Why support civic engagement in the global policy arena?

Alliance magazine

Why support civic engagement in the global policy arena? With today’s headlines articulating the important role of the UN Security Council in securing a consensus for war against Iraq, the crucial role our global institutions have come to play in negotiating relations among nation-states is obvious. In this debate, the Security Council is a proxy for public opinion on the legitimacy of US and Iraqi actions. Meanwhile, the global public organizes debates and protests at the national level that are far removed from these negotiations. One wonders, is this public even being heard?

In these times, the question ‘why support civic engagement in global governance?’ almost answers itself. With such important decisions determined in global arenas, can we afford not to support civic engagement? This applies not only to issues of peace and security but to almost every issue of concern to the philanthropic community: poverty, hunger, global capital flows, intellectual property rights, environmental protection, human rights. As Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz put it, ‘We now have global governance without global government.’

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