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Global experience in development and performance of nongovernmental organizations

In this article we take into consideration the experience gained by foreign social institutions on solving of various issues in society. The urgency of this research is determined by the alternative pattern of political system transformation in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The author tries to succeed in identifying principles of nongovernmental organization development as a phenomenon of political system in modern Kazakhstan. Global civil society must be formed according to either a western institutional pattern or have regard to main traditions and institutions in our state.

Liberalization of political system in any state is aimed at expansion of not only the number of civil people taking part in social political life but also at their integration into the system of state relations under the norms defined by the Constitution.

In this regard nongovernmental organization development is an apanage of transformable society which per se encourages and expands the methods of cooperation between institutes of civil society and the government. Therefore NGOs have recently become a topical issue in research on viable processes of social, economic, and political development.

Nongovernmental organizations which are entities of the Third Sector have evolved and received recognition from the public for recent decades in many countries of Global Community in developing as well as in postindustrial, postsocialistic ones [1].

It is a well known fact that developed countries of Global Community consider NGO as the most essential unit of civil society. The Third Sector was formed there as a spare controlling instrument for social relations. The governments of these countries support nongovernmental sector development with the view to budget deficit declining. Moreover in developed counties it was finally recognized the fact that nongovernmental organizations are more flexible structures in comparison to state bodies. As a result it is often more profitable for a state to transfer funds to independent non-commercial organizations, obviously, in exchange for clear, concrete, and controllable responsibilities from their part than to create additional organizations by itself.

In developed counties nongovernmental organizations perform the following functions:

  • to be an intermediate party between a state, various social groups, and some citizens protecting their rights and interests;
  • to prevent monopolization by a state in political, economic and other spheres of society assuring social control for the government and its structures including control for its following the regulations of national and international legislation;
  • to support decreasing abuse of power in economy, easing negative process in social sphere thereby maintaining a stable situation in society;
  • not pursuing the aim of gaining profit to redistribute resources available for a state and society and to encourage their reasonable use, moreover to create and attract additional financial, material, intellectual and other resources which are transferred to satisfy common and individual interests;
  • to promote expansion of knowledge, norms, and values of civil society, to encourage extension of pluralism;
  • to inform the government about views of the public concerning various social, economic, and other issues;
  • to be an instrument of a direct realization of social initiatives in society;
  • to provide training for qualified human resources including state

For example now in the USA there is one of the most developed structures of civil society in the world, where millions of citizens have active stands, take part in many nongovernmental organizations moreover taking under a number of functions which in Europe are performed by the government. It is an interesting fact that in the USA nearly one third of all budget expenditure for social and cultural needs is transferred to nongovernmental organizations including more than a half of all federal expenditure for social welfare, culture, science, and humane purposes. More than 1 million nongovernmental organizations in the USA have a budget at 9% of Domestic Product of the country. Cooperation between a state and local self-governing bodies with nongovernmental organizations is an important element for increasing efficiency of application of funds especially which are allocated for social needs [2]. By way of argument like we can refer to the fact that American NGOs lobbied the acceptance of valid pension legislation.

The experience of NGOs in Europe in many aspects is a not novel thing in spite of its independency in far as the European concerning issues on civil society formation after World War II were supported by the experience and assistance of the US where these issues had been theoretically and practically researched. Herewith in Europe civic initiatives are actively supported aimed at further development of social structures both on municipal and federal levels. They are nongovernmental organizations that deal with civil political rights, protection of rights of individual social groups, and give assistance in their realization.

Altogether in 22 countries in Europe there are around three million nongovernmental organizations and about 100 thousand various funds. Herewith the total number of nongovernmental organizations is 1, 1 trillion USD what is equal to Gross National Product in Italy and Great Britain [3].

In Europe civil society was an instrument of transformation. Main targets of NGOs in Europe are assurance of democratic development and protection of democratic achievements.

Notably in Germany nongovernmental organizations historically played a role of an instrument for settling disputes between different social groups between poor and rich citizens since they are more supportive in solving social issues than charity and patronship. By the mid of 90-th XX Century more than 2 million German citizens were involved in the nongovernmental sector. At the present time this number has highly increased.

In Great Britain traditions of nongovernmental organizations originated since XIX Century. The Third Sector is a powerful branch in economy. The most famous nongovernmental organizations have income evaluated in tens of millions GBR. On the whole in Great Britain around 200 thousand charity organizations are registered.

In some countries, among which the Netherlands is, NGOs are self-financed by means of membership fees. It allows them to remain independent from the government though at some point the government supports them financially. The experience gained by the Netherlands is quite valuable if we consider it in terms of NGO democratization. Thus, for example, a well-known all over the world ecological organization in the Netherlands «Friends of the Earth, the Netherlands» takes an active part in policies of the country. This activity takes up to 80% of working time of this organization that is seemed to deal only with ecological issues. In general terms NGOs in the Netherlands are quite active in the domestic policy of the country. Referendums and public hearings in the Netherlands at different levels are often held. It allows to sustain a stale situation in society and prevents from giving law to various corporative groups in terms of essential issues of the country, provinces, and the cities.

NGOs in Eastern Europe as well as the whole civil society are in the process of formation. In experts’ opinion the target of organizations in Eastern Europe is to support development of democratization, its protection from a possible turn of events towards «safety» of powerful leadership and limited freedoms. At the same time particular regimes were set or still being set for organizations of humanitarian assistance in Croatia and Bosnia. Some legal frameworks permit certain types of NGOs to exist only for specific purposes. For example, an organization distributing grants can be registered only as a fund. In such cases it is appropriate to require from a fund that claims for registration to have a certain baseline property upon condition that there are other forms for legal bodies that claim to register NGO due to other purposes.

In Islamic countries historically nongovernmental organizations mainly deal with welfare work, solve social issues of disadvantaged population. At the present time only in Iran there are more than 20 thousand nongovernmental organizations among which we can find organizations that had been formed a few centuries before.

In India the plan of national development involves cooperation of NGOs and the government concerning the realization of the program on anti-poverty struggle. Thereby it is recognized that NGOs can take the lead of such activities, organize charity events, involve citizens in planning and developing of socially significant programs, they can provide the necessary assistance for development program realization

In a number of countries the governments set a limit to NGO activity. For example in the Argentine, Ecuador, Japan, Southern Korea, and Taiwan such a community can be registered only in case if the authorized Ministry finds that purposes for realization of which it is created will support public welfare.

In Singapore the government supports NGOs to employ staff, provides them with not used state premises for peppercorn rent, encourages NGOs to get premises in residential area, and finances up to 50 % of the capital and transaction costs of organizations established by NGOs for the purpose of social welfare [4].

In Malaysia the government closely cooperates with NGOs in realization of the programs aimed at enhancement of social welfare in such issues as struggle against poverty, prevention of HIV/AIDS, expansion of awareness of ecological and gender problems.

In Hong Kong the most part of NGOs receives 70–80 % of their income from the state direct  financing [5].

In Vietnam according to the Decree of the president in 1957 communities must obtain a permit for  registration in order to support community formations that have legitimate purposes as well as to protect and unite social democratic systems.

In Egypt according to the Legislation it is necessary for a nongovernmental organization to obtain a permit from Social Relation Ministry that has jurisdiction for a certain sphere of NGO activity as well as from National Security Department.

In Russia one the one hand there is a well developed chain of NGOs but there is not an appropriate feed back. In other words opinions of civil society are given ear to only as a rule when it is profit-making for the government structures. If it is not profit-making the problem is disregarded, and the most part of population remains inactive. It shows that in spite of the formed, active, and numerous group of actually forming civil society, a big number of populations don’t fully realize the importance of solving this issue or have dim ideas.

In Former Soviet Republics priorities of NGOs are conditional on political and economic situations, and NGO development as a rule is performed in these spheres. Nongovernmental sector in Former Soviet Republics has its own peculiarities of development: the formation of civil society took place only after 70 years when Command and Administration System in the government finished its functioning under which the most part of the people did not fully understand their rights and were not able to stand up for them due to paternalistic mentality and state tough policy excluding pluralism and freethinking. So called «nongovernmental organizations» existed in the course of single state policy under party state control within the command economy where the term development itself was substituted by administrative command planning. Some part of them was self-financing and gained some profit self-sustainedly but nearly all had additional financing from the state budget.

In the Legislation of the Russian Federation there are two laws: «Concerning Charity work and charitable organizations» and «Regarding noncommercial organizations» (1996) that have a direct bearing on NGO activity in the Russian Federation. It is emphasized that noncommercial organizations are organizations the main purpose of which is not gaining profit and distributing it among participants. Noncommercial organizations can be governmental as well as nongovernmental. In case when criteria for a commercial organization in Russia governmental or nongovernmental are taken as a basis, then among noncommercial organizations the nongovernmental organizations take the leading part. By this term we mean any voluntary formed organization of citizens with socially beneficial purposes. NGOs in Russia got a powerful boost for development in 1980–1990. During this period the methods of cooperation between state, business, and civil society were reconsidered. By the present moment more than 300 thousand of NGOs have been registered where 2 million Russian people work. More than 30 million Russian citizens annually obtain support from their NGOs [6]. In Russia as well as in Kazakhstan from the one hand there is a quite developed chain of NGOs, but there is no good feedback, i.e. the government gives ear to NGOs only in cases profitable for it otherwise an issue is just ignored. A large number of citizens remain inactive. It indicates that under the current quite active and numerous group of actually forming civil society in Russia, a large number of the people do not fully understand the role of NGO in society.

The condition and level of nongovernmental organization development in Central Asian region directly depend on social economic and political figures of these countries. In foreign experts’ opinion, Kazakhstan if we compare the level of NGO influence on social life and civil society activity is noticeably marked among the other countries of the same region

For instance in despite of the fact that now in Uzbekistan legal basis for nongovernmental organization development is more supportive, and in Kyrgyzstan political situation is more unclosed and the number of NGOs per capita is notably bigger than in other counties of Central Asia international experts say that only Kazakhstan has the necessary equilibrium of factors and conditions for formation of a mature and qualified basic group of nongovernmental organizations.

Activity of these organizations is also getting more multivarious, and they play an important role in anti-poverty struggle and decentralization programs. Under condition NGOs can be divided in five categories:

  1. organizations dedicated to protection of rights of certain groups of population,
  2. organizations regarding interests,
  3. charity organizations,
  4. organizations dedicated to development process
  5. organizations uniting national minorities

The term nongovernmental organization (NGO) is not involved by the Legislation of Kyrgyzstan but at the present time it is borrowed from the international practice. According to the current laws and regulations by nongovernmental organizations the government means noncommercial organizations (conventional persons) that are voluntarily created by citizens to satisfy their spiritual and other immaterial needs. It should be notice that nongovernmental organizations oriented to society development are not separated out by the Legislation.

In Tajikistan 400 nongovernmental organizations are officially registered among which we can find 30 social ones. This situation of the small number of NGOs is caused by the fact that until recently the state fees for registration of nongovernmental organizations in Tajikistan were the highest in CIS. Although the

Department of Justice in Tajikistan does not impose bureaucratic obstacles for NGO registration, the main problem to obtain a status «conventional person» for forming civil groups remained the big amount of state fees for that. During 2000 and 2001 here by NGOs a number of «round tables» was held with participation of state structures where the members of NGOs declared many requests for the government to decrease the state fees and make them equal according to salary in Tajikistan. The result of cooperation between NGOs and state structures was a significant reduction of registration fees for NGOs. The decrease of the fees and equality to the actual salary in Tajikistan encouraged further development of the Third Sector and expansion of civil society progress [7]. However the process of reforms of the Legislation and subordinate acts regarding NGO activity and registration in Tajikistan has not been completed yet.

In Uzbekistan there are about 400 NGOs, i.e. there are 17 organizations for 1 million of population. By the present time in Uzbekistan we can define a number of directions that the nongovernmental sector is actively working at. They include gender issue, material and technical base support for medical facilities, medical social case, invalidity support, ecological issues and environmental education, and support for the disadvantaged people. The issues of culture, art, and mass media have not gained a significant support and development by NGOs yet.

In Trans-Caucasian region chains of actively functional NGOs were created including peace organizations that were united in Caucasian Forum. We can not agree on its efficiency, but we cannot deny this devotion to peaceful development of local people who are able today to transform from work on enhancing of inter-ethnic relations towards the discussion of political issues [8].

NGOs offer a large number of education and enlightenment services for citizens. A large amount of work upon enhancing expansion of legal education, tax awareness, computer science are performed. One of successful examples is experience of women's organizations that work at creating chains of crisis centers of psychological first aid and social adaptation. We should note particularly NGO activity on expansion of democratic principles in society. In large measure they are the ones who promote liberal values, enhance political culture, and develop democratic freedoms.

It is a well known fact that civil society development is a necessary condition for a state democracy formation. Civil society is a social order towards which modern democratic societies are by progressive stages moving to. It is a type of society which offers an individual a huge number of options, freedom for realization of his rights.

We can recently notice the tendency to NGO integration in the world. The number of international NGOs is increasing what is determined by a number of reasons:

  • occurring of global problems;
  • often a lack of opportunities of some governmental, international, and intergovernmental organizations to solve them;
  • acceleration of democratic processes in domestic and international relations, NGOs can be represented as their institutions;
  • transformation in state national interests (movement from state interest, sovereignty  towards   universal human values such as human rights and environment protection );
  • increasing wanting of some individuals all over the world to have more control over processes of decision making in terms of issues that affect their fundamental interests;
  • broaden options of trans border relations and public activity in different countries as well as options for technologic

To sum up NGO activity in different countries we can come to the following conclusion that in some countries (the USA for example) NGOs undertake a number of governmental functions especially in terms of social and cultural development. Furthermore the government transfers large sum of money to finance NGO activity in this sphere what supports making a progress. Moreover NGOs in a number of countries (the USA, Western Europe) take an active part in formation of practical policy by means of rising civic initiatives and their lobbying as well as monitoring of social relations and problems occurred. Relations between governmental and nongovernmental sector are well established what fully prevents conflicts in their cooperation.

Thus one of the main purposes of NGOs, if we consider their experience all over the world, is their protection of democratic rights and freedoms as well as their active work upon poverty struggle. In different counties NGOs created certain mechanisms to have influence on the process of government’s decision making by involving general public. This global experience is valuable for Kazakhstan as NGOs in Kazakhstan can have the same opportunities to work in this sphere.



  1. Morozov A. The role and position of NGO in Kazakhstan in terms of global experience // Analytik. — 2002. — № 4. — Р. 17.
  2. Teplyakova V. The State and NGO Moments of Truth: Social forum // Akmolinsk Truth. — 2007. — October, 30. — Р.
  3. Dosybaeva B. Conventional persons with foreign involvement in noncommercial sphere // Economy and Law in Kazakhstan. — 2008. — № 8. — Р. 47–49.
  4. The report on social development. Guidance on development and enforcement of laws adjusting nongovernmental organization activity. Prepared for the World Bank by International Centre of Non-Commercial Law,
  5. Sadykov N., Kotova L. Nongovernmental organizations is a foundation for civil society in Uzbekistan. — Tashkent,
  6. Azhgihina Volunteers and patrons will save the country. «Life style». Appendix to «The independent Newspaper». — 2000. — November, 3.
  7. Olimova , Olimov M. Independent Tadjikistan: Complicated way of change: Politics, economics, sovereignization // East. — 1995. — № 1.
  8. Resolution and prevention of conflicts. International guidebook of organizations. The Conflict Center,

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