NGOs in economic diplomacy
In many ways, the term ‘non-governmental organization’ (NGO) is a bad place to start. It describes what a given institution is not , rather than what it is, and so leads to considerable confusion over what the category includes – business associations? Churches? Trades unions? Families? The phrase ‘non-governmental organization’ has no generally agreed legal definition. In many jurisdictions, these types of organization are called ‘civil society organizations’ (CSO) or referred to by other names. We will use the terms interchangeably, although some commentators see CSOs as closer to grassroots organizations, with NGOs at the more professional end of the spectrum. For the purpose of this discussion, we will use a fairly restricted definition: organizations that pursue some wider social aim that has political aspects, but that are not overtly political organizations such as political parties.