Democratic Practice–Global Challenges

Goal: Advance Democratic Practices to Address Global Challenges

In its work to strengthen democracy in global governance, the Fund focuses on the areas of climate change, development finance, and trade. The Fund is particularly interested in civil society organizations that represent and advance developing country concerns as they seek to increase equity and foster sustainability.


  • Supporting evidence-based analysis and communication of the workings and impact of global processes and institutions.
  • Supporting citizen organizing and other initiatives to align the rules of global commerce and energy and infrastructure finance, with social equity and environmental sustainability.
  • Advancing select innovative ideas to frame and address global challenges and opportunities.
Read the Full Guidelines

The dramatic increase in cross-border flows of capital, goods, and people and their values and ideas—“globalization”—is producing deep interdependencies and changes in power relations. It is a defining process of the 21st century, offering both challenges and opportunities.

Public engagement in decision making across all levels of governance must contend nowadays with powerful global actors, forces, and institutions, presenting profound challenges to democracy. Economic interests have largely overshadowed democratic practices, social equity, and environmental concerns in the evolution of global institutions. Powerful international trade and financial institutions remain opaque and exclusive, and the power and reach of multinational corporations often escape public scrutiny or effective regulation. Thus, although the impact of global forces on peoples’ lives is growing, they face enormous impediments to both defend their existing rights and engage to meet new global challenges.

At the same time, globalization has opened up new opportunities for building cross-border, citizen-based coalitions, which are finding innovative ways to frame, address, and resolve global problems. Evolving understandings of planetary limits and the drivers of climate change have given rise to citizen groups pressing for economic and environmental rights. Common experiences of inequality and the erosion of democracy have led to demands for changes in how rules of the global economy are written—and in whose interest. New technologies and ways of organizing undergird citizen networks working across languages, geographies, and cultures. These novel combinations of grassroots, professional, public, private, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental organizations are analyzing global processes, articulating alternatives, and advancing in democratic practice and accountability to address global challenges.

Program Team

Program Director

Program Associate

What We Fund

The Democratic Practice–Global Challenges program funds work at the intersections of environment, economy, and social justice. It prioritizes organizations led by and/or accountable to the people of the Global South. The program does not fund individual academic research on democratic institutions or university fellowships and named chairs. Read more about What We Fund