Towards a New Common Chapter
With the generous support of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund, and the Community Relations Council, this action research project is facilitating the development of a “New Common Chapter for Cooperation Within and Between these Islands”, representing grassroots support for collaborative and sustainable North-South and East-West relations. Whereas the “old” Common Chapter represented a high-level policy dimension through its inclusion in Ireland’s National Development Plan and Northern Ireland’s Structural Funds Plan (2000-2006), through this project CCBS has been working with a range of civil society organisations from both sides of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border to produce a draft New Common Chapter that voices the needs of civil society.
Having concluded a process of dissemination of the draft New Common Chapter to other community groups on the island of Ireland, as well as to other stakeholders, and feedback gathered on its contents, the participating groups from Ireland and Northern Ireland are beginning a process of engagement with counterparts from England, Scotland and Wales. This stage will conclude with an evaluation seminar, where representatives from all the groups will agree a final version of the New Common Chapter. The final stage will see the groups promoting the New Common Chapter with policy and decision-makers on the island of Ireland and Great Britain.
This work will result in informed and motivated community organisations on the island of Ireland and Great Britain able to engage with policies and policy-makers on the value of cross-border cooperation and ensuring that it addresses the needs of civic society. While achieving political support for cross-border cooperation is an important goal, CCBS expects that this project will help to create the conditions at community level for independent engagement in cross-border initiatives.