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Degrowth Movement Assembly

For several years, the degrowth movement has been working persistently to build community and connection between groups and across borders - whether through annual Degrowth Conferences or the more informal Degrowth Assemblies that have often accompanied them.

Christiana Town Assembly 2018

Some members of the degrowth realities that are represented on the map met for the first time on the 20th of August 2018 in Freetown Christiania (Copenhagen, Denmark). They exchanged good practices around ecological sustainability and social equity, discussed about the future of the planet, and initiated several international working groups (Activists and Practitioners, Research, Communication, Networking, Artists and Designers, Narratives, and Education) that later met throughout the 6th international degrowth conference, which took place in Malmö, Sweden (August 21-25, 2018). Those groups work in order to provide the degrowth movement with opportunities for both theoretical and practical engagement at the local and global level. As an example, the “Global Degrowth Day – Good Life for All” took place for the first time on the 1st of June 2019, with multiple actions all over the world. At first, to organise this movement that connects both people active in local degrowth groups and people engaged in international working groups, a mailing list was used.

The Hague Assembly 2021

On 23th August 2021, the 2nd assembly of the international degrowth movement was held online as a preconference event to the 8th International Degrowth Conference (The Hague). 30 to 40 representatives of degrowth groups worldwide participated in the meeting. Due to the impossibility to meet physically, no decisions were taken; several key issues for the degrowth movement were discussed: who we are; our mission and our priorities; international conferences and the structure of the movement. 

There was no agreement on a name, as discussions were held on whether we are a movement, network or a community. There was agreement on calling ourselves "Degrowthers" and that the word “Degrowth” is good and strong and it is more and more needed in this fragile and ever changing world.

Most of the participants stressed the need not only to organize academic conferences but also to engage in (political) actions ("a lot of people are active on small practical nowtopias, the action part is the weakest part at the moment"); run concrete projects (e.g., actions at the COP, a European degrowth bike tour); and further disseminate degrowth (e.g. less scientific papers and more articles in newspapers, open letters, etc.). For the majority of people, in this phase, it was also crucial to establish stronger strategic alliances with movements that are engaged in similar struggles (e.g., Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion, Transition Towns & Ecovillages, indigenous and anarchist groups), in particular building some practical projects together. Similarly, it would be important to support the flourishment of new degrowth local groups, in particular in the Global South.

There was a consensus that in order to achieve these goals, in the near future it will be fundamental to better structure our network (with some coordination bodies) and to clarify our proposals (two groups proposed to write an updated manifesto). This should not to be a hierarchical, solid structure, but an informal and decentralized network - maybe inspired by holacratic models - with more clarity on structure and functioning (principles, methodology, roles, etc.).

The minutes of this assembly can be found here.

Vienna Assembly 2022

At the third degrowth assembly in Vienna, in Spring 2022, Degrowth groups continued to explore ways to build connection and provide the degrowth movement with a consistent voice without jeopardising its plurality and autonomy. However, this remained challenging due to the limited capacities of volunteer-run groups, unclear communication pathways, and unevenly distributed resources.

It was decided to address these challenges directly and discussed the possibility of creating a coordination group that could help solve problems between different working groups and provide guidance on a spokesperson for the movement, budget allocations, and the implementation of new projects. Recognising the level of planning needed for such an endeavour, the 2022 Assembly created an open collective entitled Organising the Degrowth Network, or ODN, with a 1 year mandate of proposing a structure for an international degrowth network and outlining ways it could make democratic decisions on behalf of the movement. The mandate given was:

- Mapping the network and explore the needs of the different nodes
- Management of the map of degrowth groups and movement mailing list
- Following the guidelines that  will emerge from the Vienna meeting develop a clear proposal for the new structure and functioning of the degrowth network (composition and functions of the assembly and the coordination group, methodology, nomination/election, etc.). That proposal will be presented, discussed and approved (or not, or with modifications) at the next movement assembly that will be held within an year at the next international degrowth conference (Zagreb - August 2023)."
- To call and organize the next degrowth assembly that will be held in Zagreb, where some kind of elections of the new "coordination groups" will be done.

The minutes of this assembly can be found here.

Zagreb Assembly 2023

During the following year, ODN members held numerous conversations, researched and evaluated different governing structures and decision-making processes, and sought and integrated feedback from within the degrowth movement. The ODN took inspiration from a renewed emphasis on strategy within the degrowth movement and the plea to create “an intentional organisational structure that can facilitate more effective strategising amongst degrowth actors, while also addressing problematic power dynamics, colonial attitudes, and patriarchal biases.” At the fourth Degrowth Assembly, the ODN presented a final draft of a proposal that included a list of degrowth values that would steer the network, a series of governing principles based on sociocracy, and guidance on using various tools to distribute power, such as how to create proposals, facilitate meetings, and assign people to roles. 

On August 28th 2023, nearly 100 individuals representing over 25 degrowth groups and organisations from around the world gathered to discuss the proposal and gave feedback on its principles, structure, and its place within the future of the degrowth movement. The Assembly concluded by adopting the proposal and officially launching the International Degrowth Network (IDN) with various Circles dedicated to its continual improvement.

You can watch the entire assembly recording here.

Pontevedra Assembly 2024

The 5th International Assembly of the Degrowth Movement will convene on June 17th in a hybrid format, online and in Pontevedra. For the first time, the Assembly is organised by the IDN.

This year’s Assembly will take place just before the International ESEE-Degrowth Conference in Ponteverda, and will focus on building on what was started in Zagreb - that is to say, structuring actors and organisations of the degrowth movement in a more cohesive, collaborative and coherent manner. There will, of course, be room for conversations, debates and feedback on the direction, structure, and functioning that the IDN is taking, as well as time for the movement to connect, share, laugh and strategise.

Date & Time: 17th of June, 2024. Plan for a full day (CET) of activities and convivial moments!

Participants: Anyone belonging to the degrowth movement, who identifies as an ally, or who is interested in participating may attend. The IDN recommends that each member group (see the list of member groups here) sends two participants on its behalf. 

Registration: We will open registration two months before the Assembly. Mark your calendars, nonetheless.

Location: Pazo da Cultura, Pontevedra. The video conference link will be shared with registrants closer to the time. 

Programme: To be announced. Note that the Assembly will spread throughout the day (likely 10:00 - 18:00) and that working sessions will alternate with convivial breaks, lunch, guided brainstorms and collective discussions. 

Catering: Lunch, hot beverages and snacks will be provided to participants free of charge. We will do our best to ensure all accessibility needs and dietary restrictions are met.

Contact and further information: Please reach out to info[at]degrowth. net for any questions, concerns, or suggestions. More information and updates will be published here later on and will also be shared on the Degrowth World mailing list.