The Transformation of International NGOs and their Impact on Development Aid

Part of the International Development Policy book series (IDP)


International non-governmental organisations (INGOs) are among the key actors in the transformation of development as a global public policy issue in the post-Cold War era. This chapter explores how in the past two decades INGOs concerned with development have transformed their structures and practices as well as development discourse. The author shows how development INGOs have globalised, in terms of both the formation of international confederations and the collaboration of multiple INGOs in global coalitions. A key development has been the erosion of the apparent North–South divide among development INGOs, with INGOs that originated in donor countries reforming their structures to give a greater voice to their affiliates in recipient countries, and organisations that originated in developing countries forming affiliates in developed countries. The reorientation of INGO advocacy from states toward intergovernmental and corporate actors is also explored, as is the creation of new forms of partnerships with both governmental and private actors. The chapter addresses how development INGOs have attempted to respond to critiques of their accountability and legitimacy through reforms such as the International NGO Charter on Accountability, while the conclusion explores the limitations of the transformations of development INGOs, and the challenges that these new configurations pose.


Civil Society Recipient Country Global Reporting Initiative World Economic Forum Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, I. (2007) ‘Global Action: International NGOs and Advocacy’, in Rugendyke, B. (ed.) NGOs as Advocates for Development in a Globalizing World (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  2. Annan, K. (2000) Secretary-General, Addressing Participants at Millennium Forum, Calls for Intensified ‘NGO Revolution’, United Nations Press Release SG/SM/7411 GA/9710 (New York: United Nations)Google Scholar
  3. ANND (Arab NGO Network for Development) (2011) About Us, (accessed on 28 September 2011).Google Scholar
  4. Barber, M. and C. Bowie (2008) ‘How International NGOs Could Do Less Harm and More Good’, Development in Practice, 18(6), pp. 748–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birdsall, N. and J. Williamson (2002) Delivering on Debt Relief: From IMF Gold to a New Aid Architecture (Washington, DC: Center for Global Development).Google Scholar
  6. BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) (2011a) Who We Are, (accessed on 29 September 2011).Google Scholar
  7. BRAC (2011b) Where We Work, (accessed on 29 September 2011).Google Scholar
  8. Chabbott, C. (1997) ‘Development INGOs’, in Boli, J. and G. Thomas (eds) Constructing World Culture: International Nongovernmental Organizations since 1875 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  9. Chetley, A. (1986) The Politics of Baby Foods: Successful Challenges to an International Marketing Strategy (London: Frances Pinter).Google Scholar
  10. Chong, D. (2009) ‘Economic Rights and Extreme Poverty: Moving towards Subsistence’, in Bob, C. (ed.) The International Struggle for New Human Rights (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press).Google Scholar
  11. Clark, D., J. Fox and K. Treakle (2003) Demanding Accountability: Civil-Society Claims and the World Bank Inspection Panel (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield).Google Scholar
  12. Clean Clothes Campaign (2011) Who We Are, (accessed on 19 October 2011).Google Scholar
  13. Conflicts of Interest Coalition (2011) Statement of Concern, (accessed on 20 October 2011).Google Scholar
  14. Davies, T.R. (2011a) The 2011 Uprisings and the Limits of ‘People Power’, (accessed on 20 October 2011).Google Scholar
  15. Davies, T.R. (2011b) ‘The Rise and Fall of Transnational Civil Society: The Evolution of International Non-Governmental Organizations since the Mid-Nineteenth Century’, in Reydams, L. (ed.) Global Activism Reader (New York: Continuum).Google Scholar
  16. Edwards, M. and D. Hulme (2002) ‘Making a Difference: Scaling-Up the Developmental Impact of NGOs — Concepts and Experiences’, in Edwards, M. and A. Fowler (eds) The Earthscan Reader on NGO Management (London: Earthscan).Google Scholar
  17. Fioramonti, L., A. Fowler and V.F. Heinrich (2008) ‘The Challenge of Socioeconomic and Democratic Development: Marrying Civil Society’s Social and Political Roles?’, in Heinrich, V.F. and L. Fioramonti (eds) CIVICUS Global Survey of the State of Civil Society, Volume 2: Comparative Perspectives (Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press).Google Scholar
  18. Foreman, K. (1999) ‘Evolving Global Structures and the Challenges Facing International Relief and Development Organisations’, Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 28(1), pp. 178–97, DOI: 10.1177/089976499773746519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. GCAP (Global Call to Action against Poverty) (2011a) GCAP Supporting Organizations, (accessed on 27 September 2011).Google Scholar
  20. GCAP (2011b) Global Secretariat, (accessed on 19 October 2011).Google Scholar
  21. GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) (2010) Yearin Review 2009/10 (Amsterdam: GRI).Google Scholar
  22. Harper, C. (2001) ‘Do the Facts Matter? NGOs, Research, and International Advocacy’, in Edwards, M. and J. Gaventa (eds.) Global Citizen Action (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers).Google Scholar
  23. International NGO Charter of Accountability (2011a) Charter Background, (accessed on 29 September 2011).Google Scholar
  24. International NGO Charter of Accountability (2011b) The Five Years Strategy, (accessed on 29 September 2011).Google Scholar
  25. James, R. (1998) Demystifying Organisation Development: Practical Capacity-Building Experiences of African NGOs (Oxford: INTRAC).Google Scholar
  26. Judge, A. (1978) ‘International Institutions: Diversity, Borderline Cases, Functional Substitutes and Possible Alternatives’, in Taylor, P. and A.J.R. Groom (eds) International Organization: A Conceptual Approach (London: Frances Pinter).Google Scholar
  27. Koch, D.J. (2008) A Paris Declaration for International NGOs? (Paris: OECD Development Centre).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lewis, D. and N. Kanji (2009) Non-Governmental Organizations and Development (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  29. Lindenberg, M. and C. Bryant (2001) Going Global: Transforming Relief and Development NGOs (Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press).Google Scholar
  30. Michael, S. (2004) Undermining Development: The Absence of Power among Local NGOs in Africa (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press).Google Scholar
  31. Nelson, P.J. and E. Dorsey (2008) New Rights Advocacy: Changing Strategies of Development and Human Rights NGOs (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press).Google Scholar
  32. OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) (2011) OECD Stats Extracts, (accessed on 13 September 2011).Google Scholar
  33. Oxfam Great Britain (2007) Accountability Report 06/07 (Oxford: Oxfam Great Britain).Google Scholar
  34. Oxfam International (1996) Oxfam International’s Mission Statement, (accessed on 7 April 2010).Google Scholar
  35. Peña, A.M. (2011) ISO and Social Standardisation: Uncomfortable Compromises in Global Policy-Making, Working Paper CUTP/009A (London: City University of London), (accessed on 20 October 2011).Google Scholar
  36. Publish What You Pay (2011) Members of Publish What You Pay, 21/03/2011, (accessed on 19 October 2011).Google Scholar
  37. Riddell, R.C. (2007) Does Foreign Aid Really Work? (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  38. Roy, A. (2004) Public Power in the Age of Empire (New York: Seven Stories).Google Scholar
  39. Scholte, J.A. (2011) ‘Civil Society and IMF Accountability’, in Scholte, J.A. (ed.) Building Global Democracy? Civil Society and Accountable Global Governance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. SID (Society for International Development) (2010) History, (accessed on 27 September 2011).Google Scholar
  41. Smith, B. (1990) More than Altruism: The Politics of Private Foreign Aid (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Spiro, P.J. (1995) ‘New Global Communities: Nongovernmental Organizations in International Decision Making Institutions’, Washington Quarterly, 18(1), pp. 45–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sprechmann, S. and E. Pelton (2001) Advocacy Tools and Guidelines: Promoting Policy Change (Atlanta, GA: Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere).Google Scholar
  44. UTA (Union of International Associations) (2010) Yearbook of International Organizations, 2010–2011 (Berlin: de Gruyter).Google Scholar
  45. UN (United Nations) (2002) Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August–4 September 2002, A/CONF.199/20 (New York: United Nations).Google Scholar
  46. Walker, P. and D. Maxwell (2009) Shaping the Humanitarian World (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  47. WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) (2011) What Is the WBCSD’s Mission?, (accessed on 20 October 2011).Google Scholar
  48. WEF (World Economic Forum) (2011) Global Education Initiative, (accessed on 29 September 2011).Google Scholar
  49. Willetts, P. (2011) Non-Governmental Organizations in World Politics: The Construction of Global Governance (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  50. Zimmern, A. (1930) ‘Democracy and the Expert’, The Political Quarterly, 1(1), pp. 7–25, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467–923X.1930.tb01466.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies 2012

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations