COPENHAGEN PEOPLE POWER CONFERENCE
28th - 29th of September, 2023
ActionAid Denmark, together with partners, hosted a global conference in Copenhagen on the 28th and 29th of September, 2023. The conference was organised to deepen our understanding of the power and potential of social movements in the fight for climate justice, democracy & digital rights and peace & security. We explored the importance of people and movements striving for a just world, where everyone can enjoy their fundamental human rights. We also celebrated the social movements of the year through our People Power Award, a new annual award created by ActionAid Denmark.
The world is facing several interconnected crises. At times, these can seem unsolvable, and yet, we have witnessed the power that people hold when they and partner organizations come together around shared demands. Brave people all over the world have shown the tremendous courage it takes to rise up, but also the price peaceful protesters pay.
If we are to successfully respond to today’s most pressing crises, we need to understand the role that social movements play and the way in which we can support them.
Themes for the conference
We invite movements leaders, representatives of governments, parliaments, academia, the private sector, multilateral institutions, foundations, media, activists and civil society organisations for continued collaboration on how we can better support people power.
A set of recommendations were developed prior to the conference looking to how allies can best support people power: https://www.ms.dk/sites/default/files/building_people_power_paper.pdf. The final conference report will be shared end of 2023.
Social movements creating People Power
Times of unprecedented global crises call for a deep and structural refiguration of politics and power. A recent UN report recognizes the “invaluable contributions to individual, collective and societal wellbeing” promoted by social movements and concludes that actors such as governments and civil society must embrace and enable social movements as essential partners in “building back better” from the intersecting crises of today.
Throughout history, people have come together in the form of social movements and demanded change. They have created the new normal through immense results such as women’s rights to vote, civil rights in the US, the downfall of apartheid, revolutions during the Arab Spring and many more.
To this day, movements all around the world have shown us that when people come together in collective power to make their voices heard, the world listens. They play an important part in the fight for climate justice, democracy & digital rights, as well as peace and security.
winning the fight for climate justice, democracy and peace
Social movement evolution
The number of social movements is on the rise globally, including myriads of smaller protests and movements that never reach the attention of the global public.
However, the number of victories for social movements is not rising at the same rate. This is due to several factors. One is the immense crackdown they face from governments that use a wide range of tactics to silence peaceful protesters, as outlined in CIVICUS’ recent report on protest rights. These civic space restrictions against social movements only underline the need for international actors to support and recognize their courage and work.
Another factor is, as research shows, the fact that many movements do not sustain victory because their leadership and organisational structure prevent them from maintaining momentum after the peak. Support and international solidarity are important throughout the cycles of social movements in various ways, which will be explored in depth at the conference.
You can read more about the work of ActionAid's Global Social Movement Centre, MOVE, here: https://www.globalplatforms.org/move
For more information, please contact our team at ActionAid Denmark at firstname.lastname@example.org and