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Social Sciences - Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility | Ethical Questions and International NGOs - An exchange between Philosophers and NGOs

Ethical Questions and International NGOs

An exchange between Philosophers and NGOs

Horton, Keith, Roche, Chris (Eds.)

2010, XI, 241p.

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  • Offers a sustained discussion of ethical questions that International NGOs face
  • Includes contributions from both practitioners and moral and political philosophers
  • Derives from a dialogue between practitioners and moral and political philosophers
  • Is framed by an Introduction and Afterword co-written by a development practitioner (Chris Roche) and a philosopher (Keith Horton)
  • Offers extended discussion of issues such as INGO accountability and effectiveness, the dilemmas of humanitarian relief, and questions associated with the phenomenon of INGO growth and organizational structure

In recent decades there has been a great expansion in the number, size and influence of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) involved in international relief and development. These changes have led to increased scrutiny of such organisations, and this scrutiny, together with increasing reflection by INGOs themselves and their staff on their own practice, has helped to highlight a number of pressing ethical questions such organisations face, such as: should INGOs attempt to provide emergency assistance even when doing so risks helping to fuel further conflict? How should INGOs manage any differences between their values and those of the people they seek to benefit? How open and honest should INGOs be about their own uncertainties and failures?

This book consists of sustained reflections on such questions. It derives from a workshop held at Melbourne University in July 2007 that brought together a group of people – for the most part, reflective practitioners and moral and political philosophers – to discuss such questions. It explores honestly some of the current challenges and dilemmas that INGOs face, and also suggests some new ideas for meeting these challenges. Our hope is that the kind of explicit reflection on the ethical issues INGOs face exemplified in this publication will help to promote a wider debate about these issues, a debate that in turn will help INGO managers and others to make better, wiser, more ethically informed decisions.

Content Level » Professional/practitioner

Keywords » NGO - NGOs - aid agencies - emergency assistance - ethics - human rights - humanitarian relief - morality - non-governmental organisations

Related subjects » Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility - Development Economics - Political Science - Social Sciences

Table of contents 

Preface Peter Singer Introduction: Keith Horton (University of Wollongong) and Chris Roche (Oxfam Australia) Ethical obligations to the poor in a world of nation states: Paul Ronalds (World Vision Australia) Human rights, development INGOs and priorities for action: Kieran Donaghue (Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Australian National University) The ethics of taking sides: Peter Ellis (Independent Monitoring and Results Advisor) The epistemic problem: potential solutions: Keith Horton (University of Wollongong) The seeming simplicity of measurement: Chris Roche (Oxfam Australia) Whose impact, and is it all about impact?: Jamie Isbister (Caritas Australia) Compromised humanitarianism: Garrett Cullity (University of Adelaide) Aid agencies, states, and collective harm: Ramon Das (Victoria University of Wellington) To respect or not to respect…ethical dilemmas of INGO development practitioners: Conny Lenneberg (World Vision Australia). Ethical behaviour in non-government organisations: Linda Kelly (Praxis Consultants Pty Ltd) Afterword

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