Today, globalization increasingly affects local economies. Decisions by large international bodies like the World Trade Organization, and decisions within transnational corporations, affect every country and community on the planet. In the face of major current issues such as climate change, food insecurity and the global economic and financial downturn, the impetus and new initiatives to build a people-centred economy have increased around the world in recent years. Whether at the local, regional, national or international level, the movement to focus on people’s needs, rather than the profit motive, has spread. In particular, initiatives are focused on the elimination of poverty, because, whether here in Canada or in developing countries, improving the situation of the very poor has a positive effect on societal well-being as a whole.
To move forward in building a people-centred economy around the planet, it is vital to increase the sharing of knowledge and experience, particularly in regard to economic activity and public policy.
From May 30 to June 1, 2010, the National Summit on a People-Centred Economy was an unprecedented gathering of leaders and representatives of the community economic development, cooperative and social economy sectors to build a common agenda and mobilize action for a secure, sustainable economy that puts people and the planet first. The Summit sought to mobilize networks and organizations by building on the best research, agreeing on a common action plan, and increasing awareness of this sector among politicians, policy makers, non-governmental sector leaders and the mainstream media.
As part of the preparatory process for the Summit, six issue papers were drafted on themes which outline the key strengths, challenges and proposals for action to further reinforce this movement. These issue papers were subject to an engagement and outreach process for feedback and revisions by Summit participants and other stakeholders between March 1 and May 15. The revised papers were presented at the Summit, where a common declaration and action plan were developed.