NGOs - effective because of public trust

Op-ed by Peter Bosshard, International Rivers Network, The International Journal of Hydropower & Dams, Issue 3/2005: Bashing non-governmental organizations has become popular, but the stereotype of rich dogmatic NGOs does not explain why they enjoy strong popular support. It absolves dam builders from their own responsibilities, and from engaging in a dialogue with their critics. A global opinion poll recently stated that advocacy groups such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace enjoy the highest public trust among all institutions. Their credibility by far outstrips the credibility of private corporations. NGOs enjoy strong popular support because people trust they are less beholden to vested interests than the private sector, that they are closer to ground realities, and in a better position to address the world's unresolved social and environmental problems.