Chicago Journal of International Law


The essays on the accountability of non-governmental organizations ("NGOs") in the spring issue of this journal were so thoughtful and balanced that all I can do is to make explicit some points that seemed implicit, particularly in the essays by Kingsbury, Spiro, and Wapner. Accountability is not a pure good. Much of the writing on accountability seems to imply that accountability is like friendship: more is better. But as Kingsbury observes in passing, "the total possibilities for participation are inescapably constrained by the need to accomplish the institution's tasks." Too much accountability could hinder NGOs from performing their tasks, as itemized by Spar and Dail in their typology of NGOs. [CONT]