(11 April 2019):- Over 50 representatives of ECOLISE, the European Network for Community-Led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability, have called for European, national and local policy makers to recognise and enable the potential of empowered communities to positively transform society and to help reach ambitious climate and sustainability goals.
“ECOLISE members’ vision and commitment is clear – in the face of unprecedented global threats such as climate change – communities have solutions,” said Eamon O’Hara, ECOLISE executive director. “All across Europe local communities are reimagining and creating a new culture of regeneration, one in which people live with dignity and within planetary boundaries. From community agriculture to renewable energy cooperatives, social enterprise to participatory decision-making, communities are collaborating for change.”
ECOLISE members were gathered at their annual General Assembly, a so-called blended event, where participants attend either in person or online. This year the gathering was hosted by the Croatian Permaculture Association at the Mariapoli Faro centre in Križevci, Croatia.
ECOLISE has honed the skill of hosting blended meetings, which help lower travel-related carbon emissions, so all participants (whether in person or online) are able to fully engage in the creative sharing, decision-making and networking of the meeting. People from 20 countries came to the 4-day gathering.
The network approved three new members, thus bringing ECOLISE membership to 46 organisations:
- The Hivemind Institute (Portugal), a think tank and action research organisation focused on systems and network thinking
- The National Network of Local Action Groups in the Czech Republic (NNLAG), an umbrella organisation with more than 160 members (Local Action Groups)
- Liberta Care Foundation (Netherlands, an organisation working with young people, with a focus on guiding refugees and education.
Participants concluded ECOLISE’s 6-month process of reviewing and reworking the network’s strategy and agreed its new purpose, vision and goals.
They also expressed their gratitude to the outgoing ECOLISE Council and elected a new 11-person Council, which will sit for two years. Francesca Whitlock of Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Europe and Davie Philip of Cultivate, an Irish practical sustainability organisation focused on active education, were elected as ECOLISE co-presidents.
In welcoming the new Council, out-going ECOLISE President Robert Hall said: “In just five short years ECOLISE has created a strong culture of collaboration, showing leadership in the face of challenges that at times are overwhelming. The experience, skill and wisdom of ECOLISE members means that together we will continue to catalyse systemic transformation towards a compassionate, equitable and regenerative society.”