The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Interest Groups, Lobbying and Public Affairs

Living Edition
| Editors: Phil Harris, Alberto Bitonti, Craig S. Fleisher, Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz

Interest Groups and the United Nations (UN)

Living reference work entry


Some of the most exciting controversies about transnational interest group politics revolve around the United Nations (UN), a major incubator of ideas and a hub in global governance. This article foregrounds interest groups in the UN as private voluntary organizations pursuing political advocacy. Anchored in political science, this definition views interest groups as a subset of “transnational actors,” which are typically more broadly referred to as any type of individual or collective “non-state actor” that is transnationally active and neither a state nor composed of states. Interestingly, a growing number of comparative politics and international relations scholars have highlighted the overlap between “interest groups” and “international non-governmental organizations (INGOs),” as both types of organizations typically seek to balance self-interested advocacy and normative aims. Drawing from both interest group and INGO research, this article discusses three core topics:...


Advocacy groups Civil society organizations Global governance Interest groups International non-governmental organizations Multistakeholder arrangements Non-state actors Partnerships Stakeholders Transnational actors United Nations 
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Further Reading

  1. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA): NGO Branch.
  2. UN and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): A Quick Guide.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic History and International RelationsStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden