It is a common place to state that non-government organizations (NGOs) play important roles both in democratization and in globalization. Many NGOs have maintained programs on the problems of democracy, while others have been the vehicles of civic movements fighting for the democratization of their governments. Also, many organizations move in the international arena, forming coalitions and networks, which seem to represent one of the symptoms of the globalization’
Required; – Examine any of the above statement show how it is related to global politics and highlight the complex set of problems in the global civil society.
World politics and international development have undergone a radical transformation mostly because of increasing globalization. A unique characteristic of this transformation is the increasing number and type of stakeholders organized into interest groups or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Their influence on public policy at local, national, and global levels and in nearly every aspect of policymaking and international relations has made them dominant actors in the development arena (Lewis 2003).
In this global association revolution, NGOs have gained prominent positions in negotiations, especially in advocacy activities for human rights, peace, and the environment. They have also played leading roles in delivering disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and development assistance. While they are known for questioning the effectiveness, accountability, and legitimacy of governments and the private sector alike, many NGOs have also been questioned on their own effectiveness, accountability, and legitimacy. Many NGOs are as much a part of national and international politics as any other interest group, and their practices and activities are not always in the service of a ‘good society’ as discussed by Trent of the Centre on Governance at the University of Ottawa (Trent 2013). Their accountability and transparency have been increasingly questioned, mostly in cases where they have falsely claimed to represent the poorest and most deprived, mainly for fund-raising purposes (Kaldor 2003).
Traditionally, NGOs have collaborated with state and nonstate actors; more recently, the latter increasingly include multinational corporations (Boström & Tamm Hallström 2010). The extent of collaboration between the different parties has varied according to the type of initiative, the availability of human and financial resources, and the potential benefits that can be achieved (McLoughlin 2011), including financial benefits. To a great extent, collaboration has also depended on agendas, selfinterests, and ideologies (Söderbaum 2000). NGOs impact civil society in numerous ways. Nevertheless, evaluations of the programs and projects they implement are rare. Evaluations are normally limited to the analysis of perceived effects at the local level and do not often focus on development outcomes or outputs, generally because of lack of reliable data. It is very hard to obtain reliable data on social development indices at small geographical scales. Even when such information has been collected, it is not always disclosed.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) governments consider that NGOs can make important contributions to poverty alleviation, but there is research that argues otherwise. Not much is known about how NGO aid is spent or how helpful it actually is in the long term (Adelman 2003). Because NGOs are smaller than governments, they are presumed to be more efficient, to be more flexible in decision-making, to have lower service delivery costs, and to be better at working closely with poor populations and encouraging their direct participation. But these perceived advantages in reaching those for whom aid is intended have increasingly been disputed with reference to donor motives, government influence, organizational limitations, and internal agendas (Fruttero & Gauri 2005). Examples of these concerns are discussed in the article. Government-funded NGOs often face disincentives and constraints that are contrary to properly targeted aid, such as compliance with a specific country’s aid policies, with priorities varying over time and across donors. Aid to NGOs with a focus on poverty alleviation may also be undermined by increasing pressure from co-financing governments to demonstrate project-related poverty impacts or by forcing them to adopt a target-driven rather than a process-driven approach. According to a study commissioned by the Steering Committee for the Evaluation of the Netherlands’ Co-financing Program, increased governmental intervention in Dutch-co-financed NGO projects in the Andes raised concerns among partner NGOs. They were worried that they could lose funding if they were not able to demonstrate immediate project-related poverty impacts (Bebbington 2005). This may mean that NGOs could be anxious for their own survival rather than for the poor populations they were supposed to help.
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