RT072 - The changing world of northern NGO sectors
Convened by Lau Schulpen (CAOS – Anthropology & Development Studies, Radboud University, the Netherlands) and Nicola Banks (University of Manchester, UK)

For long, Northern NGOs were considered the forefront of international solidarity. Over the years, critique grew as did the idea that INGOs are perhaps more part of the problem than of the solution. This critique then goes hand in hand with the idea that the world of Northern NGO sectors is consisting of comparable INGOs that are in crisis. Recent studies of (changes within) these sectors in the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and Norway, show that such a view is incorrect. That does not mean these national NGO sectors are one-on-one comparable.

The roundtable summarises the main developments in the national NGO sectors in the UK, the Netherlands and Canada emerging from the foregoing workshop and discusses the ‘why’ behind the developments. We do this together with directors from British, Dutch, and Canadian INGOs.

NB: Sessions 5-RT072 and 6-WS072 are consecutive sessions:

The first session under the title ‘The changing world of Northern NGO sectors’ (5-RT072) presents the cases below, and uses break out rooms to tease out where the findings converge and diverge.

  • United Kingdom (Nicola Banks and Dan Brockington),
  • Canada (John-Michael Davis)
  • The Netherlands (Lau Schulpen).

The second (workshop) session of ‘The changing world of Northern NGO sectors’ (6-WS072) will build on the findings presented in the first session (5-RT072) .

With the collaboration of:

  • Leela Shanti (Small International Development Charities Network, UK)
  • Bart Romijn (Partos, the Netherlands)
  • Greg Madeley (Hands Across the Nation, Canada).

These speakers will situate these findings within the current climates facing their respective INGO sectors. We will discuss and debate with speakers and participants three key issues:

1.        The future of the small NGO

2.        In the context of #Shiftthepower debates happening around INGOs and local partner organisations, do we need to be having a similar discussion in donor countries which display such uneven sectors in incomes and expenditures?

3.        What role has and will the Covid-19 challenge play in INGO sectors currently and moving forwards?