Chapter 1: Beyond Consultative Status: Which Legal Framework for an Enhanced Interaction between NGOs and Intergovernmental Organizations?
1. Beyond consultative status: which legal framework for enhanced interaction between NGOs and intergovernmental organizations? Emanuele Rebasti INTRODUCTION Interaction with intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) is a central part of NGO’s (non-governmental organization)1 activity at the international level. The institutional structures of international cooperation provide NGOs with the forum they need to make their voices heard beyond the boundaries of the nationstate and with a political target for the exercise of their non-governmental diplomacy. Thus it is not surprising that NGOs have hardly been indifferent to intergovernmental institutions: either confrontational or cooperative, NGOs’ action is often defined with reference to IGOs’ policies or aims at influencing the outcomes of intergovernmental processes. Similarly, IGOs have increasingly 1 As is exhaustively explained in the Introduction to the present book, the notion of a Non-Governmental Organization is not univocal in international practice or in academic debate. While it is commonly understood that NGOs are organizations established by private initiative, formally free from any governmental influence and without a profitmaking aim, it is much more debated whether in that category may also fall organizations which promote professional or class interests; which represent social or ethnic groups; which lack legal personality in their national law order; which have a political or religious nature or which carry out their activity in the territory of a single state. In practice, every IGO which establishes a formalized relationship has its own definition of an NGO. In recent times, however, IGOs have been promoting cooperation with a larger and larger...
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