Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Platform 21 – Repair Manifesto!

December 2nd, 2011

Downloaded over one million times!

Platform21’s Repair Manifesto opposes throwaway culture and celebrates repair as the new recycling. The last few months the Manifesto has been downloaded, blogged about and adopted all over the world.

The Repair Manifesto is part of the project Platform21 = Repairing for which we sought to make repairing cool again – over a period of five months.

Both with the help of designers and visitors, new repair techniques were developed and many ingenious repairs were carried out in Platform21.

Although the project has now ended in Platform21, it doesn’t mean we are dropping the repair mentality. Platform21 = Repairing will soon travel to New York, and we hope the manifesto will keep inspiring people to STOP RECYCLING and START REPAIRING!So rediscover the joy of fixing things and share your repair knowledge. Together we can keep this movement going, one that isn’t new per se but has been forgotten.



via Platform 21 – Downloaded over one million times!.

The long road to open aid data!

July 11th, 2011

The following guest post is by Claudia Schwegmann from OpenAid, a member of the OKF’s Working Group on Open Knowledge in Development.

The road to open data in development cooperation has been a long one! 10 years ago, transparency, let alone open data, in development cooperation wasn’t an issue. In 2001 the Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty had just been formulated and there was considerable optimism that more of the same in development cooperation (more commitment, more money and more expertise) would help us to make tangible progress in health, education and other social sectors around the world.

Since then this optimism has faded. More of the same will not do and some serious changes in the aid system are needed. The need for accountability in development cooperation came into focus. At the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Paris in 2005 mutual accountability was highlighted as one of five prerequisites to effective aid. In 2006 key international non-government organisations launched the Accountability Charter for NGOs.

How can organisations and decision makers be accountable without being transparent about their activities and decisions? Accountability was very soon linked to the need for more transparency. Not surprisingly in 2008 donors, government representatives of aid recipient countries and civil society representatives declared at the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra “We will make aid more transparent” and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) was launched. Around the same time German NGOs got together and developed a transparency standard, which comprises a list of information items to be published either online or upon request by surface mail.

Only in 2010 did the notion of open data appear in development cooperation. In March 2010 the World Bank launched its open data initiative. Other big players like the Food and Agricultural Organisation, the Multi Donor Trust Fund and the British Department for International Development followed and at the beginning of 2011 the International Aid Transparency (IATI) agreed an international information standard largely in accordance with the open data definition of the OKF.

The good news is that a few powerful pioneers have adopted the concept open data in development cooperation. The bad news is that most donor staff, development workers, politicians and journalists working on development, even researchers have never heard of open data. And should you start to talk about databases, standardised formats, machine-readable data, APIs and data mash-ups you are very likely to instil fear and terror.

That is a shame. And it is time to reach out to people who are strongly committed to improving development cooperation and to reduce global poverty, but who do not see the potential of open data for their work. The Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, OpenAid e.V., the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Transparency International Germany are planning a large open aid data event in Berlin on the 28th and 29th of September to do just that. Other open aid data events are planned in Prague on the 4th of October, in Paris and in Stockholm.

At the Open Aid Data Event in Berlin the main day will be the conference on the 29th of September. Jörg Faust from the German Development Institute, Ronald Siebes from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a representative of the Worldbank will make the case for open data for better aid. AKVO, Development Gateway, Transparency International and other organisations will present examples of successful open data projects to explain the concept and the added value of open data. The specific examples will also allow to discuss concerns and challenges to open data.

The conference will be preceded by a more practical open aid data event on the 28th of September. The British NGO aidinfo, which is part of the IATI secretariat and one of the main driver of aid transparency internationally, will hold a data analysis workshop for NGO policy staff. Parallel to this will be a hackday with IATI data organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany. Registration for the event is now open here.

Global Congress on Public Interest Intellectual Property Law

March 24th, 2011

The Global Congress on Public Interest Intellectual Property is being created as an alternative forum to the annual industry-organized Global
Congress Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, which was one of the main incubators for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and other
components of the ongoing enforcement agenda in international intellectual property law. The enforcement agenda has come under increasing scrutiny from public interest advocates and independent researchers, including through the recently released Media Piracy in Emerging Economies report Taking these research and advocacy interventions as a starting point, the Global Congress on Public Interest
Intellectual Property will serve as a site for the sharing of research, ideas and policy proposals for how international intellectual property law
should be constructed to better protect the full range of global public interest concerns.

American University Washington College of Law (WCL) will host the first Global Congress on Public Interest Intellectual Property August 25-27, 2011. The Global Congress will be co-hosted by WCL¹s Program on Justice and Intellectual Property, Fundação Getulio Vargas¹s Center for Technology and Society (Brazil), the American Assembly at Columbia University, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (Geneva), and the Institute for Global and International Studies at George Washington University.

SAVE THE DATE: August 25-27, 2011

American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington DC, 20016


Open letter to President Dilma Rousseff

February 8th, 2011

This is an open letter to President Dilma Rousseff signed by international organizations, academics and activists in support of the work of the Brazilian society and government for the cultural commons

The Commons Strategies Group with a little help from some friends has drafted an open letter to Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff to be signed by international organizations, academics and activists in support of the work of the Brazilian society and government for the cultural commons. The Open Letter is to be issued at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, this week. It follows an Open Letter by the Brazilian civil society in December expressing concern that Rousseff’s appointment of Ana de Hollanda as new Minister of Culture might lead to a reversal of the progressive policies under the Ministers Gilberto Gil and Juca Ferreira. The letter points out a range of achievements by the previous Ministry of Culture (MinC), including the Points of Culture, the support for free software, the Development Agenda at WIPO, an open inclusive dialogue in society about culture policies, the adoption of free licenses such as those of Creative Commons and the copyright bill. The concern was fueled by the first activities of the new Minister Ana de Hollanda. She announced that she will need to review the copyright bill that was ready to be send to Congress and she withdrew the CC licence from the ministry’s website. For some background on the issues see here.

After the release it will move to its own web-page for signature collection. If your group wants to be among the initial signatories please e-mail your endorsement to of the Commons Strategies Group until Thursday 10 February at 9 a.m. Central European Time. The letter and signatures will be presented at the World Social Forum in Dakar on that day.



(Re)claiming the environment | GISWatch 2010

December 12th, 2010

New GISWatch asks, How sustainable are ICTs really? A new report launched at the start of the UN Climate Change conference questions the assumption that information and communications technologies (ICTs) will automatically be a panacea for climate change.

We publish below one of the introductory articles. You can download the full GISWatch 2010 report here.

(Re)claiming the environment

Climate change is presented as a crisis: by the scientific community, global institutions, governments and the media. Its urgency provokes the need for mainstreaming environmental concerns in the information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) sector. While analysts argue that climate change magnifies development inequalities, it is also likely to magnify political disagreements and fault lines – already the case at global forums such as the recent negotiations in Copenhagen.


Bringing the discussion on The Commons to Dakar at the World Social Forum

November 17th, 2010

The World Social Forum and the World Forum on Science and Democracy will be two opportunities for the commoners to interact with other civic and social movements.

A list of discussion is now open for volunteers at :


categories: Contributions, English, Initiatives, News / Actualités | Comments Off

13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons IASC

November 14th, 2010

IASC 2011 – Sustaining Commons: Sustaining our FutureThe 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons IASC will be held in Hyderabad, India from January 10th to 14th, 2011.

The Conference is being held in South Asia for the first time; and in a departure from the past, will be hosted by a practitioner organization – Foundation for Ecological Security FES.

The Conference provides a unique opportunity to resurface the discussion and debate on Commons and bring experience and evidence from across the world to show that Commons are not a relic of the past, but play a strategic role in maintaining ecological health, reducing poverty, and improving collective action. By placing the Conference agenda in the ongoing discussions around conservation, local governance, social exclusion and human rights, agrarian distress and rural livelihoods, and by pitching it at the interface of policy, research and practice, the aim is to bring practitioners, scholars and decision makers to a common meeting ground so as to enrich the collective understanding on common property resources and identify areas and measures to inform policy and programmatic action as well as guide future research.

via IASC 2011 – Sustaining Commons: Sustaining our Future.

Constructing a Commons-Based Policy Platform

November 1st, 2010

The International Commons Conference: Constructing a Commons-Based Policy Platform – Economy – began at the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.

Follow the livestream


See the introduction

An epoch in modern history has ended. The growth imperative of market capitalism is evidently endangering the ecosystem. Confidence in governments as reliable steward of people’s interests has been shaken. Therefore, a new path forward is coming into focus: The commons! The commons is about reclaiming, sharing and self-governing resources that belong to everyone. As a form of governance it is defending traditional or building new social and institutional systems for managing our resources – water and land, knowledge and seeds, genes and the atmosphere – based on the principles of equity and sustainability. The commons is a practical means for re-inventing society in ways that markets and governments are unable or unwilling to entertain. Commons does not mean resources alone are centre stage, of higher importance are the relationships among us, the commoners, our ways of commoning.

Biens communs de la connaissance

October 13th, 2010

Amit Sengupta (AIPSN) et Valérie Peugeot (VECAM), deux des intervenants de la table ronde sur les biens communs de la connaissance lors du forum mondial sciences et démocratie, ont présenté les enjeux d’une approche alternative pour la production de la connaissance. Ils mettent notamment en évidence l’importance de la collaboration pour la production des connaissances et la nécessité de reconnaitre la diversité des modes de production des savoirs et leur complémentarités.

Les biens communs/The Commons/El Procomun (I) 3’58″ from Alain Ambrosi on Vimeo.

Bande-annonce du livre-dvd SCIENCES & DÉMOCRATIE

October 13th, 2010

Le premier forum mondial sciences et démocratie (FMSD) s’est déroulé à Belém (Brésil) les 26 et 27 janvier et les premières conclusions ont été présentées à l’Assemblée des assemblées du FSM le 1er février 2009.

Bande-annonce du livre-dvd produit par l’association VECAM, réalisé par Alain Ambrosi et Abeille tard et publié par CF-Éditions.

SCIENCES & DÉMOCRATIE: UN LIVRE-DVD DE C&F Éditions from Alain Ambrosi on Vimeo.