Ong: if not now, when?


by Nino Sergi

The opportunity is offered by the legislative reform of the third sector with the institutional recognition of the representative associative networks. If it were possible to start a truly unified path, overcoming anti-historical divisions, in the establishment of a  representative network of the various subjects of civil society dedicated to cooperation, solidarity and international culture , that would be truly good news. However, it seems that a different path is being taken, one of conservation rather than renewal and progress, of exclusion rather than maturation and collective definition, of hegemony/subordination rather than deepening, open and respectful dialogue and confrontation. I hope I’m wrong but this is the image that strongly dominates.

There is still time to correct this process by opening up to mutual listening and above all by looking ahead. A clear and shared answer to the question will be needed:  a network to aggregate who and for what, to conserve or to innovate and transform?  A third sector network made up of subjects of international cooperation and solidarity that arises without having shared a path of conscious, transparent and broad inclusion, in the clarity of innovative and regenerative objectives, would give a signal of inconsistency and perhaps of opacity that could leave a stain indelible in the world that defines itself as “of international cooperation and solidarity”.

The third sector code provides that the associative networks that will be registered in the single national register carry out activities of coordination, protection, representation, support of the associated bodies and their activities, also for the purpose of promoting and increasing representation among institutional subjects. What better occasion to set up an authoritative, representative and recognized national network  of non-profit subjects dedicated, with their different identities and specificities, to cooperation, solidarity and international culture, to development centered on the human being, sustainability, respect for creation , Justice?

For decades we have admired the unitary expressions existing in other European countries and their strong relevance in the dialogue with the institutions. But without being able to imitate them. Now is the time. The legislative reform of the third sector invites us to undertake this network path. The value of which will be proportional to its full representativeness and therefore to the inclusiveness of the set of identities, specificities and capacities of the world of international cooperation and solidarity. We need a transparent comparison, which has not yet taken place, in which everyone offers the best and perhaps gives up something to make the construction of an innovative and transformative path up to the gigantic challenges feasible that we must face, in Italy and in the world, by interacting autonomously and on an equal footing with government institutions and politics.

History will recognize our values ​​but will not forgive our omissions, those without which there could be “another history”, made up of courageous changes whenever necessary for the common good and to maintain firm consistency with the principles of solidarity, justice, equal dignity, human brotherhood, everywhere. An indispensable coherence  for the right social representation in matters of cooperation, solidarity and international culture to be recognized to NGOs and CSOs . The pandemic has shown how vulnerable the human community is and how necessary it has become to aggregate forces and row together in the same direction to be able to change systems, choices, behaviors that are no longer bearable.

International tensions, the political context in Italy and in Europe with widespread pushes towards sovereignist closures, selfish interests, underestimation of multilateralism, weakening of traditionally aggregating social subjects, indifference towards particularly needy and marginalized minorities, use of false, divisive language , which leads to discriminatory behavior by denying those principles and values ​​of humanity and social coexistence which are the basis of our choices and activities: all of this requires today, even more than in the past, a greater unified aggregative tension and an authoritative representative  weight .

Among the new associative networks of third sector entities that will arise from the legislative reform, the one representative and inclusive of the whole non-profit world of cooperation, solidarity and international culture cannot be missing . Overcoming divisions that no longer have any meaning (and which the society that observes us can’t stand) will free up precious energies to be more faithful to our values ​​and demonstrate coherence between experience and principles, transforming and innovating. A new network therefore, not a mere transformation of the existing one in the continuity of the conformation, of the management team, of the vision. But an inclusive reality capable of grasping the new, indispensable for being effective actors in the current phase that requires renewal, a long-term vision and a unitary representative weight. There is plenty of time to open a serious debate. Don’t waste this opportunity .