A Scan of Critical World Developments
A Unified Civil Society Voice for Systemic Change
The concentration of power in elite social strata and large corporations stands as the principal impediment to creating just and inclusive societies. So asserts the joint call to action issued on the eve of the recent World Social Forum in Tunis by the leaders of major civil society organizations: ActionAid, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Civicus, Greenpeace, and Oxfam. The effort to eradicate poverty, they argue, depends on tackling this question of power. Notably, these global civil society organizations are starting to see economic, ecological, and human rights crises as intertwined drivers of socio-political marginalization. In calling for a bottom-up movement based on shared priorities, they are going beyond an agenda of incremental improvements to advocate more root-and-branch structural changes. The unified voice across some of the world’s largest civil society organizations, whose missions span human rights, environment, justice, and women’s rights, may portend a new chapter of coordinated, multi-issue activism for overcoming the historic fragmentation in the global CSO community.