The new revolution [Archives:2004/760/Viewpoint]

August 2 2004

In an international conference on peace was held last week in Seoul, S. Korea, and a conclusion was reached about the needed to involve NGO'S more than at any other time to participate in making peace. This reminded me of a speech given by prominent academic John Tirman, the Director of the NY-based Social Science Research Council, who once said, “a quiet revolution is rumbling beneath the surface of global politics, a slow-motion upheaval reaching into every society.” That is the NGO revolution.
Indeed, it has become clear that the role of NGOs' in forming policies and implementing developmental and social reforms will strengthen and increase in time. One of the direct and undeniable proofs of this fact is the incredible influence NGOs have had in the developed world for many decades. Their turn to continue the revolution in the developing world is now coming.
More and more donors and international organizations have revealed that they trust NGOs, especially those that have been active for many years, more than the governments of developing countries. This has led to a significant shift of funds from the governments to NGOs who are in direct connection with the grassroots community and are more efficiently managed and transparently operated.
On the other hand, governments of developing countries are unable or possibly unwilling to understand that the NGO revolution has started. Many governments are continuously putting hurdles and obstacles in front of NGOs work. They are in some cases closing them down or confiscating from them with unjustifiable excuses such as their not getting permission to hold activities or publish articles, etc.
What governments need to understand for the time being is that NGOs are in fact a savior and an assistant that could help countries advance and recover from social or economic troubles. What governments should do is work with NGOs, with unity, to facilitate their work and enable them to achieve more in helping countries develop and progress.
Governments should realize this sooner rather than later because there is simply no other way to continue ignoring the world's demand for a stronger NGO basis to implement the increasing number of projects in all fields imaginable. Governments will be unable to do the work on their own, so they will absolutely need NGOs to assist in this respect.
The revolution is continuing to intensify and become more influential in the years to come, and I deeply believe that the regimes should embrace this revolution and make use of it, before they lose more than they can afford in a globalizing and changing world.