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The issue of the accountability on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in global governance has received increased attention in recent years. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the issue, to consider whether any public problems exist, and to make recommendations on what should be done. The paper contains three parts. Part I examines the historical context of NGO accountability starting with the Papal Encylical Rerum Novarum of 1891 and considering episodes relating to the League of Nations and the founding of the United Nations. Part II provides an overview of the contemporary debate on NGO accountability and uses a recent article by Robert Keohane and Ruth Grant as a point of entry. Part III offers my own framework for how to think about the challenge of NGO accountability and suggests that more attention be given to the individual as the unit of analysis. The paper makes recommendations for what should be done to improve NGO accountability and more importantly what should not be done. This paper was prepared for a conference at New York University Law School in April 2005 on the emerging field of global administrative law (GAL).

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GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 145; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 145

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