Civil Society and Summits: Strategies for National Level Advocacy
Partners of the Americas, with support from the Foundation Open Society Institute, implemented a two year pilot program to increase national level advocacy on mandates form the IV Summit of the Americas. Civil society organizations in Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Chile worked to raise awareness of the Summits process and the agreements made by heads of state at the IV Summit and advocate for policies that would help governments comply with these agreements. The publication discusses these projects and outlines the challenges encountered and the results achieved. The case studies provide lessons for other civil society organizations as they work to increase their participation in the inter-American system and help government fulfill Summit mandates.
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Participation in the OAS and Summits: A Guide for Civil Society
While the level and degree of civil society participation in the OAS and the Summits process has expanded in the past several years, many civil society organizations (CSOs) throughout the Americas lack the tools to participate effectively in the inter-American system. Participation in the OAS and Summits: A Guide for Civil Society breaks down barriers for participation by giving CSOs advise on knowing when and how to work with OAS offices, other CSOs, and government representatives to achieve their goals. It combines an overview of the formal spaces for participation with tips and tools for CSOs from experts in the field and government and OAS insiders. A resource guide is included for further study.
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Evaluating Civil Soicety Networks: Lessons from the Inter-American Democracy Network
Partners’ Center also took on the task of evaluating the Inter-American Democracy Network (IADN). Through the process, the Center learned many lessons about the process of evaluating a large, multi-national network. Evaluating Civil Society Networks: Lessons from the Inter-American Democracy Network describes this process and what the Center was able and unable to learn about the IADN. The publication is designed to assist other organizations who are also attempting a network evaluation by providing them with lessons learned and areas for further though and research. A CD-ROM is included with an annex and the complete version in Spanish.
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Fostering Deliberation Online: Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Future Research
During five weeks in April and May 2005, Partners’ Center for Civil Society, the Inter-American Democracy Network, and collaborators hosted eight concurrent online deliberative forums on issues related to the then-upcoming Fourth Summit of the Americas. The goal of this initiative was to mobilize CSOs to strategically influence inter-American policy. The online deliberative forums contributed to this goal by making hemispheric spaces more accessible to diverse CSOs throughout the Americas and by fostering deliberation and the construction of actionable policy proposals to address issues of most concern in the region. In this publication, we explore why Partners decided to hold online deliberative forums, describe their design, and discuss the findings from the evaluation of the forums. In addition we offer some hypotheses and suggestions for further research.
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Involving Citizens in Public Budgets: Mechanisms for Participatory and Transparent Budgeting
The publication is a compilation of case studies from the Transparency in the Americas grant program, which worked with ten Latin American civil society organizations to implement new and innovative projects aimed at opening public budgeting processes to citizen participation and creating mechanisms for greater budget transparency. The book includes valuable case studies and lessons learned, as well as a substantial introduction to participatory and transparent budgeting, a tool used to ensure that citizens are informed and involved in their local government’s spending.
The book is available in English and Spanish. A CD-Rom version is also available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
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Afro Descendants in the Hemisphere: Issues and Proposals for Action
Read the results of the online deliberative forum for members of civil society working on or concerned about Afro-descendant issues in the Western Hemisphere. This virtual forum was hosted by Partners of the Americas’ Center for Civil Society and several collaborators from September 19 through October 21, 2005. Almost 200 civil society participants from 28 countries participated in the forum in which an experienced moderator facilitated deliberation on the many issues facing Afro descendants in the Americas. Civil society participants identified shared concerns and considered the benefits and tradeoffs of different options for the development of strategies to address their concerns. The results were shared with governments for consideration as part of inter-American policy processes.
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Online Forums: The Hemispheric Agenda
Read the results of the eight online deliberative forums for civil society organizations (CSOs) hosted by Partners’ Center for Civil Society April 4 through May 6, 2005. Almost 300 CSOs—including Partners’ chapters—from throughout the Americas participated in the forums. Moderators facilitated deliberation on labor, sustainable development and the environment, education, citizen participation, indigenous peoples, transparency and anticorruption, peace building, and democracy and political parties. CSO participants identified shared concerns and considered the benefits and tradeoffs of different policy options for the development of strategies to address their concerns. The results were presented to governments at the General Assembly of the Organization of American States in June and will be presented at the Summit Implementation Review Group meeting in September and at the Fourth Summit of the Americas in November.
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Public Forums: Exploring Global Challenges
During the summer and early fall of 2004, Partners of the Americas’ Center for Civil Society worked with organizations across the United States to convene six public forums on pressing issues addressed in the Summits of the Americas. Hundreds of people participated in the events, which were held in San Antonio, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Davis, California; Chicago, Illinois; Boston, Massachusetts; and Raleigh, North Carolina. The Summit forums provided a space for students, Partners volunteers, artists, teachers, former Peace Corps volunteers, CSO members, government officials, concerned citizens, and others to dialogue and deliberate about a range of important issues facing the Americas and the world.
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