This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
The 16th international AIDS conference opened on Sunday in Toronto,
Canada. More than 24,000 delegates from one hundred thirty-two countries
are attending the 6-day conference. They include scientists, health care
providers, activists, political and business leaders and people living with the
disease. Many people attending the AIDS conference represent private
non-governmental organizations, or NGOs.
Political scientists often describe NGOs as "pressure groups" because of
their effect on world issues. They have little official power over international
decision-making. However, NGOs often influence international policy.
A broad definition of NGO is any non-profit group that is independent of
government. Most of these private organizations have one or more goals. For
example, some support community development, provide social services and help
poor people. Others support human rights and social justice. Still others work
to protect the environment. NGOs support many issues and operate around the
world. Some of the most well-known include Oxfam, Amnesty International and
James Paul heads the Global Policy Forum. It is an NGO in New York City that
studies policy-making at the United Nations. He says that some NGOs represent
industries or businesses, the interests of governments, or even criminal groups.
He says it would be a mistake to believe that all NGOs are neutral.
The World Bank has divided NGOs into three main groups. The first is
community-based organizations that serve populations in a small geographical
area. The second is national NGOs, which operate in individual developing
countries. International NGOs are the third kind. These organizations usually
have their headquarters in industrialized countries. They carry out operations
in more than one developing nation.
Information about the total number of non-governmental organizations is
incomplete. However, experts estimate that tens of thousands of NGOs are active
around the world. Large international NGOs may have operating budgets of tens of
millions of dollars. However, most NGOs are much smaller.
And that’s the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss.
You can read transcripts of our reports and listen online at
voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Steve Ember.