Both for research and for the many families involved in the Converge project, 2011 was a fantastic year. With GreenDependent in Hungary leading, the team researched initiatives that are convergent - i.e. are performing activities that are towards greater fairness and sustainability. It was a pleasure to develop our feeling for how Convergence is allready taking place in the real world, and to explore the work of these inspirational organisations. We look forward to sharing their stories and how they are part of the Convergence side of sustainable development later this year.
(Image by paintmyworldrainbow)
We also spent some time with the guidance of the Natural Step International in Sweden investigating how communities are engaging people - what it is that gathers people around a project. We hope that in understanding the qualities of a good engagement we can support the wider uptake of sustainable development through convergence by offering a guide to how engagement is allready taking place.
In the second half of 2011 we started the testing of our Converge Framework and Principles, and work towards the development of a Converge Indicator Framework. Seeking to unify internationally recognised and tested applications such as the TNS framework, declaration of human rights, and Atkisson's Isis & Sustainability Compas, the Converge Framework and principles supported by the indicator framework will provide valuable tools for those interested in injecting social justice more explicitely into their sustainable development programmes and projects at any scale from local to global. Lead by the University of Iceland and University of Lund in Sweden, a series of modelling workshops began in Iceland and Bristol. Though these we are revisiting and adjusting the Convergence Framework and Principles, and drawing out significant indicators. In the process we are begining to understand the complex web of causal relationships that makes up the food systems of our test communities. We are starting to pinpoint areas of convergence that can be encouraged and celebrated, but also areas of divergence - whereby the current reality of our food system is increasingly unfair, and unsustainable. There are multiple actors allready exploring the sustainability of the food sector in our test communities. We hope that by using food as the scope by which to test the Convergence Framework, we will contribute useful tools to these.
2012 begins with the continued testing of the framework and a review of the current policy environment surrounding both sustainability and food from the perspective of convergence. How is policy convergent and are there instances where it can be divergent? Can we recommend changes and adaptations of policy to bring fairness more explicitely to sustainable development activities?
Simultaneously the Convergence Framework and Indicators will go on to be developped and we will soon be in the position where we are able to share these with you. In our testing we seek to uncover the state of convergence in the test communities and to find out if the Convergence Framework is useful to these communities as a tool for sustainable development towards a sustainable future. Zooming outwards we then map this onto the global scale to examine the role of the Converge Framework in blending social justice with strategies for resource allocation and management and ultimately evolving our view of globalisation into one fit for a new era.
Happy New Year from the Converge Team,