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Collective Learning from Calls for Global Action


Collective Learning from Calls for Global Action
Recent examples
Problems of emphasis
Metaphor of birth
Possible criteria for success

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This document was originally prepared for the planning meeting in January 1981 of the Planetary Initiative for the World We Choose (see PDF version). Despite its many limitations, it identifies concerns which need to be borne in mind when reflecting on the merits of any new proposal for action at this time. The proposals emerging from the recent Casablanca Forum of NGOs (November 1981) are a case in point (see pages 18-25), as is the Club of Rome's new Forum Humanum project, and the Stuttgart proposal (pages29-33). The World Forum of Transnational Associations (Brussels, 1980) must of course also be seen in this light. Printed in Transnation Associations, 1982, 1, pp. 26-28 [PDF version]


Calls for global action are much to be welcomed in this time of uncertainty. The following comments attempt to focus on the significance of the ever-present gap between the vision underlying such proposals and the reality of the outcome. Given that the past two decades have seen the birth and demise of many global programmes and campaigns, are there lessons which can usefully be kept in mind when assessing new calls for action. Why is it that initiators of new calls for action pay little attention to the weaknesses of past efforts ? How can blindspots be uncovered to give greater strength to such initiatives as they emerge ? How can we learn from the inadequacies of efforts in the past ? The following points constitute a rudimentary checklist of points which merit reflection in designing and responding to any global call for action, particularly one based on the energies of grassroots participation and mobilisation of 'We the Peoples'.