More than 1,000 people from 19 different countries met at the XII Iberoamerican Civil Society Meeting, ‘New Roles and Expressions of Civil Society’, hosted by Cemefi from 13 to 15 October in Puebla, Mexico.
Enrique Peña, President of Mexico, inaugurating the event, emphasized the important role civil society plays in building democracy and engaging participation with the government.
Many different topics were discussed, but three conclusions seemed common to all:
- For social issues to be tackled more effectively, links need to be built between the different actors and sectors – between non-profits (acting as a social laboratory implementing innovative solutions), the business sector (providing resources and methodology to increase efficiency and measure impact) and governments (providing infrastructure, legal frameworks and economies of scale).
- The need to develop new approaches to strategic philanthropy, focused on tackling the causes of problems more than their effects, and to combine this with impact investing models to promote sustainability and empower communities.
- The importance of civil society having a say in setting public policies and the social agenda. Private initiatives need to be heard and replicated by the government, increasing participation and fostering a democratic environment in which citizens are actively engaged in creating better life conditions.
The closing ceremony was presided over by Puebla’s governor, Rafael Moreno, who announced new legislation to give more support to civil society initiatives.
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