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Some international context of civic groups and public policy Dr. G.G. Candler University of North Florida.

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Presentation on theme: "Some international context of civic groups and public policy Dr. G.G. Candler University of North Florida."— Presentation transcript:

1 Some international context of civic groups and public policy Dr. G.G. Candler University of North Florida

2 Global governance There is no global government. – UN at best a forum for dialogue in the global village, but with little budget and less coercive force. Global governance, therefore, a cobbled together, ad hoc affair. The role of civil society (nonprofits) potentially critical as a result (next slide).

3 Nonprofits in national governance  Nonprofits in global governance: ‘Citizenship’ a nominal, rather than legal status. No global elections No global legislators Policy formulated largely by national governments, though with increasing nonprofit consultation. ‘Global bureaucrats’ distant from citizens. Policy implementation often fragmented. Civic group legitimacy weak.

4 Actors in global governance National governments United Nations and its agencies – UNESCO, WHO, UNDP, UNICEP, UNEP, etc. International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) – IOC, OAS, IMF, IOTC, ILO, ICAO, NATO, Francophonie, etc. Global markets: MNCs, trade, and consumers International non-governmental org’s INGOs) – Red Cross, AI, MSF, Oxfam, Greenpeace, etc. – ING coalitions (ICBL) Informal, anti-systemic actors (al-Qaeda, organized crime, etc.)

5 Global civil society Not new, think of the anti-slavery movement in 19 th c. Critics: – Ambiguity – Oxymoron (‘statist bias’): you can’t have civil society in ungoverned global jungle – Undemocratic: who elected these blokes? Toward a non-statist understanding – The formational myth – it is worse than Corry thinks, e.g. anti-slavery movement in 19 th c. – Radical academics have swarmed over this stuff (see references to Zapatistas, World Social Forum, etc.) – Cosmopolitanism!

6 Table 1 Civil society compared Civil libertiesCivic engagement G7+ US160 Australia159 Canada154 France131 Germany143 Italy126 Japan226 Sweden139 UK157 BRICs Brazil229 China621 India328 Russia522 Sources Civil freedom: Freedom House, Freedom in the World Report The score is a 1-7 scale, with 1 = free.Freedom in the World Report 2012 Civic engagement: Gallup. The score is a index, with higher numbers indicating greater civic engagement.Gallup

7 Functions of INGOs Policy advocacy (Greenpeace) – IGO interaction: UN: 3290 INGOs have consultative status IMF-World Bank: ‘over 1000 participated’ at 2009 IMF- IBRD meeting in Istanbul Development assistance (Oxfam, Ford Foundation) Cultural exchange/development Professional and global elite coordination Etc. (pretty much same as within the US)

8 Some history Long, long history. – Catholic Church (c. 300 A.D.)! – Exploration (London Missionary Society, c. 1795) – Royal Society and exploration/ scientific research Explosion from the 1960s (re: Salamon), but… – All societies had associational life prior to this, even if informal. – We in ‘the north’ wildly, wildly over-estimate the importance of our own ‘aid’ efforts, as – domestic NPOs (and governments) in ‘southern’ countries have far, far more social and policy impact than do ours. – ‘Southern’ NPOs increasingly used as distributors of ‘aid’, both in NPO-NPO, and Gov’t-NPO partnerships. – Northern NGO neo-imperialism in policy advocacy.

9 Recent trends (outside of US) ‘Fourth wave’ (or is it fifth wave?) of democratization (and respect for human rights like free association) permits (or driven by!) greater civic activity. Civic groups have brought down governments! – Brazil (twice!), Poland, Philippines, etc. – Arab Spring? Civic revolutions in the US (i.e. civil rights, women’s movement) mirrored in many developing countries as... –...often a global movement, rather than American ‘leadership’. Civil society groups relations to ‘the state’ (Bornstein): – Cooperation – Repression from the state – Aggression toward the state, and – demands have often outpaced state capacity to deliver.

10 Gnarly accountability challenges Logistics: – Communicating with stakeholders in diverse countries. – Electing officers with members in diverse countries. – And so: iron law of oligarchy. Representing folks to whom ‘accounting’ is difficult: – Political prisoners (Amnesty International) – The poor (Oxfam) – Ecosystems and/or critters (Greenpeace) And so separating leadership political preferences, from the pragmatic needs/desires of stakeholders.

11 Accountability booboos Sundry financial shenanigans. Amnesty International and the death penalty. Greenpeace and Brazil. MSF and Yank-bashing in Afghanistan? Representation issues: – The ‘Battle for Seattle’ and various civil society initiatives. – Class issues: well-educated rich folk ‘leading’ NPOs working for rural poor. – Northern urban HQs for southern rural development – ‘Organizações da astrôturfa’

12 Sources of legitimacy Modesty, or avoiding "the practice of advocacy as... it disempowers Southern communities" (Hudson, p. 414). In other words, don't act illegitimately (claim to be speaking on behalf of the global poor, if you do not), and you won't be seen to be illegitimate. Seems fair enough, but others disagree: Institutional survival -- a sort of "I exist, therefore I am legitimate" approach. Given that the organization has been able to get grants from rich world donors for decades, surely, surely it can be seen to be a legitimate advocate for people in poor countries? Resort to international treaty. Organizational, especially "formally democratic structures" (p. 414). Links with the South. Sort of a "I once ate a tamale in Cancun, therefore I feel the pain of the global poor!" approach.


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