The Charter for Responsibility Meeting, Changchun, China Oct 2008
The meeting of a committee working on a Charter for Human Responsibility took a principle focus on the development of a strategic plan for the next five years.
The following is a resume of the focus of the meeting and plans ahead.
A key platform for the meeting was on how to build awareness and institutions which reflect and support the interdependence between humanity and earth’s living ecosystems. The key areas of engagement are ethics, governance and alternatives to development. The proposed strategic framework consists of the following points for analysis:
- WHAT : which activities in which fields (environment, education, gender, etc.)
- WHOM : relevant actors in those fields and whom to involve as allies in order to shift to a more expansive level
- HOW : (methodological approaches, pedagogical tools, capitalisation of experiences, web-site, etc.)
- WHERE : levels of society (local, national, international)
- WHEN: time perspective (timing ad hoc trials, envisaging the nourishing of ongoing processes, as well as preparing for seizing new opportunities)
– Are these choices interconnected in such a way that they may lead to a snowball effect ?
Presentations and country reports were made by participants at the meeting using the a strategic framework. For ongoing plans, the Strategic Framework provided as a reference for analysis and for giving impetus to building institutional and legal forms of responsibility.
The exercise of presenting current activities in terms of ultimate objective, specific objectives, which activities, with whom, which allies, how, levels of society, time perspective, and snowball effect brought to the fore not only to what extent these activities already respond to a strategic approach, but also where the gaps are.
Discussions showed how the different ways of working on ‘Responsibility’ internationally, are interlinked with theory and practice of ‘governance’ and ‘alternatives to development’. The notion of ‘alternatives to development’ seeks to address the need for economies that prioritize earth stewardship and sustainability. This is to challenge ‘developed nation’ economic principles of growth, exploitation and profit, and engage with ways to address the human needs of developing countries within sustainability/ responsibility criteria.
1. Strategic Plan
A plan to integrate a common vision and strategy with the various actions at local, regional and global levels in the coming years is meant to bring the work already undertaken to provide the basis for an ongoing strategic direction. This includes the intention to move further beyond present boundaries and into more influential levels of society.
2. Reaching levels of expansion and implementation
In some of the countries where members of the Charter Committee are active, people have been innovative in creating tools of dissemination. These include street theatre groups, the production of DVD’s, interactive workshops, educational initiatives, written materials and publications. These are being implemented at all levels of society.
The New Zealand regional initiative, Across Oceania was seen as a programme with a strategic direction that is already working on across-sector engagement of partners, as well as with multidisciplinary knowledge, in a programme to support integrated governance. Another significant programme is the Environmental Education program in Brazil that has become centred around the notion of responsibility.
In the face of the wider context of the international financial crisis as well as the environmental threat, the idea of working with Responsibility as an ethical orientation that complements the implementation of Human rights, was affirmed. Responsibility that engages with accountabilities between different sectors of society, and accountability for the viability of the living planet are the main focus for this ethic and the impetus to find institutional implementation.
Fragmentation in institutions, be they financial, governmental, scientific or other, is a major impediment to are so the holistic systems that are needed to give expression of responsibility .