|The Community Commons: A Dialogue on Local Approaches to the MDGs|
Rose Hill Campus of Fordham University
New York City 16-18 June 2005
Communities are a vital driving force for sustainable development. It has become increasingly clear over the past two decades, and particularly since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), that communities are playing a central role in advancing sustainable development. There is, as a result, growing recognition that for development to be successful it must be undertaken within a collaborative framework that recognizes its close relationship with - and dependence upon - sustainable community livelihoods.
Despite the enormous contributions that civil society, and particular communities, have made to sustainable development, local and grassroots groups remain the least well positioned to integrate their experiences and knowledge into international policy processes. The Community Commons worked to rectify this imbalance by bringing local voices and perspectives to the global Millennium Review Summit process through a dedicated dialogue both among successful community initiatives and between community representatives and global policy-makers.
At the heart of the Community Commons, a physical dialogue space facilitated group discussions, presentations, cultural events, and interaction with global leaders and the media. The dialogue sessions that took place in the Commons included targeted discussions on key themes of direct relevance to the five-year review of progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), drawing on the wide experience and insights of community representatives from around the globe.
Ultimately, the Community Commons served as a forum for community voices and perspectives to be incorporated into the Millennium Review Summit process, particularly through participation in the preparatory Civil Society Hearings, 23-24 June. The Community Commons showed that communities - often working in partnership with local governments, local and national NGOs, and international organizations - are fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and have unique and essential contributions to make towards this global effort.
Overarching themes for the Community Commons were:
Specific objectives of the Community Commons are:
* To enable knowledge sharing and learning amongst community representatives, particularly on key factors that have enabled local success.
2. Inform Policy
* To enable community representatives to dialogue with development professionals, government officials, and donors on how they can partner to support locally-driven community development.
3. Celebrate Success
* To celebrate and enhance awareness of the key role of communities in delivering the MDGs and the broader development agenda.
4. Capacity Development
* To develop an action plan that supports broad-based learning between communities and also the capacity development of communities and their partners.