Strengthening access to knowledge and decision-making

Public participation in decision-making is essential to a democracy as well as a sustainable society. Without an informed and engaged public, linked through community organizations, civil society groups and networks, societies can easily descend into oppressive authoritarian states, leading to civil and international conflict and violence.

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Working to ensure access

ISF works with other organizations to help strengthen meaningful participation, open knowledge and civil discourse, particularly regarding the policies, programs and decision-making on sustainability-related issues. We need to continually strive to enable meaningful participation in contrast to token stakeholder showcases, astroturfing, corporate front groups and alternative facts and public relations spin.

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The problems can feel overwhelming

Alone we can do little to address the overwhelming problems and challenges around us. ISF continues to promote access to relevant information and fora to voice and share our views, experience and concerns. Whereas our modern consumer culture promotes a consumption-oriented individualism, the price can sometimes be isolation and loneliness. However, we are more than just "consumers". We each need to reclaim our identity as informed and responsible citizens, active members of a wider community.

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Communities of practice
Working in communities of practice

Communities of practice may be small informal gatherings of co-workers or friends sharing skills and knowledge, or more organized networks of workers, scientists, artists, professionals, students and other other coming together to help each other improve their particular area of practice. Communities of practice play a critical role in the transition to sustainable production and consumption systems. ISF continues to work with and promote a number of such communities of practice.

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Citizen representation at the UN

For years ISF has helped ensure civil society participation and representation at the United Nations and other international policymaking fora. As Secretariat for the Citizens Network for Sustainable Development, ISF has helped hundreds of organizations and individuals become accredited to attend and have a voice in major US and global policy debates and negotiations on sustainable development, from the UN Commission on Sustainable Development to the current 2030 Agenda and debates on the Sustainable Development Goals.


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