Riccardo Petrella – Italy & Belgium

Riccardo Petrella, President of the Group of Lisbon; Head of Social Research; Commission of the European Union – Bruxelles; Secretary of the Committee ‘the water manifesto’;

Riccardo Petrella

Riccardo Petrella was born in 1941 in Italy. Being a Doctor in Social and Political Sciences he was leading the FAST-program (Forecasting and Assessment in Science and Technology) of the European Commission.

He is teaching at the Catholic University of Louvain. And as a chairman of the Group of Lisbon he is co-author of the book :”Limits to the Competition”(VUBPRESS 1994), translated in ten languages. He stands for equality, freedom and socialism. The person not the market is at the centre.

Riccardo Petrella speeches about how we have to help each other, how the European union puts up their economic power first above global peace. How we have to share the common goods . How we have to believe a better world is possible and that it’s not an illusion as the governments want us to believe. And how he wants to put up universities accessible for everyone based on life experience. For example; a university of imagination.

In his books he hands out solutions. Riccardo was given a price by a community group called “stRaten generaal”.

And he says: “Being convinced that a society unable to promote its common good is basically unable to ‘think it’s own future’”.

As the Head of FAST, Riccardo PETRELLA “has pioneered studies and actions on issues related to social sciences within the CEC research and development activities, at a time when the concern for social sciences was virtually non-existent and this type of study neglected”, as a MONITOR Evaluation Panel report mentioned recently. FAST has been successful in making research and development (R&D) policy makers from the European Commission and its member countries aware of many challenging issues. These include, but are not limited to, new anthropocentric (human centred) production systems, the increasing importance of cities for R&D, European integration and its effects on less developed regions, Community cohesion, technological and economic globalization, and scientific infrastructures for observing the social shaping of science, technology and innovation.

Through his tireless activity, Dr. Riccardo PETRELLA has created a real “FAST culture”. Its tangible results have been the European Conferences on Technology Assessment (Amsterdam-1987, Milan-1990, Copenhagen-1992) and the Technology Assessment (TA) institutions set up at European, national or regional levels. This culture is spread through networks like the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment Network (EPTA).

Dr. Riccardo PETRELLA is a “TA globetrotter”: he is Visiting Professor at numerous universities and organizations throughout Europe, North America, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. He is also a prolific writer: popularizing FAST ideas and activities, and dedicated to justice and generous policies. He is also an institutional man who knows that initiatives are established more effectively when encompassed by institutions. Responding to the contemporary challenges of our world, he is making the bureaucracy of Europe more benevolent by taking into account the real men and women of our complex, multi-cultural societies. Perhaps above all, Riccardo PETRELLA is simply a friendly man.


THE WATER MANIFESTO, Arguments for a world water contract, Riccardo Petrella, Zed Books. 160pp. 2001. ISBN 1-85649-906-5, $17.50 – One and a half billion people across the world lack drinking water and another two billion lack clean water generally. In 20 years time these numbers will have doubled. Agricultural and industrial pollution is degrading the quality of fresh water supplies everywhere. And we lack a body of international law regulating the right to fresh water supplies. Should access to water be a universal human right? Should the provision of water be left in the hands of privatized corporations? Riccardo Petrella analyzes the obstacles in the way of an adequate response to these issues and sets out a cogent critique of a market-oriented system that sees water as a commodity rather than a precious community resource and fundamental human right.

links leading to Riccardo Petrella, and articles about him:



the water manifesto;

le Monde diplomatiqueMarch 2000, english edition;

Institut d’Informatique, Namur;

The Social Developper;


Environnment News Services;

Global Policy;

Links for Social Researches:




Resources for Methods;

New School, Milano;

Research Resources for Social Sciences;

Canadian Social Research Links;

Uni Surrey;



Links for the ‘Group of Lisbon’:

MIT Press;


Global Governance;

PES in action;

EPP-ED Group;

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