Non-State Actors and Governance
The concept of 'non-state actors' refers to a wide range of
development actors - other than governments. The Cotonou
Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Africa,
Caribbean and Pacific ACP countries refers to non-state actors
"A wide range of non-governmental development actors like civil society in all its diversity, economic and social partners, including trade union organisations and the private sector".
This is obviously a very open-ended definition. In practice, it
means that participation is open to all kind of actors, such as
the private sector, community-based organisations, women's
groups, human rights associations, non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), religious organisations, farmers'
cooperatives, trade unions, universities and research
institutes, the media, etc. Also included in the above
definition are informal groups such as grassroots organisations,
informal private sector associations, etc.
Non-state actors have come to play an important role in the process of governance in the developing countries. They are very much active in the governance realm of the three countries of focus in this context: India, Brazil and South Africa. In all the three countries they play roles ranging from that of international aid agencies, watchdogs, national rights organisations that demand transparency and accountability to community based organisations that are facilitating the citizens participation in the process of governance. This knowledge resources compiled under this thematic area aims to help the readers gain an overarching understanding of the role and relevance of non-state actors especially with respect to the IBSA countries. The thematic area broadly covers following key aspects:
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