"The global crisis as a global opportunity:
Barcelona Consensus process"

Marti Olivella

The global crisis demands global answers; answers that cannot come from those who provoked, accepted or took advantage of its causes.

The world architecture built upon the ashes of the World War II is collapsing. The great foundations that granted America its hegemony, shared in part with all the other winners, 64 years later can no longer answer the necessities of a world undergoing dee p transformations of various kinds. Neither Bretton Woods (America's pillar in the economic-financial network in the IMF and the WB) nor the UN (political pillar in the Security Council) or the atom bomb (military pillar), which sealed the financial and political hegemony are acceptable any longer, and deep modifications must be considered.

The global crisis is also a global opportunity to reconsider the questions and give voice to new answers. If one of the determining elements of the crisis has been the carelessness of politicians towards their responsibilities based on the belief that markets would regulate the necessities of common good, it cannot be that these same politicians will now manage the deep modifications that must be undertaken.

If the rulers have been influenced by the dominant "thinkers," and now this "exclusive thought" has collapsed, it is necessary to give a voice to "thinkers" who had been diminished , to define the new rules of the game, rules that have to guarantee the common good, that is to say, the sustainable coverage of the basic needs for the entire world population.

In the face of the confusion of governments and their advisors, it is necessary to facilitate a process that rethinks and reformulates some new rules of the game, taking into consideration the proposals of experts and academics, of opinion and social movements leaders, in order to build a consensus of visions and measures that can influence governments, orientate the public opinion and facilitate the articulation of social movements around concrete transforming goals.

It is not a matter of making a list of the sum of claims of the social movements or a battlefield of confronted ideological positions, it is a matter of constructing a process that allows collecting proposals, arguing their suitability and expressing the degree of consensus that they deserve amongst the participants in the process.

The Barcelona Consensus is the response that 150 academics and social movement leaders from all around the world started two years ago and that lead to the Barcelona Consensus Declaration 1.0: Committing to a Sustainable and People-centered World for All.

The Declaration 1.0 states that, in order to re-build a sustainable and people-centered world for all, we must ensure that each and every person has access to adequate resources for the sustainable and equitable satisfaction of their basic needs.

The Declaration 1.0 proposes a new social, political and economic contract, promoted by people and communities, engaging with institutions, governments and business from different territories to build an alternative to the Washington Consensus.

The progressively implemented proposals of the Barcelona Consensus and related actions will enable people to achieve a gradual transition from a culture of constraints, domination, violence and war, to one of dialogue, conciliation, partnership and peace. People shall move from a culture of force to a culture of words, facilitated by remote electronic participation and innovative policies being pursued by some countries.

The Declaration 1.0 details our need, as local and global citizens, to actively participate in building a more balanced, peaceful and sustainable world. This document suggests two ways to achieve this goal: designing and conducting Transition Plans in seven major areas, and implementing Actions for a Common Transformation (ACT!).

Transition Plans will enable all groups to select shared goals to implement the following transitions:

Transition to a participatory and deliberative democracy.
Transition to environmental sustainability.
Transition to a social, equitable and sustainable economy.
Transition to a non-speculative financial system.
Transition to a society of shared knowledge and democratic communication.
Transition to a world beyond war and violence.
Transition to democratic world governance.

As we move forward with these transitions, we pledge to take urgent actions for survival, in order to:

Eradicate hunger and malnutrition locally and globally, and provide clean drinking water and adequate sanitation.

Confront the damage caused by “development” and climate change in impoverished countries.

Avoid having recourse to armed interventions and wars, even if they are pursued in the name of “democracy”.

The Declaration 1.0 proposes the organization of an Action for a Common Transformation (ACT!) as an event that will take place in different countries of the world at the same time, an action that will be performed by citizens and whose goal will be to produce a specific change that will directly impact on the subjects responsible for the global crisis (from an economic, media, political or financial point of view) to change the most unbalanced, violent and unsustainable situations we live in.

People deserve a decent life, simply because they are human