Experts debate what it means to move towards the right to time in public policy

  • The debate took place within the framework of Time Use Week 2023 and was based on the policy brief “The Right to Time: Perspectives for the 21st Century”, presented during the event.

  • The document includes policy recommendations at the local, regional, national, and international levels to advance the implementation of the Right to Time in contemporary society.

Today, within the framework of the Time Use Week 2023 being held in Barcelona this week, the presentation of the policy brief titled ‘The Right to Time: Perspectives for the 21st Century’ took place. This innovative policy document presents an approach to time as a fundamental right in today’s society and has been analysed by representatives from various international organizations.

The main speakers at the presentation were Ulrich Mückenberger, director of the Time Policy Lab at the University of Hamburg, co-founder and president of the German Association of Time Policies; Raquel Coello, regional specialist in Women’s Economic Empowerment at UN Women; Nathalie Sarrabezolles, member of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union; and Carlos Moreno, from the Global Observatory of Sustainable Proximities. The speakers discussed the content of the guide and its relevance in a world where time has become an essential resource in all areas of policy and is considered an indispensable component of daily life.

The guide presented is a document that has been written by a team of experts led by Ulrich Mückenberger and coordinated by the Time Use Initiative, represented by its co-coordinator Ariadna Güell, with the participation of Jean-Yves Boulin, a sociologist from the University of Paris-Dauphine; Gonzalo Iparaguirre, an anthropologist from the University of San Andrés (Argentina) and a member of the Time and Experience Laboratory; and Pedro Rey, an economist from the University of Santiago de Compostela.

The document proposes a comprehensive view of time as a valuable resource that impacts all aspects of modern life, from work to leisure and from mobility to childcare. This policy document argues that in today’s society, an approach is needed that not only regulates certain temporal aspects, such as working hours or urban schedules but also seeks to achieve a “self-determined unity of daily life.”

The guide recommends that, to achieve this goal, it is essential to recognize both an individual and collective right to self-determination over one’s time.

One of the key highlights of the guide is the proposal of the “Five Pillars of the Right to Time”, which addresses different aspects of the right to time —including self-determination, equality, valuing certain life moments, the ability to develop one’s own temporal culture, and the importance of sharing time in community activities.

Furthermore, the guide emphasizes the socio-cultural and socio-economic diversity in time use, acknowledging that different cultures and economic contexts experience and value time differently. This leads to a call for the inclusion of this diversity in the definition and application of the right to time.

The presentation of the guide concluded with practical recommendations in public policy at the local, regional, national, and international levels to advance the implementation of the Right to Time in contemporary society. These recommendations range from developing time policies in key areas to creating dedicated areas of responsibility for time policies in local governments and promoting equality and work-life balance.

In summary, the presentation of the policy brief “The Right to Time: New Rights for New Times” has sparked a discussion on time as a fundamental right in today’s society. Experts and international representatives present at the event have expressed their support for the idea of a right to time that promotes a fairer, healthier, and more sustainable society.

About the Time Use Week

The Time Use Week is an annual event that brings together leaders and experts from around the world to discuss topics related to time and its impact on society. It provides a platform for sharing innovative ideas and promoting a better understanding of the importance of time in our daily lives.

The TUW started yesterday and will conclude on October 27, making Catalonia the focal point for time policies, a new type of welfare policy in line with the Agenda 2030 and the new urban agenda.

The Time Use Week 2023 is co-organized by the Government of Catalonia, the Barcelona City Council, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, the Diputació de Barcelona, and the Time Use Initiative. It has the collaboration of DIPLOCAT and Time4All (a project co-funded by the European Union).

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