Civil Society Spring Meetings, Day 2
Today, the running theme is citizen engagement. My day began with an online video conference with volunteer leaders in Bangladesh. These are smart, creative citizens, working to build awareness, openness to constructive collaboration, and political will for exemplary climate policy. They face a constant struggle against the cynicism most of us conscientiously teach ourselves to accept.
Working with Citizens Climate Lobby, I see people overcome that cynicism every day. The common refrain is: “People can’t change what’s wrong with the world,” “If it were possible to fix this, someone would have done it by now,” or at the personal level, “I don’t matter; what can I do?” Mobilizing citizens to engage in policy-making almost always requires overcoming such illusions.
Continue reading “Citizen Engagement should be the Rule”
Civil Society Spring Meetings, Day 1
I am spending a few days at the World Bank Spring Meetings Civil Society Policy Forum, in Washington, DC. It’s cherry blossom season, and trees are in bloom all over town. Delegates from governments, global policy-making institutions and civil society organizations, are gathering to discuss ways to redirect economic policy, to better achieve the central aim of eliminating poverty and building transparent, empowered societies that provide value at the human scale.
As a representative of Citizens Climate Lobby, I am here to engage in conversations designed to steer global policy toward a critical paradigm shift: to understand fully, and then to admit to the fact, that costs externalized to society through the climate and through other environmental mechanisms, are real, hard costs, and cannot be swept under the rug. Winning conscious agreement on that point is the first step to creating policies that tell the truth about cost and benefit, and that don’t build unnecessary harm into the future of affected human beings.
Continue reading “Challenging Global Institutions, Designing Better Outcomes”
It rained, and the world gathered, and there were intensely held views on how far what we were doing took us toward the pervasive repair the world is crying out for. But it would be inappropriate to say anything about that before noting that it was a true privilege to be one of the people with the opportunity to speak for those who could not, who were not present, or who have not so far been considered.
Efficacy, measurement, evidence, improvement, are keywords in circulation at the World Bank, during a week of meetings hosted by civil society organizations. People want these financial institutions of global reach to show their worth, to respond to criticism and to give evidence of responsiveness. Some question why we are here, but the fact that there is hope, and opportunity, is palpable, and has to be recognized as being of historic value.
Continue reading “Human Value at the World Bank Civil Society Forum”