Millions of people around the world are looking for positive social change and for answers to the question of how humanity in the age of globalization can provide space to the central values peace, justice and the integrity of Creation. Globalization confronts us with three major challenges that need to be addressed by governments, corporations, civil society and other actors:
- Globalization must produce benefits for all people in all countries and minimize its drawbacks. Positive effects do not happen automatically or are inherent to globalization – we all need to create the conditions for good things to happen.
- We must take seriously the concern of people that globalization may lead to environmental depletion, social decline and political instability, in rich as well as in poor countries. We need to consistently find ways to make the world economy serve the common values of all people, not vice versa.
- And finally the complexity of globalization must not be used as an excuse to evade the responsibility to find new ways of cooperation in the interest of all people and countries.
These challenges must be dealt with by governments, corporations, civil society and international institutions in different ways:
- Government policies should be conducive to sustainable development and a globalization with a human face. By their participation in international committees, they should ensure that countries with sustainable and people-friendly economies do not suffer competitive disadvantages. By cooperating with organizations of civil society, they can increase their area of influence and put their decisions on a broader basis.
- International businesses are confronted with a variety of country-specific contexts. They have to deal with a great diversity of cultures, religions, political and social conditions as well as legal systems. The challenge is to be competitive, respect local customs, and at the same time not to violate internationally accepted norms.
- Civil society organizations committed to sustainable development have traditionally focused on social assistance and resource transfers. To stay relevant, they will have to expand their political agenda to include more complex factors such as trade and investment, international financial flows, environment and migration. Organizations of civil society in the old industrial countries will have to deal with the consequences of the globalization opposition, because it has had a negative effect on the willingness of multilateral cooperation.
- Multilateral institutions will be challenged in particular with regard to their attitude towards participation and transparency. The involvement of civil society in its decisions is marginal to non-existent, apart from the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, where only a few selected can obtain consultative status.