ITeM/Social Watch

The Third World Institute (ITeM)/Social Watch, which were established in 1989 and 1995 respectively, make up two organizations that share the same secretariat space and coordinating personnel. their international headquarters is based in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Adopting a critical-liberal stance, the social vision that informs the cognitive praxis of these two groups includes four elements:

i) the eradication of poverty and the causes of poverty,
ii) an end to all forms of discrimination and racism,
iii) an equitable distribution of wealth, and
iv) the realization of human rights, emphasizing ‘the right of all people not to be poor’.[i]

In its strategy for change, ITeM/Social Watch maintains a dual, inside/outside orientation, engaging both UN-sponsored and related intergovernmental initiatives that address global governance issues, as well as simultaneously coordinating a vast network of grassroots activist—so-called ‘Watchers’ (over 80 in both North and South)—that monitor compliance with international covenants.

Such ‘Watching,’ is a key component of alternative knowledge production. This involves documenting and reporting on events, or failures to act (a kind of alternative journalism), thereby raising awareness and consciousness and holding governments and intergovernmental organizations to account in honouring their commitments. News concerning noncompliance generated by Watchers in various countries (who exercise democratic control over knowledge production[ii]) is regularly updated on the Social Watch website. Each year, reports from the Watchers are also condensed and compiled into an overall Social Watch Report,[iii] which is widely distributed in IGO and NGO circles, as well as back to the various grassroots communities of Watchers.

By coordinating an international network of Watchers, strengthening the capacity of national coalitions to monitor and influence policies that impact marginalized and vulnerable populations, as well as using the Report as a key resource in struggles at the national level, ITeM/Social Watch pursues an interstitial, multilevel critical-liberal project, addressing a broad constituency of intergovernmental organizations, nation states, national and transnational publics and more social-democratic currents within the global left.


ITeM Website

Social Watch Website

Social Watch Wiki Article


[i], accessed 12 February 12, 2015.

[ii] This structure is detailed at, accessed 12 February 2015

[iii], accessed 10 February 2015