Non-governmental organization

Pekka Haavisto, speaking at a podium
Pekka Haavisto, Minister for International Development of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland, at the first World NGO Day in Helsinki in 2014
A roomful of people
Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at the launch of the "Europe in a suitcase" project by two NGOs (the EGI and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation), which aims to increase cooperation between European politicians, journalists and representatives of the civic sector and academia with their counterparts in Georgia.[1]

A non-governmental organization (NGO) or non-governmental organisation (see spelling differences) is an organization that generally is formed independent from government.[2][3][4][5][6] They are typically nonprofit entities, and many of them are active in humanitarianism or the social sciences; they can also include clubs and associations that provide services to their members and others. Surveys indicate that NGOs have a high degree of public trust, which can make them a useful proxy for the concerns of society and stakeholders.[7] However, NGOs can also be lobby groups for corporations, such as the World Economic Forum.[8][9][10][11] NGOs are distinguished from international and intergovernmental organizations (IOs) in that the latter are more directly involved with sovereign states and their governments.

The term as it is used today was first introduced in Article 71 of the newly-formed United Nations' Charter in 1945.[12] While there is no fixed or formal definition for what NGOs are, they are generally defined as nonprofit entities that are independent of governmental influence—although they may receive government funding.[12] According to the UN Department of Global Communications, an NGO is "a not-for profit, voluntary citizen's group that is organized on a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good".[5] The term NGO is used inconsistently, and is sometimes used synonymously with civil society organization (CSO), which is any association founded by citizens.[13] In some countries, NGOs are known as nonprofit organizations, and political parties and trade unions are sometimes considered NGOs as well.[14]

NGOs are classified by (1) orientation—the type of activities an NGO undertakes, such as activities involving human rights, consumer protection, environmentalism, health, or development; and (2) level of operation, which indicates the scale at which an organization works: local, regional, national, or international.[14]

Russia had about 277,000 NGOs in 2008.[15] India is estimated to have had about 2 million NGOs in 2009 (approximately one per 600 Indians), many more than the number of the country's primary schools and health centers.[16][17] The United States, by comparison, has approximately 1.5 million NGOs.[18]

  1. ^ Rapporteur 1, E. G. I. (29 October 2019). "Europe in a suitcase: Oliver Wardrop Discussions". Europe-Georgia Institute. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  2. ^ Church, Jim (26 August 2021). "Library Guides: Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs): Introduction". Archived from the original on 26 August 2021. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  3. ^ "NGO", Macmillan Dictionary
  4. ^ Claiborne, N (2004). "Presence of social workers in nongovernment organizations". Soc Work. 49 (2): 207–218. doi:10.1093/sw/49.2.207. PMID 15124961.
  5. ^ a b Leverty, Sally (2008). "NGOs, the UN and APA". American Psychological Association. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  6. ^ Horowitz, Jason (11 August 2017). "Ship Monitoring Rescues of Migrants Refuses to Be Rescued". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  7. ^ "The rise and role of NGOs in sustainable development". Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Nongovernmental Organization (NGO)". United States Institute of Peace.
  9. ^ Karns, Margaret P. "Nongovernmental organization". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  10. ^ "NGO – meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary".
  11. ^ "NGO". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020.
  12. ^ a b "What is an NGO? What role does it play in civil society? | Knowledge base". Candid Learning. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  13. ^ "Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the United States" (fact sheet). 20 January 2017. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  14. ^ a b Vakil, Anna (December 1997). "Confronting the classification problem: Toward a taxonomy of NGOs". World Development. 25 (12): 2057–2070. doi:10.1016/S0305-750X(97)00098-3.
  15. ^ "Hobbled NGOs wary of Medvedev". Chicago Tribune. 7 May 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  16. ^ "India: More NGOs, than schools and health centres". 7 July 2010. Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  17. ^ "First official estimate: An NGO for every 400 people in India". The Indian Express. 7 July 2010.
  18. ^ "US Department of State". Retrieved 11 January 2023.

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