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Building Post-2015 from the Grassroots

Despite lip service and some efforts to the contrary, international organisations and campaigners rarely manage to really build an agenda from the grassroots.

That's the conclusion of veteran activist Olivier Consolo, a GCAP supporter who served as the director of the European NGO confederation CONCORD from 2003 - 2013.

"We mainly encourage local movements and organisations to input our own international agenda or to join our global campaign . . . it is unlikely that we propose to local leaders and movements to support their processes or to co-build joint action."

Instead, as we work on the Post-2015 agenda, Consolo proposes an alternative course . . .

First, we must make explicit two important assumptions:

  • All social and citizens battles start and are rooted in local and/or national realities, politics and institutional environments. Changes in society start from people themselves, not from international networks or institutions. 
  • There is also almost always an international dimension to local and national struggles. Changing the local context or local-power relations alone might not be enough to solve local and national issues.

"If this interdependent reality between local and international levels is acknowledged by all actors, then the way to build international campaigns, advocacy work and agendas could be radically different," writes Consolo, who proceeds to offer the following approach to Post-2015:

1. Ask our national partners and members to identify current people-led struggles at the local and national levels.

2. Organize specific working meetings at the local and national levels with the leadership of these organisations that are involved in people’s fights and initiatives, to understand their dynamics and analyse with them precisely what are the ‘international dimensions’ of the situations they are trying to change.

3. Based on these first diagnostics / mappings, a few regional and thematic meetings or webinars could be organized to map and cluster the main international implications of the local situations. 

4. A global meeting could then be organized with key leaders from national & local levels, and with international leaders too, to build a political narrative and strategy for the post-2015 agenda. International actors shouldn’t dominate such working sessions. Our international networks should mobilize resources to prepare local and national leaders to elaborate their own inputs and contributions ahead of this international conference. This joint political narrative and strategy should constitute the building block of our joint political campaigns around Post-2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

You can read more on Consolo's blog or download the 2-page Concept Note here.

Building Post-2015 from the Grassroots by Olivier Consolo.pdf504.39 KB