Friday, July 28, 2006

Civil society pavilion at EXPO Zaragoza 2008

At the request of our friends from the Ecology and Development Foundation of Zaragoza (ECODES), I have joined the Steering Committee for the development of The Beacon, the civil society pavilion of EXPO Zaragoza 2008, the next world exhibition that will take place in Spain from 14 June to 14 September 2008, under the heading “Water for sustainable Development”.

ECODES is a leading NGO in the fields of sustainability and water, fair trade, and corporate social responsibility. It is for me and for the Varda Group a great opportunity to work with them on such an important issue. Without equitable access to safe water, there is no food, no health, no justice, no life.

ECODES was asked by EXPO 2008 to co-ordinate the development and management of a pavilion of citizens’ initiatives. They asked me to join the international ECODES Steering Committee formed to oversee and develop this project. The team also includes our friend Pedro Ralda of Logistica Justa (who pulled together key people with different complementary skills to join forces with ECODES), and we started work two or three months ago.

A bid for the construction of the pavilion will soon be made public, including strict environmental compliance criteria for the building, maintenance and dismantling phases.

Yesterday, we launched on behalf of ECODES an online consultation for NGOs and other civil society organizations. The goal is to secure the active participation of a good mix of local, national and international civil society organizations, including NGOs, foundations and think-tanks involved with water issues, humanitarian, environmental and development organizations, consumers and trade union organizations, etc. And to build an attractive, creative and moving programme for the 6 million visitors expected at EXPO 2008. If you belong to a Civil Society organization that works on water issues, you can reply en español, in English, et en Français, to register and flag (by 10 September 2006) your initial interests and ideas. If you know others who should be aware of this announcement, forward it to them.

Based on this initial consultation, the Steering Committee will start building and proposing an all-inclusive consistent draft programme of activities, in partnership with those wishing to participate.

With its international dimension, EXPO 2008 will be a unique outreach and advocacy opportunity.

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