Sunday, 21 June 2009

IACD, Brisbane:: Declaration of intent to work towards sommunity centred economies

I have been in Brisbane this week attending the Oceania conference of the International Association for Community Development. It has been a very rich experience with inspiring yet practical speakers by the dozen. At the close of the conference, the Declaration of Intent set out below was issued. This is in a 'not quite final' form. There may be a little tweaking yet and it will then be re-sent to the participants. When that occurs, I will re-post here the amended version. Until then, use this to your heart's content to work with, to plan with, to convince, to convert, whatever......


We offer this declaration as a ‘starting point’ in our shared commitment to foster Community Centred Economies.


Economies are for everyone, and are everyone’s responsibility.

They are valuable to the extent that they achieve genuine, equitable wealth in all its forms including cultural, economic, social, environmental and spiritual wealth.
The health and abundance of such things as relationships, spirit, happiness, food, housing, clean water and soil, biodiversity, and livelihoods
must be primary to, and served by our economies.

We call for a move to community centred economies to achieve such wealth.
These economies will nourish, and be nourished by, the people within them.
We envisage them, not as ‘alternative’ economies,
but as the essential building blocks of national and global economies.

1. Learn – Re-think – Lead
We want to open ourselves and others to different possibilities – to an understanding of the damage being done by existing systems, and the potential to transform them through community centred economies. We will be leaders, and learners, together. We will create time and space to foster our leadership and our learning.

We recognise the economic and environmental crises that face us, and will use these to foster our creativity, collaboration and growth.

It begins with ourselves, and grows through our relationships. We are powerful together.

2. Think Local : Community First

We will think, first, (but not only) of our community – as we understand, asking:
  • What are our needs and aspirations, and how an we resource them?
  • What are our strengths and assets, and how can we build on them?
  • What are the needs of the land we rely on, and how can we heal and sustain it?
  • How can we invest our wealth back into our community?
  • How can we support the genuine wealth of other communities?
We will begin by listening to the land, and its traditional custodians.

Community initiatives, not imposed ideas or programs, will be the starting point for community and economic development.

3. Foster and Structure Local Relationships

Any community or locality has knowledge, skills and assets and resources within it, which, when brought together, can create new possibilities. Indeed, there are many examples, past and present, of community centred economies at work.

Community centred economies rely on people within communities and the government and private sector joining together in relationship to identify and foster the potential that lies within. In turn, community centred economies foster these relationships.

4. Resource community centred economies

As there are many communities, so there will be many answers. No one answer will work for all communities. Outsiders can play a role in offering ideas and knowledge but they cannot know as well as local people what is right for that area. They should respond to and resource local agendas, rather than seeking to direct them.

Community initiatives may be funded from various sources within and beyond the community. Communities can be strategic in determining the best source for different purposes. Funding sources, as far as possible, should be responsible and flexible to community circumstances.

5. Commit to justice

As we build strong and just communities, we also strive to foster equity within and between communities. Particular attention must be given to the voiceless or powerless.

We will work to reduce inequality. Communities with greater resources will choose to support the economies of those with less.

6. Build a network of courage and support

We seek to build an ever-growing network of people who understand the importance and possibility of community centred economies, and who are striving toward it. We will learn from each other’s successes and challenges.

We want to create, indentify and/or join appropriate networks and alliances so that, together we can develop Community Centred Economies that provide genuine wealth and livelihood for all.


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