1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Civil Society and Social Movements (2000 - 2009)

Conference News: Global Civil Society Movements: Dynamics in International Campaigns and National Implementation

Since the 1970s, the work of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) has emphasized the importance, both normatively and in practice, of popular participation in development. Attention has been paid to the mobilizing dynamics of particular actors, such as peasant farmers, workers and labour unions, as well as to movements involving the urban poor, indigenous peoples and women. As a research institute, UNRISD has undertaken critical analysis of how these political actors contribute to the transformation of the global public sphere by breaking away from traditional state-to-state dialogues. Recognizing that civil society activism has increased and grown in importance, UNRISD has sought to tackle issues that are crucial to improving UN-civil society dialogue and mutual understanding. Legitimacy is central in this respect: for a strong relationship, it is essential to know whose interests are represented by all parties.

UNRISD held a international colloquium, bringing together civil society activists, academics and others, at the World Social Forum (WSF) in Nairobi, Kenya. A public meeting was held on 22 January to present the findings of the Global Civil Society project to WSF participants. On 23 January UNRISD organized a closed workshop that brought together the Institute's research staff and academics who had contributed to the research, to discuss the research findings and explore possible future research areas.

The WSF colloquium was divided into two sessions. The first session was devoted to presenting the findings from research on four of the five transnational campaigns: the global debt movement, the fair trade movement, the movement for the currency transaction tax and the movement to change international trade rules and barriers. The afternoon session covered four of the five country studies, which focused on national social movement activities in relation to the different international campaigns mentioned above.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 18 Sep 2008
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 1020-8054
    From: UNRISD