experience.
In December 2003 we established a new head office in Johannesburg,
South Africa, and began the process of making all our country
programmes equal partners with an equal say on how we operate.
Christian Aid is a Christian
organisation that insists the world can and must be swiftly changed to
one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. We provide
urgent, practical and effective assistance where need is great,
tackling the effects of poverty as well as its root causes.
|Friends of the Earth (U.K.)
Friends of the Earth (U.S.):
Public Participation: an essential component of a
sustainable economy, 1998
Rights for people, rules for big business, 2002
Since 1971, we've been making things happen. Some big, some small.
cornerstone principles and core values are reflected in all our
environmental campaign work, worldwide. These are:
- We 'bear witness' to environmental
destruction in a peaceful, non-violent manner;
- We use non-violent confrontation to raise
the level and quality of public debate;
- In exposing threats to the environment and
finding solutions we have no permanent allies or adversaries;
- We ensure our financial independence from
political or commercial interests;
- We seek solutions for, and promote open,
informed debate about society's environmental choices.
developing our campaign strategies and policies we take great care to
reflect our fundamental respect for democratic principles and to seek
solutions that will promote global social equity.
|Institute for Global Communications
Beginning in 1987, the Institute
for Global Communications (IGC) played a formative role in bringing
advanced communications technologies to grassroots organizations
worldwide working for peace, human rights, environmental
sustainability, women's rights, conflict resolution and worker rights.
Our flagship global computer networks -- PeaceNet, EcoNet, WomensNet,
ConflictNet, LaborNet and AntiRacismNet -- became trademark names in
the struggle for democratic use of the media and the world's
communications infrastructure. At its peak in 1998, IGC had over 35
full-time staff members.
Many things have changed since then. ConflictNet doesn't exist anymore.
LaborNet left the IGC Networks to pursue its own mission. AntiRacismNet
is the newest, thriving IGC Network pursuing a global anti-racism
IGC no longer offers Internet dial-up or mailing list services. It has
formed partnerships with EarthLink and Topica.com to fill the gap. IGC
continues to offer web hosting services to nonprofit groups,
individuals, and small companies.
We help tribal peoples defend their lives, protect their lands and
determine their own futures.
Thanks for checking out OneWorld
US – and OneWorld UK! Because now we’ve grouped together these two
great OneWorld centres, one from each side of the Atlantic, into a
terrific new collaboration that we’re calling the OneWorld Group.
We’re seriously excited about this. And we’re celebrating our new
grouping by launching the new website that you are visiting now, with
its new URL - oneworldgroup.org - reflecting our
Some things won’t change: we’ll go on pioneering digital media
innovations to help you, and your communities or organisations, bring
about a fairer and greener world, as per our formal Mission
We pioneer internet and mobile phone applications, which the world's
poorest people can use to improve their life opportunities, and which
help people everywhere understand global problems - and do something
Amnesty International is a global
movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in
more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave
abuses of human rights.
Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human
We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic
interest or religion and are funded mainly by our membership and public
You can help make a real difference by becoming a member or supporter
of Amnesty International.
|The Carter Center
The Carter Center, in partnership
with Emory University, is guided by a fundamental commitment to human
rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and
resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.
While the program agenda may change, The Carter Center is guided by
The Carter Center collaborates with other organizations, public or
private, in carrying out its mission.
Center emphasizes action and results. Based on careful research and
analysis, it is prepared to take timely action on important and
2. The Center does not duplicate the effective efforts of others.
3. The Center addresses difficult problems and recognizes the
possibility of failure as an acceptable risk.
4. The Center is nonpartisan and acts as a neutral in dispute
5. The Center believes that people can improve their lives when
provided with the necessary skills, knowledge, and access to resources.
|Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is
headquartered in San Francisco, California with office staff in Tokyo,
Japan, and Edmonton, Canada, plus thousands of volunteer scientists,
teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens around the
world. We believe that a sustainable world can be created in our
lifetime, and that aggressive action must be taken immediately to leave
a safe and secure world for our children.
Dubbed “some of the most savvy environmental agitators in the business”
by the Wall Street Journal, RAN uses hard-hitting markets campaigns to
align the policies of multinational corporations with widespread public
support for environmental protection. We believe that logging ancient
forests for copy paper or destroying an endangered ecosystem for a
week’s worth of oil is not just destructive, but outdated and
Project Underground exists as a
vehicle for the environmental, human rights and indigenous rights
movements to carry out focused campaigns against abusive extractive
resource activity. We seek to systematically deal with the problems
created by the mining and oil industries by exposing environmental and
human rights abuses by the corporations involved in these sectors and
by building capacity amongst communities facing mineral and energy
development to achieve economic and environmental justice.
In general we work to provide informational, technical, legal and
scientific support to communities facing oil, gas and mining
operations; as well as to campaign in support of communities adversely
affected by these industries. More specifically Project Underground
serves those communities threatened by the mining and oil industries by:
Informing communities of the environmental impacts of oil and mining
Informing communities of their rights under international and national
Supplying corporate data, history, and examples of best-practice to
When requested Project Underground helps communities resist
unsustainable activity through a variety of avenues including, but not
limited to, networking with other communities of resistance, helping
seek national and international legal redress, publicity, access to
international fora, with a range of tactics involved in our own brand
of nonviolent, strategic campaigning and by building their
Oxfam is an international confederation of 14
organizations working together in 98 countries and with partners and
allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and
work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to
ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and
have a say in decisions that affect them.
| International Alert
International Alert is a 25-year
old independent peacebuilding organisation. We work with people who are
directly affected by violent conflict to improve their prospects of
peace. And we seek to influence the policies and ways of working of
governments, international organisations like the UN and multinational
companies, to reduce conflict risk and increase the prospects of peace.
We work in Africa, several parts of Asia, the South Caucasus, the
Middle East and Latin America and have recently started work in the UK.
Our policy work focuses on several key themes that influence prospects
for peace and security – the economy, climate change, gender, the role
of international institutions, the impact of development aid, and
the effect of good and bad governance.
We are one of the world’s leading peacebuilding NGOs with more than 155
staff based in London and 15 field offices. The organisation is led by
our Secretary General, Dan Smith OBE, and the Senior Management Team.
| El Proyecto
Internacional de Presupuesto
La iniciativa ¡Pregúntale a tu
gobierno! inició en enero de 2010, cuando 100 organizaciones de la
sociedad civil lanzaron un
esfuerzo ambicioso por documentar el acceso público a la información
presupuestaria en 80 países. La pregunta central detrás
de este esfuerzo es sencilla: ¿Qué pasa cuando los ciudadanos le piden
a su gobierno información presupuestaria específica
relacionada con compromisos internacionales de desarrollo de los cuales
el gobierno es signatario?
La respuesta es que la mayoría de las veces, los gobiernos no responden
en lo absoluto o, cuando sí responden, no lo hacen con
información suficiente. De hecho, cuando los ciudadanos de cada país le
hicieron seis preguntas a sus gobiernos sobre cuánto
dinero gastan en prioridades de desarrollo, solamente uno de los 80
países proporcionó respuestas sustantivas a la totalidad de
las seis preguntas.
Los ciudadanos usaron los canales oficiales para solicitar información
de los organismos gubernamentales y fueron diligentes
en el seguimiento a estas solicitudes. Muchos hicieron todo lo posible
por lograr que los gobiernos otorgaran acceso a la información,
a menudo visitando las oficinas de los ministerios en múltiples
ocasiones. La mayoría de los gobiernos cuestionados en
la iniciativa ¡Pregúntale a tu gobierno! no respondió adecuadamente a
las solicitudes ciudadanas de acceso a la información sobre
el presupuesto público. Este hallazgo apunta hacia un gran problema en
materia de transparencia y rendición de cuentas.
La Fundación Centro para la
Investigación en Sistemas Sostenibles de Producción Agropecuaria -
CIPAV - es una organización no gubernamental con más de 20 años de
experiencia en la investigación, capacitación y divulgación destinada a
construir sistemas sostenibles de producción agropecuaria.
Contribuir al desarrollo sostenible del sector rural a través de la
investigación, gestión, desarrollo y divulgación de alternativas
productivas amigables con la naturaleza.
Ser una organización líder en la construcción de modelos productivos
que contribuyan al desarrollo rural sostenible a nivel nacional e