Key Definitions

To better understand FIM and our work, here are some definitions of terms we frequently use.

Accountability: The processes whereby governance actors are responsible to the people affected by their decision making.

Civil society: The sector of society, distinct from the state and the market, where citizens — through their relationships with one another — pursue a shared vision of the common good and of a just world. We define the “missing voices” of civil society as those voices from the global South that regularly go unheard and unanswered in the important policy discussions that affect us all. These include the poor, women, youth and minority ethno-cultural communities.

Democratize global governance: To implement a process whereby citizens and/or their elected representatives participate directly in all facets of global governance, including the preparation of public policy and the planning, implementation and monitoring of any ensuing legislation.

Global South: FIM defines the global South as wherever in the world we are concerned about unacceptable levels of poverty, political marginalization and oppression, and/or social and economic injustice.

Multilateralism: The process of multiple countries working in cooperation with one other on a particular issue.

Multilateral bodies/institutions: There are hundreds of groupings of countries worldwide operating at regional and global levels, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the G20, the League of Arab States and the World Bank. These institutions make decisions that can have critical global impacts.

Quiet diplomacy: The behind-the-scenes (and thus out of the public eye) conduct of international relations via thoughtful communications among official representatives of governments and/or civil society groups. Quiet diplomacy comprises a broad range of activities and approaches to exchanging information and ideas, through peaceful means.

Practitioner knowledge: Key learning by civil society advocates and activists with direct on-the-ground experience, which is documented and shared widely in order to strengthen civil society leadership and build capacity.