Social Indicators Research

, 93:331 | Cite as

Civil Society Involvement in International Development Cooperation: In Search for Data

  • Rafael PeelsEmail author
  • Patrick Develtere


Participatory decision making seems to be the new development paradigm in international cooperation. It is still a long way, however, to achieve the objectives that are formulated by the international development actors. Non-state actors are only limitedly involved in the policy decision-making. In this paper, we argue that when these actors take their commitment towards civil society organisations serious, more efforts can be made to improve the available data and indicators on these actors’ policy involvement. We discuss the most important existing databases on civil society’s policy participation and find that only limited data is available. This means that there exist opportunities to: first, extend and refine the existing data and indicators on the policy involvement of these actors; and second, include these data and indicators in the assessment exercises of international development organisations. In addition, we observe a difference, between the available data on the traditional social partners and the new civil society organisations. Therefore, we argue that more research, data collection and the elaboration of indices, on the various policy involvement mechanisms of new civil society organisations would be a welcome contribution to the field. Furthermore the opportunity exists to examine the relation with other governance variables, such as accountability, transparency and rule of law.


Civil society Non-state actors Non-governmental organisations Trade unions Policy involvement Interfaces Political participation Data Indicator Index 


  1. Andean Labour Advisory Council, Andean Employers’ Advisory Council, and the European Economic and Social Committee. (2005). Draft Memorandum of Understanding on Interinstitutional Cooperation between the Labour Advisory Council and the Employers’ Advisory council of the Andean Community of Nations and the European Economic and Social Committee. Lima.Google Scholar
  2. Anheier, H., Kaldor, M., & Glasius, M. (2005). Global Civil Society 2005/2006. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
  3. Annan, K. (1999). Speech at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.
  4. Belser, P. (2001). Four essays on trade and labour standards. PhD dissertation. Sussex: University of Sussex.Google Scholar
  5. Bonnet, F., Figueiredo, B., & Standing, G. (2003). A family of decent work indexes. International Labour Review, 142(2), 213–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Busse, M. (2001). Do labour standards affect comparative advantage? Evidence for labour-intensive goods. Centre for International Economic Studies Discussion Paper 0142. Adelaide: Adelaide University.Google Scholar
  7. Caniglia, B. S., & Carmin, J. (2005). Scholarship on social movement organizations: Classic views and emerging trends. Mobilization: An International Journal, 10(2), 201–212.Google Scholar
  8. Castells, M. (2004). The network society: A cross-cultural perspective. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  9. Chataignier, A. (2005). Statistical indicators relating to social dialogue: A compilation of multiple country databases. Working paper 56. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  10. Cingranelli, D., & Richards, D. (2004). The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Database Coder Manual.
  11. Civicus. (2004). Assessing and strengthening civil society worldwide. A project description of the civicus civil society index: A participatory needs assessment & action-planning tool for civil society. Civicus Civil Society Index Paper Series, 2(1).
  12. Cooke, W., & Noble, D. (1998). Industrial relations systems and US foreign direct investment abroad. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 36(4), 581–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cornelius, P. (2003). The Global Competitiveness Report 2002–2003. World Economic Forum. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Coudouel, A., Dani, A. A., & Paternostro, S. (2006). Poverty and social impact analysis of reforms. Lessons and examples from implementation. Washington: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Council of the European Union. (2005). Joint Statement by the Council and the representatives of the Governments of the member states meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. The European Consensus on Development. Brussels.
  16. Cuyvers, L., & Van Den Bulcke, D. (2005). The quantification of respect for selected core labour standards: towards a social development index? Working Paper 71. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  17. Davenport, C. (2003). Minorities at risk. Dataset users manual 030703. Maryland: University of Maryland.Google Scholar
  18. European Community, its Member States, the Andean Community and its Member Countries. (2003). Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the european community and its member states of the one part, and the Andean Community and its Member Countries (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela) of the other part. Lima, Brussels.Google Scholar
  19. European Community, its Member States, and the United Mexican States. (2000). Economic partnership, political coordination and cooperation agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the United Mexican States, of the other part. Brussels.Google Scholar
  20. European Community, its Member States, and the Members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States. (2000). Partnership agreement between the members if the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States on the one part, and the European Community and its member states, on the other part. Brussels.Google Scholar
  21. Flanagan, R. (2003). Labour standards and international competitive advantage. In International labor standards: Globalization, trade and public policy. California: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Freedom House. (2006). Civil liberties and political rights.
  23. Hayes, L. (2005). Open on impact? Slow progress in World Bank and IMF poverty analysis. European Network on Debt and Development, Christian Aid, Save the Children Fund UK and Trocaire.Google Scholar
  24. Heinrich, V. F. (2005). Studying Civil Society across the world: Exploring the thorny issues of conceptualization and measurement. Journal of Civil Society, 1(3), 211–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heinrich, V. F. (2007). Civicus Global Survey of The State Of Civil Society. Volume 1: Country Profiles. Bloomfield: Kumarian Press.Google Scholar
  26. Howard, M. M. (2003). The weakness of civil society in post-Communist Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Howard, M. M. (2005). Conceptual and methodological suggestions for improving cross-national measures of civil society: Commentary on Heinrich. Journal of Civil Society, 1(3), 229–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hurt, S. (2006). Civil society and European Union Development Policy. In M. Lister & M. Carbone (Eds.), New pathways in international development. Gender and civil society in EU policy. Hampshire: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  29. Hyden, G., Court, J., & Mease, K. (2004). Making sense of governance: Empirical evidence from 16 developing countries. Boulder: Lynne Riener Publishers.Google Scholar
  30. ICFTU. (1999). Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights, various issues.
  31. ILO. (1997). World Labour Report 1997/98. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  32. ILO. (1998). Labour and social issues relating to export processing zones. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  33. ILO. (1998–9). Country Studies on the Social Impact of Globalisation. Task Force on Country Studies on Globalisation. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  34. ILO. (1999a). Ratification and promotion of fundamental ILO Conventions. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  35. ILO. (1999b). Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations: General report and observations concerning particular countries, Report III (part 1A). Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  36. ILO. (1999c). ILOLEX: The ILO’s database on International Labour Standards. Geneva: International Labour Office.
  37. ILO. (2004). Statistics of Trade Union Membership. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  38. Inglehart, R. (2006). World Values Survey.
  39. International Budget Program. (2006).
  40. International Social Survey Programme. (2006).
  41. Ishikawa, J., & Lawrence, S. (2005). Social dialogue indicators. Trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage: Statistical concepts, methods and findings. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  42. Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Mastruzzi, M. (2006). Governance Matters V: Governance Indicators for 1996–2005. Washington: World Bank.
  43. Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Mastruzzi, M. (2007). Governance Matters VI: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators 1996–2006. Washington: World Bank.
  44. Kriesi, H., Koopmans, R., Duyvendak, J. W., & Giugni, M. (1995). New social movements in Western Europe: A comparative analysis. In Social movements, protest, and contention (Vol. 5). Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  45. Kucera, D. (2001). The effects of core workers rights on labour costs and foreign direct investment: Evaluating the “conventional wisdom”. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  46. Kucera, D. (2002). Core labour standards and foreign direct investment. International Labour Review, 141, 1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kucera, D. (2004). Measuring trade union rights: A country-level indicator constructed from coding violations recorded in textual sources. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  48. Kucera, D., & Sarna, R. (2004). How do trade union rights affect trade competitiveness? Working Paper 39. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  49. Lister, M., & Carbone, M. (2006). New pathways in international development. Gender and Civil Society in EU Policy. Hampshire: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  50. Marshall, M. G., & Jaggers, K. (2002). Polity IV Project: Dataset Users’ Manual. Maryland: University of Maryland.
  51. Maskus, K. (2003). Trade and competitiveness aspects of environmental and labor standards in East Asia. In K. Krumm & H. Kharas (Eds.), East Asia integrates: A Trade Policy Agenda for shared growth. Washington: World Bank.Google Scholar
  52. Meyer, D. S. (2004). Protest and political opportunities. Annual Review of Sociology, 30, 125–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Narayan, D. (2002). Empowerment and poverty reduction. A sourcebook. Washington: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Neumayer, E., & de Soysa, I. (2006). Globalization and the right to free association and collective bargaining: an empirical analysis. London: LSE Research Online.Google Scholar
  55. OECD. (1996). Trade, employment and labour standards: A study of core workers’ rights and international trade. Paris.Google Scholar
  56. OECD (2000). International Trade and Core Labour Standards. Paris.Google Scholar
  57. OECD. (2004). Employment outlook. Paris.Google Scholar
  58. OECD. (2005). Paris declaration on aid effectiveness. Paris.
  59. Price Waterhouse Coopers. (2007). Sustainability impact Assessment of the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements.
  60. Rama, M., & Artecona, R. (2002). A database of labor market indicators across countries. Washington: World Bank.Google Scholar
  61. Rodrik, D. (1996). Labor standards in international trade: Do they matter and what do we do about them? In R. Lawrence, D. Rodrik & J. Whalley (Eds.), Emerging Agenda for global trade: High stakes for developing countries. Washington: Overseas Development Council.Google Scholar
  62. Salomon, L., Sokolowski, S., & Ass. (2004). Global Civil Society: Dimensions of the non-profit sector (Vol. 2). Bloomfield: Kumarian Press.Google Scholar
  63. Salomon, L., Sokolowski, S., & List, R. (2003). Global Civil Society: An overview. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  64. Thindwa, J., Monico, C., & Reuben, W. (2003). Enabling Environments for civic engagement in PRSP countries. In Social development notes: Environmentally and socially sustainable development network. Washington: World Bank.Google Scholar
  65. UN. (2004). Report of the secretary general in response to the report of the panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations-civil Society Relations, A/59/354. New York.Google Scholar
  66. UN. (2007). The united nations and civil society. New York.
  67. United States Department of State. (1994). Country reports on Human Rights practices. Washington.Google Scholar
  68. United States Department of State. (1999). Country reports on Human Rights practices. Washington.Google Scholar
  69. United States Government (2000). Trade and Development Act of 2000.
  70. USAID. (2001). Participation, consultation, and economic reform in Africa. Economic Fora and the EG-DG Nexus. Occasional Papers Series. Washington.Google Scholar
  71. USAID (2006). The 2005 NGO sustainability index for central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Washington.
  72. Visser, J. (2002). Unions, unionisation and collective bargaining trends around the world. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  73. World Bank. (2003). A user’s guide to poverty and social impact analysis. Washington: World Bank.Google Scholar
  74. World Bank. (2005). Issues and options for improving engagement between the World Bank and Civil Society Organizations. Washington: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higher Institute of Labour StudiesCatholic University of LeuvenLeuven Belgium

Personalised recommendations