Engaging Civil Society

Emerging Trends in Democratic Governance

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The rapid pace of globalization has led to the increasing interdependence of member states of the United Nations to achieve sustainable development objectives, including the eradication of extreme poverty, environmental protection, access to basic services and livelihoods and the promotion of economic growth and opportunities. The book attempts to examine the changing roles of civil society in global and national governance. It identifies factors that influence the effectiveness of civil society in promoting democratic governance by addressing how the rapid pace of globalization has increased the interdependence of governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations.



The role of civil society in global governance

The processes of globalization produce major challenges for global governance. It is much more difficult to govern today than it was 20 years ago. Governments need to engage non-governmental sectors both to make informed decisions and to implement these decisions. Accordingly, national and international civil society organizations (CSOs) have gradually evolved and developed from being observers and critics of governments to being (in parallel to their traditional “watchdog” function) active participants in various governance mechanisms. CSOs today play larger roles in promoting global public goods, including human rights protection, gender equality, adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, disarmament, prohibition of excessive lethal weapons, international cooperation and development, etc. There is a broad acceptance of the strong necessity to engage civil society in governance and decision-making, but there is not yet enough acknowledgement of the necessity to provide for capacity-building and to reform the mechanisms of global governance.


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