Leaders from UK NGOs met to explore insights into the relationship between democracy and sustainable development, ways forward, and whether and how NGOs should work together to get democracy working for environmental justice and sustainable development.
The group, a mix of environment and social NGOs agreed that democracy and not some benign dictator, was necessary to meet the challenges. Insights included: leading political leaders feeling hampered without a mass movement for change on carbon; politics of the left and right being unable to cope with ‘limits’; the problematic concept of the ‘third sector’; the lack of focus on grass-roots energy and community collaboration, the need to learn from non-democracies such as Cuba; and the problematic links between localism and central control. There was also discussion of how best NGOs can work and collaborate (particularly between those primarily focused on either environment or social challenges), citing positive examples such as the Third Sector Climate Change Declaration or the Roundtable on Climate Change and Poverty, as well as possible problems.
You can find a background note written for the event here.
Summary of the event written by Halina Ward and Maria Adebowale
26th October 2009