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 agreed upon 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:
- 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.
- 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 on 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 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 the European and national levels, 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.
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 a new context
Community-led action on sustainability and climate change in Europe: overview
- Main networks and movements of community-led initiatives (4-5 pages)
- Transition movement
- 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 in Europe#Community-led initiatives in Europe 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
- 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