How does civil society view its role in collaborating with government on social protection policies and programs?
IASPN’s First-ever Virtual Consultation with Civil Society
One of the unique roles a secretariat can play as facilitator of a network is to bring together the various actors within a sector to share knowledge, lessons, and views with an eye to enhancing their impact. The OAS, through the Inter-American Social Protection Network, commonly assembles the region’s social development ministries and other governmental institutions for conferences, workshops and learning events. However in September, the IASPN took advantage of its convening role to invite in the voice of non-governmental organizations.
During their last Ministerial Meeting of 2010, the ministers of social development in the region expressed a need for greater dialogue with civil society in order to promote its participation in social protection policies and programs. In response, the IASPN – in addition to having invited non-governmental actors to previous online and on-site activities- carried out its first-ever consultation with civil society in a completely virtual event that took place between September 11th and 19th, 2014. Distributing an open invitation to the non-governmental organizations, grassroots movements, base communities, and non-profits from among the IASPN’s 4,500 distribution list, the network encouraged their civil society affiliates to individually voice their views on two central questions: “What is civil society’s role concerning social protection policies and programs?”, and “What are your greatest challenges to interacting and coordinating with the public sector in terms of the implementation of social protection policies and programs?”.