In Whose Name Are You Speaking? The Marginalization of the Poor in Global Civil Society

Reducing poverty and improving equity
Posted Nov 29, 2021 | Global Policy, Carole-Anne Sénit, Frank Biermann

Global civil society is often seen as a democratic force in global governance with civil society organizations claiming to hold states and intergovernmental institutions accountable, while channeling the voices of the world’s poorest people in influencing policy. Yet to what extent do they succeed in performing that role? In their Global Policy article, Carole-Anne Sénit and Frank Biermann assess the representation of the poor in global civil society, with a focus on the negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals. They find that civil society representation from the Global South must be drastically increased in international institutions, and that operational rules of global civil society networks must be radically transformed to allow for transparent, fair, and meaningful representation by organizations based in the Global South. The United Nations and other agencies must ensure through clear rules and supportive funding mechanisms that civil society participation is geographically balanced.


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