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Amidst multiple crises, we’re bigger than the sum of our parts


An end-of-year message from our Executive Director:

I joined CESR a little over four months ago, when the deadly floods in Pakistan tragically illustrated the impact of the global polycrisis on people’s lives. The economic historian Adam Tooze describes a ‘polycrisis’ as a situation “where the whole is even more dangerous than the sum of the parts”. Politicians find new names such as the ‘cost of living crisis’ to try and make it appear that situations like global inequality, debt distress, and worsening hunger have arisen because of factors outside their control. The Pakistani woman farmer whose farm is still under water and the single mother choosing between heating her home and feeding her family in England, however, know that the name of the crisis may be new, but the causes are not. 

CESR and our partners have demonstrated that the roots of all of these crises lie in the prevalent economic model and political choices by governments not to prioritize economic, social, and cultural rights. We know that we need unprecedented collaboration and mobilization across all movements to transform the economic model to one that respects rights and the planet and create international cooperation to redress inequalities. All the organizations I have spoken to over the last four months, as part of my learning journey, working across the human rights, economic and climate justice movements, have reiterated this need and the role that CESR can play to enable such collaboration.

We have also seen how powerful these cross-movement alliances can be as movements have come together to successfully advocate for reform of fiscal policies. African countries and the Tax Justice movement were able to achieve what most believed was impossible:  an agreement at the UN Global Assembly to begin much needed discussions on reforms to the global tax system. Though COP27 was disappointing on many fronts, the establishment of a loss and damage fund was a monumental victory. It is critical that we build on this momentum in 2023 to advance structural reforms through collectively targeting all possible avenues in the human rights, development, climate, and economic fora.

The polycrisis might be bigger than the sum of its parts, but so are the movements fighting for transformation. If you share our desire and hope to build on this momentum, there are many ways in which you could join us in doing so:

  • Help us develop a blueprint for a Rights-Based Economy – visions for an economic model underpinned by human rights that works for everyone and the planet – find synergies and identify shared opportunities across movements.

  • Reach out to us if you are interested in exploring ways to collaborate and, as discussed later in this newsletter, I would also welcome any feedback that you have on CESR and our work.

  • Share our work with your network and invite them to join our mailing list using this link.

You can also support our work by donating through our website. We know that this may be difficult for many people and will value any way in which you can engage with us and our work, including taking a look below at what we have been up to in the last couple of months.

We know that this year has been intense and tiring, the entire CESR team wishes you a restful and rejuvenating break!

Meghna Abraham