Starting with an inspired team of supporters from NGOs, the private sector, governments and international organizations, the GSO was established in April 2004 to reflect their vision of a place for open-ended multi-stakeholder dialogue. Throughout these first ten years, the mission of the GSO has consistently been to facilitate dialogue and disseminate information on social issues in order to encourage stakeholders to engage in a broadened search for solutions and policy coherence. The evolution of GSO services has encompassed roundtable discussions, workshops, action plans, guidance notes and a growing community of participants who appreciate and keep coming back to this unique space for dialogue and collaboration. Finding the common ground for collaboration and discovering the benefits of being more than the sum of the parts have been the lessons learned that continue to draw participants to the GSO space.
As the GSO Management Committee has recently reaffirmed in the way that the GSO should retain this mission even when it is partnering with others, the GSO’s service is based on a participatory process that brings all interested parties together in a neutral space to identify solutions and policies that are coherent. The GSO General Assembly further reiterated and clarified this commitment to inclusiveness by adopting a Statement of Principles for GSO Membership, Support and Engagement in September 2012. GSO members believe that the insights, the solutions and proposed policies that emanate from this fully inclusive framework can then contribute to policy-making breakthroughs at the governmental and intergovernmental levels. Read more: