Role of ngo's in humanitarian issues


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Role of ngo's in humanitarian issues

  2. 2. Establisment and beginning of NGO can be raced back to early ages, but In 1945, Article71 of the UN Charter formalized NGO involvement in UN processes and activities, and someNGOs even contributed to the drafting of the Charter itself. UNESCO and WHO bothexplicitly provided for NGO involvement in their charters1. The term NGO is broad and ambiguous. It covers a range of organizations within civilsociety, from political action groups to sports clubs. Its clear definition still remainscontested. However, it can be argued that all NGO’s can be regarded as civil societyorganizations though not all civil society organizations are NGO’s. The concept of NGO cameinto use in 1945 following the establishment of the United Nations Organizations whichrecognized the need to give a consultative role to organizations which were not classified asgovernment nor member states2. The United Nations estimates that there were about 35,000 large established NGOs in2000. Nor are there accurate figures available for the amount of resources that NGOsreceive from aid, contracts and private donations. In 2004, it was estimated that NGOs wereresponsible for about $US23 billion of total aid money, or approximately one third of totalODA3.1 ________ (1945) Repertory of Practices of United Nations Organs Supplements No.72 Willets, P.(2002). What is a Non-Governmental Organization. Article in UNESCOEncyclopedia of Life Support Systems. World Bank.3 Riddell, R. (2007). Does foreign aid really work? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. 3. NGO & Humanitarian background Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are now recognized as key third sector actors on the landscapes of development, human rights, humanitarian action, environment, and many other areas of public action, from the post-2004 Tsunami Reconstruction Efforts in Indonesia, India, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, to the 2005 Make Poverty History campaign for aid and trade reform and developing country debt cancellation. As these two examples illustrate, NGOs are best-known for two different, but often interrelated, types of activity – the delivery of services to people in need, and the organization of policy advocacy, and public campaigns in pursuit of social transformation4.Role in International System NGOs are also active in a wide range of other specialized roles such as democracybuilding, conflict resolution, human rights work, cultural preservation, environmentalactivism, policy analysis, research, and information provision. The work undertaken by NGOs is wide-ranging but NGO roles can be usefully analyzed ashaving three main components: implementer, catalyst, and partner5 The implementer role is concerned with the mobilization of resources to provide goodsand services to people who need them. Service delivery is carried out by NGOs across a widerange of fields such as healthcare, microfinance, agricultural extension, emergency relief,4 Lewis, D. (____). Non Governmental Organizations: Definition & History .London School ofEconomics & Political Science.5 Lewis, D. (2007). The management of non-governmental development organizations (2nd ed.).London: Routledge.
  4. 4. and human rights. This role has increased as NGO shave been increasingly ‘‘contracted’’ bygovernments and donors with governance reform and privatization policies to carry outspecific tasks in return for payment; it has also become more prominent as NGOs areincreasingly responding to man-made emergencies or natural disasterswith humanitarianassistance. The catalyst role can be defined as an NGO’s ability to inspire, facilitate or contribute toimproved thinking and action to promote social transformation6. This effort may be directedtowards individuals or groups in local communities, or among other actors in developmentsuch as government, business or donors. It may include grassroots organizing and groupformation, gender and empowerment work, lobbying and advocacy work, and attempts toinfluence wider policy processes through innovation, and policy entrepreneurship. The role of partner reflects the growing trend for NGOs to work with government,donors and the private sector on joint activities, such as providing specific inputs within abroader multiagency program or project, or undertaking socially responsible businessinitiatives. It also includes activities that take place among NGOs and with communities suchas ‘‘capacity building’’ work which seeks to develop and strengthen capabilities. The currentpolicy rhetoric of ‘‘partnership’’ seeks to bring NGOs into mutually beneficial relationshipswith these other sectors.Outstanding Issue: Responsibility to Protect (R2P) In the international system today, the sovereignity of the state is being compramisedand limited. Not as per stated in the treaty of Westphalia, but based on concerns of human6 Brown.D(1992) Non Governmental Organizations as Development Catalyst (Vol9.Num1)Institute OfDevelopment Reports
  5. 5. lifes and rights. As we can see in the most current situations of Libyan crisis. The issue is nomore local when massacre and public killing is happeneing in the borders by thegovernment. It has become a international affair, requiring wide spread actions ofinternational communities. Intervention was invoked against a states abuse of its sovereignty by brutal and crueltreatment of those within its power, both nationals and non- nationals. Such a state wasregarded as having made itself liable to action by any state or states that were prepared tointervene. One writer, in 1921, depicted humanitarian intervention as "the reliance upon force for the justifiable purpose of protecting the inhabitants of anotherstate from the treatment which is so arbitrary and persistently abusive as to exceed the limits of thatauthority within which the sovereign is presumed to act with reason and justice."7 The role of non governmental organizations in these situations are also very much real.Case Study The role of International Organizations can be restricted due to the above conflict ofR2P. But still commitment has been taken to put in the efforts to establish the mostappropriate actions to handle situations as below; where mistakes and political blunder stillhappens. Rwanda in 1994 laid bare the full horror of inaction. The United Nations (UN)Secretariat and some permanent members of the Security Council knew that officialsconnected to the then government were planning genocide. UN forces were present, thoughnot in sufficient number at the outset; and credible strategies were available to prevent, or7 International Commission on Intervention & State Sovereignity, ICISS (Dec,2001)
  6. 6. at least greatly mitigate, the slaughter which followed. But the Security Council refused totake the necessary action. That was a failure of international will, of civic courage, at thehighest level. Its consequence was not merely a humanitarian catastrophe for Rwanda: thegenocide destabilized the entire Great Lakes region and continues to do so. In the aftermath,many African peoples concluded that, for all the rhetoric about the universality of humanrights, some human lives end up mattering a great deal less to the international communitythan others. Kosovo where intervention did take place in 1999, concentrated attention on all theother sides of the argument. The operation raised major questions about the legitimacy ofmilitary intervention in a sovereign state. Was the cause just: were the human rights abusescommitted or threatened by the Belgrade authorities sufficiently serious to warrant outsideinvolvement?. How could the bypassing and marginalization of the UN system, by “acoalition of the willing” acting without Security Council approval, possibly be justified? Didthe way in which the intervention was carried out in fact worsen the very human rightssituation it was trying to rectify? Or, against all this, was it the case that had the NorthAtlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) not intervened, Kosovo would have been at best the siteof an ongoing, bloody and destabilizing civil war, and at worst the occasion for genocidalslaughter like that which occurred in Bosnia four years earlier? The Bosnian case, in particular the failure by the United Nations and others toprevent the massacre of thousands of civilians seeking shelter in UN “safe areas” inSrebrenica in 1995, is another which has had a major impact on the contemporary policydebate about intervention for human protection purposes. It raises the principle thatintervention amounts to a promise to people in need: a promise cruelly betrayed.
  7. 7. Yet another was the failure and ultimate withdrawal of the UN peace operations inSomalia in 1992–93, when an international intervention to save lives and restore order wasdestroyed by flawed planning, poor execution, and an excessive dependence on militaryforce8.Conclusion As a conclusion theres is much improvements needed in the developments of NonGovernmental Organizations in making sure security in providing humanitarian efforts to theinternational community. For that the quotes and thoughts of The fromer Secretary Generalof United Nations, Koffi Annan gestured on the immportance of human protection as per:“the prospects for human security and intervention in the next century.” He recalled the failures of the Security Council to act in Rwanda and Kosovo, andchallenged the member states of the UN to , “find common ground in upholding the principles ofthe Charter, and acting in defence of our common humanity.” The Secretary-General warned that, “If the collective conscience of humanity … cannotfind in the United Nations its greatest tribune, there is a grave danger that it will look elsewhere forpeace and for justice.”98 International Commission on Intervention & State Sovereignty, ICISS (Dec,2001)9 Anan.K (1999) 54th session of the UN General Assembly
  8. 8. References ________ (1945) Repertory of Practices of United Nations Organs Supplements No.7 Willets, P.(2002). What is a Non-Governmental Organization. Article inUNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. World Bank. Riddell, R. (2007). Does foreign aid really work? Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lewis, D. (____). Non Governmental Organizations: Definition & History .LondonSchool of Economics & Political Science. Lewis, D. (2007). The management of non-governmental development organizations(2nd ed.). London: Routledge. Brown.D (1992) Non Governmental Organizations as Development Catalyst(Vol9.Num1)Institute Of Development Reports International Commission on Intervention & State Sovereignity, ICISS (Dec,2001) Anan.K (1999) 54th session of the UN General Assembly