Agora of the inhabitants of the Earth, Other News, 14 December 2023

Dear Secretary General,

whatever the global issues and problems under consideration, a dramatic fact emerges: humanity is not capable of giving concrete, immediate and common answers. The institutionalized powers of the current system are unable to do so because the system is structurally in crisis.

The two fundamental questions for the future of life

We want to call your attention and intervention to two key tenets of the current dominant worldview: the private, for-profit patenting of living organisms and artificial intelligence, and the financialization of nature and the global public commons. The power of the global capitalist market economy is increasingly based on these two principles. Their role in the planetary regulation of life is fundamental and crucial, which explains their absence from questions and debates  (see COP28 results) on how to manage and emerge from the current crises. For the strong powers, these are two axioms that cannot be discussed.

Legalizing  private intellectual property in living organisms in 1980 meant reducing knowledge – the spirit of human creativity – to a commodity, a matter for rapacious merchants and owners. It has transferred control over life to the masters of data, reducing knowledge to raw material for economic activities. This is one of the greatest historical mistakes made by the leaders of humanity.

Likewise, theorizing that nature is a set of “natural capitals”, the “natural capital” of the planet, has reduced nature to a particular category of the market economy, capital. But this is not the only possible form of economy, nor, in our opinion, the best. Nature has always been seen as the existential framework of life. Today it is essentially seen as an asset of great strategic value to the dominant global economy. It is a theft of life and the human species.

The experience of the last 50 years shows that unless these two principles are abandoned or seriously repositioned, the protection and promotion of universal fundamental human and social rights and the rights of peoples will be less and less guaranteed. Consequently, the elimination of the factors that generate impoverishment in the world will no longer be an objective of our societies!

There will not even be true sustainable development, as demonstrated by the current regression of CO² emission reduction targets, the increase in investment in fossil fuels, the failure to ban plastic bottles, the lax regulation of highly toxic chemicals, in particular pesticides… The EU’s ten-year extension of the authorization of glyphosate is an example of this.

The financialization of nature reached its most advanced formulation to date, at the United Nations COP15-Biodiversity (Montreal, December 2022). The international community approved the proposals put forward in January 2021 in the “Natural Capital Protocol” by the Natural Capital Coalition (more than 450 world-class private companies!) and known as s 30+30+30. That is: the attribution to the Natural Capitals Corporations (created by the New York Stock Exchange in October 2021) of the management of 30% of the planet’s natural world, including 30% of the most degraded elements, for their protection and restoration by the year 2030 (the year in which the UN Agenda 2015-2030 will end).

Mr. Secretary General, you will understand our concern, increased by the fact that the UN chief economist is openly one of the promoters of the financialization of nature, citing the same arguments as the authors of the Natural Capital Protocol.

Our proposal.

For a cooperative and mutualistic regeneration of life  based on Water, Food and Health, “The WFH Planet”

Faced with the system’s inability to provide answers to crises, humanity can be reborn only by applying values and principles opposite to those that are leading the world to ruin.

The inspiring principles of “The WFH Planet”: cooperativism and mutualism away from the predatory capitalist system.

The “constitutional” values and principles of cooperation and mutualization were capable of regenerating the 19th century world and promoting the 20th century welfare society at national level , particularly in its Scandinavian version.

Today the planetary horizon obliges  the mankind  to foresee a regeneration of cooperativism and mutualism. We must strongly go beyond the pragmatic  approach of multilateralism. We must be guided by vision and passion.  From  socioeconomic forms parallel to the dominant market economy at the national level, corporativism and mutualism must become , on a planetary scale, the intrinsic expression of social life. Cooperation and mutualization must become the spirit that inspires the processes of building Earth’s global community of life.

Three priority areas for regeneration: water, food and health.

Initially, the operational implementation of regeneration processes will be based on three key areas for life and justice: water, food and health, hence the project  “The WFH Planet”. Their development will have a strong impact on the rest of society.

The objective is to address the implementation of universal rights to water, food and health in an integrated (essential) way, especially in terms of principles and means of action; rooted in the territories of basic communities and local authorities; and based on solidarity, that is, on the sharing of responsibilities between communities, territories and institutions. The implementation of universal rights has been reduced to an outcome of (to be considered) higher goals in the mind of the dominants such as economic growth, economic and financial efficiency, the achievement of technological innovation, absolute entrepreneurial freedom and market liberalization. Only the regeneration of the three vital dimensions of Water, Food and Health will be able to free life on Earth from the devastating effects of current predation.

Tools and resources  for the WFH Planet

This will happen by creating, at a local level, a new generation of cooperative and mutual enterprises, supported by local networks of public savings banks and collective credit. Experience shows that when a territory is able to guarantee water, food and health to all its members as a right, the most important part of the life journey is completed. In this way, collective security of existence will be achieved, thanks also to a shared capacity for social, financial and technological resilience, and effective participatory democracy will be achieved.

Regeneration cannot be achieved in the current framework of global markets and finance. We must work towards a political and institutional system based on the development and primacy of a global public financial system.

Today finance is in the hands of unelected private individuals. Elected public authorities no longer even have the power to create money. We must create a new global public financial institutional framework consistent with the objectives of “The WFH Plandet, i.e. the Global Deposit and Delivery Fund and the Planetary Fund for the guarantee of common goods and services essential to life, under the supervision of a World Council for the security of universal rights.

We know that the UN recently approved the proposal to declare 2025 the International Year of Cooperatives. .

Mr. Secretary General

Would it be possible to support the creation of an independent global working group that would delve deeper into the issues addressed here and present a proposal by the end of 2024 on the relevance and feasibility of  The WFH Planet” project?

Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary General, for your kind attention.

In the hope……

Signatures (members and friends of the Agora des Habitants de la Terre)

First signatories

Argentina. Aníbal Ignacio Faccendini, Interdisciplinary Water Centre, National University of Rosario UNR.  Daniel Elías, Professor UNR. Flavio Faccendini, Water and Environment Diploma, UNR. BelgiumPierre Galand, former Senator, President of the North-South Forum.  Christine Pagnoulle, Professor Emeritus, University of Liège. ATTAC Brussels 2. ATTAC Liège. Catherine Schlitz, President of Présence et Action Culturelles d’Angleur. Kim Le Quang, Rise for the Climate. Marlène Wiame, Rise for the Climate. Pietro Pizzuti, actor and writer. Bernard Tirtiaux, sculptor and writer. Maria Palatine, harpist, singer. Alain Adriaens, activist for sobriety.  Fabrice Delvaux, Kréativa. Jean-Claude Polet, professor emeritus, UCL. Anne Rondelet, pensioner. Riccardo Petrella, Professor Emeritus, UCL. Vincent De Cat, entrepreneur. Paola Pizzuti, Professor of Education. Anne Molitor, citizen. Françoise Deville, citizen. Anne Sylvain, actress. Aïka Mittler, writer, translator. Éric Brucher, writer, teacher. Lisa Cogniaux, artist. Susann Heenen-Wolff, prof. dr. phil. Marie-Paule Kumps, actress and writer. Soumaya Hallak, soprano. Bernard Cogniaux, professor. Olivier Bastin, architect, president of the Federation of Belgian Architects’ Associations. Sylvie Lausberg, writer and historian. Éric De Staerck, director of the Théâtre des Riches Claires. Victor Lefevre, actor and director. Éric D’Agostino, director, musician. Roda Fawaz, actor, author. Karine Watelet, technician, audiovisual. Brazil. MarcosP. Arruda, Moema Viezzer, writer, feminist. Armando De Negri, doctor, Latin American Health Organisation. Marcelo Barros, theologian, Benedictine monk. Canada-Québec. Martine Chatelain, educator. Hélène Tremblay. Narrator for l’Humanité. Pierre Jasmin, pianist, Secretary General of “Artistes pour la Paix”. Jean-Yves Proulx, committed citizen. Chile. Luis Infanti De la Mora, Bishop of Aysén. Nicolás Labajos, educator, Aysén. Justice and Peace Commission, Aysén de la Patagonia. Carlos Andrade Oporto, evangelical pastor, Coyhaique. Adriana Fernández, educator. Egypt.  Hoda Houssein, writer, environmental activist. Mamdouh Habashi, architect, founder of the KIfaya Movement (Enough). Anwar Moghith, teacher and philosopher. France. Melissa Gingreau, la Boisselière, spokesperson for “Mega-Bassines non merci”. Philip Veniel, sociologist. Laury Gingreau, la Boisselière. Jean-Pierre Wauquier, President, H²0 sans frontières. Alassane Ba, Director, European Humanist Centre for Pharmaceutical Professions.  Jean-Claude Oliva, Director of the EAU Ile-de-France Coordination, President of the public water authority Est Ensemble. Yovan Gilles, theatre artist, “Les périphériques vous parlent” and Université du Bien Commun de Paris. Cristina Bertelli, “Les périphériques vous parlent” and Université du Bien Commun. Annie Flexer, documentary filmmaker, linguist, UBC, Patrick Viveret, philosopher, founder of “Les rencontres en Humanité”. Corinne Ducrey, President of the Chemin faisant Festival, Jordan.  Abla Abou Elbeh, former MP. Iraq. Hazem Mohamad Shoker, writer. Ibrahim Doulaymi, journalist specialising in environmental issues. Italy. Roberto Savio, world-renowned communication expert, president of Other News… Paola Libanti, Monastery of the Common Good, Verona. Luca Cecchi, commercial agent, retired, water activist. Marinella Nasoni, former trade unionist. Sergio and Clara Castioni, booksellers. Antonino Russo, civil servant.  Domenico Rizzuti, former trade unionist researcher, Italian-Tunisian Forum.  Consiglia Salvio, teacher, water activist.  Francesco Comina, writer, teacher. Roberto Musacchio, former MEP, Transform Italia. Roberto Morea, European Committee of Transform Europe. Elena Mazzoni, left-wing political activist. Patrizia Sentinelli, former Minister of International Cooperation, founder of Altramente. Guido Barbera, President of CIPSI-ETS. Roberto Colombo, former mayor and former president of a public water company in Lombardy. Maurizio Montalto, lawyer, President of the “Blue Movement”. Loretta Moramarco, lawyer, water activist. Michele Loporcaro, organic farmer. Christian Troger, trade unionist. Anton Auer, environmentalist, retired. Gina Abbate, Pax Christi. Mario Agostinelli, physicist, president of “Laudato sii”, Emilio Molinari and Oreste Magni, also members of “Laudato sii”. Daniela Padoan, writer and essayist. Paolo Ferrero, former Minister of Labour, essayist. Paolo Ferrari, councillor, peace activist. Paolo Rizzi, environmental activist, poet and singer. Carmelo Corso, teacher. Alfio Foti, President of L’Altra Storia, Pina Ancona, pensioner. Giuseppe Ungherese, head of Greenpeace, Florence. Giovanni Battista Novello Paglianti, pensioner, Cristina Stevanoni, pensioner. Silvana Risi, citizen and member of CLC. Bruno Risi, citizen and member of the Murolo Association of Naples. Maria Bertone, pensioner, CLC Italy member, Virginia Maroni, Anna Righetti, Claudia Marcolungo, Federico Russo, Mariella Marchezan, Diego Todeschini. Lebanon. Lilia Ghanem, anthropologist, editor-in-chief of “The Ecologist” in Arabic. Saad Mehio, journalist, President of the Regional Dialogue Club. Ezzedine Kassem, journalist and editor. Houssine Kobeissy, journalist and translator. Joud Haidar, poet and doctor. Ahlam Baydoun, teacher and jurist. Libya. Abdallah Maatouk, columnist. Abdel Kader Ghouka, former ambassador and writer. Palestine. Anwar Abu Eisheh, former minister, writer. Sahar Quasmeh, Member of Parliament.  Youssef Salman, President of an association. Portugal. Joao Caraça, former Director of the Science Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.. Syria. Wagih Hamoud, engineer and activist. Tunisia.   Manubia Bengthahem, Lecturer and feminist activist. Rafic Boujdariah, Doctor and activist. Samir Besançon, philosopher, doctor and environmental activist. Samira Ghedish, teacher and community activist   

This text is an open letter to the UN‌‌‌‌ Secretary General by Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth – a global civic organization, which promotes the idea of establishing humanity as a subject of international relations.   

An interview with Riccardo Petrella – one of the founders of the‌‌ Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth, can be read here

Photo: (source: Pixabay, CC0)

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