NGO Development:
Focal Issues

Focal Points

Development of NGOs can focus on three key issues, namely concepts, mechanisms and processes.
  1. Concepts: How can the legitimacy of NGO participation in the work of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) be increased? And how can governmental actors be persuaded of this legitimacy?
  2. Mechanisms: How can NGOs' diverse capacities as advocates, innovators, monitors, or service providers be better appreciated and fully mobilized in IGO institutional structures? The questions concerning mechanisms for partnership-building, first, between NGOs themselves in the context of their work with IGOs and, secondly, between IGOs and NGO communities can be taken up.
  3. Processes: What is being done informally and on an ad hoc basis, or in broad process terms, regardless of formal procedures between IGOs and NGOs, and among NGOs themselves? How can "tension" between governments and NGOs be managed for the benefit of both? It would be useful to learn from stories of successes and failures, especially across different NGO sectors which often have little to do with each other.


Issues common to all NGOs working in differing sectors or on specific problems (such as conflict resolution, social development, human rights, gender, education, clean water, land mines, etc.) include:
  1. How can NGOs enhance their capacity in dealing with local, national, regional and global problems? Can NGOs, for instance, benefit from reinforcing tolerance and mutual comprehension among NGO networks and NGOs themselves in general? How can this be achieved in practice?
  2. How can the involvement of Southern NGOs and perspectives be significantly increased, preferably without the filter of Northern-led networks and in ways other than simply increasing the number of Southern NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status?
  3. What needs to be done to improve NGO accountability and credibility? Would codes of conduct that have been adopted in some NGO sectors be useful for other sectors? How can this be achieved in practice?
  4. How can different NGOs promote interface and division of labour through increased specialization in order to achieve optimum utilization of limited resources?
  5. Can there be ways to secure financial, intellectual and human resources for NGO activities?

World NGO Conference - Report of the First Preparatory Meeting Held at UNU Headquarters, Tokyo, 23-24 September 1996

Return to the NGO Page

Comments and suggestions:
Hari Srinivas -