Common Action Forum 2020
New dynamics in urban planning and international cooperation in the context of COVID-19
Chiapas, Mexico | 27 – 29 October 2020
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It would be simple to claim that today’s world is irrevocably altered, but a quick glance back demonstrates that before SARS-CoV-2 emerged, geopolitical upheaval, economic conflict and social tension were sweeping through the planet.
Increasing numbers of activists for the defense and protection of the environment have been warning about an escalating climate crisis. At the same time, citizens became all the more conscious of the risks in technological development. These phenomena occurred in the «old normal,» a scene with a system naturalizing inequality and injustice, including the accelerated deterioration of the planet.
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The rapid and catastrophic expansion of COVID-19 arrived without warning, not only overwhelming many health systems, but also highlighting the multitude of flaws in international coordination and various levels of government. The pandemic has exposed social gears and management mechanisms, but perhaps most interestingly has offered a clean slate that could become a space for creativity and solidarity, thanks to the exceptional nature of the situation.
In this sense, we have witnessed not only the consolidation of expansive, speculative monopolies, but also changes in the economic policy of large countries or regions: brave measures by administrations that have been able to see past short-term solutions, and above all, widespread citizen initiatives throughout the world that demand a new social contract. This contract, equipped with more rights, would adapt to a new digital and technological framework, rethinking the state model, with public policies capable of prioritizing true collective needs. Against all odds, perhaps what we can take away from this crisis is the momentum and inspiration that we lacked before.
New dynamics in urban planning and international cooperation in the context of COVID-19
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CAF2019 brought up the need to rethink the concept of development, placing human life and wellbeing at the center of equation. It explored new (and not so new) forms of management and ownership to guarantee a balance in exploiting natural resources, addressing the leading role played by the Global South and its experience in coordinating an effort to avoid climate disaster. It sought an international consensus that defined financial crimes like capital flight as crimes against humanity, that recognized the need to redefine major economic indicators as to the success or progress of nations, and that took into account the health and happiness of all citizens.
The year of 2020 has obliged us to revise all of our wellness systems, from the physical to the conceptual, and in that sense, presents itself as a unique opportunity to continue towards the new path to development that we began to explore together last year.
With the perspective of the participants, this colloquium seeks to highlight the most transformative lessons of 2020, a year in which international cooperation has proven more essential than ever. In facilitating a dialogue between the local and the global, CAF2020 is prepared to envision tomorrow even from the vantage point of a still uncertain today, integrating revelations from the current time in order to illuminate a new future.
Local governments and the global challenge of public policy for wellbeing
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The current situation demands that we share experience among cities and regions that have dealt with the unexpected impact of the pandemic. Along with health systems and workers, community institutions have remained at the forefront, directly addressing citizens’ needs. The experiences of these local, municipal systems are vital in understanding the mechanisms and phenomena that this crisis has brought about, as well as what exacerbates it. This will provide clues on how to overcome the crisis, as well as to how to avoid its reoccurrence.
Public health and inclusive policies: wellbeing for and by communities
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In light of the pandemic, public actors and civil society have sought a public health policy implementation that works from an inclusive and versatile foundation, capable of understanding the needs of citizens, as well as of being understood by citizens. Overcoming myopia and the gap between legislation and increasingly diverse, autonomous and varying communities is as important for confronting future pandemics as it is for formulating truly transformative visions for the common welfare.
Responses to global risks
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The health crisis has revealed that the necessary mechanisms in providing immediate and coordinated responses are not as developed as they should be. Diplomacy and international cooperation operate in a space in which public interests confront private interests of multiple actors. The question of environmental threat has become the principal source of international instability, and the future is knocking at our door. Because of this, it is clear that it is necessary to rethink multilateral cooperation, in order to anticipate tomorrow’s challenges.
International cooperation and digital integration
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Technology plays an increasing role in formulating innovative and efficient solutions for global health management. At the same time, it remains controversial, as it has been instrumentalized on several occasions by various regimes and power networks that control populations and individuals. One of the most pressing debates relates to the opportunity and risk evaluation of new technologies, as they facilitate networks and create synergies. Moreover, there is a need for technological regulation so as to ensure that crisis management does not take place at the cost of individual rights.
The post-pandemic city: open policies, public space and resilience
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To think about the post-pandemic city entails analyzing policies with transformative potential to expand citizen participation, rebalancing the actors and networks that build and administer urban spaces. Management plans, precisely because they are being designed as the result of an emergency, must now not only focus on the resilience and capacity of our citizens in order to overcome and rebuild, but must also prepare for «the next crisis» and promote principles of social cohesion.
The rural, the urban and their interdependence
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Furthering our interdependence with the environment, in light of lessons learned from the pandemic, is the relationship between the countryside and the city: food supply, the link between human mobility and levels of contamination in situations of confinement, the need to reorganize space or revise the dynamics of consumption, energy networks, and the world of work and leisure. In that same way that global warming represents one of the greatest challenges for humanity, the degradation of urban and regional space are also transversal challenges that require solutions.
Experiences of urban management and international cooperation for welfare
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Contemplating urban management and the design and implementation of public policies for community well-being requires a panoramic view and holistic vision, which take into account a whole range of factors that impact human life: from public health, urban planning and its interconnection with rural territories, the wellbeing and inclusion of communities, to factors such as employment, a fair wage, social protections, housing, free and quality education, a healthy environment, culture, food and food sovereignty.
In light of this, ensuring dynamic relationships between local, state and federal governments, as well as with international organizations, is an essential strategy in achieving the wellbeing of global civil society. In concluding CAF2020, this colloquium wants to investigate the links between citizens and institutions, communicating its participants’ views regarding the keys to the path to social justice.
Rutilio Escandón Cadenas is Constitutional Governor of the State of Chiapas for the 2018-2024 term period. Between 2013 and 2018, he served as presiding magistrate over the Superior Court of Justice and the Judicial Council of the State of Chiapas. He was a Federal Deputy in 2006 and Senator of the Republic from 2000 to 2006. He received his law degree from the Autonomous University of Baja California. He holds a Master and Doctorate from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón currently serves as Mexico’s Secretary for Foreign Relations. He headed the Mexico City Government and was Secretary of Social Development and Public Security. In December of 2010, the World Mayors Project recognized him as World’s Best Mayor. He studied International Relations at El Colegio de México.
Carmen Vázquez Hernández is a Tzotzil artisan master and winner of the 2019 National Prize for Art and Literature. An expert in the traditional loom, she is a national example of achievement and for sharing the traditional skills and values of her community. She too promotes labor integration of indigenous women and their empowerment.
Diana Damián Palencia
Diana Damián Palencia is a major in Educational Psychollogy and a has a masters’ degree in Intercultural Education. She is also Director of the Formación y Capacitación A.C., a proyect that works directly with indigenous women in matters regarding health, sexual and reprodutive rights, education, development and management; always from their comunities’ traditional worldview.
Juan Carlos Monedero
Juan Carlos Monedero is a Spanish politician and professor. He holds a doctorate in Political Science and founded the political party Podemos, where he served as secretary of the Constituent Process and Program. He currently directs the 25M Institute for Democracy, the Department of Global Civil Society at the Complutense Institute for International Studies and the television program En la frontera. He has authored several books.
María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop
María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop is Member of European Parliament and Vice Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). A jurist, university professor, researcher and specialist in human rights and gender studies, she has published various works on the philosophy of rights, the common good, ecology, republicanism and feminism. She is head of the list of candidates for Unidas Podemos Cambiar Europa. She holds a doctorate in Law.
Paola Pabón is Prefect of Pichincha, Ecuador. She was Minister of Political Management between 2016 and 2017. She was also a National Assembly representative for two legislative sessions, and worked as manager of community development in the Prefecture of Pichincha, where she later became the first woman to govern the province. She is a lawyer with a Master in Public Policy.
Vidal Llerenas Morales is Mayor of Azcapotzalco, Mexico City. He is a former local and federal representative, and also served as Deputy Secretary of Expenditures for the City of Mexico, as well as Director of the Social Comptroller for States and Cities of the Ministry of Public Administration. He is an economist and holds a doctorate in Public Administration and Management from New York University (NYU).
Benjamín Temkin is Research Professor at FLACSO Mexico and Coordinator of Energy and Evnrionmental Policies and Management. His areas of specialty include political economics, political sociology and political psychology. He is also the Director of the online journal Relacso.
Esperanza Martínez is a Paraguayan doctor and politician. She is a specialist in public health and is currently a representative for the Concertación Frente Guasú party. She was Health and Social Wellbeing Minister of Paraguay from 2008 to 2012. She received her medical degree from the Nacional de Asunción University.
Gabriela Rivadeneira is an Ecuadorian politician. She was President of the National Assembly of Ecuador from 2013 to 2017. She also served as Governor of Imbabura, provincial Vice Prefect, Deputy Mayor of Otavalo, Cantonal Councilwoman and National Representative. She holds a degree in Management of Local Sustainable Development.
Juan Grabois is a lawyer Argentinian social activist, and founder of the Movement for Excluded Workers and the Confederation of Workers for Popular Economy. He was appointed by Pope Francis as advisor to the Papal Council on Justice and Peace, and coordinated the World Meeting of Popular Movements. He teaches at the University of Buenos Aires and has published various books.
Álvaro Vasconcelos is a Portuguese professor and researcher. He directed the EU Institute for Security Studies (EU-ISS) from 2007 to 2012, and directed and co-founded the Institute for Strategic and International Studies of Lisbon (IEEI), which promotes initiatives like the Euro-Latin-American Forum and the Commission for Euro Mediterranean studies (EuroMeSCo).
Carina Vance Mafla
Carina Vance Mafla is an Ecuadorian politician and activist. She was Ecuador’s Minister of Health from 2012 to 2015. In April of 2016 she was elected as Executive Director of the South American Institute for Health Governance (ISAGS) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). She holds a Master in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.
Celso Amorim was Minister of Defense (2011-2014) and Foreign Relations Minister (2003-2010) of Brazil. A career diplomat, he was also a member of the Group of Experts of the United Nations (UN) Security Council. In 2009, the journal Foreign Policy recognized him as the «Best Foreign Relations Minister.»
Silvia Guadalupe Ramos
Silvia Guadalupe Ramos Hernández is a researcher and university instructor. She is Director of the Center for Research on Risk Management and Climate Change, and Coordinator of the degree in Earth Science at the University of Arts and Science, Chiapas (UNICACH). She holds a doctorate and is Coordinator of Volcanic Monitoring and Seismology of the State of Chiapas.
Gemma Galdón Clavell is an analyst and researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Barcelona (UB). She is founding partner and Research Director of Eticas Research & Consulting. She holds a doctorate in Surveillance, Security and Urban Politics, with her areas of specialty including the social, legal and ethical impact of technology, privacy, and smart cities.
Gustavo Cabrera Rodríguez currently serves as General Director of Technical and Scientific Cooperation for Development at the Secretary for Foreign Relations, Mexico. He has worked as an independent consultant and has an extensive trajectory in the evaluation and implementation of public policies. He is an anthropologist with a degree in Cooperation for Development.
Magdalena Claro is Academic Director of the Observatory for Digital Education Practices, and Research Professor at the Pontifical University of Chile (UC). She is a member in diverse research projects on digital education, with areas of interest including: digital culture and inclusion, digital skills and opportunities and education.
Fernando Carrión Mena is an architect with a doctorate in Urban Regional Development. He founded the Organization for Latin American and Caribbean Historical Centers (OLACCHI), is the President of the Research Center CIUDAD and General Coordinator of the Latin American Cities Network. He was recognized by ESGLOBAL one of the top 50 most influential intellectuals in Ibero-America. He is a researcher at FLACSO Ecuador, and teaches and consults at diverse institutions. He also served as representative of the Metropolitan District of Quito.
Gerardo Pisarello is a Spanish Argentinian politician, currently serving as First Secretary for Spain’s Congress. He was Deputy Mayor of the City of Barcelona between 2015 and 2019, responsible for employment, economy, international relations and the digital city. He is also Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Barcelona and national representative for the Grupo Confederal Unidas Podemos –En Comú Podem– Galicia en Común. He holds a doctorate in Law.
Inés S. de Madariaga
Inés Sánchez de Madariaga is Director of the UNESCO Chair of Gender in Science, Technology and Innovation at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). She has served as Advisor and Technical Director for several Spanish ministries, and has collaborated in national and international research groups. She is a professor and urban architect.
Manuela d’Ávila is a Brazilian politician and journalist, and author of various publications. She was a student leader who has since served as a Councilmember, Provincial and Federal Deputy, and in 2018 ran as candidate for Brazilian Vice Present. She is currently running of Prefect of Porto Alegre.
Carlos Viteri Gualinga was Director of the Institute for Ecodevelopment of the Amazon Region, Ecuador. An anthropologist and activist for the rights of indigenous peoples, he was one of the initiators of the Plurinational State and the indigenous cosmovision of Sumak Kawsay. He has also served at the Interamerican Development Bank (BID) and Ecuador’s National Assembly.
Felipe Llamas Sánchez is a Professor at the Social and Juridical Sciences Faculty of Carlos III University, Madrid. He has worked on the World Forums on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace I and II. A founding partner of PHARE Territorios Globales, he is an expert in participatory governance and international collaboration among local governments.
Leticia Merino is anthropologist and professor at the Institute for Social Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Her area of expertise is environmental policy, specifically collective action and community management of forest and other natural resources.
Patricia Acosta Restrepo is an architect and Professor of Urban Planning and Studies at the University of Rosario (UR), Colombia. She has served as an urban planner for the Secretary of District Planning of Bogotá, and as consultant at the Interamerican Development Bank (BID) and World Bank, as well as Visiting Professor at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy of Massachusetts.
Rodolfo Pastor de María y Campos is a Honduran-Mexican political scientist, diplomat and politician. Former Minister of Political Affairs and Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Honduras in Washington, D.C.; he currently works as Information and Strategic Analysis Director in the Executive Directorate of Strategy and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) of Mexico.
Delia María González
Delia María González Flandez is Director-General of the System for Comprehensive Family Development of the State of Chiapas (Sistema DIF Chiapas), the state’s government branch dedicated to drafting and evaluating welfare and social development policies. She is also former Director-General of Chiapas’ Social Protection and Public Welfare Institute.
Mario Delgado currently serves as Federal Deputy and President of the Political Coordination Board of the Chamber of Deputies. He also served as Senator of the Republic from 2012 to 2018. From 2006 to 2010, he was Mexico City’s Secretary of Finance, and from 2010 to 2012 Mexico City’s Secretary of Education. He holds a degree in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Mexico and a Master in Economics from the University of Essex, England.
Wadah Khanfar is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Common Action Forum. Former Director-General of the Al Jazeera Network, he was named one of the «Young Global Leaders» in the 2008’s World Economic Forum and was first in Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2011.
Carlos Natarén is Dean of the National Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH) and professor, founder and Director of its Institute for Judicial Research. With studies in law with honorable mention, he holds a Master in Constitutional Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and is Doctor Cum Laude in Procedural Law from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).
Pedro Brieger is an Argentinian academic and journalist with specialist in international politics. He is Professor of Sociology of the Middle East at the University of Buenos Aires. He is a writer commentator and producer of various radio and television programs, has authored various books, and is Director of NODAL, a web portal for Latin American and Caribbean News.
Alfonso Zegbe currently heads the Strategy and Public Diplomacy Unit at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is an expert in Environmental Law and International Relations, and has worked on energy and environmental diplomatic agendas for Mexico City, Washington DC, Ottawa, Paris, Brussels and the OECD. Between 2017 and 2019 he was Mexican Ambassador to Iran as well as served as ambassador in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Rafael Heiber is the Co-Founder and Deputy-Chairman of the Common Action Forum. Geographer and Climatologist with a MSc in Territorial Planning and a PhD in Sociology, his expertise includes the political links between technology, space and citizenship. He participates in academic activities and publishes in the international media.
Photo gallery CAF 2020