NGOs and other citizens’ groups are enjoying an unprecedented upsurge in their
profile and influence in global debates over international economic policy. Public
opinion polls show this to be a popular trend, but the outcome of greater civil
society involvement depends on whose voices are actually represented in global
debates, how competing interests are reconciled, and whether NGOs are effective in playing their roles in the international system. Unless the process of
civil society engagement is properly managed, the result may be gridlock. This
article outlines the strengths and weaknesses of NGO involvement and suggests
a number of avenues for improvement in the future.