The Road from Rio: Sustainable Development and the Nongovernmental Movement in the Third World

By Julie Fisher | Go to book overview

movement . . . The bureaucracy doesn't respond to their petitions, so they organize takeovers of unused or underused land. They use illegal methods to achieve a legal goal,"29

The second difficulty is being able to assess the relationship between old elites and new forces on the local as well as national levels. Whether old elites remain dominant or are successfully challenged remains problematical in any given situation. An analysis of 150 Third World case studies produced a "nil correlation" between GRO effectiveness and situations of social stratification. 30 In other words, inequality and repression sometimes inhibit organization and sometimes promote it. The degree to which outsiders ( GRSOs or International NGOS) can tip the balance and promote local organization in the absence of local initiative is also unclear. Once local leadership emerges, however, it often sustains itself by what Brown and Korten ( 1989:9) call "self-reinforcing escalation." Yet even regional GRO networks organized from below can be subject to burnout when confronted by determined repression or internal dissension.

Although worsening conditions further enhance the likelihood that local organizations will be created and will attract popular support, political monopolies are enormously resilient. Many parts of the Third World seem to be poised between the persistence of old power structures and the development of new organizations not yet able to effectively challenge them.

The interwoven texture of this tapestry about to be examined is perhaps its most interesting feature in country after country. In the chapters that follow, I shall try to shed more light on the complexities and wide variations in its texture and color as well as design. Chapter 2 is about the spread and significance of GROs, and Chapter 3 focuses on their horizontal networks. Chapters 4 and 5 deal with GRSOs in general and, more specifically, with those specializing in economic development, environment, and population. Chapter 6 focuses on GRSO networks. GRO and GRSO performance are the subjects of Chapter 7. Some patterns in the relationships between GROs and GRSOs, discussed in Chapter 8, appear to be particularly effective in promoting empowerment, acheiving sustainable development, and scaling out local efforts. The networks that GROs and GRSOs are establishing among themselves and with each other may presage their impact on national government power structures as well. The political impact of NGOs, a major theme of Volume 2, is already evident in some countries.


NOTES
1.
Joseph Van Arendonk, United Nations Population Fund, February 28, 1991.
2.
In 1991 the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund announced that they would no longer ignore military expenditures in determining whether governments obtain loans. See Mathews, 1991.
3.
Cordoba-Novion and Sachs, 1987.

-18-

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The Road from Rio: Sustainable Development and the Nongovernmental Movement in the Third World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Note xiv
  • Selected Acronyms xv
  • 1 - The Politics of Development 1
  • Notes 18
  • 2 - Grassroots Organizations (gros) 21
  • Notes 51
  • 3 - Gro Networks 57
  • Notes 72
  • 4 - Grassroots Support Organizations (grsos) 75
  • Notes 113
  • 5 - Poverty, Environmental Degradation, and Population Growth: The Role of Grsos 117
  • Notes 135
  • 6 - Grso Networks 139
  • Notes 159
  • 7 - What Works: Assessing the Performance of Gros and Grsos 163
  • Notes 183
  • 8 - Gro-Grso Linkages 187
  • Notes 211
  • Glossary 215
  • Bibliography 217
  • Index 243
  • About the Author 265
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