About the Globalisation Conference

Globalisation Conference 2016: Without Borders

October 27-30, 2016
Oslo, Norway

About the Globalisation Conference

The Globalisation Conference is the main program of NSF, and is the largest political workshop of civil organisations, labour unions and political parties in Norway. The conference is organised every other year in Oslo, and serves as a meeting place and forum for activists, trade unionists and other engaged in the communities in Norway to collaborate and work for a world where people, society and the environment are understood as more important than economic gain. The conference consists of plenaries, seminars, workshops, debates, cultural events and lectures that are organised with speakers from both Norway and abroad. Approximately 2000 persons participate at each conference.

Globalisation Conference 2016

The theme for the 2016 Globalisation Conference is “Grenseløs” in Norwegian, or “Without Borders” in English.

The world is characterised by borders; some physical, some territorial, and others mental. While nature sets its limits in the form of seas, forests, and mountains, we also see that humans have set borders of its own. For many people around the world, these borders and barriers can make the difference between life and death, hunger and wealth, and freedom and oppression.

The conference will lift up a number of major challenges that appear too little in the Norwegian discourse related to borders. The goal will be to broaden the knowledge and debate about how various types of borders (related to people, rights, the environment, and economics) impact the principles of democracy, resource distribution, and development. The conference will be organised into three main thematic tracks:

Borders, conflict and migration

The year 2015 witnessed the highest number of refugees to Europe in over 60 years. A large proportion of those migrants are fleeing war and conflict, as well as declining resource base to live lives of dignity. Many of these migrants can also be considered climate refugees, as changing weather patterns have led to more outbreaks of conflict over resources, water and land.

The Globalisation Conference aims to broaden the knowledge and debate on the issue of borders and war. What has Norway done, and what can we do, to stop the current conflicts and wars? What role do those countries that have contributed most to climate change have for the protection of those that are displaced by climate change? How well is Norway and Europe taking care of the refugees and migrants affected by these crises? Do we have good enough international rules and sanctions if receiving countries are not doing their part to protect the most vulnerable?

Borderless economy and rights

The labor market is international, and workers move over border like never before.The Global North wants a free flow of people when it serves our own purposes, such as adding labor to "unpopular" jobs and maintaining industries in depopulation municipalities. At the same time, we do not allow refugees to move freely, regardless of how universal our rights are and what situation the refugees come from. We also see how borders and mobility can be in conflict with each other in our own work life. The extent of workplace crime that includes social dumping and human trafficking in Norway increases, leading to more suffering and poverty for those affected. This also undermines Norwegian labor rules, party relations and trade unions.

At the Globalization Conference, we will also look at the issues of borders in the economy. We will discuss who is "allowed" to move freely in the labour field, and how borders and movement often challenge the protection of rights for all people. We will also discuss how borders may contribute to greater inequalities and disparities in the world. Additionally, we will discuss the ideologies that drive the current global economy, which are based on minimal regulation and “borderless” international trade. Where are the boundaries between a functioning global economy, and a state's interest in protecting its own sovereignty? And how can we protect people’s rights in a world that is border-filled, but an economy that is seemingly borderless?

Borderless environmental challenges

Many of the climate and environmental problems we see in the world today are borderless. Emissions of greenhouse gases affects the globe, regardless of where the emissions are coming from. Pollution of the sea is spreading to all corners of the world, without the culprits being able to be traced. Climate change has already had catastrophic consequences on local communities in the South, worsening their living conditions and weakening communities’ ability to protect their own population. As countries and communities are needing to adapt to these climate changes, the ability for them to fight poverty gets even more challenging.

The Globalisation Conference will discuss the international cooperation needed to fight climate change, as well as the question of how the countries hardest hit by climate change can simultaneously fight inequality and poverty. We will also discuss the role that Norway can play in this context.