Proliferation of NGOs : Significant figures

The international civil society embodies above all else the extraordinary expansion throughout the world of a particular type of association : the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The scope and the speed at which this phenomenon spread in the 1980's and 1990's are striking. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there were 1,600 NGOs originating in Western countries in 1980. Ten years later, they numbered 4,500. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the internationalization phenomenon became widespread, and no region anywhere in the world was excluded. For instance, there were 220 NGOs in Nepal in 1990 and 1,200 three years later. In 1997, an international study listed close to one million such organizations in India, 210,0000 in Brazil, 17,5000 in Egypt, and 15,000 in Thailand. Such intense growth in such a short period of time is astonishing and was probably largely the product of the new political opportunities which presented themselves : in post-communist Rumania, for example, more than 200,000 NGOS came into being in less than 10 years. This phenomenon was also observed in the previous decade in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in other Central and Eastern European nations. It had occurred during earlier periods of democratic transition such as the 1970's in Southern Europe and the 1980's in Latin America.

In 1968, 200 NGOs participated in the Conference on Human Rights in Tehran. There were 10 times more numerous at the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995. In the same year, The World Conference for Women in Beijing was attended by 4,000 accredited representatives of NGOs. When the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations was created after the Second World War, NGOs were given 45 seats. Today, accredited NGOs number 2,000. The flow of foreign aid channelled by NGOs rose from 2.7 billion dollars in 1970 to 7.2 billion 20 years later.

Between 1977 and 1988, 6 % of development projects financed by the World Bank involved NGOs. In 1993, this figure had reached 30% and since 1995, NGOs have acted as partners in more than half of the projects financed by the World Bank.

© 2007 ULiège