Since 2001, Bridge Initiative International is acting for the emergence and the development of:
- Reflections, agreements and action programs at national and international levels, in favor of social, economical, cultural and political evolutions
- A neutral space of mediation to allow actors of globalization to take part in encounters, debates, media events and to provide a better information for citizens
From a neutral space for dialogue on globalization issues...
Bridge Initiative International appeared as a project in the context of the heated debate on globalization, marked by the emergence of international NGO movements critical of international institutions, which lead to the creation of the World Social Forum.
Its first action was a satellite television dialogue in January 2001 between participants to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, by Article Z multimedia press agency.
Article Z (France) Director Patrice Barrat and InterAct (U.S.A.) Director Evelyn Messinger thereby initiated the "Bridge Initiative on Globalization", as a process whereby individuals and institutional representatives participate in meetings and debates centered around targeted issues, without necessarily committing their missions or organizations.
In the years following the Davos-Porto Alegre satellite connection, the project has been pursued through the organization of controversy tables, allowing representatives from multilateral multilateral World Social Forum.
...to mediation for change
Bridge Initiative International facilitates interaction between actors with divergent or conflicting viewpoints on globalization issues through:
- The ongoing identification of issues of common concern among its growing network of contacts in various constituencies
- The facilitation of dialogue processes allowing a diversity of actors to debate constructively on the challenges of globalization and its future
- The organization of public conferences, debates and broadcasts to better inform and involve citizens on global challenges
Participants in the Bridge Initiative process include representatives of the major international institutions, civil society movements, activist groups, some major companies, media groups and local or national officials.
Bridge Initiative International emerged in 2001, through the creation of a satellite television dialogue between the participants of the World Economic forum (which finally refused to participate as such) in Davos and the first World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre. The discussion was extremely tense.
BII sought to enlarge the scope of its efforts in the immediate aftermath, establishing space for dialogue and mediation between a wide range of players in global governance: international institutions, governments, civil society organizations and, in several instances, groups from the private sector.
Over the course of several years, participants sought and often found common ground on issues they themselves had selected - agriculture and commerce, water, multilateral system reform, media and globalization, and civil society in the Arab world.
In 2005, Bridge Initiative was named NGO of the year by FIFDH (The International Human Rights Film Festival) in Geneva, award given to Greenpeace the previous year.
In light of Bridge Initiative International's growing credibility, the UN invited BII to host a Civil Society Forum - named OPEN UN - in New York in September 2005 alongside the Millennium Sumit.
Following an invitation from the Rockefeller Foundation 2006, BII organized a "Reinventing Globalization" conference in Lyon.
The conference brought together a number of civil society organizations from around the world in the hope of developing common and complementary strategies.
Concurrently, Bridge Initiative developed its own methodology of linking political mediation and public debate. The approach aims to better inform citizens of the issues at stake.
Without forgetting the global questions at the heart of the three "Tables de Controverse" we're hosting at the next World Social Forum (Tunis, March 24th - 28th), Bridge Initiative is working diligently to place its experience and knowledge at the service of local, regional and national efforts.
Specifically, BII is currently developing a mediation process between Tunisia's youth and it's government.
Tomorrow, What Kind of World?
- Globalisation, capitalism: what will it look like tomorrow? What are the answers?
- New wars, new violations, new rights.
- World youth as an alternative.
This is why Bridge Initiative strives to provide its experience towards local, national and regional issues. In Tunisia, slowly constructed over two years, we are preparing a mediation process between Youth and the “powers-that-be”, with the knowledge and participation of all possible partners concerned by this issue, starting with existing you organizations and the government. INTERACTION JEUNESSE (Interactive Youth), for for legal and administrative reasons beyond our control, has has been delayed.
In France, since recently, we are involved in the singular efforts designed by personal friend, journalist, philosopher and Tunisian scholar: Youssef Seddik. To combat intolerance, beginning with the one that dangerously and tragically claims to be in the name of a religion, Islam, is to have a project set up in France, as soon as feasible, named the "FORUM OF THOUGHT DIVERSITY”. Since last September, our initial discussions with the concerned ministry, the Ministry of Education, have been very constructive.
Patrice Barrat, Founder and Executive Director
Past Mediation Processes
Water for All
Non-governmental associations, experts, international institutions, government, and private sector have all been debating for many years without finding points of agreement on water issues.
In this context, Bridge Initiative has engaged on the proposal of the French Development Agency a constructive dialogue between the different actors involved to build up a strategy aimed at having Water recognized as a public good.
Two meetings of the multi-stakeholder group on Water for All have already taken place: in Paris (2005) and Dijon, France (2006), focusing on access to water, sanitation, and its financial aspects.
Towards a more inclusive Global Governance
Civil society is more than ever pledging for more transparency and participation in the multilateral system.
Bridge Initiative supports a process aiming at offering representatives of civil society organizations and multilateral institutions the opportunity to jointly design and endorse a platform on an open process to reform the multilateral system.
In order to move towards this goal, Bridge Initiative organizes and moderates events which:
- Reinforce the position and cohesion of civil society
- Allows representatives of multilateral institutions and civil society to confront their positions
- Publicize the need for solutions to global challenges through large-size events
Reconciling Agriculture and Trade
The shortcomings and near-failure of the current multilateral trade regime are now public, particularly in agriculture, which represents nevertheless a vital sector for Humanity.
Agriculture is one of the areas were a new, efficient and legitimate global governance is necessary.
Is it possible to conciliate fair and efficient trade regulations with the demands and principals put forward by farmers and their movements?
Since 2004, Bridge Initiative facilitates a group gathering people from different sides, thus contributing to the dialogue between different perceptions of the relation between agriculture and trade.
After three meetings in Geneva (2004), Dakar and Paris (2005), the group arrived at a consensus against export subsidies.
Bridge Initiative is currently launching a new dialogue process to fill the gap in multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture.
Reinforcing Civil Society within the Arab World
While major players in international relations refer to the so-called "clash of civilizations", Bridge Initiative reinforces the role of civil society in the Arab world by bringing key players to take part in specific meetings in this geographical area, and identifying and promoting innovative partnership opportunities.
This transversal approach is also facilitated by the integration of representatives from Arab countries within the frame of other mediation processes supported by Bridge Initiative.
Renewing the Public Sphere
Instead of creating the conditions for democracy, dominant medias are contributing to separate people, create tensions and misunderstanding. Is it still possible to avoid that?
Could an intelligent use of new technologies lead to the creation of a new type of mass media, which would be open, participatory and democratic?
For moving towards this direction, Bridge Initiative gathers media professional, civil society organizations and institutions for a collective reinvention of the Public Sphere, as at the London (UK), April 2006 meeting on "Globalization, Public Sphere and Medias, from critical analysis to a renewed constructive approach".
Major Events Organized
Reinventing Globalization 2006 - Lyon, France, Oct. 2006
This process, initiated in New York in 2005, aims at building new strategies and alliances within civil society.
Organized as a partner event of the Forum for a Responsible Globalization, RG 2006 gathered people from the whole world with a good diversity of networks and actors.
Participants shared their beliefs ands experiences on globalization, and proposed follow-up groups to build alliances and strategies within civil society.
Open UN - New York, Sept. 2005
A public dialogue on the Eve of the Official UN Summit in September 2005, about Millennium Development Goals and UN Reform, which comprised three moments:
- The Civil Society Forum
- A Dialogue with official summit participants
- A Political and Cultural Event
In order to move forward in its methodology and expertise within the mediation processes engaged, and to explore paths for potential future projects, Bridge Initiative has also led the following studies:
European Civil Society and its current dynamics
Three months of observation of the European Union and civil society have shown that civil society and the inhabitants of Europe have been singularly absent from the process and dialogue of governance until recently.
The study has shown a pyramidal structure, within which all the actors interact according to their capacity to exercise influence. Europe needs to reach beyond ideological cleavages and the differentiation of the various political cultures.
Europe needs to reach beyond ideological cleavages and the differentiation of the various political cultures.
Study on multi-stakeholder dialogue
In 2006, Bridge Initiative has initiated and conducted a study on multi-stakeholder dialogue within mediation processes, notably referring to items collected during the Forum for a Responsible Globalization.
This study, available on our Web site, analyzed the expectations and impressions of the different types of actors involved in dialogue on issues represented common challenges.
Bridge Initiative, together with Article Z, a multimedia press agency, is also playing an active part in the Madmundo TV, a participatory documentary on-line platform for generating a bottom-up.
Institutions and Organizations that took part to Dialogues and Events organized by Bridge Initiative
50 years is enough (USA/Kenya) - Aarrg! (France) - Abolition of Third World Debt - Action contre la faim (France) - Accion (Chile) - Agir ici/Oxfam (France) - African Trade Network (South Africa) - Agua Sustentable (Bolivia) - AIDC (South Africa) - Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World - Amnesty International - Arab NGO Network for Development, ANND (Lebanon) - Amnesty International - Alianza Social Continental (Americas) - ANDD (Algeria) - Articulacion Feminista Mercosur (Peru) Asamblea de la Sociedad Civil por la Paz (Colombia) - Asia Pacific Alliance (India) - Association of Brazilian Citizens – Association for Progressive Communication – Association pour un Contrat Mondial de l’Eau (France) - ATTAC (France) Awele (France) - Bisan Center (Palestine) - Business Ethics Network (USA) - Cartagena Initiative (Colombia) - Cedetim (France) - Centre for Alternative Development Initiatives (The Philipines) - Center for Economic and Policy Research (USA) - Centre for Science and the Environment (India) CIRAD (France) - Confédération Paysanne (France) - CONGAD (Senegal) - Consumers International - Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa - Coordination Sud (France) - Corporate Accountability International - Corporate Ethics International - Corporate Responsibility (UK) - Corporate Watch (USA) COSATU (South Africa) - Council of Canadians (Canada) - CSA (Belgium) - Daughters of Mumbi (Kenya) - Dawn (India) - Dawn (Jamaica) - Eau vive France) - Environmental Rights Action (Ghana) - Espertise (France) - Ethical Globalization Initiative (USA) - European Social Forum - Eau Vivre (France) - FEMNET (Kenya) - Festival Dijon-Bourgogne de Musiques Sacrées du Monde - Focus on the Global South (Thailand) - Food & Water Watch (USA) - Forum Africain des Alternatives (Senegal) - Forum des alternatives (Morocco) - Friends of the Earth - Funders Network on Trade and Globalization (USA) - Gender and Trade Africa - Generative Dialogue Project - Greenpeace International - Ibase (Brazil) GRET (France) - Helsinki Process (Finland) - Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (USA) - Institute for Food and Development Policy (USA) - International Confederation of Free Trade Unions - Initiative de Développement Stratégique (France) - International Association of Democratic Lawyers (France) - International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development - International Parliamentary Network on Debt Arbitration, Buenos Aires (Argentina) - Jubilee 2000 (Germany) - Jobs with Justice (USA) - Landless Peasants Movement (MST), Brazil - Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Argentina) - Mediators Foundation (USA) - Moiwana '86 (Suriname) - New Voices on Globalization (USA) - International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (Switzerland) - Nova / Centre per a la Innovació Social (Spain) - Pacific Institute (USA) - Pioneers of Change - Open Society Institute (USA) - Panos Institute - Partido Comunista (Chile) - Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (Italy) – Pioneers of Change - PlanetFinance - Programme Solidarité Eau (France) - Progressive Forum (Denmark) - Rede Brasileira Pela Integração dos Povos (Brazil) - Red Mexicana de Accion contra el Libre Comercio (Mexico) - ROPPA (West Africa) - Rural Communities Foundation (Ghana) - Shack Dwellers (South Africa) - Social Watch - Socialist Party (Belgium) - Socrine (Uganda/Zimbabwe) - Terre et Humanisme (Morocco) - Triodos Bank (Belgium) - The People-Centered Development Forum - Transversales (France) - Universal Forum of Cultures - Trade Union Advisory Committee - Third World Network - Trust for the Environment (UK) - Via Campesina - World Council of Churches – Water Academy - World March of Women
Argentina - Brazil - Canada - China - France - Palestinian Authority - India - Mozambique
Arte - Article Z (France) - Association for Progressive Communication – BBC (UK) Brasil de Fato (Brazil) - Centre for Communications Policy Research (UK) - Communication for Social Change Consortium - d::gen network (UK) - Firehorses LBC TV (Lebanon) - Inter Press Service – EsoDoc - European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs, Mondial (UK) - International Herald Tribune (USA) - Interactive Events (Sweden) - Link TV (USA) - Internews Europe – Inter Press Service - Necessary Illusions Production (Canada) - Nextwork AB (Sweden) - One World Broadcasting Trust (UK) - Open Democracy (UK) - Radio France International (France) - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (UK) - Spot Films (India) - SüdWind (Austria) - World Summit Information Society process - ZeLIG
Multilateral Organizations And Institutions
European Commission - European Parliament - International Chamber of Commerce - International Labour Organization (ILO) - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Office of the United Nations Secretary General - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) - United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) - United Nations Department of Public Information - World Bank - High Committee - World Bank Institute
British Colombia Institute for Co-operative Studies (Canada) - Clacso Institute (Brazil) - Columbia University (USA) - Ecole Normale Supérieure (France) - Edimburg University (UK) - Goteborg University (Sweden) - Instituts d'Etudes Politiques (Paris and Dijon, France) - Institut Français des Relations Internationales (France) - Tennessee University (USA)
The Business Community
ABB - Aquafed - Auchan (France) - PricewaterhouseCoopers (USA) - Strategic Concepts (South Africa) - Suez Environnement (France) - Veolia Environnement (France) - Vivendi Universal (France)
People who participated to Bridge Initiative Meetings and Activities
Abrahamsson Hans, Agnoletto Vittorio, Aguirre Rodolfo, Aguiton Christophe, Ailloud Meredyth, Aissaoui Leila Nadia, Alegria Rafaël, Almqvist Johan, Aloni David, Alsina Oriol, Ambrose Soren, Andrews Sarah, Ankarcrona Louise, Arda Mehmet, Attali Jacques, Aurélio Garcia Marc, Azcarate Fred, Bailly Michèle, Barlow Maude, Bartel Constantine, Bas Jean-Christophe, Bayou Julien, Beaudoin Louise, Bello Walden, Bellmann Christophe, Belohubek Ivo, Benabdenbi Fattouma, Bertinotti Fausto, Bissio Roberto, Blion Reynald, Borren Sylvia, Bouchanine Majda, Bourarach Khadija, Bové José, Braga Carlos, Brailowski Alexandre, Bushan Chandra, Cafiero Mario, Calame Pierre, Cassen Bernard, Castro Alicia, Celiberti Lilian, Chabert d’Hières Laurent, Chauffour Jean-Pierre, Chedeville-Murray Geneviève, Chen Yueguang, Chowdry Kamal, Clark John, Cleary Sean, Cogan Ritchie, Cousin Bertrand, Crouzat Stéphane, Crowley John, Dablah Richard, Dadush Uri, Dakhli Leila, Da Lage Olivier, Datta Madhushree, Dawkins Kristin, Dawson Thomas, de Bonafini Hebe, De Cazotte Henri, de Courtivron Hugues, De Klerk Franz, De la Cueva Hector, De Lara Salvador, De La Torre Daniel, Dembele Demba Moussa, De Montbrial Thierry, De Rivière Nicolas, Dennis Marie, Desai Nitin, Devarajan Shanta, Dirceu José, Di Rupo Elio, Dissly Meggan, Djemame Chafia, Doucouré Ibrahim, Dubey Mukund, Ebert Ulrike, Edlund Björn, Einsiedel Sebastian, El Kam Hamid, Ellis Hannah, Emont Philippe, Enders Klaus, Falkman Kai, Fall Moctar, Fall N’diougou, Ferrier Neda, Figueres José Maria, Filiu Jean-Pierre, Fortin Carlos, Frey Constance, Fristot Vincent, Gana Seck Vore, Garrison John, Genoíno José, George Susan, Giffard Anthony, Giro Mario, Goldin Ian, Gerzon Mark, Goldmark Peter C., Grady Heather, Grajew Oded, Gronauer Heidi, Grondin Pierre-Marie, Grosclaude Jean-Yves, Grzybowski Candido, Gupta Sarita, Haeringer Nicolas, Hall David, Hartigan Pamela, Harris Elliot, Harvey Mark, Hassan Ayesha, Hauter Wenonah, Henry Alain, Henríquez Norma, Herfkens Evelyn, Hermelin Bénédicte, Higgins Nick, Hill Tony, Hodeau Denis, Howard James, Huranova Dana, Ilan Halévy, Izzat Abdul Hadi, Jaglin Sylvy, Janssens Jan G., Jaura Ramesh, Jones Roy, Jordan Lisa, Kaiser Jürgen, Kaluzynska Eva, Karliner Joshua, Karlsson Mats, Kearney Mary-Louise, Kinniburgh Ian, Kirk Alejandro, Koning Nick, Korten David, Kubasek René, Kuiten Bernard, Kurtzman Joël, Lahdensuo Sami, Lainé Marc, Lambo Rosario, Lapegue Jean, Lee Bernice, Le Moal Alain, Lipsey Roger, Lopez-Claros Augusto, Lopez-Repem Cecilia, Macina Boubacar, Macpherson Ian, Madisha Willy, Majed Ziad, Malloch Brown Marc, Marin Gladys, Marin Gustavo, Marshall Katherine, Marx Michael, Masci Alessandra, Massiah Gus, Matte Diane, Mauprivez Bruno, Mauras Marta, Mauro Gilmar, Mauchamp Sylvie, Maxwell Mary Beth, Melo Fátima, Mittal Anuradha, Morazan Pedro, Morisson Jason, Mossfeldt Carl, Muenger François, Mulvey Kathy, Muthoni Wanyeki Lynn, Naidoo Anil, Nardin Simonetta, Navarro Ricardo, Ngwane Trevor, Njoroge Njehu Njoki, Ocampo José Antonio, Olczak Magdalena, Olivella Marti, Oluwafemi Akinbode, O'Meara Amy, Paquin Pamela, Partage Michel, Payen Gérard, Pellitzer Valentina, Pereira Leite Sérgio, Perlas Nicanor, Petrella Riccardo, Pheko Mohau, Poznanski Marek, Priyadarshi Shishir, Quincy Bérengère, Rad Mina, Raiser Konrad, Randazzo Mark, Rasmussen Paul, Rebelle Bruno, Redhouse David, Renard Nicolas, Reynolds Carolyn, Rhiwi Leila, Ribloi Sasco Livio, Ricard Mathieu, Richelle Koos, Rizk Najat, Romano Giorgio, Roque Atila, Rouillé d'Orfeuil Henri, Ruggie John, Sachs Jeffrey, Sader Emir, Saffar Sarah, Sané Pierre, Santibañez Miguel, Sarkady Marc, Scholte Jan Art, Seck Idrissa, Sen Amartya, Sen Gita, Sereni Marina, Sharma Pradeep K., Shiva Vandana, Shrybman Steven, Siddhartha, Siemers Haitze, Silos Maureen, Simpson Robin, Skali Faouzi, Soares Mario, Solinis German, Somavia Juan, Soros George, Spencer Kim, Stiglitz Joseph, Strickner Alexandra, Sussman Isabelle, Taddei François, Tandon Yaspal, Thorning-Schmidt Helle, Touly Jean-Luc, Toussaint Eric, Traoré Aminata, Trublin Céline, Marina Urquidi, Valentin Harold, Van Hees Ted, Vargas Viriginia, Velasco Alberto, Victoria Pierre, Vilela Martin, Viveret Patrick, Vuarin Pierre, Weisbrot Mark, Welschof Juergen, Wermester Etienne, Werner HansPeter, Williams Marina, Winter-Jones Rachel, Yen Goh Chien, Zimet Joseph, Zouggari Mounir.
Our Main Supports
Ford Foundation - Rockefeller Brothers Fund - Swedish International Development - French Development Agency - Fondation pour le Progrès de l’Homme - Open Society Institute - Fondation Scientifique de Lyon - Metanoia Foundation - French-American Charitable Trust - French Foreign Affairs Ministry - UNESCO