social-ecological transformations now! 17 – 19 November • 2017

The world changes – ecologically, economically, politically, culturally and socially. Transformations are frightening. However, transformations also offer the possibility to efficiently address socio-ecological challenges. 

The Seventh Austrian Conference on Development 2017 takes place at the Karl-Franzens-Universität in Graz. Like the Austrian Conferences on Development in the former years, it is a place of encounter for people of the different terrains of development policies and for all people who are engaged and interested in global policy making.

ZeitRaum – In[er]ventions is an opening program of the Austrian Conference on Development 2017 which is organized by students. It offers the possibility to present ideas, articles and projects that embrace the topic of social-ecological transformations. The call for contributions for ZeitRaum – In[ter]ventions ends on Monday, 11 September 2017. More details:

Organizing Institutions: AGEZ Steiermark – Aktionsgemeinschaft Entwicklungszusammenarbeit. AG Globale Verantwortung. KEF – Kommission für Entwicklungsforschung beim OeAD. Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz – Global Studies. Mattersburger Kreis für Entwicklungspolitik. Paulo Freire Zentrum für transdisziplinäre Entwicklungsforschung und dialogische Bildung.

Partner Institutions: Austrian Development Agency (ADA). Dreikönigsaktion – Hilfswerk der Katholischen Jungschar. Die Grüne Bildungswerkstatt. Institut für Soziale Ökologie (IFF). Institut für Internationale Entwicklung der Universität Wien. Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Uni Wien. Institut für Umwelt – Friede – Entwicklung (IUFE). Klimabündnis Österreich. Österreichische Forschungsstiftung für Internationale Entwicklung (ÖFSE). Österreichische Gesellschaft für Politische Bildung (ÖGPB). Politische Akademie der ÖVP. Wide – Entwicklungspolitisches Netzwerk für Frauenrechte und feministische Perspektiven.

Financing Institutions: OEZA – Österreichische Entwicklungszusammenarbeit. FairStyria – Land Steiermark. Land Steiermark – Abt. 9 Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen. Dreikönigsaktion – Hilfswerk der Katholischen Jungschar. Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Land Steiermark – Abt. 14 Referat Abfallwirtschaft und Nachhaltigkeit.




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Former Austrian Conferences on Development

The Austrian Development Conferences see themselves as a place of thinking and reflecting as well as of scientific stimuli. They are a place of encounter for people from different terrains of development policy making and for persons engaged and interested in global policy making. The conferences are a permanent process and focus on dialogue and a common process of reflection to develop the respective conference topic, to network, and to create a public space for development policy and humanitarian topics. The below listed conferences continued the development conferences in the 1990s:

2001 – Salzburg: The future of civil society; 2003 – Graz: Globalization is not a destiny, globalization is created; 2005 – Linz: Thinking ownership differently – Economy of Solidarity; 2008 – Innsbruck: Growth – Environment – Development; 2011 – Krems: Developing the common good. The state between community and global society                                                                             2014 – Salzburg: change departure. At you can find the respective documentations of the above mentioned Austrian Conferences on Development.



Intro to the Austrian Development Conferences

The Austrian Development Conferences see themselves as a place of thinking and reflecting as well as of scientific stimuli. However, the conferences are also a permanent process. Three years after the last conference in 2014, the conference in 2017 will take place in Graz. The participants of the past conferences always felt inspired by the these meetings. This is the reason why the Austrian development conferences have become a bench mark for the Austrian dialogue on development. As a major event, the conference is set out for about 300 persons. It will bring together a multitude of protagonists in policy making in development and establish ties with other areas.

Overall Objectives of the Conferences:

1. Networking: To initiate, enhance and strengthen the exchange and networking between both NGOs and other experts participating in the conferences, as well as the Austrian development cooperation community in general; to learn from each other, to share and discuss experiences and different perspectives;

2. Political Statement: The development conferences are an important sign of life to the public that there are committed organisations and people standing behind the development community. These people, who have committed themselves over years, will experience that they are not the only ones who care and engage in important matters.

3. Conceptual development: The conferences will enable the participants and institutions to develop their position concerning basic aspects of development policies and humanitarian aid. The development conferences are a space to visualise an overall picture of the potentials in and challenges for development cooperation.

Information and Program:

Today, the discourse of crises can only be held in a pluralistic way leading to a comprehensive analysis. Apart from the climate and economic crises, we are confronted with a crisis of democracy and a crisis in the working environment. Nonetheless, the economic system that frames these crises persists. These crises are inherently a part of a capitalistic method of production, which provides legitimation of certain political practices. It is difficult to detect a significant and actively shaped change of system.

It has often been argued that the way out of the climate crisis can be led by the conversion of a carbon-based to a solar powered energy system. The questions, however, have to go further: Will we be able to decarbonize production and consumption in a socially just manner or will it further reinforce disavowals? Are low-carbon, ecologically sustainable and climate friendly ways of consumption and production able to forward and accomplish adequate, meaningful and humane work for a good life for all? What does this mean in terms of gender-relations? How will a new great transformation will be able to function?

After the concluding negotiations of the SDGs (Agenda2030) and the climate goals it is important to look ahead and discuss if and how the new global development goals can become reality; furthermore, how to deal with conceptual loopholes, which generally can be found in global agreements of such kind.



Conference Program 2017

Friday, 17 November 2017 – 05.00 pm to 08.00 pm: Polylogue between protagonists of real life, science and the private economy. Contributors: 1. Moema Miranda – activist in the extractives terrains – IBASE: Brazil and the People’s Dialogue. 2. N.T.B.A. – representative of a green economy corporation. 3. Paul Yillia, Sustainable Energy for All, Viena – Austria. 4. Ulrich Brand – Critical Research on Globalization – University of Vienna. 07.00 – 08.00 pm: Presentation of the Winner of the Austrian Price on Development Research.

Saturday, 18 November 2017 – 09.00 am to 07.00 pm: Analyses of political dimensions of social-ecological transformations on the basis of Karl Polanyi’s analysis integrating the topics of migration and gender. Contributors: 1. Andreas Novy – University of Economics Vienna on the illusion of unlimited globalization. 2. Tessa Khan – Climate Litigation Network – On how sustainable development depends on gender justice. 3. Ulrike Gelbmann – University of Graz, and Beatriz Rodríguez Labajos – University of Barcelona. During the entire day fora and workshops on Europe – good life for all; South-East Asia – grassroots movements versus green-authoritarian development states; South-America – Buen vivir versus neo-extractivism; Africa – Are women able to benefit from economic growth in Africa? – Extractivism versus Care-Economy; globally – SDGs versus environmental justice. Workshops on false and true energy revolution policies, social-ecological transformation education, human rights education, fairness and justice in natural resource policies, case-based mutual learning sessions, basics in development cooperation and its practice, policies that lead to food security and food sovereignty, 17 goals for better schools, eco-social ideas and the Global Marshall Plan, transformation processes for NGOs, climate justice, environmental protection and social justice in global supply chains.

Sunday, 19 November 2017 – 09.00 am 01.00 pm: The role of science and research for a productive socio-ecological transformation. 1. interACT – interactive theater with the conference participants. 2. Commemorative lecture – Research for Transformations – Eva Klawatsch-Treitl. 3. Keynote One: Ulli Vilsmaier – Leuphania University Lüneburg/Germany. 4. Keynote Two: Donna Andrews – Rita Edward College/South Africa. Final fishbowl: Critical-constructive dialogue on different development models – Are SDGs or concepts like De-Growth, Environmental Justice, Post-Growth and Good Life for All able to bring about the necessary social-ecological transformations?



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