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Call for submissions: participation and decision-making in global governance spaces

For the purpose of developing his 2019 reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, Mr. Livingstone Sewanyana, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, will be examining the issue of participation and decision-making in global governance spaces, which have increasingly emerged as forums for international debate and where international priorities are set. These intergovernmental, multisectoral and private groupings, such as the Group of Seven (G7), the Group of 20 (G20), the group of Brazil, Russian Federation, India, People’s Republic of China and South Africa (BRICS), the Group of 77 (G77, including the Group of 24 on International Monetary Affairs and Development), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the World Economic Forum (WEF), and the Bilderberg Meeting (BM), play a role in developing the framework and function of the international order. Moreover, these groupings will have added importance in the coming years given the increasingly cross-border nature of the world’s political and economic challenges.

Given this background, the expert intends to look at the extent to which such international groupings and spaces are accessible, inclusive and responsive to the voices of people and groups previously excluded from international decision-making bodies, but whose lives and livelihoods are impacted by the decisions taken. In his assessment, he will be guided, inter alia, by the guidelines on the effective implementation of the right to participate in public affairs presented by the Human Rights Council to Member States in September 2018 (see Council resolution 39/11).

He will pay particular attention to those belonging to underrepresented parts of society, including women, children, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, persons belonging to ethnic, religious, national, linguistic and racial minorities, migrants, refugees, and others, and also including indigenous peoples and others not associated with or organized in non-governmental organizations (as listed by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 38/12 on civic society space: engagement with international and regional organizations). He deems important to add to the list victims of discrimination and marginalization because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as social movements.

To inform his reporting on this issue, the expert welcomes contributions to the below questionnaire in English, French or Spanish by 14 June 2019, at the following email address: ie-internationalorder@ohchr.org.

Unless otherwise requested, all contributions received will be uploaded on his website

Please feel free to circulate this questionnaire widely among your networks.

Many thanks in advance for your cooperation.


Questionnaire to civil society

1. Please share your experience in exercising, or seeking to exercise, your right to participate in public affairs in one or several of the following global governance groupings/spaces: G7, G20, G77/G24, NAM, BRICS, WEF and BM in terms of:

  • Access;
  • Inclusivity; and
  • Influencing the decision-making process.

2. What were the main structural and/or practical obstacles you or your colleagues encountered when participating, or seeking to participate, prior to, during and after decision-making (for instance in terms of shaping the agenda of decision-making processes, participation at an early stage when all options are still open, accreditation, physical and/or online access to forums, issuance of visas, availability of funds, access to information relevant to decision-making processes, etc.)?

3. Which improvements do you see as key to secure genuine and meaningful participation in decision-making processes of the aforementioned groupings/spaces, including by the underrepresented parts of society as mentioned above, victims of discrimination and marginalization because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as social movements?

4. What has been your experience exercising, or seeking to exercise, your rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association in the holding of meetings of one or several of the aforementioned groupings/spaces and in the margins thereof?

5. Have you or your colleagues been the subject of reprisal because of your participation, or attempt to participate, in a meeting or activity of one or several of the aforementioned groupings/spaces? If so, please provide information on the type of reprisal, the perpetrator(s), whether you reported the case to the organizers and the relevant authorities, and which action they took to address the situation and prevent reoccurrences (if any).

6. In your view, what is the overall impact of the economic and financial policies of the aforementioned groupings/spaces on a democratic and equitable international order?

7. More broadly, in what way(s) do you see a lack of genuine and meaningful participation and lack of influencing of decision-making process by the public in global governance grouping/spaces in general hampering the realization of a democratic and equitable international order?

Submissions received


Questionnaire to Member States

  1. Please provide general information on a) the structural design, and b) the decision-making processes and practices of the grouping(s) you belong to.

  2. Is participation of civil society and the wider public in decision-making processes a core principle of the grouping(s) to which you belong? Is there a set of policies and procedures on the participation of these actors in your decision-making processes? Kindly specify and provide a copy where applicable.

  3. Is there a permanent structure for the continuous participation of civil society actors and the wider public in your grouping(s)? What are the parameters underlying its creation and how does it function?

  4. To what extent is the participation of external actors—including individuals from the aforementioned underrepresented groups—encouraged and actively facilitated in your meetings and/or activities (at all relevant stages of decision-making processes)?

  5. What are the rules of procedure regarding access to information relevant to the decision-making process? Does this include the use of information and communication technologies? Kindly specify and provide a copy where applicable.

  6. Can you provide specific examples where the inputs of civil society and the wider public were taken into account in your decision-making process?

  7. Can you provide specific examples of how the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association have been facilitated and protected in the holding of your meetings and in the margins thereof?

  8. Have there been any acts of reprisal against individuals participating in or seeking to participate in your meetings and/or activities? If so, which action did you take to address the situation and prevent reoccurrences?

Submissions received