The India Brazil South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum was launched in June 2003 to push
for these countries’ bids for a place on the United Nation’ Security Council, but IBSA’s
attention has shifted over time towards development and economic reform. This article
discusses the progress in addressing social development challenges within the member
countries of IBSA. It examines the social achievements of IBSA members, in the context of
their economic performance and the Millennium Development Goals. It also assesses the
forces which propel these societies’ social policies, especially the influence of civil society, and
whether there has been benefit in this regard in their collaboration within the IBSA forum.
Their experiences show the critical importance of civil society in design and execution of
programmes directed towards the poor, an important factor to be kept in mind by
multilateral and bilateral agencies involved in poverty alleviation projects in developing
countries. The three nations could cooperate to share ideas for effective social welfare
programmes, and join together in multilateral forums to form a powerful voice for change.