CHAPTER 10From Reform of Governance to Transfer of PowerThe Future of International Civil Society Organizations

Burkhard Gnärig

This chapter focuses on the leading international civil society organization (ICSOs)—the ones with impressive global brands, such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and Oxfam; those with global budgets of over US$1 billion, such as World Vision, Save the Children, and Caritas; and those with a special niche, such as Transparency International, HelpAge, and Sightsavers. We will look at organizations that are active around the globe under one single name. Governing these organizations is a very demanding challenge and identifying best practice in their governance is an even more difficult one. Burkhard Gnärig, founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Centre, a membership organization of many of the largest ICSOs, explains why this is the case before advancing the exploration of ICSO governance as far as possible.

About 10 years ago my organization, the International Civil Society Centre, brought together, for the very first time ever, the chairs of the major ICSOs. In preparation for their first meeting we asked them what they wanted to discuss. The answer was surprisingly homogeneous: Global governance. When we inquired further we found that they were not interested in discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the United Nations (UN) system: They wanted to review the global governance of their own organizations. When the meeting finally ...

Get Global Best Practices for CSO, NGO, and Other Nonprofit Boards now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.