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I write this from the thinking corner at home to which the pandemic has sent us, and after the APC online members assembly. As a result of the Board of Directors elections we have a new board and I have been appointed chair. I wanted to continue on the board but then came the surprise, which I appreciate and gladly accept, of the responsibility of chairing the group that oversees the governance of APC.
I want to express well-deserved recognition to everyone who has contributed for more than 30 years, in different ways with their effort and passion, to the work of the collective that is APC. The list of achievements is vast. The 30th anniversary celebration party, which had to be held online, was nevertheless a beautiful example of how the digital world that we helped develop has made it possible for us to come together. The convening was a colourful example of everything we are and do at APC and the result of a brilliant effort by a passionate team and all of us who helped put it together, moderated, participated, illustrated and commemorated.
I thank everyone in the outgoing board for their contributions to APC's governance and warmly welcome the newcomers. Everyone's effort has put APC in the impressive place we wanted to be. However, we have a very interesting three-year period ahead of us in which, while maintaining the challenges we have faced so far, we are adapting to new environmental changes and challenges, from the pandemic to climate and pollution.
We are moving forward and living in times where the internet and the digital realm have become the main medium for our daily activity, not by choice but by limitation. We live beyond environmental limits and this threatens and affects the whole planet. On top of harming nature, people suffer, some more than others, from the inequality of a globalised world, because the digital imposes barriers to participation due to the need for infrastructure, devices, content and services and the limitations imposed by their owners. By being closer than ever, APC has tried to be with all of us, and we have felt more acutely the need for the digital world as a global common good, which cannot exclude anyone, even more so when changes tend to aggravate inequality. In these situations there is a danger of ignoring or excluding those who suffer discrimination and oppression and cannot become visible because they are not connected. There is a danger of imposing uniformity against diversity.
Likewise, the digital environment cannot exclude biodiversity and the environment we live in. We must ensure that we can all participate in the digital world as part of the solution for the planet and not as part of the problem. We use and shape the internet and digital technologies to satisfy the needs and rights of people and the planet, not the contrary. Therefore, we hope to restore the balance soon so that we can meet again not only at the same time, but also in the same place, celebrate the re-encounter and make the most of it. The problems we are dealing with and the priorities in this three-year period are our guide.
In these coming times, especially in the period 2020-2023 of this board and this strategic plan, we must continue working to overcome the social barriers of inequality and abuse, for a more just world for people and the planet, which respects social and natural limits for more respectful human activity as a whole. APC's vision, mission, values and strategic plan for 2020-2023 are more relevant than ever.
As Vicente Ferrer,* who was also born in Barcelona, said: "Misery and suffering are not meant (not only) to be understood, but to be solved." We are activists: we are part of the solution!
Leandro Navarro, chair of the APC Board of directors
* Vicente Ferrer Foundation: Three hospitals, 14 rural clinics, 1,700 schools, 30,000 houses, 3+ million trees planted, more than 2.5 million people supported.