How do governments and NGOs interact in the management of human security issues? This thesis carries out an analysis of the multilateral practices that developed in three international processes subsumed under the human security agenda. These relate, respectively, to negotiations of an international instrument for the marking, record-keeping and tracing of small arms and light weapons; to initiatives for the control of (small) arms brokering activities; and to negotiations on an optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Based on the Foucauldian notions of discourse, knowledge and power, the thesis examines the connections between how issues were "spoken about" and the management processes put into place to deal with them. In particular, it reconstructs the discursive strategies that, in each issue-area, created the conditions of possiblity for specific types of NGO involvement, including their relationship with states