The Alliance for Responsable and Sustainable Societies
Editorial - Newsletter 1
Betsan Martin, May 2017
We celebrate the first Newsletter of the Alliance for Responsable and Sustainable Societies, and the inauguration of a news link with friends and partners throughout the world. We appreciate the Fondation Charles-Léopold Mayer for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) for resourcing the Alliance and for inspiration.
Leadership for Responsibility through the Alliance encompasses the relational, public good and accountability dimensions of responsibility for transformative work of harmonizing with the planet.
Partners of the Alliance bring responsibility forward in the social and professional of their work and contexts. We have a profile of activity law, governance, economy and social fields such as education.
Tbe metaphor of a ‘woven universe’ offers a way to see the interplay between the varied local and global dimensions of our activities. For example education practitioners and researchers in schools in the Philippines, Brazil, France and New Zealand are also actors for Global Citizenship Education globally.
Innovations in law in jurisdictions such as India, New Zealand and France become matters of world-wide attention in the global search for transformative responses to the quest for climate-accountable systems of regulation and governance. We have begun to work with partners in Fiji, Oceania which will hold the Presidency of COP23.
A data-base at www.alliance-respons.net is key to sharing information.
In this newsletter we feature some of the current activities of partners under four categories: Partner’s activities, Thought leadership, Recent resources, Upcoming Events. For this issue contributions span Global Citizenship Education, training for Social Protection and a new video on Climate and Responsibility in which Isis de Palma presents the challenges faced by humanity to stabilize the climate on the planet in the coming years. We have the responsability of retirees, and cities as sites of transformation, law and governing the commons, and responsibilities that arise from interdependence in the Anthropocene.
In New Zealand and India, Rivers have been given the status of Legal Personalities; in Hawai’i new weighting has been given to water as a public trust. Given the significance of the private sector, the quest for law to encompass interdependence and corporate responsibility are references for research on jurisprudence by the College de France.
The ambition of the Alliance to bring responsibility to the forefront of transitions to sustainable and interdependent societies is amplified by turning a position of limited resources into a strategy of optimum value and strength. Locally generated initiatives sit alongside ‘value-added’ contributions to larger scale events such as COP21, to UNESCO education events and ‘Climate Chance’, a conference to build the momentum of non-Sate actor influence for climate action.
Our strategy of aligning specific contextual projects with global engagement is enhanced by a communications and resource centre. The data-base and website are a repository for documenting initiatives and reflection on the operationalising of responsibility. It thus serves as an archive of resources for global outreach.
New thinking is emerging, and we are part of it and in many respects leading it.
The Alliance for Responsible and Sustainable Societies was formed in 2014 at a meeting of founding partners in La Bergerie, France. The Alliance grew out of ten years of prior activity as a Forum for Ethics and Responsibility with the FPH (The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind) Paris, France as primary sponsor and intellectual animateur.
While we often frame Responsibility and interdependence as conditions for organizational and institutional change, these are also the conditions to transform consciousness which has become disassociated from the earth and our systems of separation into a new level of connectedness. Thomas Berry said
« The deepest cause of the environmental crisis is found in a mode of consciousness that has established a radical discontinuity between human and other modes of being and the bestowal of all rights on humans. »
Responsibility is our corrective measure. One of the challenges we face is that the jurisprudence being developed for earth law, which is a direct response to Thomas Berry, is to extend rights to non humans – to earth and rivers and animals, assuming that rights is a means of redress. It is an endeavor to grant legal standing to trees and rivers and animals.
Yet, the entitlement of rights sits within the dichotomies and the separation of nature and culture, rational and spiritual domains. Through responsibility we seek more integrated means of accountability for harm, and communal dimensions for our shared destiny with all forms of life.
The contributions here show something of the range of our programme, in terms of engagement and fields of interest.
The Philippines team are bringing a programme on Global Citizenship Education (GCE) into the state training programme, and ‘idea laboratories’ give students the chance to be key players in their education through research by French-based partners L’AECP (Alliance for Education for Planetary Citizenship). The New Zealand programme brings philosophy to the centre for GCE. The inaugural Social Protection training programme in Colombia in February had a magical quality of young entrepreneurs generating work-place care and social responsability in their communities. And through our partner in Peru, we link to action for preservation of the Amazon.
New thinking is to be found in the Policy Quarterly articles provided by Alliance partner Dr Adrian Macey, where weight is brought to bear for governing the global commons through trusteeship.
Articles are on Peace, Oceans and law for the Sea, transnational criminals and an update on the Paris Agreement. Adrian notes the change in the legal function of the Paris agreement from defining and imposing obligations towards a framework to ‘facilitate, encourage and support action’ from governments and from non-state actors. An onus is on governments to provide enabling ‘conditions for other sectors to play their part’.
The intellectual leadership of Pierre Calame, working with Luca d’Ambrosio and Mireille Delmas-Marty of the Collége de France come to the fore in compelling insights from a Seminar on the quest for law that restores relationships between humans and nature and the broader new jurisprudence of ‘responsibilities that derive from interdependencies’. It is arresting to hear that ‘environmental law provides no response to the challenges of interdependencies’.
In South America the Social Protection training organized by MGEN France, involving Danae Desplanque, Romain Chave and Guy Leveque with partners in Colombia synchronizes with a legal requirement for training in Social Protection in Colombia. Young entrepreneurs met in Soacha for training in becoming ‘multipliers of solidarity in improving working and living conditions in their communities.
Cities feature as key players in transitions to sustainable societies. On the basis that 80% of people will live in cities by 2050 Vice President of the Alliance, Yolanda Ziaka shows how joining together brings effective transformative change – towards local forms of exchange, renewable energy, new forms of learning through social engagement, and capacity to address the multidimensional aspects of sustainability.
Finally I mention the Code for Responsibility which us underway with partner Nina Gregg‘s guiding hand. The Code is being generated from the Universal Declaration of Interdependence and Responsibility. In contrast to a more prescriptive Code of Conduct, it is intended to inspire new thought, provide and ethical collaborative and inspire shared action with transformative impetus.
Importantly, in the coming months we anticipate a new more interactive website interface for activities and for the growing volume of resources in the database.
Yolanda Ziaka and Christelle Loukitch, working in Greece, lead communications and the data base of the Alliance, and we extend special appreciation to them and to Nadia Gianoli, in Switzerland for producing the first newsletter
Please enjoy the showcase of Alliance activities – there are more to share in a few months in our next newsletter.
For the third year of the Alliance we are assessing ways to enhance strategic value through participation in global scale events, through research and in endeavours to link sectors and disciplines in our varied contexts.
Good reading !
To subscribe, click here.