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The Road From Rio: Sustainable Development and the Nongovernmental Movement in the Third World

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Fisher expertly describes and analyzes the growing non-governmental movement throughout the Third World in relation to the global issue of sustainable development, highlighted by the recent Rio Conference. An estimated 200,000 or more indigenous NGOs (non-governmental organizations) at both the grassroots and intermediary levels help fill the void created by the failure of governments to adequately address the escalating, intertwined crises of poverty, environmental degradation, and population. NGOs, a number of which Fisher examines in detail, address the myriad problems associated with dire poverty, environmental destruction, pervasive unemployment, and the grinding exploitation of women. The stimulus to action and group effort is typically the basic need for life's fundamentals--food, shelter, and safety. Fisher points out, however, that NGOs focusing on population have grown less rapidly than those concentrating on enterprise development and/or environmental degradation.

Fisher identifies the core abilities within and among NGOs that help them develop effective short-term strategies and also enhance their institutional sustainability in the long run. She demonstrates that this grassroots movement is a vital, growing force in the vast majority of Third World countries, with the potential to undermine the politics of repression and inequality. The international importance of NGOs is increasingly evident, given their ability to network and support one another. Fisher offers a comprehensive, insightful, and substantive assessment of what may be the most hopeful institutional resource available for the sustainable development of the Third World and, therefore, our ultimate survival as a species.

265 pages, Paperback

First published June 30, 1993

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About the author

Julie Fisher

3 books4 followers
Because there is so much evil in the world, I am intellectually curious about why people do good. I am passionate about democracy, linked as it is to improved economic performance, increased equality, political stability, good governance and the avoidance of war. However, democratization is also “a long, hard slog.” In my most recent book, Importing Democracy: The Role of NGOs in South Africa, Tajikistan and Argentina, I show how “democratization NGOs… an ignored global trend” take on this giant challenge.

My first book, The Road from Rio: Sustainable Development and the Nongovenrmental Movement in the Third World, was a pioneering overview of the worldwide growth of civil society which began in the 1970s. It was widely and favorably reviewed and was translated into Spanish. My second book, Nongovernments: NGOs and the Political Development of the Third World, was translated into Chinese and published by Tsinghua University.

My career has also included work for International organizations on microenterprise evaluation and workshops on partnerships between international and indigenous NGOs. I taught Comparative Politics at Connecticut College and a course on World Population at the Yale Forestry School with a biologist and an economist. I spent ten years as a program officer at the Kettering Foundation, a think tank on deliberative democracy.

My educational background includes a B.A. from Pomona College and both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

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