May: Second China-Europe-South America Dialogue Meeting - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

May: Second China-Europe-South America Dialogue Meeting

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May: Second China-Europe-South America Dialogue Meeting

The “Second China-Europe-South America Dialogue Meeting: Civil Societies in Progress for Change” was held from 28-30 May 2013 in Beijing. More than 20 distinguished CSO delegates representing 17 organisations from the three regions attended the meeting to discuss issues of common concern relating to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable development post-2015.

This tripartite dialogue, initiated during 2012 at the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil, was hosted by the China Association for NGO Cooperation and co-organised by the CEF.

- Nicolas KRAUSZ, Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l’Homme (France, Switzerland) :

Considering the myth gaps of our broken world, we need new narratives for development, emerging alternative paradigms and quest for strategies. 1. The myth of economic growth no longer works: A small global class seems to become ever richer and millions of people in the middle class are damaged, has contributed to a loss of belief and trust in the political, financial and economic system. 2. The myth of technology no longer works: The deployment of more efficient technologies does not always lead to the desired reduction of energy use but sometimes can even increase the total energy use. 3. The myth of development no longer works: Many of the current market-based solutions and technological fixes promoted by developmental organisations are not improving the situation but are actually part of the problem as they perpetuate an unsustainable and unequal system. The emerging alternative paradigms including the following aspects: A systemic approach: human interconnectedness, quality of life, healthy planet; Cultural transformation: away from today’s consumerism and nationalism towards a culture of well-being with simpler life and a sense of planetary identity; Overcoming the market paradigm: away from technical fixes; A global Citizen Movement; Experiments at all levels: Transition Towns (low carbon, lower energy future), Smart CSOs, Urban Agriculture, agroecology …

-  Vaia TUUHIA, Association 4D (France):

2015, the international timeframes converge: SDGs, post-2015 MDGs, climate, Habitat III, some Aichi Biodiversity Targets. We should take social and environmental actions in the field: a new structure of governance built on direct relations; time to get involved to try and ensure we are working together on a path to a more sustainable future; time for boldness, for passion, for vision and for our joint commitment to create a better and more sustainable future for the next generations. Establish the horizontal structure of the world, which is the direct relations between professional, social and cultural organizations, NGOs and individuals as well as companies, local government. These partnerships can reach beyond and defined limits of position taken by States. It is essential to engage national levels as well as the grassroots level, those who are marginalized and have never been in these processes before.

- Thierry VIARD, ATD Fourth World (Belgium and International):

Poverty is not solely an economic issue. We suggest that the $1.25 a day definition of poverty be no more considered by the United Nations Inter-Agency and Expert Group on MDG Indicators (IAEG) as a reliable global measure of extreme poverty, but simply as a measure of income. Poverty encompasses the basic capabilities to live in dignity, the difficulties to have access to fundamental rights (income, housing, decent work, education, health, right to live as a family, access to justice, etc.) and to participate in the life of society. Extreme poverty is often passed on from one generation to the next. People living in poverty are also subject to discrimination and social exclusion.

Poverty increases within the European Union, from 113 million people in 2009 to 119 million people in 2011 - 24% of the population (Poverty is defined as a combination of monetary poverty, unemployment or working poor, and material deprivations).

- Martina SCHMIDT, Bread for All (Switzerland):

Martina analyzed SDGs from an ecumenical perspective. Dialogue4change is a joint initiative of Bread for all and Catholic Lenten Fund. It is an on-going process with ecumenical, international, intercultural and interdisciplinary dimensions, which is directly linked to the post-MDG and the SDG. The ecumenical grounding and perspective is the added value of this discussion. As you have seen, questions of justice, climate justice, sustainability, criticism of wealth accumulation and good life for the whole creation are part of the core business of the ecumenical movement.

Common critics of “Development” is that “we don’t want live always better, but we want to live only in a good way.” We need a more inclusive, political and ethical approach of the development goals. Since Rio + 20, there is a consensus to include elements of environmental goals in the post-MDG-agenda. It is important to integrate in the SDG’s the experiences of the evolution of the last years: financial crisis, financial speculation with natural resources and crops (food, cultures agricoles), and climate change.

- China Association for NGO Cooperation - CANGO:

China Climate Change Action Network (CCAN) is a network of Chinese NGOs working on climate change. CCAN’s activities include: 1. Concrete initiatives for energy saving under the “C+ Initiative”. The C+ Initiative has produced three Guidelines on Pilot Case Studies drafted for replication of similar activities at other universities, residential compounds and SMEs. 2. As for the climate policy work, a policy recommendation paper was completed in 2011 and submitted to the Climate Change Department of the NDRC. In addition, CCAN organized a series of dialogue meetings with policy makers. CCAN also joined international seminars on climate change and exchanged ideas and views with different stakeholders in debates. 3. In terms of international communication, CCAN activities have moved from organizing and hosting dialogue meetings towards more concrete exchanges and joint-actions. In 2013, three partnerships between European and Chinese CSOs have been established to develop closer cooperation and jointly design long-term projects on green climate finance, emission trading systems and climate change education and etc.

- ZOU Lingbing, The Maple Women’s Psychological Counseling Center - the Maple Center (China):

Founded in 1988, the Maple Center is the first non-profit NGO in China designed to support women. Its well-known project, the Ark Family Center (AFC), aims at providing psychological counseling and social services to single-parent families. Since its creation in 1998, the AFC has benefited thousands of single-parent families with professional services to improve relationships and mental development of single parents and their children and enhance their capability of social adaptation.

- LI Li, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation - CFPA:

CFPA’s efforts in achieving MDG include: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality and improve maternal health; and develop a global partnership for Development.

In 2011, Chinese government adopted a new poverty line of per capita annual income of RMB 2300 (€282) , which means China still has 128 million people under the line. For this reason, the majority of Chinese ordinary people and organizations keep thinking how to deal with this domestic challenge. They have not well prepared to make donation for supporting Chinese NGOs going abroad. Chinese philanthropy started in 1980s and most Chinese people, including governmental officials at different levels, do not have proper understanding of professional philanthropy and know little about international philanthropy.

- LIAO Guochao, Promotion Association for Mountain-River-Lake Regional Sustainable Development of Jiangxi Province (China):

Government and local communities are key stakeholders on sustainable development. NGOs play as a facilitator: building mutual trust with government and local communities by support their priority project; organizing study tours, trainings or workshops to raise their awareness and capability to build common understanding; integrating the environmental sustainable development with poverty alleviation and economic development; providing some finance resource and technical advises. Participatory Appraise Approach is a useful tool to build up cooperation with local government and community.

- Marina PARRA, Network for Democracy and Equity (Argentina):

In the last 40 years, Argentina has been scarred by different events. The resulting rate of unemployment of 26 percent and a poverty level of 57.5 percent brought about the crisis in Argentina which was manifested by the social explosion of the year 2001.

In this scenario, new forms of citizen participation and new social movements emerged, such as the barter clubs (exchange of goods and services without money), the neighbourhood assemblies, the community soup kitchens, and the integration between the movements of peasants, native Argentineans and small farmers in defence of their lands. There were also innovative experiences of social participation and organisation, which were very much related to the fight for subsistence and at the same time characterised by a rejection of anything that had to do with the government.

It was a situation of political fragmentation but also of the emergence of new protagonists. A process of public reconstruction by putting those themes most polemic for and felt by our people on the agenda, resting on three basic pillars: the reactivation of the economy, the recovery of work as the social organizer and the new role for the State and politics of human rights.

Citizen participation organised and linked with the State for the recuperation of politics as a tool of transformation, is indubitably the greatest of achievements of the last decade.

- Rocío VALDEAVELLANO, The Citizen Movement on Climate Change (Peru):

People living in the 21st century are facing the climate crisis and a crisis of predominant civilization models. The direct cause of GW and CC is the excessive accumulation of GHGs in the atmosphere. However, the underlying root cause is the predominant model of civilization. Therefore, we should develop a new paradigm for society and lifestyles and rescue the “Buen Vivir” heritage.

It is a message from indigenous peoples for mankind. It is an alternative paradigm which comes from the people historically oppressed by Eurocentric domination. Cultures that have conserved biodiversity throughout the centuries in harmony with human life are now threatened. The constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador recognize and assume this orientation for their countries.

“Buen Vivir” means a state of fullness and harmony with all that exists; it is community-based, with all beings complementary and reciprocal. It aims an ecological balance and social equilibrium and advocates a biocentric and holistic vision of human beings.

Rocío called on people to take courage to change the course, to move from ship, to leave once for all the misleading trip of the Titanic and embark in the Noah’s ark to preserve the diversity of life and save all of us from the wreck.

- Candido GRZYBOWSKI, Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicas - IBASE (Brazil):

The destructive productivism and consumerism creators of more – luxury and more misery- have taken over our lifestyles. We have accumulated individual goods, collective poverty and human unhappiness.

The civilization crisis characterizes, for us, the dominant system’s loss of capacity to answer planetary challenges, regarding both the preservation of the integrity of the planet and of life for future generations, and the correction of social and environmental injustice inter and intra people.

Thinking the basis of a new civilization and becoming part of the long process of social dismantlement and of reconstruction of culture, of economy and of power which this remodeling implies is an imperative for humanity. The idea of biocivilization moves towards the search for a new civilization paradigm.

The foundations for biocivilization consist of life and planetary integrity, the ethics of caring, of living together and of sharing, the Common goods, social justice and environmental justice, quality, diversity and individuality, human rights and responsibilities, and peace and democracy.

- Gustavo MARIN, Forum for a New World Governance (Chile) :

It is very hard to define social/citizen movement as it has very different forms, directions, purposes and initiators, but we should be very open-minded to see how societies move, and how people change the world maybe sometime in a silent way.

Even if some important social movements were worldwide, they were still movements in the framework of a State. The new social movement based on IT in recent years is more like a rebel against injustice, but organizers, without long-term vision of what should be done, do not know how to change the everyday life of people.

We still have missing links in our society to change the world. We do not have a Global Citizen Movement yet. As far as a social movement is not related to with a political vision to change the world in a global level, we will remain split, fragmented, and unable to change the world.

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