Workshop – Converging on a peoples transformative agenda for sustainable development, Ramapo College, NJ, US



While the nations of the world tussled with the official documents and the statements and proclamations at the Rio+20 Summit, a vigorous Peoples’ Sustainability Treaties movement had begun to take shape—presenting an alternative, grass-roots view of what people think sustainable development might look like. The Peoples’ Sustainability Treaties (PST) were initiated by civil society organizations to develop collective agreements for sustainable futures beyond Rio+20 and a post 2015 agenda of the multilateral system. The PST’s are evolving a new narrative and agenda towards the transformation to a sustainable world order, providing a common platform for a collective global peoples’ movement to emerge. The PST process leads us to a deep investigation into social and natural science perspectives such as distributed leadership, collective action, resilience, the ‘commons’, and subsidiarity come into play as alternative frameworks for the well-being of all.


The prevalent model of development has not only failed to lift a large section of humanity above unacceptable levels of poverty, but has also greatly increased the inequities between the wealthy and the poor, and led directly to the breakdown in ecological sustainability we see around us. The dominant growth-based development model is fundamentally flawed, in that it is predatory both of nature and of people, ecologically unsustainable, and socio-economically inequitable.  In this context, a radically different vision of human well-being, one that is in tune with nature and respects other species, promotes socio-economic equity amongst all people, enhances the cultural, material, economic, social, and political opportunities for all, and one that empowers each person and community to take part in decision-making affecting their lives.

The world needs profound transformations in the fundamental values and organizing principles of society; new values must ascend, values that emphasize human solidarity, affinity with nature, and quality-of life. This new paradigm seeks to change the character of planetary civilization, validating cultural cross-fertilization, economic connectedness, and the rights of communities to meet global responsibilities in diverse ways. Such a transformation has to be built on a process of economic and political localisation where local communities (rural and urban) have control over decisions that affect their lives.  Without radical political, economic and ecological democracy, the current form of globalisation will continue to undermine individuals, communities and the ecosphere.

Despite unprecedented growth in the global economy since 1992, governments are trapped into making insatiable demands for still more unsustainable growth and rising levels of inequity to remedy problems which economic globalization itself has caused. The post 2015 agenda and the SDG agenda needs to build a convergence, providing us all a new common agenda for a sustainable 21st century. Such an agenda-building exercise needs new common partnerships.

(text: Uchita De Zoysa)


09:00 AM – 10:00 PM: CONTEXT: Transformation and Peoples Alternatives

  •          The Need for a Peoples’ Transformative Agenda Post 2015: Uchita de Zoysa (Sri Lanka)
  •          Advancing the Decentralization and Localization Agenda: Ashwani Vasishth (USA)
  •          Peoples’ Alternatives in a Transformative Agenda: Ashish Kothari (India)

10.00 AM – 12.00 PM: CONTENT: Post 2015 and Peoples Agendas

  • Ethics & Values in a Post 2015 Peoples’ Transformative Agenda: Rick Clugston (USA)
  • Equity & Rights in a Post 2015 Transformative Agenda: Gaston Meskens (Belgium) >> text (pdf)
  • Minority Rights in a Post 2015 Transformative Agenda: Yuxin Hou (China)
  • Climate Change in a Post 2015 Peoples’ Transformative Agenda: Carmen Capriles (Bolivia)
  • Economics of Wellbeing in a Post 2015 Transformative Agenda: Mohan Munasinghe (Sri Lanka)
  • Social Entrepreneurship in a Post 2015 Transformative Agenda: Faiz Shah (Pakistan)
  • SCP in a Post 2015 Transformative Agenda: Leida Rijnhout (Netherlands)

12.00 PM – 02.00 PM: CONVERGENCE: Towards a Peoples Transformative Agenda Post 2015

  •          Open dialogue moderated by: Uchita de Zoysa (Sri Lanka)
  •          Synthesis by: Ashwani Vasishth (USA)

For background info on programme and speakers, see


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