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Communiqué of the GCAP Global Assembly 2015

Mobilising Against Inequalities
Making "Leave No One Behind" A Reality

New York, 28 September 2015



A Fresh Mandate after 2015

1. An unsustainable development model - obsessed with the market and economic growth - is driving rising and untenable inequalities, man-made climate change and the further exclusion of socially and economically marginalised communities.  The concentration of wealth and political power in fewer hands is detrimental to society, as is the discrimination and unequal treatment that mostly affects women, girls and minority communities.  Across the globe, billions of people are suffering.  

2. We, the representatives of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) - a global civil society movement that challenges the institutions and processes that perpetuate poverty and inequalities - meeting in New York in the Global Assembly from 27-28 September with inputs from coalitions and constituents across the globe, agree to renew and affirm our mandate to fight inequalities and poverty, to ensure that the human rights and dignity of every person is realised and that the planet's boundaries are respected.

3. We hereby declare that we will work together in a new form after 2015 for justice and to eradicate inequalities and poverty.

4. GCAP was launched in 2005 at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, as an open and ambitious call to civil society – including feminist and women's organisations, human rights groups, marginalised and socially-excluded communities, national and international NGOs, trade unions, youth and faith-based groups, among others.  GCAP adopted and popularised the whiteband as an international symbol to end poverty and inequalities.

GCAP national coalitions and constituency groups, including the Feminist Task Force and the Socially Excluded Task Force, have mobilised hundreds of millions of women, men, children and youth, including socially excluded groups, to put pressure on governments to deliver on their promises.  GCAP constituents have monitored the successes and failures of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as national and regional development commitments and the actions of international institutions and groupings, such as the G20 and UNFCCC.  Since 2010, GCAP constituents have also worked to shape the Post-2015 development agenda.

Since the start of GCAP's 'Call to Action' ten years ago, we have influenced national and regional policies and helped shape the global discourse on poverty and inequalities, including successfully campaigning for a standalone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG #10) "Reduce Inequality Within and Among Countries."

Inequalities and the SDGs

5. Given the context of obscene inequalities in today’s world, we, the Global Assembly of GCAP, declare that we will fight inequalities with a focus on gender inequalities and socially excluded people, including women, indigenous communities, Dalits, people living in conflict areas, children, aging people, communities affected by climate change, climate and other migrants and persons with disabilities.  We shall ensure that the slogan "No One Left Behind" - which originated with civil society and later adopted by the United Nations - becomes a reality. This is the basis for a strong political positioning by GCAP as a Global Call with a Southern perspective in which the majority of the leadership comes from the Global South.

6. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) go far beyond the MDGs and offer the hope of a future where people live in harmony on a safe, sustainable planet.  Unlike the MDGs, the SDGs include goals on inequalities, peace, decent work, justice and transparency while also vowing to end violence against women and children, human trafficking and dangerous climate change.

While we welcome the adoption of the SDGs, we are disturbed by the weakness of the discussion on the structural and root causes of inequalities and poverty. In addition, there is no critical assessment of the role of the private sector, which is only portrayed as part of the solution, even though businesses often exacerbate inequalities, including gender inequality, poverty and climate change.

The SDGs are just one framework for engagement.  GCAP will continue to challenge the structural aspects and causes of inequalities and poverty.  We will hold all actors to account - including governments, private sector and international institutions, including the UN. To achieve the SDGs, policies that promote equality such as tax justice, decent work, distributive measures, social protection and gender equality are crucial.

Bottom-up Mobilisation

7. GCAP will work at local, national, regional and global levels to monitor the implementation of the SDGs in order to ensure that countries achieve the goals and meet and exceed the targets for all groups.  GCAP will focus on a bottom-up approach to engage people and governments.  Our strategy of engagement with this framework is captured by the expression, "Localising SDGs - Supporting Local Communities Fighting for Justice." This includes working with coalitions, constituencies and partners at national, regional and global levels based on local mobilisations.

GCAP's core strengths include community mobilization, evidence-based monitoring and advocacy at local, regional, national and international levels with clear demands.  GCAP's work is based on peoples’ voices and, as such, GCAP supports developing the awareness and capacity of local leaders to participate in international processes and frameworks.  

8. GCAP will work to end land, water and forest grabs as well as violations of human rights by mega-mines and other extractive sites. We seek an end to the extractives development model.  We will work to transform unjust and impoverishing aspects of the global economic and financial architecture as well as the root causes of violent conflicts.  As legal systems have often failed to protect people’s rights to natural resources, GCAP will work with local communities to ensure that democratic decisions at all levels are implemented by governments.

9. Governments continue to relegate civil society and people’s voices to the margins.  Governments have enacted restrictive legislation and intimidated activists, aid workers, journalists and the media.  GCAP campaigners have been unjustly imprisoned while mobilizing constituents for greater accountability, gender justice and climate action.  GCAP will stand up for meaningful civil society participation and support civil society organisations and activists that are harassed by their governments.

10. We plan to connect with millions of global citizens and ensure that their demands for justice are heard.  We recognize that advocacy and mobilisation are two sides of the same strategy.  Since its creation in 2005, mobilizing the people of the planet is in the DNA of GCAP.  Mobilisation is based at local and national levels. Global campaigns support these national campaigns.

The New Start

11. Creating a just, sustainable world for all people - particularly in the face of entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo - is a formidable challenge that requires re-energizing our network and building new partnerships and alliances.  We plan to work collaboratively with social movements, civil society networks, grassroots groups and others with common values and objectives, at the regional and global levels, to build a strong initiative and to work in broad civil society alliances.

12. Marking GCAP's 10th anniversary has been a celebratory event; reigniting our passion to continue with a fresh start, GCAP will have a transitional period to develop a new governance structure, name, logo and other elements. We will re-launch at the beginning of 2016. We invite constituents, strategic partners and allies to work with us to develop this future strategy.


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