Making meaningful UN-sponsored
world conferences of the 1990s:
NGOs to the rescue?
Michael G. Schechterast
The future of UN-sponsored world conferences hinges, in large part, on the conference follow-up activities including those by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 1 The broadness of this organization category has led some to generate a “lexicon of descriptors,” including Public Interest NGOs (PINGOs), Business and Industry NGOs (BINGOs), Environmental NGOs (ENGOs), Civil Society NGOs (CSOs), Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs), Donor-organized NGOs (DONGOs), Government-run NGOs (GRINGOs), Government-organized NGOs (GONGOs), Grassroots organizations (GROs), Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) etc. 2
The focus in this chapter is on international non-governmental organizations, sometimes referred to by the acronym INGOs, but more often NGOs. I am including organizations that lack consultative status with IGOs, but excluding those whose intent is to make profits (even though General Motors was an accredited NGO at the Earth Summit in Rio) or that operate in a single country, but whose impact transcends that base. 3 The definition used here is consistent with that adopted by the UN's Department of Public Information: “NGO refers to a non-profit citizens' voluntary entity organized nationally or internationally. Thus, professional associations, trade unions, religious organizations, women's and youth groups, cooperative associations, development and human rights____________________