Non-Governmental Organization [NGO] Research - Introduction to NGO
1. What is a non-governmental organization [NGO]?
Non-government organizations, the English full name is "non-governmentorganization", and the English abbreviation is "NGO", which refers to various non-profit non-governmental organizations that exist for their purposes. It is an association, society, foundation, charitable trust, not-for-profit corporation or other legal person that is not considered a government department under certain legal systems.
The United Nations defines an NGO as a non-profit, voluntary civic organization organized at the local, national or international level. They provide a variety of services and play a humanitarian role, bringing citizens' concerns to government, monitoring policy and encouraging political participation at the community level. They provide analysis and expertise and serve as early warning mechanisms.
The United Nations attaches great importance to the role of NGOs. Article 71 of the Charter of the United Nations adopted when the United Nations was founded in 1945: The Economic and Social Council may adopt appropriate measures to facilitate consultations with various non-governmental organizations concerning the Council Events within the purview. Such measures may be negotiated with international organizations; and where appropriate, after consultation with Member States of the United Nations, they may be negotiated with domestic organizations of that country.
Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, international non-governmental organizations have gradually formed the practice of holding non-governmental organization forums or consultation meetings on the same theme at the same time and at the same place as the meetings of various United Nations organizations. This marks the formation of non-government actors, namely international organizations, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations and individuals, in addition to the national government as the actor. In matters of human rights, humanitarian aid, environmental protection, peace and security, NGOs have become an important factor in international relations. Chapter 27 of "Agenda 21" adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 proposes to strengthen the role of non-governmental organizations, requiring governments and intergovernmental organizations to establish real social partnerships and dialogues with non-governmental organizations. to enable NGOs to play an independent, effective and accountable role, and to establish corresponding mechanisms for this purpose.
"Non-governmental organization" has nearly 50 different titles in reality, such as the third sector, non-profit organizations, civil society organizations, independent departments, charitable departments, volunteer departments, tax-exempt departments, grassroots organizations, and so on. The customary name formed according to specific purposes in our country is "civilian organization". The concepts listed here and those not listed here are similar or identical in substance, although they have different names. That is, they all refer to a type of organization that is independent of the government system and the market system. The basic characteristics of this type of organization are: first, they do not represent the position of the government or the country, but come from the demands of the people, that is, non-governmental ; the second is that they regard the provision of public welfare and public services as their main goal, rather than the pursuit of profit, that is, they are non-profit; the third is that they have their own organizational and management mechanisms and independent economic sources, no matter where they are In terms of politics, management, or finance, they are independent from the government to a considerable extent, that is, independence; the fourth is that their members join the organization completely out of voluntary rather than forced, that is, voluntary; in addition, they also have Non-partisan and non-religious characteristics, that is, it does not take the acquisition of political power as its main goal, and does not engage in missionary activities. Therefore, political party organizations and religious organizations do not belong to the scope of non-governmental organizations.
NGOs are not governments, and are not driven by power; nor are they economic entities, especially not driven by economic interests. The driving force behind NGOs is volunteerism.
A well-developed modern society needs well-developed NGOs. According to the survey, there are more than 2 million non-governmental organizations in the United States, with a total expenditure of more than 500 billion and more than 9 million staff. Such a large and active non-governmental organization (NGO) is in line with the institutional structure of the US "big society, small government". The source of this system is related to the tradition of mutual help and self-help of immigrants at the beginning of the founding of the United States.
The economic sources of NGOs are mainly social and private donations. The United States has various extremely powerful private foundations supporting various NGOs in the United States. The state has established a tax-deductible system for donations to encourage donations.
NGOs are effective "relief valves" and "stabilizers" for the government, and they also have spiritual functions that cannot be ignored.
2. Types of NGOs currently active in China
There are seven types of NGOs currently active in China:
1. The first type is semi-official NGOs. These NGOs are registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and often have deep government backgrounds, such as: China Enterprise Confederation, National Federation of Industry and Commerce, etc.;
2. The second type is fake and semi-official NGOs. These NGOs are generally registered in Hong Kong, but their names sound almost the same as the first type. They are often named "China (China) *** Association (society, federation, center, committees, research institutes), etc., they claim to be registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs or claim to have government background;
3. The third type is private non-enterprise units registered with the civil affairs department, such as private universities.
4. The fourth type is grassroots organizations, which are spontaneously established by folks. At present, there are about 300 well-known private non-governmental NGOs in the country. Chinese NGOs mainly focus on the fields of environmental protection, women, and poverty alleviation, such as "Friends of Nature", "Global Village", "Green Homeland Volunteers" in Beijing, and "Friends of Green" in Tianjin. Due to the restrictions of the current Chinese law, such NGOs cannot register with the civil affairs department because they cannot find the competent department, and are finally forced to register with the industry and commerce department or not register.
5. The fifth type is an international organization registered with the civil affairs department, such as the Ford Foundation of the United States.
6. The sixth type is an international organization that cooperates with domestic units to carry out activities, such as: World Credit Organization [WCO], etc.
7. The seventh is international organizations that do not register with domestic government departments and only carry out activities through domestic volunteers or liaison personnel, such as Greenpeace.
3. Internationally renowned NGO
Greenpeace: One of the most influential environmental NGOs in the world today. Since its opposition to the nuclear test site in Alaska in the United States in 1971, Greenpeace has been known all over the world for its radicality, tenacity and determination.
Health Organization Without Borders: Founded in France in 1971, it is mainly composed of some medical assistance volunteers, with the purpose of providing medical assistance to people, especially disaster relief assistance.
International Fund for Animal Welfare: Founded in 1969, the purpose is to prevent cruelty to animals.
Ford Foundation of the United States: Founded in 1936, it is one of the largest private foundations in the world. In 1988, the Ford Foundation was one of the first batch of international NGOs allowed by the Chinese government to set up offices in China.
Save the Children UK: One of the largest international non-governmental organizations in the UK, founded in 1919, is an important member of the Save the Children International Alliance. Save the Children UK is headquartered in London and carries out projects in more than 60 developing countries around the world.
Japan Sasakawa Peace Foundation: Founded in 1986, in order to further promote the friendly relations between China and Japan, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the China Association for International Friendly Contact jointly established the China-Japan Friendship Exchange Fund with a total of 10 billion yen (about 650 million yuan) , is by far the largest non-governmental friendly exchange special fund between China and Japan.
4. Establishment and registration of NGO
The establishment of NGOs belongs to the right of freedom of association. Most countries in the world regard freedom of association as one of the basic human rights and guarantee it in the constitution. Therefore, most countries have no restrictions on the establishment of NGOs. If they do not need to obtain independent legal personality, they do not need to register. If you register, the procedure is also very simple. Moreover, the company registration departments of most countries do not make judgments and distinctions between NGOs and for-profit companies. Instead, when tax matters occur, the tax department will judge whether a legal person is an NGO. In western countries and regions, including Hong Kong, the government procedures for NGO registration are very simple. Anyone can register an international or regional NGO very conveniently and at low cost, and the name of the NGO does not require a certain relationship with the registration authority. Contacts, such as: Any state government in the United States can register an international NGO or an NGO named after another country.
V. Whether NGOs charge for external services
NGO is a non-profit civil organization that exists for its purpose. Non-profit does not mean that it does not charge fees when it provides services to the outside world, but that its income is only used for the purpose and not for distribution among members.
6. Internationality of international NGOs
The concept of "internationality" of an international NGO is not judged by the nationality and registered address of the founder, but by the internationality of its service purpose, the internationality of its service objects and the international universality of its service content , any one of the three items of service purpose, service objects, and service content is international, and it can be called an international NGO.
The above content is excerpted from: "The Current Situation, Existing Problems and Development Path of Chinese NGOs" (by Fang Bangjian)