Where are we from?
CITEGO is an independent association born in 2015. It has taken over from the action carried out directly until then by the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH), which continues to provide structural support. CITEGO combines three legacies of the FPH: "the revenge of the territories"; "the transition towards sustainable societies"; "the capitalisation of experiences".
- Revenge of the territories. After two centuries of gradual disappearance of local territories in favour of States and large companies, at the end of the twentieth century the central role of territories and their governance in the management of societies was rediscovered because they are the level at which relations of all kinds can be managed. But this revenge is not a dream of autarky. Territorial governance is the first level of multi-level governance from the local to the global. This is the meaning of the acronym: CItés, TErritoires, GOuvernance.
- Transition towards sustainable societies. This concept is preferred to that of "sustainable development", an oxymoron forged to reconcile the irreconcilable: preserving the biosphere; pursuing development on an unchanged basis. Hence CITEGO’s particular attention to the changes needed in the way we think about the land, the economy, public policies and the way we manage society. This transition towards sustainable societies and territories is still, in 2020, barely sketched out and is most often limited to sectoral policies, whereas the transition is "systemic", presupposing combined changes in many areas. CITEGO is particularly attentive to what is emerging in terms of transition and the conditions that need to be met for it to become a reality.
- Capitalisation of experience. As early as the eighties, the FPH found that the most useful information for action came from the action itself. But putting an action into words so that it can be transmitted, so that lessons can be learned, so that it is useful in another setting and on another scale is much more difficult than one might imagine. Hence the establishment during the last two decades of the twentieth century of databases of case studies, with all the challenges that have to be met to create the conditions for "experience capitalization" (lessons learned from the comparison of experiences in a given field in order to draw useful guidelines for action), to pool experiences among various partners and actors, to make them available to a wide public (making knowledge a common denominator) and to create the tools for navigating this vast reservoir of experience. This is how COREDEM (confederation of resources for global democracy) was created at the beginning of the 2000s, which brings together some thirty thematic resource sites and allows navigation from one to the other. CITEGO is a member.
Over the last twenty years or so, the new role of territories and the importance of the transition to be carried out have imposed themselves, giving rise to a large number of networks of local authorities or civil society organisations. In this proliferation and in a context where each network is jealous of its own identity and often tends to confuse "advocacy" with a rigorous process of proof by example, CITEGO has affirmed its specific place: to focus on the hard and the ungrateful: to collect experiences, help to share them, develop a resource site making them accessible to the greatest number, create a navigation tool linking the issues together (the relational atlas), promote the methods of learning communities, develop distance learning for local actors. All these things take time and are often neglected for lack of adequate funding. Only the structural support of the FPH has made this possible.