Civil society actors and transformative development? Possibilities, challenges and ways forward

Chaired by Dr Tiina Kontinen (University of Jyväskylä; and Auli Starck (Kepa ry;

The Sustainable Development Goals have introduced ‘transformative development’ to mainstream policy discourse. For a long time, civil society actors have debated transformative versus incremental change and advocated for addressing the root causes rather than symptoms of inequality to reach sustainable changes. However, civil society actors range from local self-help initiatives to transnational movements, their agendas vary substantially in regard to transformative aspirations, and their societal and political contexts differ in terms of space allowed for transformative initiatives. To grasp the wide variety of perspectives, presentations both from academics and practitioners are invited. We aim to promote dialogue around questions related to the variety of meanings of ‘transformative development’ in discourses and practices of civil society actors, and the possibilities and challenges related to their efforts to promote such development. The panel is co-ordinated by KEPA and the research group on Citizenship and Civil Society at the University of Jyväskylä.