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Engaging Civil Society: Emerging Trends in Democratic Governance


Edited by G. Shabbir Cheema and Vesselin Popovski

ISBN: 9789280811889
304 pages; paper; US$36.00
July 2010

Sample Chapter

The rapid pace of globalization has led to the increasing interdependence of member states of the United Nations to achieve sustainable development objectives, including the eradication of extreme poverty, environmental protection, access to basic services and livelihoods and the promotion of economic growth and opportunities. Policymakers, scholars and development practitioners recognize the centrality of effective governance at the local, national and global levels to promote sustainable development. Along with governments and the private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs) are playing an increasingly important and expanded role in improving transparency, participation, access to services and the rule of law.

This book attempts to examine the changing roles of civil society in global and national governance. It identifies factors that influence the effectiveness of civil society in promoting democratic governance. It asks: To what extent and how has the global civil society been influencing global governance and democratic change? What have been the patterns of growth of civil society in Asia and Africa including the legal frameworks under which CSOs are established? What are the capacity gaps of the civil society vis-à-vis its assumed roles? What are the mechanisms for the horizontal and vertical accountability of civil society? How and with what effect has civil society been engaged in promoting democratic change and inclusive governance?

G. Shabbir Cheema is Director, Asia-Pacific Governance and Democracy Initiative (AGDI) and Senior Fellow, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Vesselin Popovski is Senior Academic Programme Officer and Head of Section for Peace and Security in the Institute for Sustainability and Peace at the United Nations University, Tokyo.

Table of contents

Civil society engagement and democratic governance: An introduction, G. Shabbir Cheema

Part I: Civil society and global governance

  • The role of civil society in global governance, Vesselin Popovski
  • The role of transnational civil society in promoting transparency and accountability in global governance, John Clark
  • International advocacy NGOs and network credibility in global governance and problem-solving, L. David Brown

Part II: Legal empowerment, norms and capacity of civil society

  • Civil society and the challenge of changing power relations between the poor and the élite, Naresh Singh
  • International norm-setting by civil society organizations: Lessons for strengthening norms pertaining to legal empowerment of the poor, William Ascher
  • Civil society innovations in governance leadership: International demonstrations of integral development, the technology of participation and social artistry, Robertson Work
  • Civil society, donor assistance and electoral and parliamentary, Massimo Tommasoli

Part III: Experiences in Asia

  • Civil society, policy dialogue and democratic change in Bangladesh, Rehman Sobhan
  • China’s dilemma over civil society organizations, Denny Roy
  • Civil society engagement in democratic transition in Pakistan 193, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob
  • Civil society engagement in Malaysia, Denison Jayasooria
  • Civil society engagement in Japan, Jin Sato

Part IV: Experience in Africa

  • Civil society in Africa: Constraints and opportunities for democratic change, Goran Hyden
  • The role of civil society in national and local development in Africa, Kadmiel Harrison Wekwete