EMPOWERMENT OF CIVIL SOCIETY:
policy has been dictated by the forces of the state and the market, neither of which
have succeeded in solving social problems on their own. As a result, governments
have come to recognize that the full involvement of civil society is critical to
achieving social development goals. This recognition was clearly visible in the role of
NGOs at the PrepCom. Several NGOs and delegates alike observed that this PrepCom
demonstrated that NGOs, more than ever, are exerting their democratic influence on
global processes. The high visibility of NGOs teeming throughout the basement of the
UN infused accountability, energy, and innovation into the negotiations.
In the Declaration, language on the empowerment of civil society is quite strong and
supports the idea that empowerment is an essential tool for promoting the participation
of civil society and that only when individuals, families and communities are
empowered through education, health and other ways to take control of their own
lives, can they contribute maximally to society. Once again, despite the positive
rhetoric, the true test will be the extent to which governments commit to
operationalizing these principles.