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In France, last November 2011

Successful First Face-to-Face Meeting of the Ethics & Responsibilities Team


First phase of program completed and second phase launched
by Marina Urquidi

We came from the Americas, the Pacific, Asia, and Europe, overcame jetlag, and jumped enthusiastically into the work that lay ahead of us for three days, which was to answer the questions: How can we overcome, in our specific fields, the obstacles to disseminating a culture of responsibility? How can we coordinate our actions to convince the international community to adopt a Charter of Universal Responsibilities?


Last November 2011, practically all of the Ethics & Responsibilities network and regional representatives travelled to France for a three-day meeting at La Bergerie, in the Picardie province. With many months of research behind them, this was to be an opportunity for them to compare their work with those of others, and to develop, as a team, a strategy for the next goal on the E&R agenda, which is to submit a Charter of Universal Responsibilities (CUR) to the international community, to have it stand as a “third pillar” alongside the Charter of the United Nations (1945) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). You can download a first draft for the Charter of Universal Responsibilities here.

Hailing from Brazil, India, the Philippines, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, France, Belgium, Germany, and Greece, the team members were first immensely pleased to meet face-to-face after a long period of collaborative work through its e-mail-based forum and with their respective networks. Some had already met in different projects, mainly the Charter of Human Responsibilities network, which preceded the E&R program and was active for over ten years, and others were there for their very first meeting with the team members. The general atmosphere was one of enthusiasm, renewal of acquaintance, and unwavering energy to meet the goals of the program.

The group, under the firm and benevolent guidance of the program General Coordinator, Edith Sizoo, quickly settled into an intense agenda: plenary sessions and small work groups were the constant pace of those three days on the conference premises of the La Bergerie farm, an organic farm funded by the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, which also provided succulent organic meals. Evenings were joyful and musical.

Partake in the general atmosphere of the meeting by watching this 7-minute video (several languages)!

Ethics & Responsibilities Meeting, Villarceaux 2011 byalmedio TV on Vimeo.

A cross-analysis of the Reflection on Action documents drawn up by the network representatives

The first task was to compare the work accomplished thus far in the form of Reflection on Action documents. These documents were the result of discussions and consultations led by each of the network representatives on the concept of Responsibility with colleagues in their field of action. They consisted of an analysis of experiences and concluded with implications and proposals for the practice of responsibility as specific to their field: click here to see the different fields that were covered.

Previous to the meeting, all the team members had been given a preliminary SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of their ongoing work, which you can read here.

For the meeting, members of the firm Empodera Consultores were taken on board. The vibrant Empodera team had cross-analyzed all the Reflection on Action documents and distributed the results of their work to the team. Their partner, almedio TV also filmed the working conference as it went, and produced each member’s take on the concept of responsibility. Later, Empodera Consultores provided the program with a summary of the three-day conference.

Figuring out ways to get the Charter of Universal Responsibilities proposal to the UN

The last part of the meeting was devoted to fine-tuning strategies for taking the proposal for a Charter of Universal Responsibilities to have it considered at Rio+20 and beyond. Each of the team members was able to present his or her possibilities in his or her country and context.

The team is proud to present, here, the many videos (in several languages), and the summary of the meeting results, produced by Empodera Consultores and almedio TV.

Click here to go to the document providing the meeting results.

Click here to watch other videos of representatives describing their work on responsibility in English

Click here to watch other videos of representatives describing their work on responsibility in French

Click here to watch other videos of representatives describing their work on responsibility in Spanish and in Portuguese

Published on: 20 January 2012
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