Non-Governmental Organizations
Introduction
Non-Governmental Organizations, or NGOs, are an integral part of the United Nations. Not only does an NGO supply funding for programs that support their viewpoint and world goals, but also an NGO must attempt to influence the committees to take their stance. Each NGO has a distinct objective and field of interest: whether it is human rights, refugees, freedom of speech etc. It is up to you, the delegate representing an NGO, to effectively influence the committee on your NGO’s interests.

Among the many important areas of activity, NGOs have emerged as important stakeholders in discussions over the terms and conditions under which business, government, and multilateral institutions manage the process of globalization, one of the most vexing issues facing public policy-makers, corporate executives, and broader societal interests around the world. At the same time, nongovernmental organizations are increasingly influencing both government and corporate policy directly, by undertaking research, organizing boycotts, and often highlighting the shortcomings of both business and governmental actions in terms of social, ethical, and environmental responsibility.

Primary Characteristics of NGOS
Formal Organization
    The first primary characteristic is that the body should be a formal organization. Indicators for being formal are as follows. First, it is likely to require a constitution which sets out the objectives and decision-making structures of the organization. The latter would include a statement of how the holders of final responsibility for the actions of the organization are appointed. Such a governing body of the organization may its management Board or Board of Trustees.

    In some countries the registration of the organization with a government or quasi-government agency may also be required. Such registration may be linked to tax or foreign exchange benefits or may act as a regulatory control set up to ensure that organizations have minimum quality standards and follow national policy.

Objectives
    The second criteria relates to the purpose or objectives of the organization, or what in business terms is known as mission. The criterion can be sub-divided into two aspects, one reductionist and the other more positive. The reductionist elements relates to the non-profit making nature of organization. The term ‘profit’ is here being used in its strict formal sense to signify any surplus of an organization’s income over its costs which are distributed to individuals, such as share-holders, for their personal benefit.
Decision-making Process
    The third criteria relates to the process of decision-making and where ultimate authority lies. Again, using reductionnist criteria, the term ‘non-governmental’ suggests that such organizations are independent of the control of government. The critical issue is not whether an organization is independent of influence of government or indeed of any other body. What is critical is whether it has the constitutional freedom to make decisions which may or may not take account of the government views.
Activities of NGOs
As a part of developing an understanding NGOs, we outline here the main categories of activities in which NGOs engage.

  • Research activities
  • Providers of support services (e.g., professional training, provision of supplies and management consultancy)
  • Policy advocacy
  • Fund-raising
  • Coordination (information exchange between NGOs, development of joint activities and policy, and advocacy about policies or policies regarding NGOs sector).
  • Micro-finance (Loan giving specially for the poor in developing countries)
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