The channels that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can use to formulate demands on, and lend support to, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) include mostly those structures which operate under the authorities of IGOs. These channels serve to bridge the networks of development by taking on the difficult task of making the connections between the complementary sectors of the IGO and NGO. The channels bridging NGOs and IGOs tend to be structurally unequal in terms of authority, power and resources. For the most part, engagement takes place within the framework of the IGO in the form of invited participation by the NGO in advisory committees, conferences, as advisors, and other IGO initiated activities (Hall, 2006, 1-4). Often NGOs are providing front line services and supports, however IGOs have the attention of heads of state and the ability to coordinate a larger scale of resources. Clearly the ideal is for the NGOs and IGOs to complement one another in the pursuit of shared goals, but that objective has been challenging to achieve.

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The efficacy of these channels is questionable, because the efficacy of the IGOs is questionable. Muldoon Aviel, Reitano, and Sullivan (2010, pp. 73-87) describe how the soft power of the United Nations, and its lack of enforcement capacity, impede its ability to become the central channel of interconnectedness between NGOs and IGOs. Instead, it is the efforts of individual nations and regional organizations with an interest in a situation who have implemented the most successful peacekeeping initiatives (Muldoon et al., 2010, pp. 80-81). The reasons for this appear to be related to motivation, the feeling of ownership over results, and the difficulty of operating under the limitations of consensus based governance (Muldoon et al., 2010, pp. 80-81).

The existence of rogue states clarifies that the only power that IGOs have is cooperative (Rock, 89). NGOs, on the other hand, do not pursue conflict, but their focus on a humanitarian or socially positive objective may be contrary to the desires of authorities or stakeholders. To that end, NGOs and IGOs genuinely need one another, because the IGO has the power to take the diplomatic route while the NGO can take the service delivery route. It is coordinating that synergy that is problematic, but there are examples of success.

The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm provides an example of a channel bridging NGOs and IGOs in action. A majority of NGOs in the area chose to participate and coordinate their role, and one of the motivations was the inclusion of the NGOs in the overall governance and ownership of the issues (Betsill and Corell, 2008, pp. 1-2).

Muldoon and colleagues (2010, pp. 80-81) provide an example, however of what NGOs and others can achieve without IGOs. The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) which resulted from the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, was developed and governed outside of the United Nations framework. This was a cooperative model of authority and empowerment of stakeholders rather than IGOs. In this way the interested parties in the Egypt-Israel conflict were able to work together and without interference. While well-meaning, the burden of governance without the benefits of enforcement can make international institutions such as the United Nations a most challenging partner who detracts from the efficacy of the engagement channel. On the other hand, this approach allows the United Nations to keep open the communication channels with all states that keeps open the possibility of a diplomatic or mediated solution.

The channels that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can use to formulate demands on, and lend support to, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) are not optimal, but IGOs need NGOs just as much as NGOs can benefit from IGO support. When equal participation of groups is part of the structure they have succeeded in the goal of cooperative efforts. Where they have not succeeded, NGOs are still able to carry on its efforts while IGOs try to make progress on discussions and diplomacy that can result in agreements.