Tuesday, 18 October 2011

BELLAGIO: THE FUTURE OF PHILANTHROPY

By ADRIAN ELY, STEPS Centre researcher

I was lucky enough to participate in a fascinating discussion on global governance and regulation, organised as part of the Bellagio Initiative last week. The Initiative involves a series of global consultations hoping to deliver a new framework for philanthropy and international development in pursuit of human wellbeing in the 21st century.

Gathering an impressive group of experts and practitioners from near and far, the event focussed on questions around the challenge of ‘providing common goods in a global system’ and was just one of a number of global dialogues being held throughout the world in 2011:

>Inclusive Economics: addressing social, economic and political exclusion– Virtual
>Rapid urbanisation & living in growing cities – New Delhi
>Cross market INGOs – International Fundraising Congress, Amsterdam
>Coping with global shocks – Bangkok
>Emerging (Philanthropic) Markets – Budapest
>Information and Communication Technologies: Promises and pitfalls – Virtual
>Environmental sustainability, climate change and economic growth – São Paulo
>BRICS Countries – New Delhi
>Increased Mobility: Forced and Voluntary – Nairobi
>Freedom and rights: – Cairo
>Recipient countries – Accra

Our discussions in London covered the ongoing challenge of bridging from local to national to international levels of governance, and raised many of the same issues that my colleagues and I encountered in the STEPS Centre's ‘Rethinking Regulation’ project and the resultant Regulating Technology book published earlier this year.

The need for transparency and accountability of different development actors featured strongly in the discussion, and the role of philanthropic organisations (both in providing a working model of how such principles could be operationalised, and in advocating their adoption in other institutions) was stressed.

The potential bridging role played by these organisations, which have the opportunity not only to network with their grantees but also often enjoy access to powerful decision-makers, was also highlighted.

A summit conference at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre will consider the messages from the various global dialogues in formulating a new framework for philanthropy and international development in the 21st century.

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