“Has traditional civil society become so engrained in the establishment that its biggest problem is itself?” – “I think that that question is the most important thing that civil society needs to take away.”
» And it’s a wrap. We stop our live coverage with this question.
“Young people are loosing patience with this kind of conversation. If we don’t change radically, the civil society organisations of today will be the dinosaurs of tomorrow.”
“When it comes to consultations, civil society is often invited to sit at the table – but when it comes to writing texts, making agreements & taking decisions, we’re asked to leave.”
Question by @alexjamesfarrow: Has civil society become so entrenched in govt & int institutions that is it as much a part of the problem as anyone else?
Answer by @agentjanty: Of course! We’ve institutionalised ourselves in ways that often undermine our ultimate goals.
“Everyone passes the buck: the World Bank says citizens must change governmental desire for coal, because they just respond. Really?!”
“The best our leaders can seemingly do right now to address pressing global issues is to kick the can down the road.”
Carolyn Anstey from the World Bank argues the ability of citizens to influence their governments will transform global governance – how remains unclear though (at least for now).
“Global governance is at such a standstill, so fully paralysed, that the G8 and G20 are already called G-ZERO.”
The closing panel of the world assembly of civil society is kicking off, trying to sum up how far the movement has come in redefining the social contract. Wir sind gespannt.
Ben-Horin: “Is this a time for discussions on the social contract? Are young people simply disengaging from a world they didn’t create. I think young people will start removing themselves from the system. But also withdrawing from solving the problems.”
“Women’s empowerment will require new norms, values and social innovation. We need to strategise. How do we tap into the self-help and agency of women to realise women empowerment and gender equality?”
But what does that mean in practice? We must focus on what needs to change on the ground, not continue buzzword rhetoric.
The Civicus World Youth Assembly aimed to bring together the world’s most engaged, dynamic young activists in the fields of social and civic justice and give them the unique opportunity to meet and work with others who are really making changes that matter. What happened at the event? We made a video: https://vimeo.com/48879322
“Civil society is at a critical juncture: a major open question is whether it will be able to adjust.”
Even if participation is effective in the #post2015 discussion, will it make a difference? Is the global governance system designed to to make these kind of the decisions? We could design and implement perfect participation, but the governance deficit remains the problem.
The Enabling Environment Index (EEI) will look at five areas: (1) social and economic context, (2) culture of citizen participation & socio-cultural environment, (3) political context, (4) governance context and (5) legal and regulatory framework.
The next years will see the development of a global enabling environment index (EEI), aiming to carry out a regular assessment of key factors affecting civil society organisations to identify enabling and constraining factors and trends and their implications.
Local voices – particularly those of the global south and the youth – must be integral to the post-2015 discussions and outcomes. Civil society must lead this process.
“The UN are not equipped to run a high quality grassroots consultation with the world’s poor.”
One question that keeps coming back: why do we individualise systemic problems—asking how each organisation has to change on their own—instead of trying to develop a systemic response as a global movement.
“We have, for years, mistaken access to power with influence over power. We get so orgasmic about sitting at the table – but only lend credibility to decisions of others.”
”If we honestly, brutally question our efficiency as a movement, we have to realise that we have had very little meaningful impact.”
There is more and more oppression against human right defenders—activists, groups, networks and organisations—but it oftentimes leads to strengthening these movements.
This is the sentence of the day, month and year:
“Civil society has to propose, not just oppose.”
“For citizen participation, we have to bring ctiziens from the streets to the negotiating table.”
But what if the table is failing to agree anything?
“We can’t just rely on slogans and ideology. It has to be evidence based, not just for better advocacy but also to help find the concrete solutions.”
How to get enough funding to survive another year? – A question that often dominates civil society organisation’s daily work and overshadows the necessary ongoing and critical reflection about their vision and mission.
“A crisis that’s severe enough will help to overcome social and political inertia.” – The key question is then: is the global governance crisis severe enough for civil society to successfully redefine it?
Building resilience for disaster reduction is *not* politically neutral – there are power relations at play, and vested interests under attack.
(Seems very true for much more than disaster reduction work!)
Challenges of active citizen participation include navigating the politics, capacity development of citizens, making it local & real to people’s lives and making it sustainable in the long term.
“The only way to solve the global governance crisis is through active participation of citizens.”
A rebirth of civil society activity. Mass protests, heavy pushbacks. Clampdown on internet freedom. Restricting legal environments. – Some of the key themes for civil society in 2011, 2012 and onwards.
Good governance through citizen action is another of the parallel workshops, sharing good practices and lessons in participatory governance from around the world and challenge participants to think beyond traditional forms of protest and activism to less familiar but potentially more impactful practices of ‘critical collaboration’ and participatory governance.
The state of civil society – part one – what do we now know? is one of the workshops now running in parallel, exploring the key issues that came out of the State of Civil Society report, and CIVICUS’ Civil Society Index, on major emerging themes of the day, such as the rise of new waves of citizen action, limitations in the enabling environment and challenges to achieving influence in the multilateral arena.
“How do we include (youth) movements that do not fit the model of traditional civil society?” – One of the main questions posed here at the opening panel.
“Now is the time to make the best of this reinvigorated zeal for action. Now is the time to redefine the relation between citizens and states.”
Photos from the Civicus World Youth Assembly are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/civicus
Léo Bureau-Blouin is now speaking on the opening panel – he is one of the leaders of the student movement and has played a key role in the protests of the past months now known as the 2012 Quebec student protests: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Quebec_student_protests. Léo is 20, and was elected yesterday as the youngest member of the National Assembly of Québec.
Here is a short video we made about the Youth Assembly preceding the World Assembly: https://vimeo.com/48879322
The challenge for this Civicus World Assembly is not just to talk about redefining the social contract, but to *actually* redefine it.
The Civicus World Assembly kicks off at this very moment at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal – with the bold ambition to build a shared vision of new social contracts and redefine global governance. Curious we are.
Another preparatory link:
MDGs and beyond: What’s in a post 2015 agenda for youth?
Why the World Youth Assembly was particulary relevant and timely here in Montreal:
The Quebec Elections: A Raw Deal for the Youth?
The great light-bulb feature photo is by Tobias Mittmann at youthmedia.eu.
“In this context, the traditional notion of a ‘social contract’, a set of rules, rights, responsibilities and expectations between the state and citizens offering a framework for social, economic and political relations, cannot be sustained. Many governments have failed to deliver on rights, to provide adequate security to citizens and to meet their expectations. Others have allowed non-state actors untrammelled power to steamroll rights and legitimate aspirations of the people that inhabit our planet.”
“They do so in the face of a wave of legislative, policy, funding and extra-judicial constraints on civic freedoms, as many governments have reacted to economic crisis, political uncertainties, violent external threats and dissent by taking measures which have disproportionately affected the poorest, increased inequality and challenged the exercise of human rights.”
“We now live in times in which more people – especially young people – are expressing their political dissent and reclaiming their power to shape their societies to be more fair and just. Citizen movements are challenging the traditional roles of State, market, media and formal civil society organisations.”