There is growing evidence that the current economic and political system cannot provide the solutions to ensure a sustainable future for our planet and humankind. There is need for radical reform to a system which favours constant growth, consumerism, bigger markets and increased competition, to one which puts the wellbeing of people and human rights at its core.
Although many civil society organisations (CSOs) are working hard to achieve a fairer world, there is a need to reflect on the extent to which our work really addresses the underlying structural causes of the issues we are trying to address, rather than just the symptoms. Citizens are also mobilising themselves around the world and speaking out on issues of justice, rights and sustainability.
But these struggles are often geographically and/or topically limited. Activists, educators and campaigners work at the interface with the broader population and play a crucial role in reinforcing and connecting these citizens’ movements around the world. They need to seize the opportunity to draw on and develop more radical approaches towards a new conception of social interaction that is based on values such as justice, modesty, participation and diversity instead of money, standardisation, efficiency and consumption.
The CONCORD/DEEEP, CIVICUS and GCAP Johannesburg conference aims to initiate a global coalition for people’s emancipation towards systemic change. This two days event will bring together 200 civil society representatives and activists from all over the world, with the aim to link emancipatory struggles to a broader global citizen’s movement.
The conference is the start of the community process “Building a Global Citizens Movement”. It will explore what unites us, what we can learn from each other and what we can do together to raise the voices of the people facing a powerful global elite.
This is particularly important and timely in the context of the ongoing discussions on a post-2015 global development framework, especially regarding aspects of citizen’s participation, democracy, human rights and accountability.
Our common commitment to this Movement will be the Johannesburg Declaration. This declaration will try to outline:
• The utopia we have for a different world society (vision) • How we have to learn differently from each other and together with the people to make this happen (learning) • How we think a global movement towards enhancing this vision could emerge (linking).
In order to facilitate the creation of the movement, we have developed an online platform that will be the focal point for the organisations and people involved; but also for a wider audience and stakeholders.
On this platform, we will work on the same 3 aspects:
• Vision: Through the Johannesburg Declaration process; • Linking: Through community building, i.e. gathering active citizens from around the world; • Learning: By sharing practices and resources.
The conference will kick-off a two year process, with two more conferences and a number of online activities between the physical meetings. Participants should stay involved until end 2015.