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Co-governance as a process of building fraternity in politics, starting from the cities

At the end of the II International Congress on Co-governance, the attendees wrote a Manifesto that summarizes what we want for our cities


The context

The pandemic that crossed the planet produced an acceleration of critical issues present in the political systems, already weakened by economic globalization and the growth of inequality. Along with the virus, authoritarian tensions also spread, fueled by the growth of political polarization and the distrust of democratic institutions, which appeared unable to provide satisfactory answers, especially to the most vulnerable sectors.
As never before in history, it became evident the need that collaboration between nations and peoples to be translated into political transformative processes.


There is nothing more irrational, in the current context than fueling rivalry, conflict, and individualism in human relationships, jeopardizing the survival of all. National states and different forms of supranational integration have struggled to realize such collaboration, while cities, the original place of politics, even under the pressure of tumultuous planetary processes and dramatic events, continue to express the capacity for social innovation and resilience.

Understanding the way in which cities should be governed today represents a major challenge. What role is required of government leaders in a context of imminent interdependence? And in relation to the participation of citizens and collective actors, what space do they occupy, and what response do they have to the demand for a more mature democratic quality?

The concept

In this context, some innovative concepts are emerging. One of them is the idea of co-governance, which today, based on numerous international researches, identifies an experience of participatory government (organized as a network), which aims at a high level of intersubjective and multi-sector collaboration in the construction of public policies.

As new organizational models spread, based on intense connections between people, organizations, and institutions, a “collaborative era” is emerging which, especially in urban governance, recognizes and connects all present protagonists in a network of political relationships in the public space: politicians and activists, employees, researchers, and students. In the academic context, this collaboration already involves a wide range of actors in everyday life that move towards active citizenship: members of popular movements or neighborhood communities, employees of companies and communication systems, cultural and training networks…

Considering the important and complex issues, such as health policies, access to work, the use of the territory and the development of the peripheries, the processes of social inclusion and integration, possible responses to the problem of inequality, the proper protection of environmental heritage, technology, and the digital revolution, the cooperation between cities – a reflection emerge. With which government instruments will we face these issues in our historic moment?

As for the way governance works, at least one conviction stands out: that the “best government” is no longer that of the “enlightened autocratic leader” who organizes power in a virtuous way, but the one that allows the city system to collectively devise a common social vision and then act in co-responsibility.


The event

The first International Congress addressing these issues had the theme: "Co-governance: Mutual responsibility in cities today". The event took place in January 2019 in the Castel Gandolfo region, in Rome (Italy), promoted by the Politics for Unity Movement and the New Humanity Movement (Focolares), with the collaboration of numerous organizations. Participated 400 mayors, administrators and citizens of 33 countries around the world. The course of this first congress provided for other international commitments in different continents, so that the research started, experiences and their practical applications could continue.

The II International Congress "Co-governance as a method for building fraternity in politics starting from cities" continues along the same path. 


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it will be held in virtual mode. The transmission will have Brazil as host, taking place between the October 9th and 12th, 2021.


A network of Latin American organizations is ahead of the event's planning, in order to give greater relevance to the program.



10/09 - 3PM - 6PM (Brasília)

10/10 - 10AM - 6PM (Brasília)

- Welcome / Presentation of the congress

- 1st Panel - Co-governance as a process of building fraternity in politics, based on cities

Erasto Fortes Mendonça (Brazil)

Javier Baquero (Colombia)

Maria Fernanda Revollo (Bolivia) - mediator


-  Presentation of good co-governance practices

- Workshops (Dialogue and deepening groups)

- Conclusion 

10 AM - 12 AM: 

-Theme rooms

1. The youth and political participation
2. Political parties and co-governance
3. Ecology: actions in co-governance

4. The construction of co-governance from the perspective of Architecture and of Engineering 
5. Strong SUS and public health
6. Room for presentation of academic articles about co-governance
7. Inclusive Cities
8. The role of politics and of the politician in the management of co-governance

3PM - 6 PM:

-Welcome / Cultural moment

- 2nd Panel - Public institutions and civil society: cooperation and dialogue for the common good

Luiz Scarpino (Brazil)

Verónica López Jairala (Argentina)

Lucia Fronza Crepaz (Italy) - mediator


-  Presentation of good co-governance practices

- Workshops (Dialogue and deepening groups)

- Conclusion 

10/11 - 10 AM - 6 PM (Brasília)

10 AM - 12 AM: 

-Theme rooms:

1. The youth and politics
2. Political parties and co-governance 
3. Zero Impact
4. The city as relational asset
5. Strong SUS and public health
6. Room for presentation of academic articles about co-governance
7. The role of politics and of the politician in the management of co-governance
8. Economy of Communion and the eradication of poverty ODS-01
9. Communication and processes of co-governance (Portuguese and Spanish)

3 PM - 6 PM:

-Welcome / Cultural moment

- 3rd Panel - Fraternal economy, sustainability, and public policies:

Francisco Porras (Mexico)

Cristina Calvo (Argentina)

Jomery Nery (Brazil) - mediator

- Workshops (Dialogue and deepening groups)

- Conclusion 

10/12 - 9AM - 12AM (Brasília)

- Welcome / Presentation of the congress

- E-book presentation

-Final plenary: presentation of the final document

-Referrals/ next steps


1st Panel




PhD in Education and Professor of the University of Brasilia; researcher of public policy and education and human rights. 




Professor of Public Policies and Under Secretary of Planning and Public Policy of Bogota City Hall.




Politologist; Professor of ethics and part of the regional program of indigenous political participation of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

2nd Panel




Politologist and researcher on the rights of indigenous communities; consultant for several municipalities in the implementation of public policies and the UNDP (United Nations Development Program).




Doctoral Student and Master in Collective Rights and Citizenship. Professor at Unaerp and Visiting Professor, Post-Graduate Course at the Faculty of Law of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo.




She is a pediatrician, with a master's degree in Social Doctrine of the Church from the Pontifical Lateran University; federal deputy in two legislatures.

3rd Panel




PhD in Politics and International Studies; Professor at the Public Research Center of the National Council for Science and Technology and at Tecnológico de Monterrey's School for Social Sciences & Government.




PhD in Behavioral Economics and Economic Sociology; Director of the International Program on Democracy, Society, and New Economies of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA-Seube).




Lawyer; Public administration consultant; Director of operations of the National Association for an Economy of Communion (Anpecom).


E-book: "Co-governance as a method for building fraternity in politics starting from cities"

On the last day of the Congress, it was launched the long-awaited e-book: "Co-governance as a method for building fraternity in politics starting from cities", which included the publication of 22 articles, written by more than 28 authors.

The organizers of the Collective Work are Daniela Ropelato, Italian, Ph.D. in Political Science, Matías Mattalini, Argentinian, master in Public Policies and Government, Flávio Dal Pozzo, Brazilian, master on Public Policies, and Rafaela Brito, Brazilian, master in Environmental Studies.


The four organizers hope that this Collective Work can encourage the deeper study of the concept of co-governance and, also, show that there are already concrete cases of good practices in this regard. 







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