The 8th CIVICUS World Assembly will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 18th to 21st June 2008. The theme for the World Assembly is ‘Acting Together for a Just World: People, Participation and Power’.
This focus is in response to the need to look at civil society's capacity to act in concert to realise shared goals while recognising there are allies in government, business, media and donor bodies who are working towards the same end and from whom strength can be drawn. The focus is on civil society accessing, engaging and participating in all forms and spheres of governance at the local, national and international levels.
Whether citizens are engaging national governments directly for better governance or working with business and local government for better social development and real change within their communities, the World Assembly will highlight the role of people acting together to gain power.
The year 2006 marked the beginning of a new approach to the CIVICUS World Assemblies; they will now be held every year, rather than every two years, and will be held in one location for three years. Thus the three CIVICUS World Assemblies held in Glasgow followed a common theme: “Acting Together for a Just World” - inspired by events leading up to the G8 Summit, which showed both the massive global commitment from ordinary citizens for a better and more just world, and the absolute necessity of continuing the struggle to achieve it. The 2008 World Assembly is the last of the Glasgow series.
Past CIVICUS World Assemblies have shown the creativity and dynamism that civil society can bring to address issues of justice and equity, including issues of poverty, HIV/AIDS, gender equality and youth empowerment, amongst others. The CIVICUS World Assemblies have served as venues through which civil society organisations (CSOs) can articulate and exchange information about important victories they have achieved and critical issues they, and the societies in which they work, face.
The upcoming CIVICUS World Assembly promises to fulfil the same role. As a dynamic venue for CSOs to create and strengthen connections with each other, the CIVICUS World Assembly allows for dialogue that can lead to innovative collaboration across national borders. Similarly, the CIVICUS World Assembly provides a platform for CSOs to interact and engage with interested parties from government and intergovernmental organisations and reflect on the state of civil society around the world.
The 2008 CIVICUS World Assembly promises to build upon the success of the previous CIVICUS World Assemblies and continue to strengthen civil society around the world. The CIVICUS Board and staff, together with our colleagues at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) look forward to greeting you in Glasgow! Be there to recharge your batteries, to learn new things, to make new connections and to explore joint projects across borders. A key part of the CIVICUS World Assembly is participant organised workshops, so look out for these in the programme.
For more information on the CIVICUS World Assembly go to www.civicusassembly.org
Kumi Naidoo is the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation