Over 50 people from 6 continents and representing more than 30 key platforms and organisations engaged in civil society-led campaigns relating to sustainable development gathered in Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 February 2014. The meeting was convened by CIVICUS in collaboration with the United Nations, the Overseas Development Institute and the United Nations Foundation. This communiqué summarises the discussions held in Istanbul.
A Historic Moment
There was consensus that the culmination in 2015 of inter-governmental negotiations on climate change and the post-2015 sustainable development agenda provide a powerful opportunity for collective and decentralised large-scale, public-facing actions aimed at compelling governments at all levels to commit to ambitious and transformative action to end poverty, address inequality and ensure sustainable development.
The timing of these processes implies that the year 2015 could potentially be the point of transition to a bold, new generation of people-centred and planet-sensitive development and the beginning of a strong movement for transformational change.
Achieving a new social contract that reflects a strong and radical narrative of hope and transformation however requires a concerted effort across existing and prospective civil society platforms, effective cooperation with social movements and a major push for citizens and communities around the world to be engaged with shaping the post-2015 global development agenda. It was felt that there is a need to move into the mainstream discourse with the aim of inspiring massive numbers of people worldwide to form a global movement for sustainability, justice and accountability.
Such a movement would help ensure that the next phase of the development effort ‘leaves no one behind’.
The year 2015 will be an all-important moment but must be seen as the starting point – not the culmination – of the proposed movement building effort. To achieve this, a systematic effort to harness strategies, expertise and resources across the broadest spectrum of civil society needs to be engaged, including local and international development and environmental organisations; campaigns for development and climate justice; trade unions; faith based organisations; academic, scientific and media institutions; and, perhaps most importantly, broad-based social movements and organisations of marginalised people.
It was felt that any new campaign needed to be ‘radical and radically inclusive’.
We come together because 2015 is a generational opportunity for transformational change. Two processes (COP - UNFCCC and the finalisation of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda) culminate within months of each other with the potential to shape the future of our people and our planet. Our aim is to inspire actions that empower the marginalised and collectively tackle the root causes of inequality, injustice, poverty and climate change.
The testament of our success is that concrete actions are taken now, agreements are ambitious, reflect local struggles and leave no one behind. We call for a transparent and inclusive process for the articulation, implementation and monitoring of such a framework.
Our vision is a transformational shift that ensures gender justice and enables everyone to live their lives in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression, discrimination or injustice, in a way that protects the planetary systems required for survival of life on earth.
This is the world we want and believe can be achieved.