Status Report 2019

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The Status Report 2019, the first edition of the ECOLISE Status Report on community-led action on sustainability and climate change, was initiated in 2017 and publicly released under the title Reclaiming the Future in May 2019. It piloted open source knowledge co-creation processes, based on use of this wiki as a general-purpose knowledge base.

Background and Production Process

The status report was initiated within ECOLISE's former Knowledge and Learning working group, and agree as a key ECOLISE strategic project, in 2017. Production of the first edition took place during 2018 and 2019, in the context of two main aims:

  1. To provide a comprehensive and scientifically rigorous account of the documented extent, nature, impacts and potential of community-led initiatives (CLIs) in Europe, incorporating relevant academic studies, grey literature, practitioner records and informal and experiential knowledge, to inform policy, advocacy, practice, and future research.
  2. To establish an active, self-organising knowledge co-creation community that collaborates on an inclusive, open source basis to maintain, update and extend the knowledge base on which the Status Report draws, in a way that also makes this knowledge base available for other uses.

A preliminary draft report was released and circulated as a standalone document from October 10th 2018. Its main purpose was to engage potential contributors and commentators within the Ecolise network and among wider networks of supporters and collaborators. It can be accessed at File:Status Report 2018 preliminary draft.pdf.

Development of source material continued on this wiki up until December 2018. This source material was then compiled offline into a standalone document, launched on May 2nd 2019. Source material additionally remains on the wiki for ongoing development and use in other projects as part of a wider knowledge base.

The full report, under the title Reclaiming the Future, was launched to members at the 2019 ECOLISE Generally Assembly and had its full public release on May 2nd 2019.

Overview and Objectives

The overarching goal of the report was to examine the status of community-led action on sustainability and climate change in Europe and the prospects for existing movements of community-led initiatives to contribute to wider transformation to a fairer and more sustainable society, both within Europe and in terms of Europes' relations with the rest of the world.

The first edition addressed a series of objectives:

  • Describe the overarching context for community-led action, in terms of major societal challenges and international policy responses to these.
  • Describe the extent, nature and scope of community-led initiatives across Europe: their numbers, locations, motivations, methods and achievements.
  • Evaluate how community-led initiatives pre-empt, respond to and/or fulfil major policy goals at European and national level, along with the challenges and barriers they face in doing so.
  • Explore in more depth the processes behind their achievements: the conceptual frameworks, guiding narratives and practices from which they arise, including how they challenge assumptions and understandings behind centralised and top-down policy initiatives and provide working examples of realistic alternatives to existing frameworks.
  • Assess the potential contributions of community-led initiatives to a wider societal transformation towards sustainability and democracy, including the social and cultural changes this might imply.
  • Examine the structural changes necessary to allow such a transformation and propose concrete policy measures that would enable it.

A key guiding observation was that community-led action presents a constructive and necessary challenge to predominant understandings of major issues such as climate change and sustainability, and access to alternative perspectives that highlight routes out of current policy impasses. Deep and close engagement with the experience and practice of community-led action, in other words, can help inform the changes of perspective necessary for a realistic understanding of current societal challenges and realistic alternatives to ineffective existing policy measures.

Contents

The report consisted of the following chapters and sections (subsequent editing means the content of the relevant pages may have changed since their incorporation into the report)

Background and Methodology

Community-led initiatives and research
Research on and with community-led initiatives
ECOLISE knowledge and learning
Status report
Rationale, aims and methodology
Call for involvement

Context: Sustainability, Policy and Societal Transformation

Sustainability as a policy driver
Anthropocene thinking as new context
Degrowth

Community-led action on sustainability and climate change in Europe: overview

Main networks and movements of community-led initiatives (4-5 pages)
Transition movement
Ecovillages
Permaculture
Community energy
Solidarity economy
Integrating community action across scales

Community-led initiatives in European countries

Community-led initiatives in Europe
Numbers of community-led initiatives in Europe, distribution by country and movement
Community-led initiatives by country
Overviews of the numbers, types, distribution, scale, activities and main achievements of CLIs in specific countries:

Achievements and Potential of Community-led Initiatives

Success and failure of community-led initiatives
Enablers and constraints affecting community-led initiatives
Resourcing of community-led initiatives
Diffusion and growth of community-led initiatives
Social impacts of community-led initiatives
Economic impacts of community-led initiatives
Ecological impacts of community-led initiatives

Community-led Initiatives, Sustainability and Climate Action

Community-led initiatives and the Sustainable Development Goals
Contributions of community-led initiatives to reductions in carbon emissions

Insights and Recommendations

Policy insights arising from research
Seven Steps to a Sustainable Europe
Step One: Moving beyond growth
Step Two: Nurturing commons ecologies
Step Three: Eco-social regeneration
Step Four: Solidarity economics
Step Five: Inclusive governance
Step Six: Enabling transformative social innovation
Step Seven: Supporting community-led initiatives

Key Lessons

  • The need for close coordination of information-gathering, writing, production, communication and dissemination, agreed in advance of the information-gathering and writing process and operating accordingly to realistic and strict deadlines
  • The timescales necessary and workloads involved in compiling information and translating it from the wiki medium into the report itself
  • The need for longer lead-in and greater clarity regarding roles in order to enable contributions from others