NGOs, Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution

NGOs, Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution

Measuring the Impact of NGOs on Intergovernmental Organisations

Daniela Irrera

Daniela Irrera explores the relationship between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organisations (IGOs). The author reviews the issue of NGOs’ participation in the decision-making processes of intergovernmental IGOs and investigates new activities undertaken by NGOs, including their participation in multilateral humanitarian intervention operations, crisis management and conflict resolution.

Chapter 4: Humanitarian NGOs and the UN peace and security institutions

Daniela Irrera

Subjects: development studies, development studies, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations


The UN system represents the most meaningful laboratory in which humanitarian NGOs have strengthened their expertise and tested their new roles in respect of states and institutional bodies by using formal accreditation and relations with ECOSOC to shape practices and norms. Within the humanitarian system, the UN looks like a big cell in which tradition and innovation coexist and merge, producing a flexible but very centralised structure. The UN has also historically represented the universally recognised realm in which the concept of collective security has been conceived and structured. The main literature usually divides this process into three eras dominated by different events and political implications, namely the time up to the end of the Second World War (pre-1945), the Cold War (1945–90), and the post-Cold-War period (since 1991 to present times) (Murphy, 1996; Barnett, 2008). All eras have been marked by a changeable distribution of power and consequently by a moving structure of the world governmental system. While there are few analyses on the topic before and during the Cold War, because of the rules of the bipolar game, the most meaningful interpretations deal with the activism of the present era, particularly in the 1990s, in direct response to the changes in the international system and the behaviour of a few leading governments.

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