American Military University
Mr. Arthur P. Drennan
1. There are some fundamental differences and similarities between IGOs and NGOs. To begin with, one definition of IGO is, “International/ transnational actors that are composed of member-countries” (Rourke and Boyer 2010, G–6). A few good examples of IGOs are the E.U., NATO, and the U.N. A definition of NGOs would be, “International (transnational) organizations with private memberships” (Rourke and Boyer 2010, G–8). A few examples of NGOs are Amnesty International, the Red Cross, and Saving the Children.
Membership is one of the easiest ways to differentiate between these two organizations. NGOs members are diverse, usually being made up of ordinary citizens, volunteers, nurses, doctors, etc. NGOs may be funded by governments, foundations or businesses; although, some avoid formal funding altogether. IGO membership is considerably different than NGO membership. IGO membership consists of primarily of sovereign states, known as member states, or of other IGOs. To illustrate this idea, some of the U.N. member states are China, Belgium, Afghanistan, and many more. IGOs are founded by governments which recognize that it is in their national interests to obtain multilateral agreements (Wilkinson, Paul 2007, 79).
Another way to differentiate between these groups is took look at their positions in the world. IGOs work above the state level in the international system. They provide a form of supranational governance. They pursue actions to deal with threats, issues, and obstacles that cannot be dealt with on a unilateral level. NGOs are more independent of government restraint and politics. They often will even refuse funding from governments to avoid the perception that they are affiliated with any particular government. This allows them to infiltrate particularly secluded and resistant countries to provide humanitarian aid.
There are some similarities between these groups. That is that they primarily are trying to do good in the world. The IGOs try to work issues that certain states can’t resolve themselves, as well as conflicts between states. They can act as a mediator or even as a disciplinarian. They can do things like impose sanctions on a particular state, should they refuse to cooperate or work towards a resolution. Some IGOs like the U.N. will even go on missions to observe the conditions in a particular country and then generate an impartial report of the situation. NGOs have a variety of diverse missions and objectives. They dispatch all over the world to try to stop hunger, fighting, slavery, abuse, poverty, etc. They have the ability to voice concerns over certain topics, without fear that they will lose proceeds from any particular government. Amnesty International is a very vocal organization, recently putting Nigerian officials in the spotlight for not protecting its citizens.
NGOs and IGOs both have goals for common good, though their...