'NGOs legitimacy and representation at the global level' - Literature review Example

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By 1914, there were approximately, 1034 NGOs in operation. The traditional belief that the NGOs worked on behalf of the local communities has continually shifted to…
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NGOs legitimacy and representation at the global level
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NGOs legitimacy and representation at the global level By History of Introduction International non- governmental organizations are attributed to the history that dates back to the 1839. By 1914, there were approximately, 1034 NGOs in operation. The traditional belief that the NGOs worked on behalf of the local communities has continually shifted to self-seeking and representation. By 1945, the NGOs had reached the top of their operations through the official inclusion of provisions in the United Nations Charter. According to the Yearbook of International Organizations 2013-2014, there are approximately 66,000 International organizations and an annual addition of 1200 new ones (Yearbook of international organizations, 2013).This essay seeks to examine the concepts of legitimacy and representation of these NGOs at the global level. In addition, the essay intends to find out the ways in which accountability and representation can be enhanced.
As a point of departure, a pressing question on the legitimacy and present political debate on reclaiming the democratic projects in the context of globalization has arose and it needs to be answered. Numerous institutions and scholars have always argued out the extent to which these NGOs are legitimate, responsible and answerable (MACDONALD, 2008). These aspects directly affect the subjects. For instance, the reason for the recent mounting of pressure of high profile campaigns for democratization of powerful international organizations such as the IMF and world Bank includes the belief that, these organizations are neither not representatives of the subjects, nor do they exhibit the aspects of accountable bodies.
Montesquieu, a balanced democrat argues that any leadership that is a representative of subjects must get consent of the governed. This follows that, a legitimate NGO should be attributed to the consent of the governed either through elections or by acclamation. This follows that, democracy is exhibited in these institutions if Montesquieu principle is applied (LOY, 1968). On the other hand, Locke confirms that the aspect of legitimacy must be derived from the subjects and once a legitimate body has been consented, then subjects have a preserve of their rights through these bodies. Locke believes that, the interests of the subjects must come first before personal interests (LOCKE, 1990).
The question that arises is that who bestows responsibilities to NGOs and how representation of citizens is gained? This follows that, the aspect of representation is challengeable. Despite MACDONALD’s assertion that, alternative non-electoral mechanism of authorization and accountability can be applied to put the NGOs on check, he admits that elections have the aptitude to deliver to stakeholders a certain extent of political control over their representative accomplishments and this follows that a certain level of control over public political decision making on legitimate stake is afforded. MACDONALD (2008) believes that alternative non-electoral institutional mechanisms can be instituted through elections for the sole purpose of delivering equivalent forms of political control and serve relevant democratic function to stakeholders.
Legitimacy and accountability
According to MULGAN, (2000), the aspect of legitimacy and accountability of NGOs is an emerging issue that has been argued out in numerous perspectives with its scope extending into numerous facts, which includes an account for actions. According to SAWARD (2009), he defends the proposition that the central proposition that “pubic power” is legitimate subject of global democratic control. Another aspect that has falsely legitimized the NGOs is the acceptance of the association between consent and authority, which has become attenuated resulting to the provision of an unproblematic foundation of legitimacy.
The NGOs’ tendency of overdependence on donor funding is a big decisive test for the NGOs’ independence, as the donors tend to give conditions that threaten the legitimacy and independence of these NGOs (SAWARD, 2009). The fact that, the public that is deemed the custodian of the NGOs has no specific path in keeping them accountable, the NGOs have gone to immense illegitimate and unaccountable heights of mismanagement of resources and misrepresentation. The practices of accountability require that some actors have the privileges to set standard measures of judging other actors in the light of the set standards (LOCKE, 1990). This phenomenon is not seen in the management of NGOs.
In conclusion, inadequate representations and unaccountable practices devalue the face of the NGOs at the international arena. The NGOs should endeavour in centralizing, particularly those at the helm of the international level. This aspect will enhance their togetherness in setting common objectives or themes that reflect the exact situations of the subjective they represent.
List of references
(2013). Yearbook of international organizations 2013-2014. 6 vols. Leiden, Koninklijke Brill NV.
LOCKE, J. (1990). Second treatise of government. Raleigh, N.C., Alex Catalogue.
LOY, J. R. (1968). Montesquieu. New York, Twayne Publishers.
MULGAN, R. (2000). Accountability: an ever-expanding concept? Canberra, Australian National University.
SAWARD, M. (2009). Authorisation and Authenticity: Representation and the Unelected*. Journal of Political Philosophy. 17, 1-22.
TERRY MACDONALD (2008). Theorizing Global Representative Agency: Non‐Electoral Authorization and Accountability
TERRY MACDONALD. (2008). Instituting Global Representative Agency: The Authorization and Accountability of NGOs. Read More
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