CIVICUS – Achieving positive change through a new social contract

CIVICUS’s research and analysis on the current state of civil society suggests that the world today is faced not only with a convergence of serious crises (social, financial, climate and human rights) but also with a generational opportunity to press for more robust and responsive governance arrangements.

At its forthcoming World Assembly and beyond, CIVICUS is seeking to encourage more effective dialogue and cooperation among citizens and their organizations to challenge the status quo and to renegotiate the rules and principles that govern people’s lives – at national, regional and international levels.

Connected initiatives are already emerging, such as the call in June by the European Trade Union Confederation for a ‘new social contract for Europe’, which plans to bring businesses and other actors into multi-stakeholder efforts to realize shared goals. New models of philanthropy also offer promising grounds for social innovation, while some intergovernmental processes have begun to open doors to better multi-stakeholder participation. (Photo shows messages on the Wall of Commitments hosted by the Major Group for Children and Youth at Rio+20 call for a new social contract.)

These developments demonstrate a growing debate and aspirations for more inclusion and cooperation. Concerned actors from different sectors are gathering for the World Assembly in Montreal from 3 to 7 September to lay the foundations for a broader, citizen-driven process of redefining the norms and rules of engagement – a new social contract to underpin sustainable and positive change.

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