The Range of Nonstate Actors

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There are many different types of nonstate actors. For example, there are loose transnational networks of NGOs around the world that only established an address, bank account, and formal organizational identity. The benefit of loose structure is from its flexibility. The campaign against the Multilateral Investment Agreement, a transnational network from six hundred of NGOs, is one of example. The range of nonstate actors itself can be seen from six key terms.

First, NGOs or INGOs, such as Oxfam and Rotary, are voluntary organizations formed and organized by individuals to perform variety of function and roles. NGOs operate at local, national or international level. Some NGOs operate in a specific issue area. The others operate in broad issues like human rights, environment, etc. Most NGOs are headquartered in Northern and Western developed countries such as London (Amnesty International), Oxford (Oxfam), Washington, D.C. (The Nature Conservatory), etc. They receive funding from private donors. The other was formed in developing countries in South but get the funding from international groups. The example is DAWN or Development Alternative with Woman for a New Era.

Second, transnational networks and coalition are informal and formal linkages among NGOs in a certain issue. Revolution in communication area made it easy for NGOs to create multilevel linkages between different organizations by internet, website or fax.

Transnational advocacy networks on the other hand dedicated to direct promotion of specific cause. Advocacy groups and networks bring new ideas into policy debates together with a new frame to see some issues. That way, the organization can be comprehensible and attract support from society, government or foreign government. Al Qaeda is one of example.

Third, social movement focuses on how people work together to bring changes in the status quo. Social movement happened in religion, class, region scope or to achieve progressive goals such as human rights, environment, etc. Transnational social movement similar with social movement but different in terminology. Transnational social movement has a role as the agents of global change. They provide the networks of social relations necessary for some action, resources, information, and ideas to mobilize people. The movement also provides the norms and the values about participating in policymaking and the implementation. They work at many levels and trying to influence elite politics in countries, public attention and NGOs/INGOs. The example of transnational social movement is Christian Pentecostalism. It originated a hundred years ago in California and now it already expanded around the world including 400 million people.

Fourth, global public policy networks different with the others include government agencies, IGOs, corporation, professional groups, NGOs and religion groups. This network has a big advantage because the networking can be expanded from civil society to governmental, intergovernmental, corporate and nonprofit entities.

Fifth, experts are drawn from government, research institutes, international organizations and nongovernmental community. Epistemic communities of experts are especially important in addressing complex environment issues. For example, experts who were concerned with global climate.

Sixth, multinational corporations or MNCs are nongovernmental organization engaged in for profit business transactions and operations across national borders. Since 1970s, MNCs became significant international actors and controlling a great amount of resources more than the states. But MNCs also became the targets of NGOs activism related with their roles and behavior with their labor condition, their action with their factory waste, etc. NGO’s campaign and activism made the corporations implementing codes of conduct, certifications and monitoring mechanism.

From the explanation above, we must remember that NGOs are different with civil society. Civil society is a broader concept including all organizations and association that exist outside the state and the market. Society is an arena in which people engage in spontaneous, customary and nonlegalistic forms of action to pursue common goals (Wapner, 1996). But, nonstate actors including NGOs are important part of any type transnational civil society.

Karns, Margaret P and Karen A. Mingst. 2004. International Organizations: The Politics and Process of Global Governance. London: Lynne Rienner Publisher.

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