This article reflects on religious non-governmental organisations (RNGOs) at the United Nations and their engagement with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within the UN system. It also situates this engagement within the wider context of contemporary global civil society. It aims to give an introduction to the contemporary situation of religious NGOs at the UN and some of the related and critically debated issues, making use of in-depth interviews with key actors, relevant literature and other documentary materials, as well as selected examples of three major RNGOs engaging with the MDGs. An improved understanding of the work of religious NGOs at the UN and the historical context in which their work takes place can make valuable contributions: it can inform UN agencies and government agencies' policy recommendations and planning decisions, it can enhance self-reflection by civil society organisations, and it can help to identify common ground for all these actors as they seek to develop multi-stakeholder partnerships aiming to meet the MDGs.
Global Change, Peace & Security (2010) 22 (3) 275-296 [DOI: 10.1080/14781158.2010.510241]