The first people’s manifesto for democracy and sustainable development

News, 8 June 2012
A process to develop the world’s first people’s manifesto for democracy and sustainable development will kick off on 16 June at IIED's Fair ideas conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Picture of a bamboo forest canopy.

The manifesto process, led by London-based group the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development (FDSD), aims to provide a platform for action around the world to ensure that democracy is properly equipped to deliver sustainable development outcomes.

Speaking about the manifesto process, FDSD’s Director Halina Ward said:

"Democracy needs to be cherished if it is to thrive and adapt to pressures that climate change, resource scarcity and major demographic shifts will create.  

The manifesto will set an agenda for tackling problem areas such as the way that democracy is so often hitched to business-as-usual economic growth, or lack of respect for future generations. At the same time, we’re looking to raise awareness of the increasing risk that unsustainable development could erode democracy.

We need suggestions on ways of working, or institutions, policies or practices that can point the way to democratic decision-making tailored to sustainable development. We want to hear from organisations and individuals who care about democracy and what it can do to deliver a healthy environment and fairness for all now and in the future.

We want the manifesto process to create a ripple effect around the world.”

Co-Chair of FDSD’s board, John Lotherington, added:

It’s fitting that we’re launching the process in Rio de Janeiro, twenty years on from the 1992 Earth Summit. Governments at Rio will be talking about institutional frameworks for sustainable development and the green economy. But these efforts will not succeed unless we also pay attention to the health of the world’s dominant political system – democracy”.

The manifesto process will be launched at IIED's Fair ideas conference, an event designed to build commitment to the Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development) agenda by acting as a platform for stimulating debate and highlighting practical solutions to global challenges.

A public consultation process will run until the end of November 2012. Responses will be considered and the outline for the manifesto drawn up at two workshops which will be held in late 2012. FDSD is also seeking to identify champions for the manifesto, which is scheduled to launch in early 2013. 

Consultation materials for the manifesto and additional information are available in English and in Spanish ( and Full process detailed below.


Halina Ward, Director of the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development is available for media interviews and comment

Telephone: +44 (0) 7825 164996, Email:, Skype: halinaward

Notes to editors

The Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development ( is a UK-based charity which works to find ways of equipping democracy to deliver sustainable development.

Initial manifesto process

Initial opportunities to engage in the manifesto process, including a press briefing in Rio de Janeiro on 17 June, are listed below.

PRESS BRIEFING: 17 June, 1230-1300: press briefing with Halina Ward, Dr Sándor Fülöp, Deputy Ombudsman for Future Generations, Hungary, and (subject to final confirmation) Peter Davies, Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, Wales, Press briefing room, Fair ideas, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC), Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 225, Gávea – Rio de Janeiro  (see further

14 June: Halina Ward will discuss principles for democracy and sustainable Development in a panel session at the international seminar Além do Rio: Diálogos com a sociedade civil para a Rio + 20, Procuradoria da República no Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

16 June: consultation stand at Fair ideas: sharing solutions for a sustainable planet, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC) (information above)  

17June: panel discussion: Defending the public: participation, future generations, and sustainable development (, part of Fair ideas (information above)

19 June: manifesto consultation stand at Choosing our Future: open and participatory sustainable development governance (, Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Praia de Botafogo, 190, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

26 June: manifesto consultation stand at Electoral Reform Society conference 2012, Navigating the New Democracy (, London, UK


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