On Thursday 21 and Friday 22 March, the CNCD-11.11.11 and 11.11.11 are organising a two-day European Citizens' Summit, a unique opportunity to meet and discuss major European issues. The aim is to bring together Belgian and European civil society to forge links and strengthen synergies on cross-cutting issues.

The summit is sold out. Registration is closed.
Contact : Véronique Rigot.

Programme

The European Citizens’ Summit will begin with an opening plenary session at which leading figures from European and international civil society will address the major issues of ecological and social transformation and international solidarity for Europe. Their contributions will set the tone for the Forum, which will continue with workshops on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, focusing on the 6 central themes as well as on other topics suggested by participants.

A media action will be organised on Thursday 21 March in the late afternoon, aimed at EU Member States representatives present at the Council of the EU. Finally, the Summit will close with a plenary session at which the Brussels Declaration will be adopted by the participants and handed over to the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (TBC).

Program - Time schedule

Wednesday 20 March
« EU for Global Justice » : online debate dedicated to civic space and democracy. Registration

Thursday 21 March

9:00 Welcome with coffee/tea
9:30 Opening plenary (Room TOP)
« An open, fair and sustainable Europe: challenges and perspectives »
Arnaud Zacharie, General Secretary of the CNCD-11.11.11
Tanya Cox, Director of Concord
Chiara Martinelli, Director of CAN-Europe
Ludovic Voet, ETUC Confederal Secretary
Nele Meyer, Executive Director of ECCJ
11:00 Coffee break
11:20 Continuation of the Opening Plenary (Room TOP)
Jean Saldanha, Director of Eurodad
Jean Matthieu Thévenot, farmer, on behalf of Via Campesina
Alaa Talbi, Executive Director of FTDES, Tunisia
Dinamam Tuxa, Executive Coordinator of APIB (Indigenous people from Brazil)
Closing points – Organisation of the event, CNCD-11.11.11
12:30 Lunch
Afternoon: Parallel workshops in all rooms
13:30 Workshops
14:50 Coffee break
15:10 Workshops
17:00 Action for a fair and sustainable Europe in the European quarter

Friday 22 March

9:00 Welcome with coffee/tea
9:30 Workshops
11:00 Coffee break
11:15 Workshops
12:45 Lunch
14:00 Final plenary session: approval of the “Brussels Declaration” + Keynote speeches (Room TOP)
Els Hertogen, Director of 11.11.11, Belgium (tbc) : Global issues and international solidarity
Julie Zalcman, Friends of the Earth Europe, on behalf of ETJC - Climate and planetary limits
: Economic transformation
Osman İşçi IHD [Turkey], on behalf of EuroMed Rights : Migration justice
- Alina Garkova – Executive Director of EurAc : Peace and human security
Giovanna Teijido Vázquez, Executive Director of the Red EU-LAT : Democracy and civic space
Nicolas Van Nuffel, Head of Advocacy – CNCD-11.11.11, Belgium : General Conclusions
16:00 Handover of the “Brussels Declaration” to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (TBC) and Final Drink

Workshops’ programme

Thursday 21 March - 1.30 pm

The EU, climate change and other planetary boundaries: which way forward? (EN)

Organized by : CAN EUROPE

The workshop will provide a vision and open space for discussion about how the EU climate and energy framework should look like in the next EU cycle, in light of the extreme urgency of effective action. We will notably discuss how to bring everyone on board for high climate ambitions and how to make the transformation socially just within Europe and for the majority world.

Organized by : CAN EUROPE

Farmers’ Mobilization : How to achieve progressive political decisions ? (EN)

Organized by : Friends of the Earth Europe, Fian Europe, Fugea, ECVC, CNCD-11.11.11

Farmers’ mobilizations are intensifying across Europe : the Belgian agricultural sector has been taking action since the beginning of the year. What assessment can be made regarding European political decisions, and how can we ensure that progressive demands, combining social and environmental issues, are taken into account?

Organized by : Friends of the Earth Europe, Fian Europe, Fugea, ECVC, CNCD-11.11.11

Building an enabling environment for the right to defend human rights – policy and advocacy approaches and best practices (EN)

Organized by : Protection International, CIVICUS and ENAR

The objective of this workshop is to explore together and discuss which are the main enabling factors for people to enjoy their right to defend human rights and which are the main disabling barriers that HRDs face. We will jointly discuss which are the most efficient policy and advocacy tactics to address these barriers and to promote the “enabling” factors.

The discussion will be guided by Protection International’s recent paper Towards a Safe and Enabling Environment for the Right to Defend Human Rights. The paper outlines strategic approaches for fostering a conducive environment, emphasizing the need for systemic thinking, political will-building, and engagement across multiple governance levels.

Organized by : Protection International, CIVICUS and ENAR

After the Pact: What way forward towards migration justice (EN)

Organized by : 11.11.11, CNCD-11.11.11, Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, Ciré, EuroMed Rights, Médecins Sans Frontières, Caritas International, Migreurop, JCWI, La Ligue des droits humains, Transational Institute

In December 2023 EU member states and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the New Pact on Asylum and Migration after years of negotiations. After the final stop, the plenary vote in European Parliament in April, we will soon see the implementation of new policies that will significantly change the EU’s migration approach. The new Pact is heavily criticized by civil society as unworkable and an attack on migrants’ rights. In this panel discussion we will look at next steps to counter the damaging impacts and look towards common strategies in the months and years to come. Both from a legal, humanitarian and awareness raising perspective.

Organized by : 11.11.11, CNCD-11.11.11, Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, Ciré, EuroMed Rights, Médecins Sans Frontières, Caritas International, Migreurop, JCWI, La Ligue des droits humains, Transational Institute

Citizen Advocacy against Fossil Fuel Lobbyism and Corporate Capture

Organized by : Rise for Climate Belgium, Corporate Europe Observatory

Join us at the 2024 European Citizens’ Summit for a workshop on combating fossil fuel lobbyism. Presentations cover advocacy strategies, the Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty, and fossil-free politics. Discuss how to influence EU decision-makers to safeguard climate policy, leveraging the European Parliament elections.

Organized by : Rise for Climate Belgium, Corporate Europe Observatory

Thursday 21 March – 3.10pm

Sprint Hackathon: Linking Gender, Climate Justice in Advocacy & Campaigning for Future Generations (EN)

Organized by : EDUXO and Oxfam-België/Belgique

Join our Policy Hackathon to amplify our voices on crucial topics for future generations! We’ll tackle climate, agriculture, gender, and youth, linking them for impactful advocacy, clarifying the main challenges. Let’s craft innovative policy solutions to influence the European Parliament. The Policy Hackathon format will ensure innovative policy solutions and capacity building of participants.

Organized by : EDUXO and Oxfam-België/Belgique

Mirror measures for a more sustainable agricultural trade: a trap or a panacea? (EN)

Organized by : Institut Veblem pour des réformes économiques, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, ECVC, Humundi, CNCD-11.11.11

Mirror measures are often cited as a solution to end the unfair competition experienced by European farmers. However, imposing compliance with European standards on imported products is a challenge considering WTO rules and raises questions, including the impact on small-scale agriculture in Southern countries.

Organized by : Institut Veblem pour des réformes économiques, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, ECVC, Humundi, CNCD-11.11.11

Civil society as a catalyst for European commitment in UN treaty negotiation on business and human rights (EN)

Organized by : EU Treaty Alliance

Drawing from analyses of corporate abuses, we’ll delve into the critical role the EU must assume in human rights and business negotiations in Geneva. We’ll inquire into ways civil society can expand its influence and garner broader support for this European commitment.

Organized by : EU Treaty Alliance

Global Gateway: supporting development or promoting European interests? (EN)

Organized by : Counter Balance, Eurodad, Alliance2015

The Global Gateway is centred at derisking European commercial interests in the global South with development budgets. At the workshop, we will discuss projects and financing promoted under this approach, key risks and concerns, impacts on EU’s development goals, and opportunities for civil society engagement.

Organized by : Counter Balance, Eurodad, Alliance2015

Reimagining Collaboration: Shaping the Future of EU-CELAC Relations

Organized by : 11.11.11, …

This workshop will provide a critical lens on the reinforced EU-Latin America relations, and the pivotal role of civil society in decision-making processes. Starting with a panorama of the current EU-CELAC dynamics and evaluation of the EU-CELAC Summit in July 2023, this panel will explore the new-found opportunities and challenges on the road to the next Summit in Colombia in 2025.

Organized by : 11.11.11, …

Régularisation Now ! (FR)

Organized by : CIRE, Collectifs Sans Papier de Belgique/GB/France, CNCD-11.11.11, 11.11.11, CRID, FGTB, CSC-ACV, LDH, Cross Border Forum

Cet atelier donne la parole aux Collectifs de Sans papier, aux syndicats et aux associations solidaires qui luttent pour l’égalité des droits dont celui au séjour. Nombreux projets portés par ces mêmes acteurs, dans différents pays européens, seront présentés afin de susciter des synergies et des partenariats en vue des élections européennes de juin 2024 : Régularisation Now !

Organized by : CIRE, Collectifs Sans Papier de Belgique/GB/France, CNCD-11.11.11, 11.11.11, CRID, FGTB, CSC-ACV, LDH, Cross Border Forum

Friday 22 March – 9.30am

How to (not) unlock new and additional climate finance? (EN)

Organized by : Re-Course, ActionAid, CAN-E, Eurodad, 11.11.11, CNCD-11.11.11

As the climate crisis hits harder as the time passes, the financial needs are increasing daily. Ahead of COP29, the definition of a new global objective opens the doors to blended finances and MDBs/IFIFs to unlock new sources of funding for climate action. Next to bringing to light the inherent problems of these pathways, we aim to highlight the innovative sources of fundings we advocate for.

Organized by : Re-Course, ActionAid, CAN-E, Eurodad, 11.11.11, CNCD-11.11.11

Conflits armés en RD Congo : quels impacts sur les populations, quelles pistes de prévention ? (FR)

Organized by : Caritas International, CORDAID, CJP Belgique, Entraide et Fraternité, EurAc, 11.11.11

L’objectif de cet échange est de développer, ensemble avec des acteurs de la société civile congolaise, une analyse holistique des pistes de solutions et de plaidoyer pour protéger les populations et s’attaquer aux causes profondes des conflits violents en RD Congo.

Organized by : Caritas International, CORDAID, CJP Belgique, Entraide et Fraternité, EurAc, 11.11.11

Building a European Common Space for Alternatives (EN)

Organized by : European Alternatives, Altersummit, ATTAC Spain, CRID

The actions taken today will profoundly impact the future of our planet and its inhabitants: alterglobalism & internationalism are an urgent necessity. By opening a space for citizens and social movements to share knowledge, resources and strategize, we can build power and unity – for the long run.

Organized by : European Alternatives, Altersummit, ATTAC Spain, CRID

The Climate Crisis is a Children’s Rights Crisis (EN)

Organized by : UNICEF, Save the Children, Benoît Van Keirsbilck –member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and Director of Defence for Children International –Belgium.

Climate change is hitting worldwide and the climate crisis is the defining challenge of this generation. Less well known is that the climate crisis is primarily a children’s rights crisis and is already having a devastating impact on the well-being of children globally. In a 2021 study, UNICEF showed that nearly half of the world’s children, or about 1 billion people, are exposed to extremely high risk from the effects of climate change. Young children are hit disproportionally hard by these extreme eventsand are more are more vulnerable to climate and environmental shocks than adults for a number of reasons. The climate crisis has become one of the most important child rights challenges. It is creating a water crisis, a health crisis, an education crisis, a protection crisis and a participation crisis. It is threatening children’s very survival. In all these ways, it is infringing on children’s rights –as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Organized by : UNICEF, Save the Children, Benoît Van Keirsbilck –member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and Director of Defence for Children International –Belgium.

Upholding HDP (Humanitarian-Development-Peace) Nexus approaches and civil society action as key to Peace, Human Rights and Human Security in the Sahel (EN)

Organized by : CNCD-11.11.11, Search for Common Ground, Alliance2015

Political instability in West-Africa has long represented a major problem. For decades, the AU has adopted the zero tolerance to unconstitutional changes of governments and assigns regional blocks including the ECOWAS to deal with such a situation. The same has resulted in ECOWAS imposing financial and economic sanctions to coup plotters. Yet, this has not prevented more coups d’état from occurring in the region, in the name of fighting terrorism and preserving security. When these situations have materialized, security and defense has become the main concern of juntas. Other aspects of social and public life have tended to be forgotten, in particular access to services, social cohesion and the economy, which are needed to tackle the root causes of insecurity and poverty. Also, the burden of debt for West African countries aggravates the situation. In addition, civic space has been reducing in all of these countries, with critical voices being repressed, sometimes ending up in jail, while others are self-restricting what they say publicly to keep safe. The EU’s response has been diverse vis-a-vis the various States, and the current state of play in EU discussions reveals deep divisions among Member States, with many uncertainties about the continuation and types of long-term support. As a main funder of the region, how will the EU support stability, democracy, civic space, and access to services?

In this session, we will reflect on the current state of play, on the role of humanitarian aid and development cooperation in this context, and what the added value is of the peace part of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. We will seek to explore common views on problems and possible solutions with the diverse European audience to feed into the European discussion.

Organized by : CNCD-11.11.11, Search for Common Ground, Alliance2015

International solidarity for Europe: where do we go from here? Navigating power inequalities between development NGO’s in the aid system (EN)

Organized by : Partos and Wageningen University & Research

For the European Citizens Summit we propose to delve into the only study providing a comprehensive analysis of concrete actions taken to shift power between NGO’s. Where do we go from here examines the nature, extent and effect of actions undertaken by Northern and Southern NGO’s within NGOs partnerships and the broader aid system – and its insights can help to figure out where we go from here.

Drawing on more than 450 survey respondents and 53 interviews from the global North and South, the report highlights sources of power imbalances, who does what to change it, limitations, barriers and priorities. Ultimately, the research draws a clear conclusion: there is a need to go beyond actions within programmes and individual organisations. There is a need to revise the broader framework in which aid actors operate. Check out our animation video here.

With questions of international solidarity, democracy and fairness being central to this summit, the prime relevance of this research and workshop lie in the role they can have contributing to transformations in the aid system that help reshape Europe’s role in international development. In the workshop, using the research, participants reflect on the aid system, their role in it and options for transformation.

The study emphasises the importance for development professionals to ask themselves the following questions:

  • What dimensions of the system I am part of should be changed to address power relations, and in what way?
  • What am I doing that promotes such system change?
  • Who else needs to be involved and how must we cooperate in this?

This workshop will start with a presentation of the main findings of the research. Thereafter, we will try to answer these questions in smaller break out groups using a creative learning tool/method.

Organized by : Partos and Wageningen University & Research

Friday 22 March – 11.15am

The EU’s mineral rush and trade: win-win or extractivism 2.0? (EN)

Organized by : 11.11.11, Friends of the Eart Europe, EurAc, Belgium Network Natural Resources

Amid the energy and digital transition, the EU is formulating new strategies to secure access to minerals and metals. These strategies are couched within a narrative of mutual benefit for both the EU and resource-rich nations such as Chili, DRC and Mozambique. The mining sector, integral to these strategies, is however not without controversy, grappling with issues such as green washing, environmental degradation, land grabbing, and social unrest. Historically, resource rich countries have not benefited from trade in resources - following patterns of extractivism.

This workshop initiates a discussion on the necessary policies to reverse these trends. Starting with an overview of EU’s policy, followed by a deeper analysis of the supposed win-win scenario, encompassing diverse perspectives. The spotlight then turns to a specific case study: mineral extraction in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Concluding the session, a panel discussion will convene to devise strategies for fostering partnerships that prioritize sustainable development, ensure environmental sustainability, and uphold the rights of local communities.

Organized by : 11.11.11, Friends of the Eart Europe, EurAc, Belgium Network Natural Resources

The urgent need for stronger social Clauses in Trade Treaties. The Example of EU/MERCOSUR Relations (EN + Dutch/French/Spanish tbc)

Organized by : ABVV-FGTB/ACLVB-CGSLB/ACV-CSC (Belgium)

These clauses are a priority of the European and Latin American trade unions and of the Belgian civil society. They are needed to counter global social dumping caused by the violation of fundamental labour rights. Without respect for these rights (especially the democratic right to collective bargaining), no social just transition possible. The EU/MERCOSUR relationship illustrates this.

Organized by : ABVV-FGTB/ACLVB-CGSLB/ACV-CSC (Belgium)

De-securitizing and decriminalizing migration and poverty: advocating for a non-discriminatory approach in European policies (EN)

Organized by : Avocats sans Frontière, Prison Insider, FEANTSA et European Alternatives

In the contemporary European political space, an overly securitized and criminalized approach is often pursued in the design and implementation of public policies towards vulnerable populations, such as migrants, homeless people, poor people and racialized populations. For instance, rates of arrest and detention for petty offenses are often significantly higher amongst these categories of individuals. They are targeted and criminalized on the basis of who they are rather than what they have done. Current European migration policies and the question of migrant rights also needs to be reframed in the wider context of anti-discrimination in Europe. Such an approach enables a full appreciation of the various and intersectional challenges to ensuring migrant justice and its overlaps with promoting and guaranteeing equality across different groups at risk of discrimination in Europe.

Closely linked to these challenges is the shrinking civic space in the EU: activists are criminalized for resisting to these different discriminatory policies towards vulnerable populations.

This workshop will offer a momentum for collective reflection and discussion on how to shift the narrative and advocate for a non-discriminatory coherent approach to migration and poverty in Europe and its neighborhood.

Organized by : Avocats sans Frontière, Prison Insider, FEANTSA et European Alternatives

EU actions towards realizing the right to food in partner countries: What international finance and governance are needed? (EN)

Organized by : ActionAid International, Action Against Hunger, Alliance 2015, CIDSE, Humundi

Despite a commitment to support sustainable agriculture and food security in its development operations, the EU has failed to fully translate these commitments into a coherent and comprehensive set of financing instruments and conclusive influence strategies over international governance mechanisms. In line with Concord’s Task Force on Food Security 2024 workplan, this workshop would be an opportunity for CSOs to share perspectives and strategies around the need for the EU to shift its development funding away from intensive industrial agriculture and act in international governances for a accordingly. It will build on the various work undertaken by the coalition, to build common understanding and strategies of influence, notably ahead of the new European political cycle. The event will take the form of a participative workshop whereby participants will have the chance to share perspective and experiences as well as to strengthen synergies and common strategies for future collective actions.

Organized by : ActionAid International, Action Against Hunger, Alliance 2015, CIDSE, Humundi

Is an open, fair and sustainable European & world order compatible with EU militarisation? (EN)

Organized by : ENAAT, QCEA, GRIP, CNAPD

This workshop will challenge EU militarisation as worsening conflicts, human rights violations and environmental deterioration worldwide, with testimonies from Mexico and Palestine, and discuss how the EU could represent an alternative, non-violent and cross-sectoral approach on the world stage.

Organized by : ENAAT, QCEA, GRIP, CNAPD


Workshops - Terms of Reference

The European Citizens’ Summit will combine plenary sessions, thematic workshops for 50 to 70 people (with panels of speakers) and exchange sessions devoted to strategic discussions to build and strengthen civil society power and common discourse for a united, fair and sustainable Europe.

6 topics have been identified by the steering committee :

  • Peace, human rights and human security
  • Economic transformation (+ Finance)
  • Climate and biodiversity / Planetary Boundaries
  • Common global challenges
  • Migration justice
  • Participation and democracy
Terms of reference for the workshops and exchange sessions

Principle: a workshop brings together panelists and the public to address a specific issue. It includes one or more speeches and interactions with the audience. An exchange session is a workshop dedicated to strategizing, create synergies on a specific question.
The format is free but must encourage the dialogue and exchange of ideas through mutual respect and freedom of speech and opinion.

All workshops and exchange sessions should be gender-balanced and ethnically diverse.

Timeslot: 1h30 per workshop.

Audience: 50 to 70 people.

Working langage: English (translation will be consecutive and foreseen by the organizers if needed).

Target audience: representatives of Belgian and European civil society organisations, researchers, citizens, students, journalists.

How to propose a workshop or an exchange session ?
  • Proposals are made through the online registration form
  • When registering, please do specify
    • The title
    • The link with one of the 6 topics. If not, please do specify “other”.
    • The day preferred (if appropriate)
    • Any other useful information
Practical information

Where : The event will be organised at the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS, Lakensestraat 146 in Brussels) on the 21st and 22nd March, 2024. The venue offers a big room for plenaries and smaller rooms for workshops.
Equipment : All rooms are equipped with WIFI and display device
Deadline for proposals : Sunday 18 February.
Your proposal will be confirmed by the organizers of the EU Citizens’ Summit by Friday 23 February.

Call for participation - 2024 European Citizens’ Summit

Raison d’être

The parliamentary term that is drawing to a close in Europe has been marked by an acceleration of the crises that have been hitting the world for many years. The Covid-19 crisis, of course, marked not only by the health damage it caused, but also by the serious economic and social consequences that undermined the finances of many countries and paralysed global production chains. A geopolitical crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has jeopardised global stability, destabilised energy and food markets and driven millions of people into exile. The effects of the climate crisis are becoming increasingly visible, including in Europe, where storms, floods, droughts and fires are occurring year after year.

Crises that systematically hit the weakest countries hardest and, within each country, the most vulnerable people. Crises that are so deeply intertwined that we now speak of a “polycrisis”.

Whether from an environmental, democratic or geopolitical point of view, this period of radical uncertainty creates the threat of dangerous shifts in our collective future. But it is also a fertile breeding ground for the implementation of alternatives in the service of a fair and sustainable world. These alternatives are promoted on a daily basis by millions of people and thousands of organisations around the world. They take on their full meaning from a systemic perspective: there can be no food sovereignty without climate justice, no migratory justice without gender equality, no decent work without fair and sustainable trade, no reduction in inequalities or access to health without tax justice, no social progress without gender equality, and so on.

As imperfect as they may be, the European Green Pact, the Next Generation EU collective loan and the Nature Restoration Act would not have seen the light of day without the numerous mobilisations that Europe experienced in 2018 and 2019, and without the relentless work of European civil society to create a balance of power that transforms these mobilisations into leverage to obtain more ambitious public policies.

With just a few months to go before the European elections, we can see the weight of lobbies and nationalist and conservative voices rising again. More than ever, it is important that all civil society organisations and social movements defending an open, fair and sustainable Europe make their voices heard, together and in strength.

This is why, in the context of the Belgian Presidency of the EU and ahead of the June 2024 elections, the CNCD-11.11.11, the French-speaking umbrella of Belgian international solidarity organisations, together with its Flemish counterpart, 11.11.11, is proposing to Belgian and European civil society an unprecedented gathering at the “European Citizens’ Summit” on 21 and 22 March 2024 in Brussels, with two main objectives:

  • Enabling the people and organisations to discuss their proposals and strategies for an open, fair and sustainable Europe
  • Asserting a collective voice vis-à-vis the future European institutions

Organisation and partnership

The summit is being organised by CNCD-11.11.11, in collaboration with the Flemish NGO platform 11.11.11 and European networks of civil society organisations.

The steering committee is made up of several European networks, including the European Confederation of NGOs working on sustainable development and international cooperation (CONCORD), the European Climate Action Network Europe (CAN) and the European Coalition on Corporate Justice (ECCJ), the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), Euromed-Rights, the European networks of organisations working with Latin America (Red EU-LAT) and Central Africa (EurAC), Friends of the Earth, the European Trade Justice Coalition (ETJC) and the Euro-African network working on migration (Migreurop).


Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD)

The summit is being organised as part of the “Belgian Presidency of the European Union” project funded by the DGD.

The summit is being organised as part of the European project “Towards an open, fair and sustainable Europe in the world - 4th trio project of the Presidency of the Council of the EU”. The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the national platforms HAND (Hungary), CNCD-11.11.11 and 11.11.11 (Belgium), La Coordinadora ONG (Spain) and CONCORD.

This event is funded by the European Union. Its content is the sole responsibility of CNCD-11.11.11 and 11.11.11 and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.