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This article examines NGOs and their advocacy activities aimed at influencing international relations. The article addresses longstanding issues such as the legal status of NGOs, as well as new problems such as whether NGO lobbying in intergovernmental forums is democratically legitimate. In doing so, the article draws upon past scholarship to shed light on the guiding ideas in the contemporary debate regarding NGOs. Part I examines issues regarding the identity of NGOs and then catalogs the ways that state practice incorporates NGOs into authoritative decision making. Part II looks at the legal status of NGOs in international law. Part III considers how NGOs have transformed international law over the past century. Part IV dives into the ongoing debate about the democratic legitimacy of NGO participation and seeks to clarify the conceptual underpinnings of the legitimacy of such participation. Finally, Part V asks whether intergovernmental decision makers have a duty to consult NGOs.

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GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-15; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-15

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