The professionalization of international non-governmental organizations

Authored by: Wolf-Dieter Eberwein , Sabine Saurugger

Routledge Handbook of International Organization

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415501439
eBook ISBN: 9780203405345
Adobe ISBN: 9781134112982


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The national, transnational and international non-profit sector has virtually exploded in size over the last four to five decades. In contrast to the non-governmental non-profit organizations (NGOs) active at the national level operating under the respective national legislation, the transnational and international non-governmental non-profit organizations (INGOs) derive their legitimacy from three postulates. First of all, they are presumed to contribute to the creation of global governance and thereby to the democratization of the international system. Second, they have a role to play in terms of both the input and output legitimacy of politics internationally. This means that, on the one hand, they participate in the policy-making processes through the representation of specific preferences and their expertise (input legitimacy), and on the other, that these organizations contribute to the provision of goods and services that states do not provide or only provide to a limited extent (output legitimacy). International NGOs advocate and provide public goods but, unlike trade unions or business organizations, do not act in the name of, or for, their specific constituency, in other words their members. They define their specific target group as the poor, women and children, as the victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts or as endangered species.

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