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Challenge and opportunity


Higher Orders of Inter-sectoral Consensus (Part #3)


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It is possible to view any such independent sector "summit" as "just another" gathering in which expressions of agreement and disagreement will be expressed. The tendency would be to formulate such views in yet another document which, despite its intentions, would be of significance to only a limited audience for a limited period of time. And in this respect it might parallel the articulation of documents emanating from the UNCED intergovernmental process.

It is also possible to adopt a much more radical approach to such a summit process, its inputs and its outputs. This could be formulated as a challenge to a range of disciplines which might be able to present their insights so as to open new ways of raising the level of debate amongst the independent sectors. It should be stressed that the insights to be sought relate to the formal properties of any declaration or agenda, not to its content. The structure of any such document can be described in abstract terms which can suggest alternative forms through which the elements of content may be related more appropriately.

It would be a tragedy if appropriate use was not made of the best thinking on the problem of relating conflicting and complementary viewpoints in endeavouring to design a more appropriate human response to the planet. Engaging in this initiative might indicate new approaches of relevance to the intergovernmental process.

It would however be naive to assume that any such initiative could hope for success unless the political, social and psychological dynamics of such events were taken into account with exceptional sensitivity.