Global Agenda Council on the Role of Civil Society 2012-2013
Civil society, along with the state and business, is a key pillar of national, regional and global governance systems. It is defined by a broad ecosystem of civic interaction, ranging from social movements and grassroots associations to faith groups, labour and non-governmental organizations.
Today the global landscape is evolving in ways that create challenges and opportunities for this civil society ecosystem, as well as the ways citizens, businesses and governments engage to address issues of common interest. These evolutions include the rise of social networking, geopolitical shifts and emerging economy growth, adaptation to a new funding environment and the increasing involvement of the private sector in addressing global development challenges.
These trends have wide implications for both the civil society ecosystem and the interrelationships between civil society, business, government and international organizations. Such trends may threaten some existing models, but they also create significant opportunities for innovation and the promise of new forms of engagement and collaboration.
- More than 40,000 people (including parliamentarians, mayors, United Nations (UN) officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders) attended the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20; an estimated 18,000 were from civil society.
- Research has shown that the non-profit sector is a significant economic force around the world.
- In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that the voluntary sector contributes £11.7 billion to the gross value added (GVA), equivalent to 0.8% of the whole of its GVA,3 while in the USA the non-profit sector is estimated to have generated US$ 1.3 trillion in 2009, and in Brazil approximately BRC 34.2 billion (US$ 26.4 billion).
“I see civil society as the rich array of modes through which citizens organize themselves to negotiate with the state and the market.”
Salil Shetty, Secretary-General, Amnesty International, United Kingdom. Civil Society Shows Its Muscle, 2009
“Over the course of my work, it has become increasingly clear to me that communities and nations develop only when everyone does their part. Particularly in a poor country like ours, we cannot always wait for the government to provide all the essential services or for the private sector to create all the jobs. At the same time, development can never be achieved by the citizen sector alone in the absence of good governance and a robust private sector. Real, sustainable development is achieved only when the public, private and citizen sectors collaborate together and work in cohort.”
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson, BRAC, Bangladesh. Founder and Chairperson’s Speech at the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) 40th Anniversary Gala
Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation 2011
Center for Civil Society Studies at the John Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies
The Oxford Handbook of Civil Society
Global Corporate Citizenship: Working with Governments and Civil Society
Sharing Global Governance: The Role of Civil Society Organizations
The Role of Civil Society in a New Egypt
Scenarios for Civil Society
XII Inter-American Development Bank Civil Society Meeting
25-26 October 2012
San Salvador, El Salvador
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Public Governance
21 November 2012
UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and post 2015
23 September 2013
New York, USA
The Global Agenda Council on the Role of Civil Society brings a broad range of global and regional civil society leaders together, as well as experts representing business, government and international organizations. It seeks to identify and understand the main political, economic, social and technological trends shaping the contextual environment for civil society. The Council will explore the implications of this changing environment on roles, responsibilities and interrelationships across civil society, business and government.
In 2012-13, the specific goals and work plan for the Council will include an advisory role to provide direction and expert input to a new World Economic Forum project on the Future Role of Civil Society. The project activities include a series of expert interviews and multistakeholder workshops from August through December 2012, culminating in the launch of a report at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013 in Davos-Klosters in January.
Research Analyst: Marc Caverzasio, Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Manager: Jennie Oldham, Associate Director, Civil Society Organizations and Global Leadership Fellow, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Nicholas Davis, Director, Head of Constituents and Strategic Initiatives, firstname.lastname@example.org