Forum flottant pour un Développement Durable Floating Forum for Sustainable Development

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The Floating Forum for Sustainable Development will bring together the players of the ecological and social transition for sustainable development, taking them in sailing vessels from the port of La Rochelle (France) to a marina in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held from 20 to 24 June 2012.


This crew will include participants from the European civil society, as well as from other continents: community activists, business leaders, local or national elected officials, gathered on this occasion to exchange on a human scale on some of the most important issues for the global balance and the well-being of present and future generations. Topics covered will include:

  • Towards efficient and responsible maritime transport
    • This efficiency must be seen from the economic, environmental and social viewpoints.
  • Water, human right and essential factor of life
    • How to organize the management of water, common good, from the local to the international level?
  • The balance of life and human well-being
    • How to reconnect the human activities to the cycles of life, for better-being?
  • The ecological and social transition, in a culture of human responsibility
    • Responding to the current challenges requires the initiation of changes at several levels, not to be confronted with dramatic adjustments. How can we think this transition?


Once arrived in Rio, the participants of the Floating Forum will join the spaces of their choice (official summit, summits of the civil society), their organizations or their delegations.


The Proposal


A Floating Forum and consistent transport for sustainable development


The Floating Forum Rio + 20 is a response to the need for consistency for the players wishing to participate in the Rio 2012 Summit on Sustainable Development, while respecting the global balances. Sail transport is the only responsible mode of transport possible from Europe. Fully respecting the global balances, it is one of the modes of transport that best responds to the current dependence on fossil fuels.


The voyage will be done in partnership with Transport Coherence, sail transport company whose mission is to foster the emergence of a maritime transport industry fully respecting the environmental balances and labor rights. Under the point of view of the ecological and social transition of the modes of production, transport and life, the journey time (4-5 weeks) will be an opportunity to take time for reflection and exchange, so mishandled in our society of the immediacy. Also, this action will have a strong symbolic significance in the context of the 2012 Rio Earth Summit.


A multi-player delegation to Rio + 20


The sail vessels of the fleet Rio + 20 Cohérence departing from Europe will bring together each a multi-player delegation of 10 people, including two crew members. The indicative composition of the delegations will be as follows: two representatives from organizations of the civil society focused on different issues in the context of sustainable development; one or two researchers, specialists in scientific and economic matters; one or two elected officials, focused on the issues of sustainable development at local or national level; two business executives; one communicator (video director, blogger-writer, etc.).


The participants of the Floating Forum will explore four working topics, distributed according to the number of vessels. These topics and the name of the vessels are:

  • 1. Coherence: Towards efficient and responsible maritime transport
  • 2. Yemanja: Water, human right and factor of life
  • 3. Gaïa: The balance of life and human well-being
  • 4. Transition to a culture of human responsibility


The preparation and the journey time will encourage exchanges among the participants, on the experiences on which they will carry messages to the Rio + 20 Summit as individuals or on behalf of their organizations. The preparation, exchanges and feedback will be facilitated by a team comprising the disciplines of sustainable development, dialogue and multi-player mediation.


Working Topics


Coherence: Towards ecologically and socially responsible maritime transport


Maritime transport, which circulates 90% of goods transported, faces two major stalemates: the depletion and rising cost of oil resources and the extent of greenhouse gases emissions and other pollutants it generates. It is also one of the main areas of opacity and lawlessness in the world economy and the supply chain. How to think together the maritime transports of the future? Innovative companies contribute to the creation of a new industry of sail maritime transport, showing us one of the options to follow. The evolution of maritime transport affects the shipping companies, but also all the players of international trade, businesses and consumers, who must be present in this debate.


Yemanja: Water, human right and essential factor of life


Water is the medium of life for most living creatures on our planet. However, the situation and sharing of water are now challenged on many levels.

On the one hand, climate change and the pollution of land and marine environments greatly threaten the essential ecological functions of the Oceans: natural resources, climate, carbon dioxide absorption. These are the responsibility of all.

On the other hand, a billion human beings on Earth lack access to drinking water. It is time to recognize the right to water as a fundamental human right. How then think of the management of this good essential to the survival of Humankind and its individuals?


Gaïa: The balance of life and human well-being


Gaïa is a widely tested scientific hypothesis according to which all living beings, the atmosphere and the subsoils are combined in a single living system. This perspective reminds us that the future of Humankind is inextricably linked to that of ecosystems and climate. In recent years, the international community became aware of the plight of ecosystems, measuring for the first time their importance for human well-being. By reconnecting the human activity with the cycle of life, by taking a broader view of what makes us rich, individually and collectivelly, we contribute to global balance.


Ecological and social Transition in a culture of human responsibility


The scale and multi-dimensional nature of the crises that are expressed more openly (climate, economic, financial, social, environmental), and the initiatives that emerge and develop in this troubled context, show clearly that only a dynamic and long-term perspective is capable of uniting efforts, providing solutions to this situation. The concept of ecological and social transition—changes in our economic relations, our lifestyles, modes of production and consumption—seems to sum up the dynamics of this necessary movement. It emphasizes the interconnection of the changes to be made, the need for temporal depth, and the ethics of responsibility and solidarity which must prevail in this movement. This is nothing less than to invent the rules of a new “living together”, adopting a dynamic, not static, apprehension of society, economy and life. How can we apprehend these concepts of transition, solidarity and responsibility?



Details of the initiative