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Towards a Green Society? Participation for Social Change
18 Jun 2012 - 18 Jun 2012
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Milton Santos Tent, People's Summit, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This workshop will consider the forms of participation, contestation, coalitions, alliances and compromises that are emerging—or might need to emerge—to promote green economy approaches that contribute to sustainable development and poverty eradication. It will be a mix of conceptual debate, concrete examples and discussion time, emphasizing the role of collective action, civil society, broad-based participation and coalition building in contestation around green economy.

Recent UNRISD research indicates that broad public action and diverse forms of participation play an important role in contesting green economy and in forging solutions that are compatible with goals of social justice, equity and poverty eradication.

Which green economy model prevails will depend not simply on rational decision-making by leaders and technocrats informed by consultations with stakeholders; it will emerge from political processes and governance arrangements, and reflect the balance of social forces. Civil society has a crucial role to play in crafting transition paths that are green and fair through the social organization of disadvantaged groups, social movements activism, participation in knowledge networks and policy processes, and building broad-based coalitions for change.

Civil society organizations can act as a conduit for local knowledge to shape public policy; they draw attention to the need for active citizenship in making claims on the state or other power-holders, in order to shape policies that are just and, in particular, address the needs of vulnerable citizens.

Agenda and speakers

Peter Utting, Deputy Director, UNRISD
Contestation, participation and alliances; building coalitions and social pacts; the role of civil society, business and UN coalitions in pressuring for social change.

Film: ‘Green Economy Coalitions for Change’

Nicola Bullard, Associate, Focus on the Global South
Tensions between climate justice and green economy from the perspective of building an oppositional movement; Where does the potential lie? What are the constraints?

Film: ‘Sustainable Futures, Alternative Visions’

Laura Rival, Lecturer, University of Oxford
Grassroots efforts to shift the terrain of green economy policy making, with emphasis on civil, business and state relationships; potentials and constraints, successes and gaps.

Thaís Brianezi, PhD student, University of São Paulo
A critical view on green economy and the importance of social movements from a Brazilian perspective

Open debate with panelists and audience.

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