CONCORD members were present at the second’ Global Conference’ 2014 took place in Johannesburg, South Africa organised by the DEEEP project. The event gathered “grassroots activists and campaigners for a global change started on Wednesday 19 November 2014 and gave an opportunity to exchange ideas, contacts and establish new connections”. This CONCORD/DEEEP event took place in a framework of the International Civil Society Week, prepared in a close collaboration with CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation and GCAP – Global Call to Action against Poverty.

The following text is sourced from the DEEEP website

DAY 3: General Assembly of the Action/2015 campaign

Action 2015 is an umbrella campaign aiming to gather the Civil Society sector around the year 2015.

It was a great occasion to exchange about the goal of the campaign, sharpen the message and bring a transformative perspective which means a lot to our movement. The Action/2015 discussions allowed the participants to get a practical perspective and a concrete agenda before they meet again in Tunis.

The morning was dedicated to building and maintaining momentum throughout the year as well as sharing our vision for the future. During the afternoon, the participants had the opportunity to discuss in groups the strategy they will plan in 2015 for their region.

After 3 days of intense reflections, we had the huge pleasure to assist to the official Opening Ceremony of the CIVICUS Civil Society Week where we heard the amazing speech of Graça Machel. This speech was an inspiration for all of us, touching and politically engaging.

We have to question and position ourselves in the way we transform things! – Graça Machel

Last but not least, we would like to share the graphic harvesting of these 3 days with you.

DEEEP Towards-a-World-Citizens-Movement Graphic-Harvest Nov-2014 Low-Res

Photo sourced from DEEEP

DAY 2: the ‘Johannesburg Compass’

The second day of the second Global Conference started with the opening speech by Danny Sriskandarajah, the head of CIVICUS. The shrinking space that people have to mobilise was pointed out and questioned as well as the need for a deep systemic change was expressed. Then Jesse Chen from the Movement Circle introduced the Johannesburg Compass, a document that serves as an outcome from the Global Conference 2013. He also expressed the need for meaningful actions, both individual and collective ones. “When we ask people to take individual actions sometimes they are not meaningful,” he said. And this needs to be changed as soon as possible. Now it is the time to begin a new brainstorming process and wonder how can we move towards concrete actions, how can we keep them going constantly, also after the next Global Conference in 2015.

We have to think differently, open our minds and let the challenging world views come in.” Jesse Chen

GlobalConference2014 Day2 Patchwork

Photo sourced from DEEEP

Challenging world views

Then the challenging world views panel with four speakers started. Participants mentioned that there is a long-term need for a systemic change within NGO and NGDO sector, and to reach a systemic change, we need alternatives. Thus the four speakers introduced briefly alternative paradigms they have been involved in and which they believe in, such as Soka Gakkai, Ubuntu, Buen Vivir or Horizontal Organising. The crucial question our four representatives of different worldviews were asked to answer was what is in their opinion the main question we should ask ourselves. We realized it was a tough task for us all – to re-define our priorities and think in a long-term perspective. As Eduardo Rombauer, a founder of a political movement in Brazil put it: “I have more questions than answers, but I am happy that we are here together to deal with them.”

Another speaker, Robert O’Donoghue, introduced the Ubuntu philosophy and asked everyone to think on how we can multiple different world views and what can we take from each of them. He also mentioned an important fact for us all: a person is a person only when defined through others. He stressed that the basis of all our actions and movements is the idea of togetherness. „Bringing people into movements is bringing strength,“ he concluded.

GlobalConference2014 Day1 patchwork2

Photo sourced from DEEEP


Our commitments are big, but we need to mobilise and to coordinate everyone.” Hiro Sakurai


Photo sourced from DEEEP

Vision, linking, learning

The three-day conference programme and our effort to work together at Action/2015 opening assembly was introduced as well as the purpose of the conference as such: we would like to provide a space for grassroots activists to meet, establish links and exchange ideas, so that we can work together in future and bring a worldwide social change. What makes us different? Our systemic approach, our vision to question the current status quo in which NGO’s are trapped.

We tried to create a friendly, non-formal environment and decided to dedicate an half-hour for a speed-dating session, which our attendees seemed to enjoy. The basis of new networks have been established.

GlobalConference2014 Day1 patchwork1

Photo sourced from DEEEP

Learning from previous actions

Then the speakers took the floor. Bayo Akomolafe, Coordinator of the International Alliance for Localization, mentioned learnings from last year’s conference in his keynote speech and questioned the way social movements are being organised. He pointed out that first of all we need to slow down to be able to bring the change we are trying to achieve. A big applause from the audience echoed his enlightened speech which was followed by a fruitful fishbowl discussion.

We need a different kind of politics today, new tools to address the situation. If there is a World Citizens Movement, it has to be built on creativity.”

Bayo Akomolafe, the keynote speaker

The participants divided into nine smaller groups afterwards and discussed with experienced grassroots change-makers from all over the world their practices and learned ways of dealing with various struggles. We were happy to have here a vast number of activists from New Zealand, South Africa, Nigeria, Chile, Hungary, Portugal, Switzerland, Brasil and many more, all of them having different concerns, dealing with different issues. It was the perfect place to share practices, stories and experiences from different perspectives.

If we had to summarize this first day in one quote it would definitely be: “NOW IS THE TIME”!

Focused with all our senses

The whole process was carefully observed by a video maker as well as by a graphic harvester from the very first moments until the very last-minute of all the sessions, and we are planning to share this visual perception of our wonderful event with you later on. We also recommend you to read us regularly to be aware of the next steps of building a world citizens movement that are being taken here in Joburg, not only within the second day of our conference, but also during the first General Assembly of Action/2015 which we are going to take part in!