Melanie Coni-Zimmer and Diane Schumann attended and researched the dialogue forums of three international meetings in September and October 2022: the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum in Geneva, the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, and the annual summit of the G20 Civil20 Engagement Group in Bali. The topics discussed there ranged from food security issues, which have been exacerbated by the Ukraine war, to the consequences of climate change and the reform of international economic organizations.
As part of the project "Legitimacy Policy through Dialogue Forums?", Melanie Coni-Zimmer and Diane Schumann are investigating how world economic organizations interact with their civil society critics. The project is led by Nicole Deitelhoff and funded by the German Research Foundation.
The first dialogue forums were founded at the turn of the millennium in response to anti-globalization projects by civil society and have thus existed for more than 20 years with the aim of facilitating a dialogue between civil society and representatives of international organizations. Although the dialogue forums have become firmly established, they are at the same time controversial. Their usefulness and the motivation of international organizations to organize such forums are judged differently by civil society. Some participants see the opportunity for participation and direct interaction with representatives of the relevant organizations as promising. Skeptical voices, on the other hand, see the dialogue forums as attempts by the organizations to undermine criticism.
With the onset of the Corona pandemic, the forums were initially cancelled for a time and subsequently held as virtual events. It was not until this year that they could again be held in person on site, which significantly facilitated and intensified both the exchange and networking between civil society organizations and with representatives of international organizations.