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Poverty and the road to global social citizenship

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This Poverty Brief: • Explores the concept of global social citizenship, arguing for the centrality of this concept in a human rights approach to poverty. • Describes a concept of citizenship that transcends territorial boundaries, is rooted in human solidarity as much as legally constituted state governance, and seeks to optimize human wellbeing through the realization of human fulfilment as much as the satisfaction of material need. • Argues that this understanding of social citizenship has resonance not only in the global North but for instance in the Islamic principle of Zakat, the Confucian concept of Rén, and the pan-African philosophy of Ubuntu. • Claims that a human being’s needs precede her rights, and that rights are socially constructed through the naming and claiming of human needs in a context of social citizenship. • Concludes that social citizenship may be globally shaped by a ‘politics of needs interpretation’ as a central element in poverty reduction strategies.

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