Wednesday, June 01, 2011

International Newsletter on Sustainable Local Development
Newsletter #79 – June 1st, 2011
Message from the Editorial Team

Barcelona Consensus Declaration 1.0
Announcement: RIPESS Info #18

Editorial Message

After more than ten years, the World Social Forum has helped civil society to develop many networks that have now become internationally recognised. But the vocation of the Forum has never been action-oriented : it is a place for exchange and networking. This has, over the years led to some understandable frustration for those networks that want to reach beyond mere discussion, and the resulting creation of some networks that reach beyond the World Social Forum, even though many of the participants are also active within the WSF process. This is the case of the Via Campesina and the Assembly of Social Movements that brings together many different networks.
In this issue we would like to share one of the initiatives led by movements that, although in many cases involved in the WSF process, have decided to come together with others to create an action called The Barcelona Consensus. Given the number of organisations, it would be unfair to name some and not others. All the names of the people and structures that have participated to date are listed on-line in the annex of the declaration at
The Barcelona Consensus is a process that began in 2008, under the guidance of Marti Olivella of Nova in Barcelona, Catalonia. The initiative is born from the desire to act and build sustainable alternatives. 250 thinkers and leaders of social movements from around the world have contributed to developing shared objectives.
As of May 3rd, when the Barcelona Consensus was officially launched, any organisation may sign up to the Barcelona Consensus, and choose which of the 67 objectives they wish to implement as a Transition Plan. This is a concrete way of making other worlds possible, and making sure that the actions and alternatives are firmly rooted in sustainable local development, that are the core preoccupation of our Newsletter. Judith had the privilege of taking part in the Consensus meeting in Barcelona, as usual in the role of interpreter. She felt that the Declaration would interest all our readers. It is a truly global approach to linking up actions that can contribute to sustainable change.
The public ceremony to launch to Declaration was a truly multicultural event. As well as the four « official » languages interpreted by the team of volunteers (Catalan, Spanish, English and French), those delegates who took part in the ceremony also read part of the text in their native tongues : Kiswahili, Bambara, Chinese, Kikuyu, Hindi, Lithuanian, Philipino, Burmese and Togolais… !. Enabling people to express themselves in their own language is a powerful indication of the intentions of the Barcelona Consensus to act at grass-roots level.
Editorial Team
Judith Hitchman
Yvon Poirier
Martine Theveniaut

Barcelona Consensus Declaration 1.0
Committing to a Sustainable and People-centred World for All

People deserve a decent life, simply because they are human

The current global situation is unacceptable: it is structurally violent, unjust and unsustainable. We are living through one of the most decisive periods in the history of humankind, both in terms of gravity and scope. A crisis of consciousness and responsibility underlies our current predicament. Most current leaders have shown neither the ability nor the willingness to radically renew the existing economic or decision-making structures. Nor have they adopted the values needed to drive a transformation.
We live not in a time of change, but a change of times. Citizens and communities can and must respond to this multiple crisis, which threatens to engulf us all. We acknowledge innovative social political and economic practices; we witness the awakening of peoples; and uphold the sovereignty of all persons to choose their own destiny.
In order to re-build a sustainable and people-centred world for all, we must ensure that each and every person has access to adequate resources for the sustainable and equitable satisfaction of their basic needs.
We propose a new social, political and economic contract, promoted by people and communities, engaging with institutions, governments and business from different territories to build an alternative to the Washington Consensus.
The progressively implemented proposals of the Barcelona Consensus and related actions will enable us to achieve a gradual transition from a culture of constraints, domination, violence and war, to one of dialogue, conciliation, partnership and peace. We shall move from a culture of force to a culture of words, facilitated by remote electronic participation and innovative policies being pursued by some countries.
The new social contract, represented by the Barcelona Consensus, is an urgent call to reorganise our societies and to rearticulate our presence on Earth. In practical terms we propose the collective creation of Transition Plans , as ways to implement robust nonviolent processes. These shall have clear goals, methods and timelines for execution.
We call on all people in all communities to freely and deliberately commit to implementing a Transition Plan in their respective territories and fields of action (neighbourhood, town, city, sector, organisation, etc.). Summoning the imagination of everyone everywhere, together we can create a sustainable and people-centred future for all.
These plans will enable all groups to select shared goals to implement the following transitions:

1. Transition to a participatory and deliberative democracy in order to:
• Involve society in the selection of political policies for resource management and equitable distribution.
• Avoid weak or poor implementation of laws and strengthen the legitimacy of the rule of law.
• Guarantee social, health and education services and the protection of the common good of the entire population.
• Eliminate corruption and improve public management, prioritising participatory budgets; introduce information and public administration systems that guarantee the right to access information; transparency and accountability of governments.
• Facilitate the participation of vulnerable groups, first of all, women, in collective decision-making, promoting democratic practices and organisations, with effective representation, parity of men and women, in all fields.

2. Transition to environmental sustainability in order to:
• Revive a vision of human life as interdependent, intrinsically linked to living beings, nature, sun, air, water and Earth.
• Generate a new sustainable lifestyle, responsible consumption and the use of renewable energies, and progressively reduce fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
• Promote models for the regeneration and decentralisation of human settlements.
• Establish and apply stricter national and global tax policies for sustainability, introducing ecological taxes, penalties and ecologic and social incentives.
• Protect the rights of present and future generations and extend the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to environmental and economic crimes.

3. Transition to a social, equitable and sustainable economy in order to:
• Drastically revise the economic system and lifestyle, and replace misleading economic indicators.
• Stop land grabbing and the seizing of natural resources, as well as the concentration of wealth, property and power, applying the principle of “Those who have more or earn more, contribute more.”
• Guarantee the right to dignified work , to a basic income and a decent living as this is a human right.
• Abandon the “development aid” policies that have become a way of exploiting people and resources, and establish global cooperation and exchange systems based on solidarity.
• Replace unrestricted competition with cooperation and self-management and promote the “relocalization” of production and services.
4. Transition to a non-speculative financial system in order to:
• Prosecute speculative financial activities, tax financial transactions and effectively abolish tax havens.
• Limit public indebtedness to the financial system, and recover financial sovereignty with public, social and transparent authority for monetary creation.
• Prevent money from being a means of profit and money for its own sake, and introduce alternative and transparent monetary systems under social and public control.
• Free people from slavery to servicing a public foreign debt, through renegotiation, debt relief or unilateral cancellation.
• Prevent banks from supporting businesses and projects that are hazardous for life and the planet and favour ethical financing.

5. Transition to a society of shared knowledge and democratic communication in order to:
• Consider and evaluate knowledge and the capacity to generate it, as well as to share it, as a common heritage of humanity.
• Prevent control of intellectual resources, the media and communication systems by large multinational corporations and/or political parties and support media by the people and for the people.
• Prevent the manipulation of the emerging information and communication society, giving access and control to all.
• Promote more open models of multidisciplinary scientific research and exchange of knowledge.
• Prioritise the right to health and life, and the right of all people to receive adequate healthcare and medical treatment, as opposed to paying royalties on medical patents.

6. Transition to a world beyond war and violence in order to:
• Move towards a more peaceful world, and oppose the structural causes of war and violence.
• Promote peaceful co-existence, tolerance and respect for sexual, religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity, and to oppose patriarchy, femicide, caste segregation and racial prejudice.
• Advance disarmament, particularly through the prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction.
• Eliminate structural impunity for trafficking of human beings, organs, weapons, drugs, and money-laundering.
• Reinforce the right of peoples and communities to resist injustice.

7. Transition to a democratic world governance, in order to:
• Prevent plutocracy – the power of money, and progress towards an inclusive democratic world governance system based on the interests of people not of countries, including a reformed United Nations System.
• Guarantee global security and coordinated action aimed at reducing the impact of catastrophes caused by humans or nature.
• Ensure that the norms and entities of international regulation act in the public interest, in accordance with the new social and human objectives of “buen vivir” and are respectful towards the environment.
• Protect the human rights of migrants and progressively open migratory flows, working towards the free movement of persons.
• Escape from the global financial disarray caused by speculators and the International Financial Institutions, and create a new financial system and global reserve currency.
As we move forward with these transitions, we pledge to take urgent actions for survival, in order to:
• Eradicate hunger and malnutrition locally and globally, and provide clean drinking water and adequate sanitation.
• Confront the damage caused by “development” and climate change in impoverished countries.
• Avoid having recourse to armed interventions and wars, even if they are pursued in the name of “democracy”.
The financing of the proposed shared objectives can be obtained through savings made on the cost to society of weapons, corruption, tax havens and illegal trafficking, and through increasing resources thanks to social funding and public monetary creation, as well as the taxing of financial transactions and unsustainable activities and introducing a wealth tax.
And as people or groups in transition, we commit ourselves to exercising our rights as citizens not to cooperate with, collaborate with, buy from, serve or obey organisations or institutions that prevent or hinder the transition.
People and groups thereby take responsibility for choosing their own objectives and carry out their own transition strategies , sharing their proposals, actions and results with the community formed around this declaration.
All organisations may also commit to annually proposing and implementing initiatives for agreed Actions for a Common Transformation (ACT!) .

To this end


Barcelona, 3rd May 2011

Announcement: RIPESS Info #18

The Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS) has recently published RIPESS Info #18.

Available in French, English and Spanish at :

Our Newsletters are available online:

Our thanks to:
Brunilda Rafael (France) for the Spanish translation
Michel Colin (Brazil) for the Portuguese translation
Judith Hitchman (France / Ireland) for the English translation
Évéline Poirier (Canada) for proof reading (FR-EN)

Contact (for information, to subscribe or unsubscribe)
Yvon Poirier