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Global Civil Society

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Chapter Summary

The terms global civil society (GCS) and non-governmental organization (NGO) are used interchangeably to describe contemporary non-governmental, non-profit-making or voluntary organizations participating in UN global governance. This Chapter examines the concept of GCS from three perspectives. First, it outlines the theoretical evolution from 'civil society' into global civil society. Secondly, viewed from a historical perspective, it traces the roles GCS has played in the development of international law into the contemporary system of global governance centred on the UN. Thirdly, it examines contemporary issues, including current legal rules on NGOs, contradictory views of NGOs, and the Cardoso Report. It then comments on the growing but unformalised role of the private business sector in the UN and its impact on NGOs.

Keywords: Cardoso Report; global civil society (GCS); international law; non-governmental organization (NGO); private business sector; UN global governance



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