FIM, Civil Society and the G8
FIM launched “Civil Society and the G8” in 2002, at a time when there was no formal dialogue between international civil society and the G8 (the forum for the governments of eight of the world’s largest economies). FIM recognized that civil society in the global South had been entirely absent in the G8 dialogue, but that this dialogue directly impacted — and continues to impact — human development in these countries.
Civil society, in efforts to make its voices heard, had been operating parallel events to the G8 for many years. But in 2001, when an activist was killed at the G8 meeting in Genoa, Italy, G8 officials began looking for ways to constructively dialogue with civil society. FIM, with a proven model and expertise as a neutral convening body, was chosen to lead this process.
In 2002, FIM convened the first ever civil society/G8 Host Sherpas dialogue (“Civil Society Democratizing the G8”) in Ottawa, Canada. With initial support from the Ford Foundation, early project objectives included reaching agreement on the principles and process of dialogue between international civil society and G8 officials. In the years since, the consultation process has continued and evolved. In 2005, the Government of the United Kingdom contributed substantial financial support to civil society organizations, and the 2006 G8 meeting saw a precedent-setting two-hour meeting with then-Russian President Vladimir Putin, the hosting head of state.
The FIM G8 Project, 2002-2006 (2008) (Martin, Nigel)
NB: This case study appears with the permission of Wilfrid Laurier University Press. You can purchase the book Critical Mass: The Emergence of Global Civil Society, in which the case study appears, by clicking here.
The G20: Dialoging with Civil Society
Building on the success of our G8 interactions, FIM held a first-ever civil society dialogue with G20 Host Sherpas (“Civil Society Democratizing the G20”) leading up to the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada. FIM, in partnership with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), convened a two-hour meeting between 19 civil society leaders from around the world and the Sherpas. The dialogue was meant to:
- Initiate legitimate and meaningful dialogue between global civil society leaders and the G20;
- Provide opportunities for global civil society leaders to influence the G20 agenda; and
- Provide opportunities for global civil society leaders, a majority from the global South, to offer to G20 leaders their analyses of the global economic and financial crisis.
Recommendations put forward to the G20 Host Sherpas by civil society leaders concerned the G20’s overall financial strategy, including measures on oversight and reform. Recommendations also addressed G20’s public accountability, including its engagement with civil society and corporate accountability.