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Higher Orders of Inter-sectoral Consensus

Clarification of formal possibilities (Part #1)

Proposal prepared for consideration by the International Facilitating Committee for the Independent Sectors in the UNCED Process (chaired by Ashok Khosla) preparatory to the Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1992). A version of this proposal was implemented and resulted, notably, in a document entitled Configuring Globally and Contending Locally: Shaping the global network of local bargains by decoding and mapping Earth Summit inter-sectoral issues (1992)
An "Independent Sector Summit"
Challenge and opportunity
Recognition of complementary approaches
Conceptual challenge and unexplored resources
Constraints and philosophy
Sectors relevant to the UNCED process
Typology of statements or forms of intervention
Levels of approach / Rules of discourse
Formal properties: challenges to the structure of declarations
Set of contributing conceptual "sectors"
Formal properties: notes on further possibilities
Tentative general formulation of the design problem
Catalytic imagery: conveying Earth Summit insights
Specification for structural outliner computer programme

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There are many interweaving strands in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, June 1992) and its aftermath. These may be evaluated with various degrees of hope and scepticism. They do however offer a number of strategic windows of opportunity which are of value whatever the overall success of the UNCED process.

In parallel with the intergovernmental strands, there are those of nongovernmental organizations focussing on the Global Forum on the occasion of the Earth Summit. This document is concerned with the challenge faced by the International Facilitating Committee of "independent sectors" (identified in Annex 1) whose mandate is to raise the level of debate around the UNCED process. The IFC is composed of approximately 25 individuals from the independent sectors, so named to describe the plurality and diversity of the constituencies whose input into UNCED the committee seeks to facilitate. They correspond to the constituencies identified by the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) as being required to play constructive roles in bringing about the necessary changes to ensure a sustainable future. The secretariat for IFC is based at the Centre for Our Common Future (Geneva). The IFC members were selected by canvassing prganizations within each sector. They include representatives from the full spectrum of "nongovernmental organizations".

The IFC problem statement is currently as follows: "Clearly governments alone cannot be expected to solve the new nature of problems that humanity faces. The ingenity and creativity of all sectors of society must be brought to bear in finding solutions and effecting the necessary structural changes. For this to happen, however, we must recognize the need for human solidarity and commitment to common self-interests. And we must move from confrontation, through dialogue, to cooperation."

nterests. And we must move from confrontation, through dialogue, to cooperation."

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