The First Economic Congress was held in Izmir hundred years ago, laying out the economic structure of modern Turkey. The Congress also inspired the economic outlook and policies of different countries that were searching to find a new way ahead amidst the ruins of the First World War.

Turkey has once again reached a turning point, where a new economic policy, strategy and action plan need to be refashioned. Moreover, global changes such as climate emergency, democracy crisis and pandemic triggered the need for redefinition of new economic paradigms globally.

Built on the historical legacy of the first congress and the above-mentioned global changes, Congress for Future’s Economy was organized in March 2023 by Izmir Planning Agency on behalf of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.

Preparations of the congress lasted for eight months between August 2022 - March 2023. Initial meetings commenced with the workshops of three sectoral groups - farmers, workers and industrialists, traders, artisans. At the end of this first phase, each of the three groups launched a sectoral declaration forming a key component of the final declaration of the Congress.

During the second phase, the sectoral declarations had been presented to four expert groups established based on the four pillars of circular culture.

The first expert groups meeting “Embracing Each Other” emphasized social harmony, democracy and human rights, highlighting the value of tolerant and consensus-based life for a strong economy.

In the second expert meeting “Rejoining Nature” focused on the relationship between economy and ecology. Experts engaged in this meeting have noted that nature itself is now a main stakeholder to develop and sustain a viable economic system.

The third expert meeting “Perceiving History” emphasized the importance of past experiences to design a strong economic future.

At the final meeting “Shaping Future” experts explored the influences of technology and innovation on economy. They raised key issues like digitalization, artificial intelligence and big data, which are expected to greatly influence the world economy in the near future.

The main congress, held in Izmir from March 15-21, 2023 with the name of “Call for Renewal” brought more than 500 delegates, 80 speakers, 180 organizations from all regions of Turkey and different countries. The congress’ sessions attracted profound interest from citizens, with approximately 15.000 individuals attending various sessions. Distinguished speakers, including ten internationally respected figures, enriched the discussions. These included Sir Bob Geldof, Prof. Dr. Andrew McAfee, Prof. Dr. Francis Fukuyama, Prof. Dr. Ian Goldin, Joschka Fischer, Prof. Dr. Michio Kaku, Prof. Dr. Thomas Faist, Prof. Dr. Timothy Garden Ash and Prof. Dr. Vandana Shiva.  

After an extensive eight-month preparation process, the delegates voted on the final declaration, which compiled the outputs of all the Congress and its preparatory meetings. The comprehensive declaration, consisting of three parts, encompassed a total of 61 principles and 303 decisions. While there were annotations from different stakeholder groups in 27 articles, the remaining articles were decided unanimously.

The main objective of the declaration is to establish the groundwork for economic strategies that will shape the future. As a civil, transparent, and fully participatory initiative, the congress extends an invitation from Izmir to Turkey and the world, fostering collaboration and collective effort for a brighter future.

Congress for Future’s Economy took a bottom-up approach to design an economic vision. In addition to determining economic policies for Turkey, the Congress succeeded to become an initiative to develop locally informed strategies for global economic and ecological crises of our era.