The process for international collaboration began in 2010 with the establishment of the Design Declaration Summit Steering Committee (DDSSC) including representatives from three international organisations: International Council of Design (ico-D), International Federation of Housing and Planning (IFHP) and International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). Two Pre-Summit Meetings were held in Paris in 2017 and four Working Committees were established: Social, Cultural, Environmental and Economic, to collaboratively draft the Declaration and identify potential projects.
During 23–24 October 2017, representatives of 22 international organisations met to discuss design as a driver of innovation and competition, growth and development, efficiency and prosperity. During the first Design Declaration Summit (DDS2017) in Montréal, the participants engaged in a lively discussion centering on the need to develop new approaches to growth and development that focus on sustainability and social equality. Bart Ahsmann, President of BEDA (the Bureau of European Design Associations) described the Montréal Design Declaration Summit as “an important step towards global cooperation, teaming up to impact on societal challenges. The design sector still clearly has to learn each others’ languages; architects and service designers have much in common but use a different vocabulary.”
The meeting was concluded with the signature of the first ever Design Declaration, the Montréal Design Declaration. The Design Declaration Summit was conducted within the framework of the “World Design Summit,” an event held at the Palais des Congrès in Montréal, including a multidisciplinary Congress and Exhibition. The signing ceremony was conducted on 24 October 2017 in the presence of three UN agencies (UNESCO, UN-Habitat, UN Environment). The Declaration proclaims the potential of design to achieve global economic, social, environmental and cultural objectives and includes a dramatic call to action to professionals, educators and governments as well as a list of proposed projects. David Grossman, Past President of the International Council of Design (ico-D) stated that “the Declaration reflects two grand achievements. For the first time, the design community, across many disciplines, is speaking with one voice. This consolidation permits the second achievement: the international agencies are eager to collaborate with a united design world. These achievements impact every designer.” The Montréal Design Declaration lists in an Annex more than 700 national professional associations, universities and design promotion entities, from 90 countries, that are represented by these international organisations.
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