Last Friday 5th June, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Diputació de Barcelona and the Ajuntament de Barcelona, together with the Barcelona Time Use Initiative for a Healthy Society have symbolically presented and signed the agreement for the promotion of time use policies at the local and international level and for the organization of the International Time Use Week in 2020 and 2021, where more than 300 researchers, political representants, activists and organizations on time use from around the world will participate, and about which more details will be made public soon.
With this agreement, which will last two years and includes the organization of two major international events around time use policies: Time Use Week 2020 and 2021, Catalonia, with Barcelona as its capital, is to be positioned as the epicenter and starting point of the merge of all the actors who are part of the time policies ecosystem: organizations, institutions, civil society, research and media.
According to Meritxell Budó, Counsellor of the Presidency of the Generalitat de Catalunya, “in Catalonia the Time Use Reform is a country challenge; now, thanks to the efforts of civil society and institutions, time-use policies have a place in the Catalan political agenda ”. According to the Counsellor, "the time factor has been a key element during the COVID-19 crisis and has shown that we can manage time in a different way."
Jaume Collboni, First Deputy Mayor in charge of the Area of Economy, Work, Competitiveness and Finance by Barcelona City Council, explained how “the crisis of COVID-19 has put the time factor and its management at the center of people's lives and how now, more than ever, time use policies will be a key element for the economic recovery and the well-being of citizens globally, as well as for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 ”.
On her side, Lluïsa Moret, Deputy President of the Area of Social Cohesion, Citizenship and Welfare of the Diputació of Barcelonal, has expressed the aim of the Diputació to involve all the municipalities of Barcelona in this project, as "we acknowledge that towns and cities have a key transformative potential in time use"
Marta Junqué, co-coordinator of the Barcelona Time Use Initiative for a Healthy Society has pointed that “today's event is very important because we are setting the seed to internationalize a project that already has many roots in Catalonia, with the aim to drive time use policies globally ”; "From the BTUI we pretend to make Catalonia a global meeting point for time use policies and to get the EU and the UN to make recommendations for the promotion of time policies worldwide"
The crisis of COVID-19, with the massive implementation of remote work, has put the time factor and its organization at the center of people's lives and now, more than ever, time use policies will be a key element for to the economic reactivation and for the well-being of citizenship at global level, as well as for reaching the Objectives for the Sustainable Development and the Agenda 2030.
Therefore, at this time, this agreement joins the efforts of four organizations with extensive experience in developing time policies in order to prioritize these policies on the global agenda, creating a global hub to think and implement them together.
In recent years, thanks to the pressure of institutions and civil society, time-use policies have become a part of the current Catalan political agenda. The Schedules Week has been organized since 2014, and it is now internationalized, becoming a space for international reference on time use, based in Catalonia and with capital city Barcelona, through the organization of the world meeting International Time Use Week, which this year will take place from 23 to 29 November. At the end of June, the poster will be launched and the main speakers will be announced.
On its side, the International Time Use Week 2021 will take place from 25 to 31 October 2021 and will coincide with the IATUR annual congress (International Association for Time Use Research), in which more than 200 researchers will participate. from all over the world. The Barcelona Declaration on Time Policies will also be signed there.
This agreement will also serve to create an international meeting space to promote research on time use policies, positioning the Catalan ecosystem, and revitalizing the Time Use European Cities Network , which was promoted. by Barcelona City Council in 2009, and which currently includes cities in France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
In this sense, Catalan municipalities and institutions have already extensive experience in implementing time use policies. The Barcelona City Council created in 2003 the first Municipal Department of Time Uses in Spain, in 2009 it also promoted the creation of the Time Use European Cities Network, together with the Diputació de Barcelona and both institutions were pioneers with the first Time Use Agreement in Catalonia, in 2014. In 2017, the Pact for the Time Reform was signed. Since then, it should be noted that the three administrations who have just signed the agreement with BTUI have joined it, and that both Barcelona and several municipalities in the province of Barcelona are part of the Network of Cities and Towns for Time Reform in Catalonia, which is currently coordinated by the Generalitat of Catalonia. More specifically, the Catalan Office for Time Reform has launched multi-stakeholders agreements to improve time use in different policy areas, such as: the regulation for healthier business hours, the closure of CAPs (health and medical offices) at 20h and the recent survey on time uses to collect data during the lockdown period.
During the event there was also a brief explanation of the evolution of time use policies in Catalonia and in the local environment as well as of its future. This was explained by Elvira Méndez, current president of the Advisory Council for Time Reform (CARH), Fabian Mohedano, promoter of the Initiative for Time Reform, and those responsible for the driving group on time use policies of each signing institution: Teresa Llorens, coordinator of the Area of Social Cohesion, Citizenship and Welfare of the Diputació de Barcelona, Sara Berbel, manager of Barcelona City Council and expert in time use and gender policies, and Alexis Serra, director of the Office for Time Reform of the Generalitat de Catalunya. It also counted with the participation of Guillem Espriu, coordinator of Social Policies of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, an entity with which possible ways of collaboration are being explored so to join this agreement.
Also, some local and international experts who are part of the Expert Lab of the Barcelona Time Use Initiative and who are committed to making the commitments of this agreement a reality have spoken briefly to show their support: Carl Honoré, voice of the Slow movement, Joeri Minnen, representative of the International Association for Research on the Use of Time (IATUR), Jean-Yves Boulin, co-coordinator of the European Network of Cities for the Use of Time), Ticia Luengo, co-founder of Betere Tijden and activist for better time use.
The event ended with two official photos: the signature of the agreement one and the "family" photo with all participants, which symbolizes the strong agreement and the clear support for time use policies as central in both the local and global political agendas.