The Conscience of the World: The Influence of Non-governmental Organisations in the UN System

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Peter Willetts
Hurst, 1996 - Non-governmental organisations - 333 pages
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Publisher's description: NGO activity in the 1990s is often claimed to be unprecedented, yet it is not so new. The first victory by NGOs in the UN was fifty years ago, when they obtained provision in the UN Charter for their own participation with 'consultative status'. Since then their influence has grown steadily, to cover all the work of the Economic and Social Council, along with the operational programmes in developing countries, the specialised agencies and UN conferences. They have also been important in the fields of human rights, disaster relief, development and the environment. But what is an NGO? What are the historical roots? How do NGOs gain recognition at the UN and at conferences? What rights of participation do NGOs have and how do they gain influence? All these questions are answered in this book, which should banish any idea that the UN system is simply a centre for professional diplomats. Global civil society, expressed through the NGOs, is as much a part of UN politics as pressure group activity is a part of the domestic politics of a democracy.

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