BETTER WORLD AGORA FOUNDATION
Let’s build together a better,
peaceful and happy world
Memorandum of understanding
Version of the 11/06/18
THE WORLD IN 2018
1. Fifteen thousand scientists warn humanity of environmental catastrophe
In its November 13, 2017 issue, BioScience publishes a manifesto against environmental degradation signed by 15,364 scientists from 184 countries. In this call, of an unprecedented scale, the evolution between 1960 and 2016 is analyzed with the same 9 indicators as the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 : 8 of them are in the red.
However, for these scientists, "we are able to change positively when we act with determination". The rapid decline in the use of ozone-depleting substances, the results of the fight against famine and extreme poverty, the decline in the fertility rate in certain areas and the reduction in the rate of deforestation, are all signs that "we have learned a lot".
Their conclusion is uncompromising, illustrated with the statement : "It will soon be too late to change course and leave this trajectory doomed to failure, because time is running out." To "avoid widespread suffering and a catastrophic loss of biodiversity", we must change our behavior, insist the signatories, and recognizing that "Earth with all its life is our only home".
2. Since January 25, 2018, the Doomsday Clock has moved forward to 23:58, due to the "inability of world leaders to deal with the imminent threat of nuclear war and climate change".
This clock (Doomsday Clock), which will ring the end of the world at midnight, was created shortly after the beginning of the cold war ; it has regularly been updated since 1947 by the directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago. The countdown system has been designed to dramatize the danger of nuclear, ecological and technological threats to humanity.
Originally, this clock only denounced the risks of a proliferation of nuclear weapons. Since 2007, the clock has also taken into account the consequences of climate change, the problems related to hydrocarbons (exploitation and consumption), as well as the risks associated with "new developments in the life sciences that could inflict irrevocable damage" (nanotechnology, biotechnology, etc.).
3. The reception and relocation of climate, ecological and environmental refugees is an endless challenge.
Individuals and groups forced to leave their place temporarily or permanently because of an environmental rupture (of natural or human origin), putting at risk their very existence or affecting their living conditions, are farmers, hunter-gatherers, fishermen or breeders. The "classic" causes of their displacement are desertification, deforestation, salinization, erosion and toxicity of soil, air and water.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, migration directly and indirectly related to climate change will multiply : rising sea levels in the coming decades (in 2015, 16 of 21 cities over 10 million inhabitants are on the coastline) ; advancing deserts ; drying up of lakes and seas (Aral Sea).
The United Nations estimates, for its part, that 50 million inhabitants could be forced to leave their home region because of climate change : advance of the Gobi Desert, in China (more 10 000 km² per year) ; floods in Bangladesh and the Nile Delta ; submersion (in Tuvalu, 11,600 people are threatened by the rise in the level of the Pacific Ocean) ; ice retreat threatening Inuit and Amerindian populations in Alaska ; erosion, and soil desertification at the margins of Europe (in Turkey, 160 000 km² of arable land are degraded by erosion and drought) ; salinization (in Egypt, 50% of irrigated arable land are under threat).
The number of ecorefugees is constantly increasing : at the beginning of 2008, and only for the climate refugees without status, it was estimated at 25 million by Professor Janos Bogardi (number taken over by Hélène Flautre, president of the subcommittee on human rights of the European Parliament). By the end of the century, their number could rise to 150 million.
THE SPIRITUAL AND CULTURAL CRISIS
Environmental lawyer James Gustave Speth, co-founder of Natural Resources Defense Council, former dean of the School of Environmental Studies and Forestry at Yale University, said in an interview in 2013 :"I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science, we could address those problems.But I was wrong.The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy. To deal with those, we need a spiritual and cultural transformation, and we scientists don’t know how to do that."
This is valid for all the complex problems that humanity must solve, and all the major challenges it faces.
BETTER WORLD AGORA, LET’S FACE TOGETHER
THE GREAT GLOBAL AND LOCAL CHALLENGES
Humanity is a big family,
we must take care of each other.
We must also take care of the Earth,
which is our common home and our only home.
Let us build together, for future generations,
a better, peaceful and happy world,
where all human beings will enjoy freedom, in peace and security.
HOW CAN WE BUILD A BETTER WORLD ?
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were established by the UN Member States in the 2030 Agenda. Adopted by the UN in September 2015, after two years of negotiation between 193 governments, they are linked to 169 targets to be reached at by 2030, backed by 244 quantitative or qualitative indicators. To facilitate communication and ownership by citizens, the targets are grouped into five areas, the 5Ps : People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace and Partnership.
At the international conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2015, the total cost of development was $ 2.5 trillion over 15 years.
The attainment in 2030 of the 17 Goals and the 169 Targets is in the hands of all the world’s citizens, and does not depend only on governments : each and every one of us will do its part, it is a collective action for the common good.
HOW CAN WE BUILD A PEACEFUL WORLD ?
Peace in the world cannot be achieved through speeches or prayers : it is based on peace in the heart of every human being.
The three conditions for the cessation of conflicts and wars are mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual understanding : if all human beings understand one another, then they cannot hate and kill each other.
The European Union is concrete proof that countries torn apart for centuries by wars can live in peace and cooperate.
HOW CAN WE BUILD A HAPPY WORLD ?
Happiness is subjective, it is a personal perception of each individual ; we can talk about well-being, joys or harmony between people.
The three conditions for a harmonious life are mutual admiration, mutual love and mutual trust.
We all want to enjoy freedom in peace and security, but this precious security is only possible through interpersonal relationships based on mutual trust.
HOW TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP ?
As long as humanity lives, Better World Agora will work for the construction of a better, peaceful and happy world. This is not a punctual project with a beginning, a development and an end, once the final goal is reached.
To engage in this collective adventure, the imperative condition is to see and understand the issues of the common good, so we can decide and act knowingly.
Our motto is : To become better and grow, in order to give and protect.
THE CONSTRUCTIVE CONSENSUS AS THE OPERATIVE MODE
Our instruction is inclusion : unity prevails over duality, harmony prevails over antagonism.
We have two arguments for mobilizing women and men of good will from around the world :
1. By acting now, because it is urgent, we rediscover the ideals of our youth.
2. Even if we do not ourselves see the better world we are building, we will be able to see it through the eyes of our children and the children of our children, because it is for them that we do not measure our efforts of today.
As members of the BETTER WORLD AGORA Foundation, we tackle the complex problems of our time and co-build solutions, by working with local and global leaders, change agents and social entrepreneurs who are already successfully working everywhere in the world. We want to develop experiences that can then be deployed on a large scale, and take large-scale and high-impact initiatives that will meet the major and urgent challenges.
Because trees never climb to the sky, with humility, modesty and moderation, we do our part by helping to broaden the vision of all our allies and partners, and to increase their abilityto execute.
The BETTER WORLD AGORA France and India Foundations will serve as pilot experiences, and will focus its activities on the national territory. Starting from 2021, autonomous national foundations will be created by trained and prepared local teams.
The International Foundation will play the role of directing teams, mobilized upon demand.
DECIDING AND ACTING WITHOUT ANY DELAY, HERE AND NOW
In October of each year, from 2020, we will organize, first in Delhi, and thereafter in Paris, a three-in-one event :
1. A meeting of Nobel laureates, scientists and thinkers, moral authorities to advance humanity.
2. A meeting of change agents and social entrepreneurs, who will present local experiences that can serve as a model for large scale projects.
3. An international exhibition of innovative solutions, inspired by Solutions COP 21 (Grand Palais, December 2015).
To succeed in these actions, we will create a think-tank to broaden the collective vision, and form a task force to increase the collective ability to execute.
We will have an operational team of permanent employees and volunteers, driven by conviction, strength and courage.
In order to obtain major effects, we will work tirelessly by putting into practice the freedom of action, the concentration of efforts and the economy of means.
To accelerate the development of the Foundation and ensure its sustainability, we will apply the three principles of design thinking, desirability, feasibility and viability, and secure recurring revenues to cover structural costs.
And whenever necessary, as part of the skills sponsorship, we will call on volunteers from companies involved in the development of Corporate Social Responsibility.
ACTIVITIES AND THE ECONOMIC MODEL
1. The six main priorities
To transform the world and make it better, peaceful and happy, the role of adults is essential as change agents and mentors of young people, in all the immense projects of this global mutation.
Based on our own vision of reality, we implement six key priorities :
Inform : provide useful information
Promote : empowering change agents
Connect : bring together agile teams
Innovate : do better differently
Transforming : improving the current situation
Transmit : prepare qualified successors
2. Consulting and training activities
In order for the donations received and the contributions of the members of the Foundation to be used fully for the mission dedicated to the common good, sharing and solidarity, it is the consulting and training activities that will cover the cost of the structure.
They will bring to the social and solidarity economy the state-of-the-art of creativity, innovation, competitiveness, responsiveness, leadership and teamwork that is driving the market economy.
The explicit promise for customers, social enterprises and associations, is the effective production of visible and legible concrete results.
3. Engaged and united teams
Aware that the Foundation works on a daily basis for a noble and just cause, by scrupulously respecting the commonly accepted ethical rules, members, permanent employees and volunteers will work together in agile teams of at least five people.
Integration and inclusiveness will be required, as will parity and diversity.
At all hierarchical levels, emotional stability and group skills will be prerequisites, as well as the knowledge acquired, the experiences lived and the skills developed.
Sooner or later internal blockages and external limitations will appear as non-negotiable constraints, so we will have to overcome these difficulties and bypass these obstacles in order to cross the finish lines, one after the other.
BETTER WORLD AGORA project leader