One of the important points in modern international relations is the growing proliferation of NGOs. Increased interconnectedness, thanks in part to improvements in transport and communications, has spurred the creation of thousands of organisations, agencies and task forces.
Established NGOs, organizations and groups consisting of a wide range of individuals, paid or volunteered, committed to solving a wide range of issues such as protecting the environment, improving third world standards of living, etc. Third, stop human rights abuses, provide food and medicine to places of war, promote religious development or fight for women’s rights. One of the most striking features of NGOs is the fact that they create cohesive systems and networks that connect individuals across borders.
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The traditional view often assumes that NGOs are only a marginal part of international relations. However, it is very difficult to accept this view. Many NGOs are very influential. They have a rich membership and financial resources, and can influence the policy making of governments. Viewing NGOs only as marginal forces may not fully understand their impact.
Despite being an important part of international relations, scholars have not yet reached consensus on the criteria to define an NGO. To some scholars, any transnational organization that is not founded by a state is an NGO. Thus, organizations such as humanitarian and aid organisations, human rights groups, lobbying groups, environmental activists, professional organizations, new social movements, corporations transnational organizations, criminal and terrorist organizations, and religious and ethnic groups are all considered NGOs. There are other scholars who use a much narrower definition. According to them, an NGO is any transnational entity operating not for profit, not advocating violence, accepting the rules of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries. , and closely associated with the United Nations and its agencies. Thus, according to this definition, NGOs are only humanitarian organizations. Therefore, NGOs are still not clearly defined.
There have been many articles about the influence of NGOs in international relations. Typically there are three notable points. First, while NGOs are independent actors, many of their activities are closely related to intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) established by states. such as the United Nations, the European Union or the World Bank). Particularly strong areas of cooperation between NGOs and intergovernmental organizations are in the areas of human rights and development. Many NGOs are experts in the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid or in data collection and analysis, and these activities may be funded by intergovernmental organizations. Furthermore, NGOs are often politically neutral, so they can operate in places of war to help affected populations. These are things that cannot be easily done by outside countries without violating the principle of non-interference. Because of these functions, NGOs have become very useful. In fact, intergovernmental organizations increasingly take advantage of this special position of NGOs. Between 1990 and 1994, the share of foreign aid from Europe delivered through NGOs increased from 42 percent to 67 percent.
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Some NGOs also have influence over others. For example, oil companies like Shell and Exxon must make arrangements with Greenpeace activists. Likewise, anti-tobacco lobbying organizations around the world have been working for a long time to hold tobacco companies accountable for the harmful effects of tobacco. . NGOs have done this by lobbying politicians, spreading the word about the harmful effects of tobacco in the media, and organizing protests.
Second, some scholars argue that NGOs have become such an important part of the international relations picture that a global civil society has emerged and is emerging. While individuals interact on a global scale, they see issues as more international and less bound within a single country. So do NGOs limit the power of the state? Not really. While thousands of NGOs are active operating around the world, such organizations represent only a small number of individuals. If a nascent global civil society is emerging, it is still a society composed of elites and experts.
Third, the growth of NGOs shows the increasing importance of individual power in international relations. This has happened largely because states have failed to meet the pressing social, political, environmental, and health needs of individuals. The best example of this is the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. At the conference, tens of thousands of women from NGOs around the world attended. The world has come together to discuss a range of issues affecting women. Current trends show an increasing role of NGOs representing the interests of individuals in contemporary international relations.
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However, international NGOs are not evenly present around the world. Highly developed countries are often the main representatives. In the Third World, the countries of Latin America are the countries with a large number of NGOs. In contrast, the countries least involved in the network of NGOs are those with previously centrally planned economies such as the countries of Eastern Europe and some countries in Asia. Most of the headquarters of international NGOs are located in developed countries. It seems that high political and economic development is a necessary condition for the effective participation of international NGOs.
Author: Nguyen Thi Tam