ARTICLE: Non-Governmental Organizations at United Nations-Sponsored World Conferences: A Framework for Participation Reform Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2003 Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review 
Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review

ARTICLE: Non-Governmental Organizations at United Nations-Sponsored World Conferences: A Framework for Participation Reform

Winter, 2003

26 Loy. L.A. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 217


Jeffrey Andrew Hartwick*


I. Introduction
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have grown increasingly powerful and influential at international conferences sponsored by the United Nations. For instance, NGO activity was particularly prominent at the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa. This conference, however, was also an example of excessive NGO participation and harmful influence. At Durban, the NGO Forum (Forum) was marked by episodes of intolerance and anti-Semitism. The Forum produced unbalanced and impractical final documents that legitimized conference delegates pursuing anti-Western or anti-Israeli agendas.

How then can excessive and detrimental NGO influence at UN-sponsored world conferences be lessened to encourage productive activity and ensure the rightful primacy of nation-states? This Article will address this fundamental question. Part II looks at NGOs generally and the rules governing their interaction within the UN conference system. Part III examines the WCAR at Durban, a recent example of NGO-instigated chaos. Part IV examines two opposing schools of thought regarding the role of NGOs in the international system. One view favors an enlarged role for NGOs, the other a restricted role. The two camps do not provide an adequate framework to regulate NGO behavior, however. Part V advocates an overhaul of the NGO accreditation and participation framework in the UN to reduce NGO excesses, proposing seven reforms. Part VI applies six of these proposed solutions to a future UN WCAR to determine their practicality and viability. Part VII concludes that the suggested reforms would significantly improve a currently broken UN system ...
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