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close this bookNGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderPart I: NGOs: what they are and what they do
close this folder1. The rationale and purpose of this report
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View the document1.1 The origins and scope of this report
View the document1.2 An overview of the report
View the document1.3 The purpose of this report
View the document1.4 The importance of NGOs
View the document1.5 The global dimension
View the document1.6 The local dimension
View the document1.7 NGOs, government and civil society
close this folder2. The historical context
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View the document2.1 Care and welfare
View the document2.2 Change and development
View the document2.3 The historical evolution of NGO/government relationships
View the document2.4 Welfare pluralism
View the document2.5 The emergence of alternatives
View the document2.6 New concerns
close this folder3. NGOs defined
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View the document3.1 Diverse current ways of defining NGOs
View the document3.2 Defining ''NGO'' for the purposes of this report.
View the document3.3 Is ''NGO'' the right term?
close this folder4. NGO activities described
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View the document4.1 The spectrum of NGO activities
View the document4.2 Who and what
View the document4.3 How
View the document4.4 The diversity of NGO activities
close this folder5. A typology of NGOs
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View the document5.1 Why a typology is needed
View the document5.2 Component 1: A descriptive typology
View the document5.3 Organisational terms
View the document5.4 Main forms of control
View the document5.5 Location between government and civil society
View the document5.6 Level of operation
View the document5.7 Legal forms
View the document5.8 Links with parent and subsidiary bodies
View the document5.9 Links between NGOs
View the document5.10 Component 2: An organisational typology
View the document5.11 Organisations in civil society which engage in NGO-type activities
View the document5.12 Fraudulent NGOs
close this folder6. The governance and operation of NGOs
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View the document6.1 The accountability of NGOs
View the document6.2 Improving NGO governance and operations
View the document6.3 Management
View the document6.4 Human resource development (HRD) and training
View the document6.5 Reviewing, monitoring and evaluating
View the document6.6 Information
View the document6.7 Networking and alliance-building
close this folder7. The legal and institutional frameworks within which NGOs operate
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View the document7.1 Freedom to associate
View the document7.2 The political dimension
View the document7.3 The law
View the document7.4 Regulation
View the document7.5 Collective, external and self-regulation
close this folder8. The framework of relationships within which NGOs operate
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View the document8.1 A complex pattern of relationships
View the document8.2 Relationships with government: key issues
View the document8.3 Relationships with government: ways forward
View the document8.4 Relationships with funders: key issues
View the document8.5 Relationships with funders: ways forward
View the document8.6 Other strategies to strengthen relationships
close this folder9. The international dimension
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View the document9.1 Forms of international linkage
View the document9.2 Funding links
View the document9.3 Operational links
View the document9.4 Partnerships
View the document10. Conclusion and introduction to the guidelines
close this folderPart II: Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice
View the document11. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of Governments
View the document12. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of NGOs
View the document13. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of funders
View the document14. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of ''North'' and international agencies
View the document15. Implementing the guidelines: A plan of action
close this folderPart III: References
View the documentAnnex 1: The process of research and consultation
View the documentAnnex 2: List of those submitting information, consulted, or responding
close this folderAnnexes
View the documentAnnex 1: The process of research and consultation
View the documentAnnex 2: List of those submitting information, consulted or responding

2.6 New concerns

Many governments have welcomed and worked with NGOs involved in change and development activities, not least because they recognise that they are both manifestations of democracy and work to extend democratic practices, especially among the disadvantaged and marginalised. At the same time the changes of the 1970s, 80s and 90s have fuelled a debate among many NGOs about their role and function. New global issues and trends have catapulted NGOs onto centre stage, often according them a major role in dealing with new social, economic, political and environmental concerns. This has been particularly challenging for those NGOs which have been active in awareness-raising, social organisation, conscientisation and advocating change to the status quo. The roles played by or accorded to NGOs in the Rio Earth Summit, the Cairo Population Summit, the Copenhagen Social Summit and the Beijing Conference on Women all attest to the importance accorded to them on these major issues of current concern, as does the fact that they will be playing full and active roles in the new United Nations Aids Agency being established in 1996.

NGOs have been particularly active in promoting debates about women and development, and more recently, gender and development. The latter recognises that women and men have different social experiences, and that development planning and decision-making processes in all fields must take account of these differences.

Broadly speaking therefore, a "new breed" of NGOs has emerged over the past few decades, spawned by growing concerns about the environment, the effects of globalised economics and trade, population, civil and human rights, poverty, the needs of people with disabilities, unemployment, gender issues, the rights of indigenous peoples, the HIV/Aids pandemic... the list is endless.

Thus, the role played by NGOs in working with and supporting governments and intergovernmental international authorities has come to be complemented by the role of questioning and challenging them.

The spectrum of emerging relationships between governments and NGOs is broad. In some places, and on some issues, there is open hostility. In other places, and on other issues, recognition of NGO achievements is tempered by resistance to allow them to participate in affairs which are seen as the preserve of governments or intergovernmental authorities. But on many issues and subjects there is at worst accommodation and at best active understanding and partnership. Most governments recognise that as long as NGOs operate within the law, their activities are legitimate, including those which may at times be discomforting.