Outcomes of the Support Group Meeting in Paris, January 2019
The Support Group of the International Conferences on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity met in Villarceaux (Paris) at the end of January. Among the main outcomes was the decision to accept the Manchester proposal to host the 7th International Degrowth Conference at the beginning of September 2020.
The Support Group, which welcomed several new members, has furthermore reviewed its role in supporting the international conferences and the movement on degrowth, decided on the allocation of budget for different activities and projects (particularly related to the funding by the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind - FPH) and elected a new coordination.
In one of the sessions, we gathered our collective memories about the evolution of the Support Group and the International Conferences on Degrowth.
Below you can read about the main outcomes. Feel free at any time to [write to the Support Group coordinator](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), or raise any questions and debates publicly on the [Degrowth Agora](https://agora.degrowth.net)
The Support Group (SG) is a fluid body with consensually agreed tasks and positions operating on a voluntary basis. Its members rely on the experience of organizing and working on previous international degrowth conferences and developing degrowth conference and communication infrastructure. In that, it has in the past had to resolve conflictual visions of its goals, processes of operation and output that is useful to the degrowth communities, primarily people gathering around degrowth conferences. Much of this history has been reviewed and discussed in the current membership participating in the Villarceaux (Paris) meeting.
Some of these resulted in stating the mission for the operations of the support group as:
"The aim of the support group is to foster international cooperation around degrowth and increase its visibility mainly by ensuring the continuity of the international conferences."
The conferences are platforms for open face-to-face dialogue as occasions for strengthening other degrowth activities.
In a transition period of two years the support group will assist its members’ engagement on fostering self-management of a structured degrowth network.
Moreover, the resultant tasks for SG from this mission are:
1. Improving the conferences (drawing on previous good practices)
4. Outreach / communication
5. Incubator for new ideas
In reaching decisions on steps appropriate to addressing these tasks in line with the mission of SG, it was agreed that:
* SG decides by consensus
* Decisions need explicit proposals, preferably co-created on pad or in a separate space before
* Decison types are:
* Minor Decisions, Online
* no answer with objection plus 2 additional supporters in 7 days means agreement. Also in the email there should be a clear tag.
* NOT for vision, mandates, budget, calls, main project decisions, structure
* Major decisions
* only in meetings with appropriate decision-making process
* step consensus procedure is applied (as a guideline):
1. Clarifying questions (to understand better)
1. Present the proposal
1. Brief reactions (how do we feel) & Emotional check: Ask, whether we are ready to take the decision?
1. Ask for objections (need a reason)
1. Concerns/statement (minor objections, which should be specified. Minor objections mean: I dont like the proposal, but I dont stand in the way)
1. Major objection (veto to the decision)
1. Integrate into new proposal
1. Consent / Approval - explicit agreement with hand-sign
* Decisions are followed by mandating the task execution and supervision to selected SG members, under the principles to [a] trust in the mandate, [b] defined, [c] transparent, [d] accountable (e.g. on agora), and [e] clear task and responsibility.
It was further agreed that after the 7th International Degrowth Conference in Manchester in 2020, an annual conference rhythm will be experimented with, through 8th International Degrowth Conference in Den Haag in 2021. Contact persons for Den Haag conference will cooperate with the LOC to integrate broader degrowth conference structure into the conference proposal provided by the Den Haag LOC.
The Good Life conference in Wien in 2020 will be provided with additional format of event that is supported by SG. Based on this experience the call for 2022 conference might contain continuation of additional format events independently organized in another city by self-organized LOC, alongside the International Degrowth Conference.
The contact persons for the three conference events in period 2019-2020 are:
* Manchester: Vincent and Katja (and maybe Marina if it will be needed)
* Den Haag: Brototi and Mladen
* Wien: Joël and Marina proposed (TBC)
Further decisions were made concerning use of resources, individual and organisational committments in 2019-2021 period in line with the SG mission and tasks.