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close this bookPartners in Time? Business, NGOs and Sustainable Development (UNRISD, 1999, 85 p.)
close this folderPart 1: The changing nature of business-ngo relations
close this folderNGO Responses to Sustainable Development
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDefining NGOs
View the documentThree or Four Waves of Environmental NGOs?
View the documentFour Generations of Development NGOs
View the documentSouthern NGOs
View the documentNGO Diversity and Tension
View the documentCase Studies of Business-NGO Relations


Globalization and its consequences have undermined the credibility and legitimacy of many systems and structures of governance. Is this merely about market institutions usurping the power of the state? Or does this also provide “unprecedented opportunities for the global emergence of a third sector” alliance of NGOs? (de Oliveira and Tandon, 1994:4).

As agents of civil society, NGOs are gaining greater recognition and power at the international (and, in many cases, national and local) policy levels. The growing participation of large numbers of different NGOs in United Nations conferences, meetings and other official processes confirms this trend (Krut, 1997). At the same time, many NGOs are finding themselves with growing responsibility and legitimacy as corporate watchdogs and agents of sustainable development. All NGOs, however, do not have the same global political access and recognition, nor do they all have the same opportunity or inclination to influence business behaviour either adversely via protest or positively via partnership. The global NGO movement remains exceedingly diverse, largely disorganized and quite often divided.