The Global Social Observatory (GSO) is an international organization founded in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland in April 2004. The mission of the GSO is to initiate dialogue on social issues in order to encourage leaders to engage in a broadened search for solutions and policy coherence. This service is based on a participatory process in a neutral space that brings all interested parties together across national boundaries to identify solutions and policies that are coherent. These solutions can then contribute to policy-making at the governmental and intergovernmental levels. Details of GSO’s activitiescan be found in the annual reports, 2012 to 2013, 2011 to 2012, 2010 to 2011, 2009 to 2010, 2008 to 2009, 2007 to 2008, 2006 to 2007 and 2005 to 2006.
Why is the GSO needed? Social issues are increasingly global in their impact, and existing forums are inadequate to address these issues in a comprehensive way. While the intergovernmental system is at the center of the international policy-making arena, both the issues and the parties to these issues are increasingly transnational in their initiatives, networks and collaboration.
The Global Social Observatory believes that the social challenges faced by the world community need to be addressed through innovative processes of dialogue that are impartial and all-inclusive. Parties who have an interest in such issues need to share different points of view in a neutral setting in order to seek out solutions that are fair and just.
- GSO’s first meeting – April 2004
Current Social Issues for Debate and Action: Recognizing the presence of actors searching for common solutions, the GSO has initially identified the need for debate and action in the context of the overall theme of the interaction between corporate governance and corporate social responsibility in promoting more equitable globalization and development. In this context, the GSO is developing specific initiatives for debate and action on:
- The role of corporate social responsibility in promoting trade and development through the Doha Development Agenda;
- The impact of supply chain management, including the debate over outsourcing, in the context of the more general issue of global full employment, social protection and workers’ rights; and
- Diabetes and HIV/AIDS in the workplace – the issues of prevention, stigma and access to treatment.
The GSO Agenda: Promoting policy coherence on contemporary social issues
- Creating a neutral space for dialogue
- Facilitating a broadened search for solutions and good practices
- Establishing an information exchange, including a regular newsletter and Website, on social issues that are cross-cutting, global and needing policy coherence
- Providing a clearinghouse for existing and new research on social issues
- Promoting action and partnership building
- Helping to disseminate the possible solutions that emanate from the participatory processes of the Observatory
- Monitoring and evaluating the outcome of specific initiatives