uruguay: environmental dictionary

Defining key concepts and meanings for foei.
uruguay: environmental dictionary

FoEI is an international environmental federation strongly rooted in national and local groups in every continent: it campaigns on a wide range of social and environmental problems at the international, regional and local levels. FoEI’s overarching aim is to resolve these problems by challenging the underlying economic model, which is founded on the maximization of profits and the accumulation of capital, and is designed to serve the interests of a few powerful economic actors. In its place, FoEI seeks to build societies based on justice in all its dimensions, and peoples’ rights and sovereignty.


To address this challenging agenda effectively, and to unify the many diverse parts of the federation, a commonly understood language is essential. Yet it became clear during FoEI’s Strategic Planning Process that this language was not yet in place. Furthermore, in such a big and diverse federation, it is not always possible to share and review these complex definitions in face-to-face meetings, nor is it easy to ensure that concepts and definitions are passed on accurately to new generations of activists. FoEI identified a need to systematize the diverse definitions used by its campaigns and programs.


what happened?

Understanding the importance of having a common ‘dictionary’ which gathers together the key definitions used within FoEI’s Programs, FoE Uruguay / REDES decided to engage in the process of identifying and collecting working definitions to then share and discuss with the federation through a consultation process.


The first stage in this process was to contact program and campaign coordinators to learn about the key concepts their programs and campaigns were developing or already using. The second stage was to look at FoEI’s publications and documents to extract concepts and definitions that seemed to be relevant for the work of the federation.


A list of concepts was then compiled.


A third phase is now under way, in which the definitions are being edited and translated into the official languages of the federation for the consultation stage.


lessons learned?

FoEI, and its allies and partner organizations, including the social movements and grassroots organizations that it works with, have collectively developed and use a wide range of important concepts and definitions, including terms such as ecological debt, food sovereignty and climate justice.


These complex concepts are the result of FoEI’s long history and recent and enriching Strategic Planning Process, and are fundamental to understanding the nature of the federation, and the framework within which FoEI’s different programs and campaigns develop their goals and strategies.


what next?

When the editing and translation are finished, the draft dictionary will be sent to the network for debate, inputs, and final approval. This ‘dictionary’ will then be published on line for activists to become acquainted with the working definitions of the federation. It will be a dynamic tool, growing and changing in line with the federation’s own growth and development.


with thanks to our funders: the sigrid rausing trust


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