Evolution of the International Arena

" The United Nations has entered a new era in its relations with the NGOs and other civil society actors. [...] The United Nations is committed to seek the participation and contribution of NGOs in its work. New approaches, attitudes, methods and responses are required throughout the United Nations system if we are to meet this challenge effectively."

Mr. Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations

 

The end of the cold war modified the structure of the international arena by making it more complex and by giving non-governmental delegates an increasingly important role. The result has been that, in many areas, the international organizations have developed such closely cooperative relationships with the NGOs that they have became interdependent in their tasks, such as: gathering information, operational implementation of aid programs, sharing knowledge of the field, providing experts, participating in the elaboration of international norms, etc. This is a fundamental evolution of the international arena. This change has brought about new types of international relationships, which henceforth bring together not only the states, but also different partners who can contribute to the solving of international issues. This change is of considerable benefit to the United Nations, which has made it one of the pillars of its reform project. This is particularly clearly illustrated by the exponential increase in the number of NGOs in consultative status with the international organizations.

New structure of the international arena

 

1
© Mandat International

 

NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC (UN)

1
© Mandat International

This fundamental change, openly supported by the United Nations, creates new needs to which both those in the international arena and in cities hosting international organizations now have to respond. It is precisely to these needs that Mandat International intends to respond by seeking to improve international cooperation between governmental and non-governmental partners, including NGOs, experts, research centres, industry and others.

* Paragraph 80 of the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the "Arrangements and practices for the interaction of NGOs in all activities of the UN System" (A/53/170, 10 July 1998).