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Charter Principles

From 2014 to 2019 CCBS worked with a range of civil society organisations from both sides of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border, as well as organisations in Great Britain, to produce a New Common Charter that voices the aspirations and needs of civil society. The Charter is a living document and it’s principles are continually updated to reflect the aspirations of it’s supporter organisation, most recently in June 2022.


Supporter organisations propose a New Common Charter for Cooperation Within and Between these Islands by grassroots community organisations that promotes social justice and equality, but do so:
  • Acknowledging and respecting the differences that make these islands what they are, while also recognising and cherishing the relations between the people and communities that live in its different nations and regions;
  •  Recognising, valuing and accepting languages whose roots may cross the borders within and between our islands;
  • Recognising that faith traditions are organised and followed by people and communities within and across these islands;
  • Valuing the musical, literary and other artistic and cultural traditions and their expression that have spread across the world and whose development has been assisted through relations within and between these islands;
  • Realising that whilst we can compete against each other, sport and sporting organisations also unite us within and between these islands; and
  • Recognising that our islands are connected by family bonds that cross the borders that separate them.


We hereby propose a New Common Charter for Cooperation by grassroots community organisations within and between these islands which values how it can:
  • Maintain and strengthen family ties and friendships that cross borders;
  • Allow for the sharing of local resources and services across boundaries;
  • Increase opportunities for the sharing between people and communities of information, knowledge of policy and best-practice within and across these islands;
  • Widen our evidence-base to include what is happening across the borders that separate us;
  • Improve policy-making by matching it to the realities on the ground and identifying cross-border opportunities to collaborate to solve shared problems or exploit common resources;
  • Promote cross-border friendly relations between people and communities that give insight into the views of those from within and across these islands, and allow for difficult conversations to be had;
  • Promote a civil society that values diversity and in which there is the ability to disagree respectfully;
  • Facilitate the exploration and celebration of a community’s culture and heritage with a view to future cooperation;
  • Increase the protection and enjoyment of the environment as well as the cooperation of environmental advocates and authorities within and between these islands;
  • Encourage and develop community leadership;
  • Contribute to our common safety and wellbeing addressing mental health and youth mental health in particular;
  • Explore economic opportunities;
  • Discover and enhance tourism potentials;
  • Exploit mutually beneficial links in education, including adult and community education, as well as higher education; and
  • Engage with and support human rights, particularly for the most isolated and marginalised in our communities and oppose the diminution of existing rights across all communities and groups.


We believe that grass-roots community cooperation within and between these islands can usefully contribute to the following issues:
  • Building inclusive communities, welcoming ‘new’ or ‘emerging’ communities and challenging myths around marginalised communities;
  • Capacity-building and succession planning for community leadership in cooperation, especially for emerging leaders;
  • Exploiting the potential of cross-border tourism, especially rural tourism, which includes not only the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, but also the Wales-England and Scotland-England borders;
  • The exploration of histories and heritage that cross borders within and between these islands;
  • Improving women’s representation in decision-making structures;
  • Promoting the need for affordable, accessible quality childcare and social care support;
  • The promotion and support for gender equality proofing and gender budgeting;
  • Tackling digital skill gaps among all age groups via training, and combating digital poverty via access to devices and data, and including for rural communities with limited access to broadband. This is particularly imperative in the context of governments pushing digital first agendas.
  • The promotion of community cooperatives as a means to enhance deliberative democracy and sustainable community ownership of local assets and decision making, particularly regarding a ‘just transition’ to net zero.
  • The realisation of a Common Travel Area that is inclusive of all those residing on and between these islands.
  • Advocating for the provision of affordable, accessible and regular transport services, especially in rural areas and border regions;
  • Promoting the need to facilitate educational opportunities within and between these islands, including through the removal of any undue administrative, information and/or financial obstacles that may discourage the movement of learners across these islands;
  • Advocating for the improvement of the value given to and the quality of vocational and non- university paths to careers; and
  • Promotion and support for rural proofing and regionally balanced budgeting and resourcing.


Principles were last updated by supporters in June 2022