Latin America is facing increasing socio-environmental conflict; these conflicts are a central part of development processes and regional articulation. Local, national and regional conflict is characterized by inequality, exclusion, power asymmetries, a lack of access to information, tension between different interests, and weak State institutionalism that originates from a lack of credibility and legitimacy for the institutional system. Spaces to analyze and debate conflicts, methodologies, challenges and lessons learnt have been limited in the region. In 2005, Fundacion Futuro Latinoamericano (FFLA) created Regional Forums on the Transformation of Socio-environmental Conflicts as a way to fill this gap.
The forums look to become a regional point of reference, offering a valuable space to debate and exchange experiences, allowing the connection of Latin American actors and transformation of local knowledge in constant collective construction.
How do we work?
The presence of socio-environmental conflicts should be understood as an opportunity for transformation; as well as an element of the process of change towards sustainable development. As such, it is desirable to approach the theme through a pacific exchange of positions. If the results meet the needs and interests of different parties, it becomes an opportunity to contribute to the construction of public policies aimed at reversing the structural causes that gave lead to the conflicts.
In this context, FFLA promotes conflict transformation with an integral approach. The way to see the different aspects of a complex reality, converts conflicts into a driver for structural and social relationship changes. This transformation promotes constructive processes that reduce violence and increase collaborative relationships. FFLA uses collaborative multi-sector dialogue as a key tool in achieving this transformation.
• Until 2015, 7 regional forums have been carried out, positioning the debate and creating an increasing interest from diverse actors and sectors in the region with the participation of more than 1 150 people.
• The first regional forum in 2005, discussed the, "Challenges for socio-environmental conflict transformation in Latin America". In 2006, the second regional forum was called, "The Challenge of Prevention" in which participants were offered an excellent sample of the important existing initiatives of prevention and conflict management in Latin America. FFLA also organized a third regional forum on, "Towards a capacity-building agenda" in 2008. In 2009, the fourth forum "Interculturality and the transformation of socio-environmental conflicts" discussed interculturality as a crucial and indispensable topic to be taken into account in order to transform socio-environmental conflicts. The fifth forum in 2011 was, "Good practices for the transformation of socio-environmental conflicts".
In 2012, in close coordination with the Latin American Dialogue Group: Mining, Democracy and Sustainable Development, we carried out the sixth regional forum and the second international meeting of the Dialogue, Mining and Sustainable Development Group, on the topic: "Mining, Democracy and Sustainable Development". The Seventh Regional Forum on Socio-Environmental Conflict Transformation was organized in 2014, during the two-day forum, guest speakers discussed the processes of decentralization in the region and the opportunities for environmental governance and the transformation of socio-environmental conflicts. The results include a notable participation of both national and regional private and public sectors and the need to share updated information from different perspectives so as to construct relationships between the different actors and sectors involved and consequently the transformation of conflicts.
Where we work?
Socio-environmental conflict transformation.- a profound process of constructive change towards sustainability, connecting emerging problems with relational and structural patterns, addressing the content, context and complexity of conflicts to generate impacts on different levels.
Video: VII Regional Forum