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Chapter Ten - Convergence Proceedings
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Following a strong recommendation from the IPC5 convergence team, the IPC6 convergence was held after the conference in order that people attending would have gained some prior knowledge of delegates, and the issues they face, through attending conference sessions.

The convergence team for IPC6 attempted to learn from the previous convergence, which had a very unstructured program. The team spent time on designing a process that could be followed to achieve positive outcomes for the permaculture movement, and allow the flexibility for people's individual needs to be met. Agenda items were called for well in advance, and the structure of the convergence arose from the nominated items received by the team.

Considerable thought went into the process before the event, and the suggestions were then put to a team of volunteer delegates just prior to the convergence, where input was asked for and received. It needs to be stressed that the process was as participatory as time would allow for, and that the overall structure had been given a great deal of thought prior to this meeting of volunteers.

The group established a Strategic Design Task which was presented to facilitators as a way of conducting issues sessions. A Holistic Goal was established to try to keep the convergence focussed on a general theme, and to provide a link between groups so that all participants would be working towards the one overall aim. This was To Expand The Impact Of Permaculture. Whether working in the permaculture movement as individuals, local groups, communities, or official organisations, it was felt that this goal could be realistically reached at all levels.

All the participants in the groups were encouraged to contribute their reasons for joining the discussion, and hopefully participants felt there was a forum to discuss issues of interest to them within each group. The themes were decided based on agenda items sent in, and people were urged to contribute their own areas of interest and need within this framework.

Each subgroup within the five major themes scribed the results of their discussions generally in the form of goals, strategies and action. Insufficient time led to a number of actions being suggested that may not be acted on. The purpose of publishing these proceedings is multifunctional and aims to:

I firmly believe that a great deal of action will result from the convergence although it may not follow the exact recommendations made in these proceedings. The process of identifying the issues and evolving strategies for action is one we can all follow in our lives, and this in itself will bring about effective change.

Happy reading and all the best in your efforts to expand the impact of permaculture.

Naomi Coleman (Australia)

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© Copyright Permaculture Association of Western Australia Inc. and authors, 1997.