Advancing proposals for systemic transformation

Many actors from international organizations as well as from non-governmental organizations have expressed the need to articulate their topic-specific, regional or global actions to a systemic approach to societal transformations. There is a growing sense that the piecemeal or sectoral implementation of good public policies, inspiring civil society initiatives and positive individual/community behaviors do not suffice to counter the negative social, environmental and governance externalities produced by the current power structures and by the predominant forms of economic organizations. The clear identification of the main causes of these negative externalities is key to develop a design, a sequencing, and an implementation of actions that would transform the dynamics at play.

The proposed systemic transformation path will identify the key action points and drivers to better societies. It will help navigate through the complex array of processes and actors in society that make societal change occur. It will provide future coalitions for social progress with a clear indication of how power structures need to be reformed or transformed in order to build a positive and impactful collective momentum. It will not reduce the importance, nor the variety of worldviews and of intermediate goals but will stress that these can be compatible with pursuing the main goals of a social progress agenda

Interdependent and cross-sector

The main components of the Social Progress Agenda provide broad priorities for the work of the Panel. More specific topics are proposed based on the deliberations of the IPSP Advisory Board. Two general principles characterize the work of the Panel :

  • To avoid disciplinary and thematic silos, and instead to adopt a holistic view cognizant of the strong interdependence between the components of societal structures;
  • To address a wide set of change-makers, with a strong focus on civil society, but also including policy-makers, civil servants, international organizations, business networks, think tanks, students and researchers.

The key ambition is to emphasize interlinkages between sectoral challenges and opportunities, to propose inspiring case studies and recommendations, and to foster the building of large intersectoral coalitions. The work undertaken by the Panel on these topics will serve a three-pronged strategy:

  • To map and gather forces that are inherently attached to the social progress agenda, including oppressed populations and their advocates,
  • To modify incentives to align the goals of powerful actors (such as governments and businesses) with the social progress agenda,
  • To design recommendations and policy initiatives that can achieve the desired transformations.

While reformists usually focus on the last component, the Panel aims at highlighting the importance of the first two, and at building a corpus of knowledge about implementation mechanisms with a strong bottom-up aspect and new methods of building coalitions of cross-sectoral actors to promote the social progress agenda.