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We all learn in school that the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government must check and balance each other. But other non state institutions must participate in this important system of checks and balances as well. These checking institutions include the academy, the media, religious institutions and NGOs.
Obesity is a societal issue. We have to come together with government, business, civil society, and NGOs to create solutions for this.
NGOs have a significant role to play, alongside governments, in improving the status of women.
I've a problem with the word charity because I think that NGOs, as I prefer calling them, really do take the work of moral and social responsibilities that ought to be taken on by governments.
A vibrant civil society can challenge those in power by documenting corruption or uncovering activities like the murder of political enemies. In democracies, this function is mostly performed by the media, NGOs or opposition parties.
One possible future for WikiLeaks is to morph into a gigantic media intermediary - perhaps, even something of a clearing house for investigative reporting - where even low-level leaks would be matched with the appropriate journalists to pursue and report on them and, perhaps, even with appropriate NGOs to advocate on their causes.
Forcing companies to recruit away from the golf course might lead to the appointment of more women from NGOs and academia and medicine, all of whom are likely to understand such concepts as stewardship and sustainability much better than men picked from the usual hunting grounds.
Finally, I also come in recognition of the great work that has been undertaken by the NGOs and UN agencies that have been active for many years here, especially through the local staff and international staff here in Somaliland and in Somalia at large.
When I came in, Haiti was not governed by Haitians anymore. Probably mostly by NGOs. And that has done what to Haiti? It has weakened our institution.
The State should have made sure the money given to the NGOs was used according to a global plan for Haiti; not doing whatever they want. They should be supervised and have to report and make sure the money is being used properly. They are here, but we are seeing no results.
When you have an accident, they will save their own people, and those who have worked with you or with the NGOs are left. Unfortunately, this happens always. It is not an excuse at all.
A new sense of shared international responsibility is unmistakable in the voices of the United Nations and its agencies, and in the civil society of thousands of supra-national NGOs.
John Charles Polanyi
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