The influence of transnational civil society organizations and networks - both civil and uncivil - in global politics and unprecedented. Among them, those dedicated to greater social and economic equity and equality, to human security, ecological sustainability, peace, inclusion, and tolerance, have played a particularly effective role in restructuring the norms that inform policy and regulatory frameworks for the world. Some scholarly analysts grant that they have in fact effectively restructured global politics in visible and lasting ways. For this very reason, perhaps, their legitimacy, accountability and constituency base is being challenged by states, multinational corporations, scholars, and leaders of the powerful global institutions they seek to influence or discipline. These challenges make it imperative that they democratize their own structures and the processes by which they generate their agendas. They also bring into the limelight the emerging set of transnational grassroots networks and movements that are contesting for space in global policy making. These newer entities can teach us a great deal about how to create more grounded, constituency-based, accountable global advocacy structures that embody the right to represent those for whom they speak.
Center for International Education