Reflections from CIDSE’s week at the World Social Forum 2015 – CIDSE
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Reflections from CIDSE’s week at the World Social Forum 2015

The last day at the World Social Forum started with a sunny weather which allowed us to stay outside while sharing experiences with partners from Latin America and Africa.

Among other issues, we discussed tax justice as an important tool to redistribute incomes that could allow better access to basic rights. The whole CIDSE team is now back in the Brussels office, but below are thoughts from some workshops that we attended during last week in Tunis and that we would like to share with you:

IMG 0125 smallCOP21: During the first days of the World Social Forum 2015, several workshops and discussions took place to allow different movements and organizations to coordinate towards a global mobilisation in the run-up to and on the occasion of the UN climate change negotiation – COP21 that will take place in Paris in December 2015. Among the main points raised and that will characterize the mobilisation for climate justice all over the world: to call for system change and not climate change, to stress the urgency to act, to showcase and scale up existing alternatives, to promote sustainable consumption, to put pressure on policy decision makers.

Throughout 2015, we aim to build a global climate justice movement that could take the opportunity of Paris to reach as many people as possible and that to continue working stronger beyond 2015. Several organisations and especially partners from the Global South, call on CIDSE and the Catholic development organisations to bring into this discussion the precious contributions that the upcoming Encyclical letter on ecology could offer to climate justice! Rendez-vous in Paris! “Le niveau de la mobilisation monte!” For more info on the international mobilisation:

Post 2015: Jean Saldanha from the CIDSE secretariat was on the panel of a workshop on the Post 2015 framework together with Global Policy forum, Social Watch, IBON, Justice Development & Peace Commission Nigeria, and Global Call to Action against Poverty. The discussion explored the opportunities and challenges posed by the focus on universality in the current sustainable development goals (SDG) proposal. For the first time the rich and wealthy of the world should also take responsibility.

Systemic alternatives: Together with ATTAC France, Fundación Solon, Global Forest Alliance and Focus on the Global South the participants to this workshop reflected on the gaps that still need to be filled in the alternative narrative that civil society can propose to challenge the current dominant model of development. We explored how to link concepts such as degrowth, the economy for the common goods and the Latin American concept of “buen vivir”. This certainly will inspire CIDSE’s internals reflections on how to bring about a paradigm shift.

The economy for the common good is a social movement advocating for an alternative economic model. It calls for working towards the common good and cooperation instead of profit-orientation and competition.

The modern understanding of “Buen Vivir”, inspired by Latin American indigenous traditions, seeks a balance with nature in meeting our needs (“take only what is necessary”).

Church & Mining: Following an inspiring introduction on the theological aspect of natural resource exploitation, the participants in the room expressed their concern about the never ending appetite for minerals that multinational companies have and the impacts this has on the frontline communities. Besides the pollution that prevents famers from cultivating their land, the arrival of a multinational mining company often goes along with internal divisions in the communities. The faith based organizations present in the room took a strong stand to unite their forces to keep accompanying the mining affected communities around the world.

Beyond Development: CIDSE together with ABONG (Associação Brasileira de Organizações Não Governamentais), DKA, Focus on the Global South, Rural Women Assembly, International Forum of NGO Platforms and People’s dialogue held a workshop on “Beyond development – How to build just and fair societies”. This very inspiring discussion challenged us on how to rethink and redefine development; on how we can make sure we are contributing to the change we want to see for a better life for all human beings. In the room, there was a common feeling that we first of all need to “walk the talk”. This implies to address consumption, to scale up the already existing alternatives, to regain power and to encourage more and more people to engage in discussions and common work in order to identify and practise how we can bring about a system change. Calling for a system change is a deep change, it’s a transition and that’s why it’s important to continue building alternatives and addressing together key questions.

More pictures are available here.

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