Towards a Peoples’ Multilateralism: The United Nations, Development Networks and Civil Society



This paper is an attempt to review and synthesize the main literature, arguments, theories and proposals coming from academia, civil society, politicians and commentators on the “new multilateralism”– a complex, multilayered process where non-state actors have become increasingly important players in global governance.

The paper goes on to look at key recent trends within civil society thinking and practice, and analyses the historical and emerging relationship between the UN and civil society. Finally it suggests principles for better engagement between the UN and civil society and funnels recommendations on which UNDP may commission further studies, start discussions or set in train processes that will create a better understanding of how to strengthen space for civil society engagement in global governance and what the role of the United Nations and of UNDP in particular can be in channeling civil society contributions to the vision of a revitalized multilateralism.

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