International civil society unites to call for a renewed approach to public services to address global crises
On October 25, civil society organizations and movements launched a landmark manifesto calling for a renewed approach to public services, such as education, energy, food, health and care services, housing, social security, telecommunications, transportation, waste collection and disposal, and water and sanitation, to address the ecological, inequalities and other crises the world is currently facing.
This manifesto was developed collectively over the past 10 months by dozens of civil society organisations and individuals through a series of meetings, regional workshops and online consultations. The COVID-19 pandemic has cast into stark relief the consequences of decades of privatisation and commercialisation of services essential for human dignity. The ongoing impacts of the pandemic intersect with the two other major challenges the world is facing: high and rising inequalities and the climate and ecological crisis, which threatens to push 120 million more people into poverty by 2030.
The manifesto responds to this context, serving as a rallying cry for public services, offering a concrete alternative to the dominant neoliberal narrative that has failed to deliver on human rights and ensure a dignified life for all. The manifesto positions public services as the foundation of a fair and just society and of the social pact that implements the core values of solidarity, equality and human dignity. It advances a series of ten principles for universal quality public services in the 21st century, and outlines how funding universal quality public services is possible.
The manifesto was launched before “Enough is enough: the future is public”, an event that brought together nine human rights officials on October 26 to discuss the crucial role of public services in building more sustainable, inclusive, socially-just and resilient economy and society.