Article by Jason Nardi, RIPESS Europe

When a few years ago RIPESS Europe joined the Communities for Future platform / campaign on the community-led initiatives for climate created by ECOLISE, we were looking forward at the convergences that could emerge from joining diverse movements. Already in the previous years we had worked with another initiative – Transformative Cities, led by TNI – and have seen how important the strategising and collaboration potential could be. That’s why we decided to work more closely with the ECOLISE team and network, especially on the advocacy campaigning with some thematic policy papers and then the development of the 10 thesis, which have become now the  Time for Collective Action Manifesto.
While our advocacy work is more concentrated on the development and promotion of SSE – and its recognition and support by European institutions at different levels – we see the necessity of calling on citizens and community-led initiatives to go vote for a strong European Green Deal – one that is really in line with the values and principles that are the roots of our actions and practices in Solidarity Economy.Networking Community-led initiatives is certainly a way in which tthe SSE- as a vector for change and real transition – can play a strong role.  That’s why we believe that – also in view of the next European parliamentary elections – it is important to join forces and raise our voices – and the Collective Action Manifesto can help bring us together.  Also, the focus on Capacity building on advocacy and campaigning through mutual  learning and peer exchanges on campaigning and storytelling (with access to materials and the professional support of ECOLISE’s cooperation partner The Good Lobby and the ECOLISE team) can really improve our common action.

PRESS RELEASE from Ecolise: – Community-led initiatives call for a stronger EU Green Deal driven by collective action

A new manifesto launched by civil society organizations claims the right of EU citizens to have the choice to live sustainably -calling on policymakers to swiftly localise an ambitious European Green Deal.

Brussels, 8 November 2023: ECOLISE, the European network of community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability, is calling on EU policy makers to support a swift localisation of a strong and ambitious European Green Deal, harnessing the power of grassroots initiatives. At the same time, ECOLISE is urging policy makers to make sure that citizens have a choice to live sustainably, which is a human right. These are two of seven key policy demands in ECOLISE’s Time For Collective Action Manifesto, launched on 7 November.

Around 500 European policy makers, community-led initiatives, scientists and civil society organisations took part of ECOLISE´s annual main policy event, “Making the European Green Deal Strong and Real: Harnessing the power of community-led initiatives and local governments” –co-organised by ICLEI Europe and the European Economic and Social Committee, who hosted the event.

Half a year before the next European Parliament elections ECOLISE and its partners have made a strong call to translate the Green Deal into local action through enabling policies that will both contribute to increasing its ambition, while empowering citizens to act for sustainability collectively. ECOLISE announced the launch of a Europe-wide advocacy campaign in 2024, leading up to the European elections.

“Communities need strong environmental laws to thrive. I was quite shocked when I learned that there is no overarching plan to localize the European Green Deal”, said Nina Klein, ECOLISE’s Policy Lead, at the event in Brussels. This gap, she explained, was the spark for a one year consultation process that has led to the “10 theses on transformative community-led local development policies”. More than 400 contributors from 130 organisations, including around 40 process partners have participated in these deep conversations. The Time for collective action Manifesto is an outcome of this process.

The great potential of communities and citizens for achieving the European Green Deal remains largely untapped, as underlined by a recent IPCC report. “Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes of lifestyles and behavior can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050” said Felix Creutzig, (Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report, Chapter 5).

Sophia Silverton from ICLEI Europe remarked “the local level is a flashpoint, where broad sustainability policies intersect with people’s lives”. She underlined the potential for civil society and local governments to collaborate and unleash socially grounded transformations that respond to everyday concerns.

The discussion built up on the Beyond Growth Conference of May. Its initiator, Philippe Lamberts, Member of the European Parliament and Co-president of the Greens/European Free Alliance, underlined the political relevance of giving people the choice to live sustainably, and explained the need for both top-down and bottom-up initiatives to push the European Green Deal forward. Commenting on the ECOLISE Manifesto which advocates for a changed economy focussed on care for people and the planet, Lamberts said: “The current economic model, which is based on growth, is seen as something that has no alternative. And this is dangerous”.