European strategy meeting on public services and human rights

European strategy meeting on public services and human rights - 12 July 2021

European strategy meeting on public services and human rights - towards a global narrative
Online meeting

12 July, Monday at 2-5 PM (CET)

Interpretation will be provided in English, French and Spanish.

Registration here

The pandemic only proves the urgency of this moment to build public services as part of a just and equitable recovery and a transition to a more sustainable and resilient economy and society. Privatised and underfunded public health and social services struggled to save lives and to protect their workers. Global supply chains crumbled and a vaccine apartheid became impossible to ignore. It is now clear that relying on the market to defend people’s rights is a very unsafe bet. 

Privatisation, commercialisation and financialisation of public services have raised many social justice and human rights concerns. In recent years, the negative impacts of these trends have been exacerbated by the linked climate and inequalities crises, disproportionately affecting peoples and groups who have historically been oppressed across intersecting racial, gendered, class, caste, religious, disability and ethnic hierarchies. 

We need a new social contract based on fair and progressive taxation, better public services, accessible to all, and strong democratic institutions which hold governments accountable for the public delivery of human rights instead of only being responsible for creating an ‘enabling environment’ for private sector profits. The global crisis creates an opportunity to reverse the 50-year neoliberal assault on government, public services and collective actions.

To this end, the following organisations began collaborating in 2020 with the aim of establishing a collective vision that can mobilise a strong broad-based movement to reclaim and strengthen public services: ActionAid, the East African Centre for Human Rights, Eurodad, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, Oxfam, Public Services International, the Society for International Development, and the Transnational Institute. 

Two key events were held in 2020:  

  1. A public roundtable discussion bringing together seven current and former UN Special Rapporteurs and one former UN Independent Expert, across six different mandates, to reflect on the negative impacts of privatisation and on building renewed momentum and strategies for the public provision of ESCR-related services.
  1. A two-day civil society workshop bringing together over 80 participants from around the world to start building a global civil society strategy against privatisation and for reclaiming public services. Notes from the workshop can be found here. A key outcome of the workshop was the idea to develop a collective narrative to unite and mobilise a broad-based movement to challenge privatisation and demand public alternatives for the provision of services that ensure the realisation of human rights.

Objectives of Regional strategy meeting

These regional meetings will seek to:

  • Connect the regional, global and national dynamics on public services to ensure that a diversity of actors in various languages are able to join the movement and support a global campaign;
  • Connect a range of actors, organisations and movements within regions;
  • Gather regional inputs on the collective narrative on public services, building a sense of collective ownership;
  • Explore regional strategies, advocacy opportunities and campaigning ideas; and
  • Build political momentum and contribute to developing a strong cross-sectoral and cross-regional movement for public services.

Tentative Agenda


10 minutes

Inspiration (framing speech)

15 minutes +5

Discussion on the collective narrative

Breakout rooms

40 minutes

10 minutes highlights sharing


15 minutes

Campaigning and advocacy

  • Sharing of existing initiatives (3 minutes pitches x 5)
  • Mapping of opportunities - Regional and global calender
  • Discussions of (collective) advocacy actions

85 minutes