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Concept Note

From global inequalities to social, economic and climate justice

Download a PDF of the concept note.

Context

The climate emergency, rising inequalities and the COVID-19 pandemic have reaffirmed the failures and limitations of the current neoliberal model to respond to crises and ensure a dignified life for all. Transformation in the organisation of our economy is needed in order to confront the challenges the world is currently facing and to create societies that are fair, inclusive, socially-just, equitable and sustainable. To this end, actors from a diverse range of movements, sectors and regions have, in recent years, been mobilising to reclaim and rebuild public services as the foundation of a fair and just economy that works for all. Key milestones have included the first global “Future is Public” conference held in Amsterdam 2019, which brought together over 400 participants to discuss strategies for putting the “public” back into public services and to build democratic public ownership of the economy, and the launch of the collective civil society Global Manifesto on Public Services in October 2021, signed by over 200 organisations.

Actors and organisations from across the world are now looking with great attention and hope at the experience of the Chilean Constitutional Convention as a potential turning point and symbol that a new approach to the organisation of societies is possible. This makes Chile a fitting setting for a global convening of social movements, civil society actors and academic and political leaders to build and reinforce alliances, exchange ideas, and develop strategies for reclaiming public services and democratising the economy.

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General information

  • 29 November - 2 December 2022
  • 300 participants anticipated
  • Hybrid (online and in-person) event
  • With open public events inviting both international and local participants.

Objectives

The Our Future is Public Conference aims at raising public consciousness and building political momentum regarding the importance of robust and innovative public services for guaranteeing human rights and facing the challenges of the 21st century. In addition to this, it represents an opportunity to build and reinforce collaboration between actors and movements to strengthen public services, develop common narratives on critical issues and decide on joint sectoral and cross-sectoral strategies.

Cross cutting themes

The cross cutting themes for the conference are:

  • Economic, tax and debt justice and financing universal public services;
  • Climate justice, food justice, decolonisation, Indigenous Peoples Rights and just transitions;
  • Feminist alternatives and gender-transformative care services; and
  • Democratic ownership, community collaborations and reimagining government.

More details on these themes are available here.

Meeting format

This will be a hybrid in-person and online event. After two years of COVID-19, we share a need to meet in person to rebuild and newly build trust, confidence, networks, and alliances. Ensuring avenues for online participation for at least a part of the conference will be important to increase equitable access to the conference, to share debates globally and in light of carbon footprint considerations. Extra resources and attention will be paid to COVID safety and risk management.

Meeting structure

This event will last 4 days and will be organised in sectoral conferences (first 2 days) and a Cross-Sectoral Conference (last 2 days).

Block 1: Sectoral Conferences (2 days)

This part of the conference will provide open spaces for different groups, movements and networks to meet to organise sector by sector. Meetings will be self-organised by the different groups, movements and networks.

The sectoral groups are the following: education, health, transportation, energy, waste, care, economic justice and social protection, water, food systems and agriculture and housing. New sectors may be included in coming weeks. The core outcomes of the sectoral conferences will feed into the cross-sectoral conference.

Block 2: Cross-Sectoral Conference (2 days)

This part of the conference will be a space for cross-sectoral political discussions that address four main pressing challenges: the climate emergency, gender equality, economic justice, and public democratic ownership. Furthermore, it will also bring in and engage with political and influential actors (such as politicians, institutions, city networks, and the media), to build understanding and confidence in taking up a transformative agenda. It will focus on narratives, messages and outcomes, and centring public services as a concrete experience and as tools to democratise the economy and public ownership, to shift to a transformative caring world, and to offer alternatives (democracy, solidarity, collective) to fear and insecurity. The objectives are to:

  • Bring together different types of actors and movements (activists, movements, practitioners, politicians, public institutions, academics, journalists, trade unions, think tanks and NGOs) to share inspiring practises, policies and experiences.
  • Build political endorsement for transformative public services movements.
  • Produce and/or launch concrete outcomes from the four days.

Organisation process

Our Future is Public conference is being organised by a range of civil society organisations, social movements, and academic institutions that work across a variety of sectors, geographic zones, and thematic focuses. It is composed of different committees: a core group, a logistics committee, sectoral groups, and a communications commission. It aims at collaborating with Chilean organisations, public administration, and study centres.

Organising principles

The organisation of the Our Future is Public Conference is based on the following principles:

  • Collectivising knowledge: bringing different expertise and experience together to help each other to understand a big picture.
  • Non-extractive participation: promoting collective ownership of the process and achievements.

Organising partners

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