A myriad of civil society organisations1 (CSOs) all over the planet are working hard to tackle global environmental and social challenges. Yet, in spite of the many successes, the global sustainability crisis remains unresolved and is indeed becoming dangerously severe at many fronts.
This paper has the ambition to stimulate debate among CSO leaders and strategists, funders and academics about the adequateness of current CSO strategies. It analyses where potential weaknesses of current CSO strategies can be found. Subsequently – drawing on knowledge from theory and practice across a range of disciplines – the paper suggests a number of leverage points that CSOs can explore to develop more effective strategies and become stronger change agents towards tackling the global sustainability crisis.
The paper refers to the larger professionalised environmental and developmental CSO networks as a starting point for our analysis. Therefore much of the analysis and recommendations apply foremost to these types of organisations. However, because successful future civil society strategies that aim to tackle the sustainability crisis will depend on a very broad collaboration between smaller CSOs and grassroots, faith groups and unions up to an including large international CSO networks, we will try to be inclusive in our analysis and considerations.