"Unlike other committees, we are not a group of experts whose role is to take part in government policy. Instead, we are a kind of independent and attentive laboratory of ideas applied to sustainable development and democracy. Because they consider that this independence, freedom of thought and action are being undermined, most of the active members of the CFDD feel that they have no choice but to resign." With these words, in a letter to the French Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, in May 2003 Jacques Testart explained why he was resigning as chairman of the CFDD, along with most of its active members.
In what way were this independence, freedom of thought and action being undermined? The answer is given in this damning document, which demonstrates how far the debates necessary for any meaningful policy of sustainable development are systematically made to vanish into thin air. Reading this account makes one realize that it is more difficult than ever in France to promote independent forums for democratic discussion of the key questions relating to the future, and yet "sustainable development makes no sense without the invention of new forms of democracy".