Africa: Deeper regional integration needed in response to crisis

The global economic crisis, which has reached the African continent, requires the re-examination of existing approaches to international development, with one important response being deeper regional integration to address the long-standing structural weaknesses of African economies, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said.

Published in SUNS #6728 dated 26 June 2009
Geneva, generic 25 Jun (Kanaga Raja) — The global economic crisis, health which has reached the African continent, requires the re-examination of existing approaches to international development, with one important response being deeper regional integration to address the long-standing structural weaknesses of African economies, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said Thursday.
In its “Economic Development in Africa” report for 2009, UNCTAD says that regional integration is essential for sustained development on the continent, especially within the context of the current crisis.
It argues that better links between countries, ranging from paved roads to banking cooperation, are needed to spur mutual economic growth. Weak physical and institutional infrastructure is the key obstacle to increasing intra-African trade and investment.
The report notes that Africa currently has the world’s lowest shares of regional trade and investment – 9% of recorded flows of total external trade and 13% of recorded flows of total inward foreign direct investment.
The report on Africa comes just as UNCTAD revealed on Wednesday that global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As) – the main mode of FDI – drastically declined in the last quarter of 2008, and the fall has continued into 2009. FDI inflows dropped by 54% and M&As by 77% during the first quarter of 2009 as compared to the same period last year.
According to UNCTAD, the data available for the first quarter of 2009 reveal a drastic plummet in FDI flows. The 54% decline was apparent among the 57 countries for which quarterly data on FDI inflows were available as of mid-June 2009 (which account for roughly 60% of global inflows). Forty-three countries, including major host countries such as Brazil, China, and the Russian Federation, recorded declines.
FDI outflows for the same period fell by 57% for 47 countries (accounting also for about 60% of global FDI outflows) for which such data are available. Thus, the majority of these countries (37 out of 47), including major investors such as France, Germany, Japan, and the United States, experienced declines in FDI outflows in the first quarter of 2009, said UNCTAD.
Recent data on cross-border M&As confirm this trend: they decreased by 77% for all countries in value in the first quarter of 2009 as compared to the first quarter of 2008, and by 62% over the last quarter of 2008.
UNCTAD has projected a gloomy outlook in terms of prospects for FDI for the rest of the year. If the first quarter trend continues, projections for the whole of 2009 are for global FDI inflows to drop by close to half.
The annual UNCTAD report on Africa meanwhile says that while recognizing that over the last two decades, Africa has made progress in creating sub-regional institutions dedicated to economic integration, the establishment of sub-regional economic communities has not substantially increased intra-African trade, investment and mobility of people as expected.
As part of a broader, well-designed development strategy, regional integration could enhance productive capacity, intensify economic diversification and improve competitiveness, the report argues, recommending the need for African countries to strengthen their regional physical infrastructure such as roads, railways, telecommunications and regional airlines in order to boost regional integration.
Today, there are more regional organizations in Africa than in any other continent and most African countries are engaged in more than one regional integration initiative. In the period from the 1960s to the 1980s, over 200 intergovernmental multi-sectoral economic cooperation organizations had been established and over 120 single sectoral multi-national and bilateral organizations.
Some regional groupings have made some progress in their attempts to integrate, but the performance is mixed, says the report. It highlighted several promising cases, including CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa) which has managed to form a monetary and customs union, and has harmonized the competition and business regulatory framework.
Another example is COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) which has designed single rules of origin and has simplified its customs procedures. It has also achieved the elimination of non-tariff barriers (in particular, import licensing), the removal of foreign exchange restrictions, and the removal of import and export quotas.
Regional initiatives in Africa, however, did not deliver much to uplift the economic conditions of its members nor ensure sustainable growth and liberalization. Among the reasons cited by the report are that some regional groupings in Africa have failed to boost the exports of the areas covered. For example, today, CEMAC displays the lowest intra-regional trade share of all regional integration schemes in Africa (less than 2%).
Also, the benefits from regional integration are not the same for all members of these groupings – in ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) region, for example, three countries (Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal) account for almost 90% of all intra-regional exports and almost 50% of all intra-regional imports.
According to the report, there remain economic and institutional challenges to furthering intra-regional trade in Africa. The economic obstacles include the high dependence of most member countries on export of primary commodities, the strict rules of origin emanating from trade liberalization schemes and the poor quality of infrastructure.
Institutional challenges include bureaucratic and physical hindrances, such as road charges, transit fees and administrative delays at borders and ports. Other challenges are related to the lack of coordination and harmonization of policies and regulations at the regional level, non-implementation issues and overlapping membership.
Despite the long history of regional integration on the continent, the level of intra-African trade remains low in comparison with intra-regional trade in other regions, both developed and developing. Over the period 2004-2006, intra-African exports represented 8.7% of the region’s total exports. Intra-African imports, on the other hand, represented 9.6% of total imports.
Looking back over the period 1960-2006, it appears that Africa has consistently had a considerably lower proportion of intra-regional trade than other regions. Indeed, it is the only region in which the proportion of intra-regional exports was lower than 10% in 1960.
“This was largely a consequence of the pattern of trade favoured by colonial rulers, which was extractive and outward-oriented, and did not encourage African countries to develop strong trade linkages among themselves.”
Analysing more closely the trade patterns of the main exporters and importers from the region, the report finds that altogether, four countries (of which three are oil producers) account for over half of Africa’s total exports to the rest of the world and eight countries together account for over three quarters of it.
With respect to top intra-African exporters, the report points to two countries that are particularly important to intra-African trade – South Africa’s exports to the region alone represent almost a quarter of the total, while Nigeria’s are worth roughly half that proportion.
Looking at the top importers of African products, the report reveals the vibrant trade in Southern Africa and the large proportion that this represents in the continent’s total intra-imports. Of the top 10 importers of African products in Africa, 7 are in southern Africa. This is an indication of the opportunities small and large countries can derive from a strongly integrated economy, particularly in the presence of a strong trade engine such as South Africa.
In terms of exports, the composition of intra-African exports is fairly evenly distributed between fuels, non-fuel primary products and manufactured goods. Non-fuel primary exports represent 30% of the total, 11% of which represents exports of ores and minerals. Hence, agricultural product exports account for only 19% of total intra-African exports, despite the fact that agriculture accounts for nearly 30% of the production of goods in Africa. This is in contrast to manufacturing, which accounts for 21% of the production of goods but 40% of exports.
A more detailed look at the products traded with the rest of the world shows a high concentration of trade around a few products. The top seven exports by value make up more than two-thirds of the total. Intra-African trade is less concentrated. Thirty-nine products account for two-thirds of intra-African exports.
Overall, says the report, the more diversified nature of intra-African trade, when compared with its exports to the rest of the world, suggests that expanding intra-African trade could yield significant benefits to African countries in terms of diversifying their production to non-traditional products and especially manufactures.
In explaining the low level of intra-African trade in comparison to trade within other regions, the report finds that transport costs are arguably the most important impediment to intra-African trade. Econometric estimates find that transport costs in Africa are 136% higher than in other regions and that poor infrastructure only accounts for half of these costs. Landlocked countries in Africa were recently found to have freight costs equivalent to between 10% and 25% of the total value of their imports while the global average is of 5.4%.
The report also highlights the inefficiency of border procedures such as breakdowns of the electronic system for document lodging, poor coordination in the inspection of goods between different actors, overly zealous inspection of goods, insufficient opening times at the point of entry, and delays in duty refunds, among others, as imposing a heavy cost on intra-African trade mostly through the delays they cause. It is estimated that crossing a transit territory implies an additional 4% increase in trade costs irrespective of the distance covered.
The report notes that improving physical infrastructure can have an important effect on raising the levels of intra-African trade. Halving transport costs in a typical landlocked country, for example, can increase the country’s trade fivefold.
Improving the main intra-African road network could generate trade expansion of around $250 billion over a period of 15 years for an investment of $32 billion, including maintenance. It is estimated that from the above-mentioned investment, Chad would see a trade increase of 507%, Uganda would see an increase of 741%, and Sudan could see an increase of 1027%.
Important as improvements in hard infrastructures are, they represent only a part of the solution to the constraints limiting intra-African trade. Many other issues – together termed “soft” infrastructure – impact on trade costs. These include the policy and regulatory environment, the transparency and predictability of trade and business administration, and the quality of the business environment more generally.
According to some analysts, says the report, soft infrastructure issues such as customs procedures and regulatory environment have been identified as the main obstacles to intra-African trade. In Angola, modernization of customs has cut processing time and customs revenue has increased by 150%.
Services represent, or have the potential to become, significant sources of export earnings for a large number of African economies. This is particularly true of sectors such as tourism, trade logistic services (transport, harbours, etc.) or construction, among others, says the report, pointing to the importance of an efficient services sector on trade efficiency, a favourable trade balance of most African countries, and the competitiveness of African producers, both domestic and international.
The report makes a range of policy recommendations on measures that African countries could consider taking on to unlock the opportunities offered by regional economic integration. These include deepening regional economic integration to aid Africa’s participation in the world economy; adopting a regional cooperation strategy centred on infrastructure development; and adopting a clear development strategy to help Africa defend its interests.

UNCTAD report Economic Development in Africa 2009

Ministro de Estado para la Integración y Comercio Exterior
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FORWARD WITH THE STRUGGLE TO STOP THE EPAs

We, pharmacy discount African civil society organisations gathered at the 9th Annual Review and Strategy Meeting of the Africa Trade Network in Accra, salve from the 11-14 of December, 2006, having reviewed the on-going negotiations on the so-called Economic Partnership Agreements as well as developments in the World Trade Organisation negotiations, declare as follows.

We affirm as primary the right of our countries to pursue autonomously determined policies which promote the development of our economies, and fulfil the social and human rights and livelihood needs of our people. We also assert the integration of African countries both regionally and continentally, on the basis of our own imperatives, as a key condition for the development of our countries and for the benefit of our people.

Over the past two decades, this right of African countries to pursue their own individual and collective developmental agenda have been attacked and subverted by the countries of the north that dominate the world economic system, as part of their never-ending attempts to further open up the economies of African and other developing countries for the benefit of their transnational corporations.  

Economic Partnership Agreements
The so-called Economic Partnership Agreements being negotiated by African countries (and the Caribbean and Pacific) with the European Union, are, like other bi-lateral and multilateral free trade agreements, simply the latest instruments deployed in the attack on our countries. These agreements are set to be even more restrictive of the policy choices and opportunities available to our governments, and even more severe in their impacts than the World Bank/IMF structural adjustment policies as well as the WTO agreements.  

It has been three years since members of the Africa Trade Network launched their opposition to the Economic Partnership Agreements. Since then, several hundred civil society organisations, social movements, and mass-membership organisations across Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Europe have been pursuing a campaign to STOP the EPAs as currently being negotiated between the European Union and ACP groupings of countries.

While there is wide-spread recognition among governments, inter-governmental institutions, parliamentarians, civil society actors and a diverse range of social constituencies across the ACP, Europe and the rest of the world of the dangers posed by the EPAs to the economies and peoples of the ACP countries, this has not yet led to fundamental changes in the design of the EPAs and the process of negotiations.  

Expressions of concern among some European Union member-states and institutions about the EU proposals for the agreements have not yet translated into changes in directives for the European Commission. Instead, the EC has simply adopted new rhetoric to continue to impose its parameters, agenda and momentum on African (and other ACP) groups. Furthermore, while the EC negotiators have sought to strike a public profile of reasonableness, they have continued with characteristic arrogance in the negotiations.

On their part, Africa’s EPA negotiating regions still seem unable to give expression to the fundamental logic of their stated developmental concerns in the overall architecture of the EPA and its different themes. Rather, they have tended to get bogged down in disputes with the EC over narrow (even if legitimate) questions of support for adjustment costs, transition costs and supply-side constraints.

Furthermore, many countries in the African regions have still not fully carried out their own independent assessments and studies of the overall as well as sectoral implications of the EPAs. They continue to rely on support from the EC, while the latter continues to reject those studies whose outcomes it does not like. In some instances, the secretariats of the regional groupings whose role it is to represent the interests of the regions in the negotiations have been overwhelmed by the EC.  

Above all, in spite of the fact that they are patently not in a position to do so, many of the African negotiating regions are rushing to engage in the more advanced and complex stages of the negotiations.  

The region of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared itself ready to move into text-based negotiations, in spite of continued deadlock (indeed as a way of breaking out of the deadlock) over fundamental issues of principle such as the development content of the EPAs. Furthermore, in spite of their own stated opposition to the Singapore Issues in the EPA, ECOWAS has agreed under pressure from the EC to adopt its own regional policy frameworks of investment and competition in a manner that is set to prejudice its ability to continue to resist the inclusion of these issues in the EPA.  

On its part, the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region has tabled its own draft EPA agreement ahead of any meaningful progress on such fundamental principles as development in the EPAs, and in the absence of clarity on how to deal with some subjects such as services in the EPAs, or even on such practical matters as approaches to dealing with sensitive products that should not be subject to tariff liberalisation. The draft agreeement’s provisions on tariff liberalisation give up the right of ESA countries to use tariff to develop the capital and raw material goods sector, thereby undermining their long-term industrialisation. 

Similar contradictions and tendencies have been displayed in other EPA negotiating regions in Africa and beyond.

The above narrow and superficial approach has been adopted in relation to the mid-term review into the EPA negotiations as mandated in the Cotonou Agreement. The declared principle that the review be comprehensive, transparent and inclusive of all stakeholders, has so far not been observed. In addition, none of the regions seems to have taken seriously the stated objective of the review to explore alternatives, and indeed some have stated that there is no alternative to the current approach.

As they are proceeding therefore, the EPA negotiations reinforce our declared concern that they aim to establish nothing other than free trade agreements between Europe and the regions of Africa (and the Caribbean and the Pacific), where reciprocal trade liberalisation is coupled with deregulation of investment in favour of European investors.

We therefore re-iterate our rejection of the Economic Partnership Agreements, and re-affirm our campaign objective to Stop the EPAs.  

We re-state our position that as free-trade agreements between two unequal parties, the EPAs are fundamentally anti-developmental. This is especially so in the particular context of Africa’s weak, fragmented economies, which have been ravaged and distorted by years of European and (other) external domination. This anti-developmental essence can not be reversed by means of the on-going attempts to inject some so-called development dimensions into these FTAs. We also assert that any alternative to the EPAs can only be defined as the right of, and support for, African and other countries of the ACP to determine their own polices and agenda for development.  

We therefore re-affirm the demand of the stop EPA Campaign for an overhaul and review of the EU’s neo-liberal external trade policy, particularly with respect to developing countries, and demand that EU-ACP trade cooperation should be founded on an approach that:
•    is based on a principle of non-reciprocity, as instituted in the Generalised System of Preferences and special and differential treatment in the WTO;
•    protects ACP producers, domestic and regional markets; 
•    excludes the pressure for trade and investment liberalisation; and 
•    is founded on the respect for and supports the space of ACP countries to formulate and pursue their own development strategies. 

In furtherance of the above, we demand that:
•    the Singapore Issues of Investment, Competition Policy and Government Procurement should be unconditionally excluded from trade agreements with the European Union;  
•    rules and disciplines on services liberalisation and intellectual property must not form part of such agreements, since the related disciplines in the WTO are sufficient for any interaction with the European Union; the imbalances of those disciplines in the WTO will not be removed but rather worsened in the EPAs.
•    there should be no reciprocal removal of tariff, in whatever form, whether asymmetrical or otherwise, with the European Union; any market access relationship should be based on the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

WTO
We reiterate our views that the negotiations under the Doha Work programme have continued to marginalise the developmental concerns of African and other developing countries, in favour of the developed countries. This is affirmed by the very circumstances of the suspension of the negotiations in July 2006, which was occasioned by deadlock among an exclusive group of countries, consultations among whom had taken centre stage of the negotiations, at the expense of the democratic participation of other member countries.

We reject any resumption of the Doha talks that is based on the exclusion of the concerns and interests of African countries.  

We reject the continued drive by the developed countries to further open our markets to their agricultural and industrial products, and to their services suppliers. Instead, we insist on the right of our countries for a continued use of tariff instruments to protect our agricultural producers and industry, to support our industrialisation; and maintain our flexibility to determine whether and how to further open our economies to foreign entities.

Responsibility of African governments
We call on all African governments to rise up to their primary responsibility to the African peoples and states in the context of all the trade negotiations.  

In relation to the EPA negotiations, we urge our governments to resist attempts to rail-road them to stick to tight and unrealistic negotiating time-lines. They must use the space that is gained for a more meaningful engagement with their stakeholders around our own autonomous regional integration agenda as basis for a beneficial relationship with the European Union. We further call on our governments to rise beyond narrow regional fragments in dealing with the European Union that has been imposed by the region-based negotiations of the EPAs, to assert the collective vision for Africa which the people yearn for and which the imperatives of our economies demand. They must also work more closely with the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

Civil society
As civil society organisations, we commit ourselves to strengthen our continent-wide solidarity and action, and to further strengthen our interactions with our allies from the African, Pacific, the Caribbean and Europe and all over the world to take forward the struggle to Stop the EPAs.

FORWARD WITH THE STRUGGLE TO STOP THE EPAs

We, decease African civil society organisations gathered at the 9th Annual Review and Strategy Meeting of the Africa Trade Network in Accra, from the 11-14 of December, 2006, having reviewed the on-going negotiations on the so-called Economic Partnership Agreements as well as developments in the World Trade Organisation negotiations, declare as follows.

We affirm as primary the right of our countries to pursue autonomously determined policies which promote the development of our economies, and fulfil the social and human rights and livelihood needs of our people. We also assert the integration of African countries both regionally and continentally, on the basis of our own imperatives, as a key condition for the development of our countries and for the benefit of our people.

Over the past two decades, this right of African countries to pursue their own individual and collective developmental agenda have been attacked and subverted by the countries of the north that dominate the world economic system, as part of their never-ending attempts to further open up the economies of African and other developing countries for the benefit of their transnational corporations.  

Economic Partnership Agreements
The so-called Economic Partnership Agreements being negotiated by African countries (and the Caribbean and Pacific) with the European Union, are, like other bi-lateral and multilateral free trade agreements, simply the latest instruments deployed in the attack on our countries. These agreements are set to be even more restrictive of the policy choices and opportunities available to our governments, and even more severe in their impacts than the World Bank/IMF structural adjustment policies as well as the WTO agreements.  

It has been three years since members of the Africa Trade Network launched their opposition to the Economic Partnership Agreements. Since then, several hundred civil society organisations, social movements, and mass-membership organisations across Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Europe have been pursuing a campaign to STOP the EPAs as currently being negotiated between the European Union and ACP groupings of countries.

While there is wide-spread recognition among governments, inter-governmental institutions, parliamentarians, civil society actors and a diverse range of social constituencies across the ACP, Europe and the rest of the world of the dangers posed by the EPAs to the economies and peoples of the ACP countries, this has not yet led to fundamental changes in the design of the EPAs and the process of negotiations.  

Expressions of concern among some European Union member-states and institutions about the EU proposals for the agreements have not yet translated into changes in directives for the European Commission. Instead, the EC has simply adopted new rhetoric to continue to impose its parameters, agenda and momentum on African (and other ACP) groups. Furthermore, while the EC negotiators have sought to strike a public profile of reasonableness, they have continued with characteristic arrogance in the negotiations.

On their part, Africa’s EPA negotiating regions still seem unable to give expression to the fundamental logic of their stated developmental concerns in the overall architecture of the EPA and its different themes. Rather, they have tended to get bogged down in disputes with the EC over narrow (even if legitimate) questions of support for adjustment costs, transition costs and supply-side constraints.

Furthermore, many countries in the African regions have still not fully carried out their own independent assessments and studies of the overall as well as sectoral implications of the EPAs. They continue to rely on support from the EC, while the latter continues to reject those studies whose outcomes it does not like. In some instances, the secretariats of the regional groupings whose role it is to represent the interests of the regions in the negotiations have been overwhelmed by the EC.  

Above all, in spite of the fact that they are patently not in a position to do so, many of the African negotiating regions are rushing to engage in the more advanced and complex stages of the negotiations.  

The region of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared itself ready to move into text-based negotiations, in spite of continued deadlock (indeed as a way of breaking out of the deadlock) over fundamental issues of principle such as the development content of the EPAs. Furthermore, in spite of their own stated opposition to the Singapore Issues in the EPA, ECOWAS has agreed under pressure from the EC to adopt its own regional policy frameworks of investment and competition in a manner that is set to prejudice its ability to continue to resist the inclusion of these issues in the EPA.  

On its part, the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region has tabled its own draft EPA agreement ahead of any meaningful progress on such fundamental principles as development in the EPAs, and in the absence of clarity on how to deal with some subjects such as services in the EPAs, or even on such practical matters as approaches to dealing with sensitive products that should not be subject to tariff liberalisation. The draft agreeement’s provisions on tariff liberalisation give up the right of ESA countries to use tariff to develop the capital and raw material goods sector, thereby undermining their long-term industrialisation. 

Similar contradictions and tendencies have been displayed in other EPA negotiating regions in Africa and beyond.

The above narrow and superficial approach has been adopted in relation to the mid-term review into the EPA negotiations as mandated in the Cotonou Agreement. The declared principle that the review be comprehensive, transparent and inclusive of all stakeholders, has so far not been observed. In addition, none of the regions seems to have taken seriously the stated objective of the review to explore alternatives, and indeed some have stated that there is no alternative to the current approach.

As they are proceeding therefore, the EPA negotiations reinforce our declared concern that they aim to establish nothing other than free trade agreements between Europe and the regions of Africa (and the Caribbean and the Pacific), where reciprocal trade liberalisation is coupled with deregulation of investment in favour of European investors.

We therefore re-iterate our rejection of the Economic Partnership Agreements, and re-affirm our campaign objective to Stop the EPAs.  

We re-state our position that as free-trade agreements between two unequal parties, the EPAs are fundamentally anti-developmental. This is especially so in the particular context of Africa’s weak, fragmented economies, which have been ravaged and distorted by years of European and (other) external domination. This anti-developmental essence can not be reversed by means of the on-going attempts to inject some so-called development dimensions into these FTAs. We also assert that any alternative to the EPAs can only be defined as the right of, and support for, African and other countries of the ACP to determine their own polices and agenda for development.  

We therefore re-affirm the demand of the stop EPA Campaign for an overhaul and review of the EU’s neo-liberal external trade policy, particularly with respect to developing countries, and demand that EU-ACP trade cooperation should be founded on an approach that:
•    is based on a principle of non-reciprocity, as instituted in the Generalised System of Preferences and special and differential treatment in the WTO;
•    protects ACP producers, domestic and regional markets; 
•    excludes the pressure for trade and investment liberalisation; and 
•    is founded on the respect for and supports the space of ACP countries to formulate and pursue their own development strategies. 

In furtherance of the above, we demand that:
•    the Singapore Issues of Investment, Competition Policy and Government Procurement should be unconditionally excluded from trade agreements with the European Union;  
•    rules and disciplines on services liberalisation and intellectual property must not form part of such agreements, since the related disciplines in the WTO are sufficient for any interaction with the European Union; the imbalances of those disciplines in the WTO will not be removed but rather worsened in the EPAs.
•    there should be no reciprocal removal of tariff, in whatever form, whether asymmetrical or otherwise, with the European Union; any market access relationship should be based on the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

WTO
We reiterate our views that the negotiations under the Doha Work programme have continued to marginalise the developmental concerns of African and other developing countries, in favour of the developed countries. This is affirmed by the very circumstances of the suspension of the negotiations in July 2006, which was occasioned by deadlock among an exclusive group of countries, consultations among whom had taken centre stage of the negotiations, at the expense of the democratic participation of other member countries.

We reject any resumption of the Doha talks that is based on the exclusion of the concerns and interests of African countries.  

We reject the continued drive by the developed countries to further open our markets to their agricultural and industrial products, and to their services suppliers. Instead, we insist on the right of our countries for a continued use of tariff instruments to protect our agricultural producers and industry, to support our industrialisation; and maintain our flexibility to determine whether and how to further open our economies to foreign entities.

Responsibility of African governments
We call on all African governments to rise up to their primary responsibility to the African peoples and states in the context of all the trade negotiations.  

In relation to the EPA negotiations, we urge our governments to resist attempts to rail-road them to stick to tight and unrealistic negotiating time-lines. They must use the space that is gained for a more meaningful engagement with their stakeholders around our own autonomous regional integration agenda as basis for a beneficial relationship with the European Union. We further call on our governments to rise beyond narrow regional fragments in dealing with the European Union that has been imposed by the region-based negotiations of the EPAs, to assert the collective vision for Africa which the people yearn for and which the imperatives of our economies demand. They must also work more closely with the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

Civil society
As civil society organisations, we commit ourselves to strengthen our continent-wide solidarity and action, and to further strengthen our interactions with our allies from the African, Pacific, the Caribbean and Europe and all over the world to take forward the struggle to Stop the EPAs.

Report says Africa should deepen regional integration to build stronger and more resilient economies


Regional infrastructure, policy harmonization and increasing cross-border investment and labour mobility will help Africa benefit fully from economic opportunities provided by regional integration


The global economic crisis, which has reached the African continent, requires the re-examination of existing approaches to international development. One important response for Africa is deeper regional integration, which would address the long-standing structural weaknesses of African economies. The UNCTAD report Economic Development in Africa 2009 argues that regional integration is essential for sustained development on the continent, especially within the context of the current crisis.

Better links between countries, ranging from paved roads to banking cooperation, are needed to spur mutual economic growth. Indeed, weak physical and institutional infrastructure is the key obstacle to increasing intra-African trade and investment. This is why, at 9 per cent of recorded flows of total external trade and 13 per cent of recorded flows of total inward foreign direct investment (FDI), Africa currently has the world´s lowest shares of regional trade and investment, explains Economic Development in Africa 2009.

Subtitled “Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa´s Development”, the 2009 edition of the UNCTAD annual report on Africa recognizes that over the last two decades Africa has made progress in creating subregional institutions dedicated to economic integration. However, the establishment of subregional economic communities has not substantially increased intra-African trade, investment and mobility of people as expected. Hence, relative to other regions, Africa has by far the most fragmented market, the report finds.

As part of a broader, well-designed development strategy, regional integration could enhance productive capacity, intensify economic diversification and improve competitiveness. Pooled resources and economies of scale would allow African countries to participate more effectively in the global economy.

To boost regional integration, countries need to strengthen their regional physical infrastructure such as roads, railways, telecommunications and regional airlines. Considering the high cost of infrastructure projects and in view of the limited financial capacities of individual African countries, planning at the supranational level and pooling resources to fund priority regional projects is the most realistic strategy for advancing regional integration.

Physical infrastructure will need to be complemented by improvements in soft infrastructure, including policy harmonization at the regional level, trade facilitation, efficiency in border procedures and the adoption of national policies that help rather than hamper the process of integration, the report says.

Intra-African trade in goods is very low, but its potential for growth is high

The creation of several institutions for economic integration in Africa in the last two decades was expected to boost intra-African trade in goods. Such trade increased from 2 per cent in the early 1980s to 9 per cent of total African exports in 2007, but these statistics underestimate the actual flows as they do not include unrecorded trade, which is thought to be very important. Even with this caveat, intra-African trade flows are low in comparison to those in other regions and relative to Africa´s trade potential. Developing America, the region with the second lowest figure of intraregional trade, exports 18.5 per cent of its total exports to countries in the region. Developed Europe, in contrast, exports 71.4 per cent of its total exports to the European market. According to the report, Africa´s poor performance hides the fact that the region could increase its intra-African trade substantially if some key constraints, particularly infrastructure, were addressed. An investment of $32 billion to improve the main intra-African road network could generate around $250 billion in trade over a period of 15 years. Regional trade within the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) would increase threefold if all intrastate roads linking WAEMU countries were paved. The report also notes that paving the road linking Mali to Senegal would increase bilateral trade flows fourfold, while paving the road linking Côte d´Ivoire and Senegal would double bilateral trade flows.

Analysis of trade destinations reveals that despite the low aggregate level of intra-African trade, such trade is very important for many African countries. At least 25 per cent of exports from 20 countries are absorbed by the regional market. The importance of trading blocs is further highlighted by the fact that over three quarters of intra-African trade takes place within these regional groups. In every region, trade centres around a few influential countries, such as South Africa in the southern part of Africa, suggesting the existence of “trade poles” that could become development poles. Analysing trade composition, the report shows different patterns of trade within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world. Whereas manufactured products dominate intra-African exports, the rest of the world imports mainly primary commodities from Africa. Also, intra-African trade is much more diversified than Africa´s exports to the rest of the world. In the light of these facts, the report suggests that increasing intra-African trade can be a major method of promoting diversification and developing Africa´s manufacturing base.

Intra-African investment is modest but increasing

Africa has a long tradition of cross-border investments but the lack of reliable data has constrained detailed analysis. The scanty data available indicates that intra-African investment represents 13 per cent of total inward foreign direct investment (FDI). This level is less than half the figure for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, where intraregional FDI is estimated at 30 per cent of total FDI. The low level of intraregional FDI in Africa can be attributed to several factors, including low income, which limits domestic as well as outward foreign investment, the lack of adequate transport and communication infrastructure, limited skilled labour and weak economic links and contacts among investors within the region. The report notes that financial liberalization partly explains a recent surge in cross-border investments, particularly in the form of mergers and acquisitions in the banking and telecommunications sectors. These new investments have been led by the need to avoid overdependence on home markets; the rising costs of production in some home economies; pressure from domestic and global competition; and opportunities in host countries, such as privatization of state-owned enterprises.

Intra-African services trade, labour mobility and migration are emerging issues that need attention

Developing services trade is a key component of successful regional integration in Africa, says the report. Services represent, or have the potential to become, significant sources of export earnings for a large number of African economies. Tourism, construction, ports and logistics services relating to road and rail transport offer important export potential for many countries. Also, considering that professional and transport services, telecommunications, banking and insurance – the so called “producer” services – are inputs into other economic activities, they either facilitate or hinder trade and production in other economic sectors, depending on the efficiency with which they are made available to users. That is why the efficient production of services and their trade should be considered as important as the production and trade of goods. Currently, most African countries are unable to provide domestically the quantity or quality of producer services demanded by local producers and exporters, thus undermining competitiveness. The report says more attention should be given to creating an efficient services sector in Africa.

Most regional integration agreements in Africa include provisions on the free movement of persons and the right of residence. Although these are among the most poorly implemented provisions, they have led to the easing or abolition of visa requirements for travelers within the integration groups concerned, particularly in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa. Restrictions remain on employment and the right of residence given the political sensitivity of these matters. Many in Africa argue that the restricted movement of labour across national boundaries is a major constraint to regional integration. For significant progress to be made, a more positive approach to intra-African migration is needed, the report says. There is a need for stronger political will to overcome national lobbies opposed to this form of integration. Forging ahead with this agenda may also imply amending and harmonizing national laws and investment codes, particularly their provisions barring “foreigners” from participating in certain categories of economic activity.


Download Full UNCTAD  Report

Manifiesto Spring Alliance: Por una Unión Europea que ponga primero las personas y el planeta


Según lo declarado por ATTAC “el modelo actual de la Unión Europea es un serio obstáculo para los logros democráticos, pharm los derechos fundamentales, here la seguridad social, justicia de género y la sostenibilidad ambiental. La UE adolece de una falta de democracia, legitimidad y transparencia, y se rige por un conjunto de tratados que imponen las políticas neoliberales a los Estados miembros y el mundo entero”.

Durante muchos años, varias redes europeas de organizaciones y movimientos sociales han trabajado sobre alternativas a la Europa neoliberal y de las corporaciones. La otra Europa que queremos esta todavía en debate. Sin embargo, la construcción de Otra Europa es combinada con la lucha diaria de los movimientos progresistas europeos, que se oponen a la privatización y desmontaje de los servicios públicos, la Europa Fortaleza contra los migrantes, el debilitamiento de los derechos democráticos y civiles y la represión creciente, el comercio y la liberalización de las políticas de inversión, los políticas agrícolas que socavan las posibilidades de la soberanía alimentaria, los lobbies empresariales, la intervención militar en conflictos externos y las bases militares, entre otros.

Algunas de las redes que contribuyen a la construcción de un modelo alternativo económico y social europeo son los siguientes:


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Según lo declarado por ATTAC “el modelo actual de la Unión Europea es un serio obstáculo para los logros democráticos, los derechos fundamentales, la seguridad social, justicia de género y la sostenibilidad ambiental. La UE adolece de una falta de democracia, legitimidad y transparencia, y se rige por un conjunto de tratados que imponen las políticas neoliberales a los Estados miembros y el mundo entero”.

Durante muchos años, varias redes europeas de organizaciones y movimientos sociales han trabajado sobre alternativas a la Europa neoliberal y de las corporaciones. La otra Europa que queremos esta todavía en debate. Sin embargo, la construcción de Otra Europa es combinada con la lucha diaria de los movimientos progresistas europeos, que se oponen a la privatización y desmontaje de los servicios públicos, la Europa Fortaleza contra los migrantes, el debilitamiento de los derechos democráticos y civiles y la represión creciente, el comercio y la liberalización de las políticas de inversión, los políticas agrícolas que socavan las posibilidades de la soberanía alimentaria, los lobbies empresariales, la intervención militar en conflictos externos y las bases militares, entre otros.

Algunas de las redes que contribuyen a la construcción de un modelo alternativo económico y social europeo son los siguientes:

Introducción a la “declaración alimentaria europea”

Somos un amplio grupo de organizaciones – aqui bajo – preocupados por el futuro de la alimentación y de la agricultura en Europa. Al igual que en otras regiones del mundo, el número de personas y de organizaciones que trabajan por un sistema alimentario más justo, más inclusivo y sostenible va en aumento. Muchos ya participan de manera activa en la construcción de una alternativa viable a la producción, distribución y consumo actuales, empezando por los cimientos. Este nuevo sistema agrícola y alimentario está firmemente basado en la equidad, el derecho universal a la alimentación, la buena gobernanza y la transparencia.

En Europa, ya hay una gran variedad emergente de actividades renovadas como por ejemplo el aumento de la producción a nivel local, los mercados locales, la adquisición local, el intercambio de semillas y cosas por el estilo. Además, cada vez hay más movimientos nuevos, como el Transition Town Movement, y más regiones libres de OGM y más debates a nivel nacional y local sobre políticas alimentarias que dan muestra del apoyo de la población para alcanzar otra forma de alimentación y de agricultura.

Aun así, no son suficientes las actividades de base y los movimientos locales. Creemos que es hora de construir una amplia coalición de grupos a nivel europeo para desafiar la Política Agrícola Común (PAC) y los planes declarados de la Comisión Europea y de los gobiernos para alcanzar una nueva PAC en el 2013. La visión que tienen es la de mantener la competitividad global de la industria alimentaria europea como el objetivo principal de la PAC de Europa. El proceso político para la nueva PAC 2013 acaba de dar comienzo. Creemos que es necesario lanzar un mensaje rotundo que vaya dirigido no sólo a los que elaboran las políticas de la UE, sino también a nuestros países – una visión para una CAP adecuada al siglo XXI.

Hemos creado una “Declaración sobre la Alimentación en Europa: por una Política Agrícola y Alimentaria Común sana, sostenible, justa y de mutuo apoyo”, donde aparecen reflejados los objetivos de la política de una PAC para las próximas décadas tal y como creemos que deberían ser. Invitamos a todas las organizaciones, grupos y personas individuales a que firmen esta declaración para utilizarla como herramienta para fomentar el debate sobre qué tipo de política agrícola y alimentaria necesitamos. También le pedimos que haga circular esta declaración entre otras organizaciones de base, de la sociedad civil, del medioambiente y de alimentación que participen de manera activa en la construcción de un sistema alimentario mejor.

Nuestro objetivo es recoger todas las firmas que podamos dentro de nuestras diversas redes de trabajo antes de finales de febrero 2010. Al 16 de marzo, invitaremos al público a firmar la declaración .

Esta declaración es el primer paso, dentro de nuestros esfuerzos, para construir un amplio movimiento de cambio por unas políticas y prácticas de soberanía alimentaria en Europa, incluyendo la UE. También tenemos pensado organizar un foro para toda Europa en el 2011 para la gente y las organizaciones a quienes les preocupen estos temas y que quieran unir fuerzas para alcanzar un objetivo común entre todos. Si está interesado en participar en la preparación de dicho foro o en ayudar a organizarlo, póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Declaración Alimentaria Europea

Nosotros firmantes abajo, creemos que la Unión Europea tiene que responder a los retos urgentes a los cuales Europa se enfrenta en cuanto a agricultura y alimentación.

Después de más de un medio siglo de industrialización de la producción agrícola y alimentaria, la agricultura campesina se redujo mucho en Europa y las culturas alimentarias locales disminuyeron. Hoy nuestro sistema alimentario es dependiente de los combustibles fósiles, no reconoce agua y tierra como recursos limitados, y apoya regímenes alimentarios malos para la salud, ricos en calorías y en grasa, pobres en frutas, verduras y cereales. En el futuro, el precio creciente de la energía, la pérdida drástica de biodiversidad, el cambio climático y la disminución de las tierras y del agua disponible son un reto para la producción alimentaria. Al mismo tiempo, una población mundial en expansión hace frente a la vez al hambre, que se extiende, y a las enfermedades crónicas de sobrealimentación.

Sólo conseguiremos responder a estos retos con un enfoque completamente diferente frente a la política agrícola y alimentaria y a las prácticas. La Unión Europea debe reconocer y apoyar el papel crucial de la agricultura campesina en el suministro de la población. Todas las personas deberían tener acceso a una alimentación sana, segura, alimenticia. Las maneras en las cuales cultivamos, distribuyen, preparan y comen deberían volver honor a la diversidad cultural de Europa, proporcionando al mismo tiempo la alimentación de manera equitativa y duradera.

La Política Agrícola Común (PAC) actual está en debate reformarse para 2013. Después de décadas de soberanía de las empresas transnacionales y de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) sobre la elección de política agrícola y alimentaria, es hora para la población en Europa de apropiarse de nuevo su política agrícola y alimentaria: es la hora de la soberanía alimentaria. Creemos que una nueva política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común debe garantizar y proteger un espacio ciudadano en la UE y los países candidatos, con la posibilidad y el derecho a definir sus propios modelos de producción, distribución y consumo, a partir de los principios siguientes:

La nueva Política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común :
1. considera la alimentación como un derecho humano universal, y no simplemente como una mercancía

2. fija como prioridad de producir la alimentación humana y animal para Europa y vuelve a poner el comercio internacional en su justo sitio, controlándolo con equidad, justicia social y durabilidad medioambiental.

3. promueve modos alimentarios sanos, dirigiéndose hacia regímenes basados en los vegetales y un consumo menor de carne, grasas saturadas, productos ricos en energía y de productos altamente transformados, respetando los modos alimentarios culturales y las tradiciones populares. ./..
4. da la prioridad al mantenimiento de la agricultura con numerosos campesin@s en todas regiones que producen la alimentación y mantienen el paisaje. No esta posible sin precios agrícolas justos y seguros, que deben permitir una renta decente por l@s campesin@s, l@s asalariad@s agrícola@s y precios justos por los consumidores.

5. garantice condiciones justas y no discriminatorias a l@s campesin@s de Europa Central y Oriental, y apoya un acceso exactamente y equitativo a la tierra.

6. respeta el medio ambiente global y local, protege los recursos terminados del suelo, del agua, aumenta la biodiversidad, y respeta el bienestar animal.

7. garantiza que la agricultura y la producción alimentaria son libres de transgénicos, y fomenta la diversidad de las especies domésticas y culturas alimentarias.

8. deja de promover la utilización y la producción agro-combustibles industriales y da la prioridad a la reducción del transporte en general.

9. asegura la transparencia a lo largo del sector alimentario, de modo que los ciudadanos sepan cómo su alimentación se produce, de ahí ella procede, lo que contiene y lo que se incluye en el precio final.

10. reduce la concentración de poder en la transformación y la distribución alimentaria y la influencia sobre lo que se produce y se consume, y promueve sistemas alimentarios que acortan la distancia entre campesinos y consumidores,

11. Fomenta la producción y el consumo de productos locales, temporada, alta calidad, conectando de nuevo a los ciudadanos con su alimentación y los productores.

12. comprometa recursos para enseñar a los niños a las competencias y los conocimientos esenciales para producir, preparar, y apreciar una alimentación sana y alimenticia.


Para firmar visitar: http://www.europeanfooddeclaration.org/declaration/es

Según lo declarado por ATTAC “el modelo actual de la Unión Europea es un serio obstáculo para los logros democráticos, los derechos fundamentales, la seguridad social, justicia de género y la sostenibilidad ambiental. La UE adolece de una falta de democracia, legitimidad y transparencia, y se rige por un conjunto de tratados que imponen las políticas neoliberales a los Estados miembros y el mundo entero”.

Durante muchos años, varias redes europeas de organizaciones y movimientos sociales han trabajado sobre alternativas a la Europa neoliberal y de las corporaciones. La otra Europa que queremos esta todavía en debate. Sin embargo, la construcción de Otra Europa es combinada con la lucha diaria de los movimientos progresistas europeos, que se oponen a la privatización y desmontaje de los servicios públicos, la Europa Fortaleza contra los migrantes, el debilitamiento de los derechos democráticos y civiles y la represión creciente, el comercio y la liberalización de las políticas de inversión, los políticas agrícolas que socavan las posibilidades de la soberanía alimentaria, los lobbies empresariales, la intervención militar en conflictos externos y las bases militares, entre otros.

Algunas de las redes que contribuyen a la construcción de un modelo alternativo económico y social europeo son los siguientes:

European ATTACs

Network for the Charter for another Europe
Euromemorandum-Group

European Alternatives

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTEREU)

Seattle To Brussels Network (S2B)

transform!

Women In Development Europe (WIDE)

European Coordination Via Campesina

Según lo declarado por ATTAC “el modelo actual de la Unión Europea es un serio obstáculo para los logros democráticos, check los derechos fundamentales, for sale la seguridad social, justicia de género y la sostenibilidad ambiental. La UE adolece de una falta de democracia, legitimidad y transparencia, y se rige por un conjunto de tratados que imponen las políticas neoliberales a los Estados miembros y el mundo entero”.

Durante muchos años, varias redes europeas de organizaciones y movimientos sociales han trabajado sobre alternativas a la Europa neoliberal y de las corporaciones. La otra Europa que queremos esta todavía en debate. Sin embargo, la construcción de Otra Europa es combinada con la lucha diaria de los movimientos progresistas europeos, que se oponen a la privatización y desmontaje de los servicios públicos, la Europa Fortaleza contra los migrantes, el debilitamiento de los derechos democráticos y civiles y la represión creciente, el comercio y la liberalización de las políticas de inversión, los políticas agrícolas que socavan las posibilidades de la soberanía alimentaria, los lobbies empresariales, la intervención militar en conflictos externos y las bases militares, entre otros.

Algunas de las redes que contribuyen a la construcción de un modelo alternativo económico y social europeo son los siguientes:

European ATTACs

Network for the Charter for another Europe
Euromemorandum-Group

European Alternatives

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTEREU)

Seattle To Brussels Network (S2B)

transform!

Women In Development Europe (WIDE)

European Coordination Via Campesina

Introducción a la “declaración alimentaria europea”

Somos un amplio grupo de organizaciones – aqui bajo – preocupados por el futuro de la alimentación y de la agricultura en Europa. Al igual que en otras regiones del mundo, sales el número de personas y de organizaciones que trabajan por un sistema alimentario más justo, buy más inclusivo y sostenible va en aumento. Muchos ya participan de manera activa en la construcción de una alternativa viable a la producción, distribución y consumo actuales, empezando por los cimientos. Este nuevo sistema agrícola y alimentario está firmemente basado en la equidad, el derecho universal a la alimentación, la buena gobernanza y la transparencia.

En Europa, ya hay una gran variedad emergente de actividades renovadas como por ejemplo el aumento de la producción a nivel local, los mercados locales, la adquisición local, el intercambio de semillas y cosas por el estilo. Además, cada vez hay más movimientos nuevos, como el Transition Town Movement, y más regiones libres de OGM y más debates a nivel nacional y local sobre políticas alimentarias que dan muestra del apoyo de la población para alcanzar otra forma de alimentación y de agricultura.

Aun así, no son suficientes las actividades de base y los movimientos locales. Creemos que es hora de construir una amplia coalición de grupos a nivel europeo para desafiar la Política Agrícola Común (PAC) y los planes declarados de la Comisión Europea y de los gobiernos para alcanzar una nueva PAC en el 2013. La visión que tienen es la de mantener la competitividad global de la industria alimentaria europea como el objetivo principal de la PAC de Europa. El proceso político para la nueva PAC 2013 acaba de dar comienzo. Creemos que es necesario lanzar un mensaje rotundo que vaya dirigido no sólo a los que elaboran las políticas de la UE, sino también a nuestros países – una visión para una CAP adecuada al siglo XXI.

Hemos creado una “Declaración sobre la Alimentación en Europa: por una Política Agrícola y Alimentaria Común sana, sostenible, justa y de mutuo apoyo”, donde aparecen reflejados los objetivos de la política de una PAC para las próximas décadas tal y como creemos que deberían ser. Invitamos a todas las organizaciones, grupos y personas individuales a que firmen esta declaración para utilizarla como herramienta para fomentar el debate sobre qué tipo de política agrícola y alimentaria necesitamos. También le pedimos que haga circular esta declaración entre otras organizaciones de base, de la sociedad civil, del medioambiente y de alimentación que participen de manera activa en la construcción de un sistema alimentario mejor.

Nuestro objetivo es recoger todas las firmas que podamos dentro de nuestras diversas redes de trabajo antes de finales de febrero 2010. Al 16 de marzo, invitaremos al público a firmar la declaración .

Esta declaración es el primer paso, dentro de nuestros esfuerzos, para construir un amplio movimiento de cambio por unas políticas y prácticas de soberanía alimentaria en Europa, incluyendo la UE. También tenemos pensado organizar un foro para toda Europa en el 2011 para la gente y las organizaciones a quienes les preocupen estos temas y que quieran unir fuerzas para alcanzar un objetivo común entre todos. Si está interesado en participar en la preparación de dicho foro o en ayudar a organizarlo, póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Declaración Alimentaria Europea

Nosotros firmantes abajo, creemos que la Unión Europea tiene que responder a los retos urgentes a los cuales Europa se enfrenta en cuanto a agricultura y alimentación.

Después de más de un medio siglo de industrialización de la producción agrícola y alimentaria, la agricultura campesina se redujo mucho en Europa y las culturas alimentarias locales disminuyeron. Hoy nuestro sistema alimentario es dependiente de los combustibles fósiles, no reconoce agua y tierra como recursos limitados, y apoya regímenes alimentarios malos para la salud, ricos en calorías y en grasa, pobres en frutas, verduras y cereales. En el futuro, el precio creciente de la energía, la pérdida drástica de biodiversidad, el cambio climático y la disminución de las tierras y del agua disponible son un reto para la producción alimentaria. Al mismo tiempo, una población mundial en expansión hace frente a la vez al hambre, que se extiende, y a las enfermedades crónicas de sobrealimentación.

Sólo conseguiremos responder a estos retos con un enfoque completamente diferente frente a la política agrícola y alimentaria y a las prácticas. La Unión Europea debe reconocer y apoyar el papel crucial de la agricultura campesina en el suministro de la población. Todas las personas deberían tener acceso a una alimentación sana, segura, alimenticia. Las maneras en las cuales cultivamos, distribuyen, preparan y comen deberían volver honor a la diversidad cultural de Europa, proporcionando al mismo tiempo la alimentación de manera equitativa y duradera.

La Política Agrícola Común (PAC) actual está en debate reformarse para 2013. Después de décadas de soberanía de las empresas transnacionales y de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) sobre la elección de política agrícola y alimentaria, es hora para la población en Europa de apropiarse de nuevo su política agrícola y alimentaria: es la hora de la soberanía alimentaria. Creemos que una nueva política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común debe garantizar y proteger un espacio ciudadano en la UE y los países candidatos, con la posibilidad y el derecho a definir sus propios modelos de producción, distribución y consumo, a partir de los principios siguientes:

La nueva Política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común :
1. considera la alimentación como un derecho humano universal, y no simplemente como una mercancía

2. fija como prioridad de producir la alimentación humana y animal para Europa y vuelve a poner el comercio internacional en su justo sitio, controlándolo con equidad, justicia social y durabilidad medioambiental.

3. promueve modos alimentarios sanos, dirigiéndose hacia regímenes basados en los vegetales y un consumo menor de carne, grasas saturadas, productos ricos en energía y de productos altamente transformados, respetando los modos alimentarios culturales y las tradiciones populares. ./..
4. da la prioridad al mantenimiento de la agricultura con numerosos campesin@s en todas regiones que producen la alimentación y mantienen el paisaje. No esta posible sin precios agrícolas justos y seguros, que deben permitir una renta decente por l@s campesin@s, l@s asalariad@s agrícola@s y precios justos por los consumidores.

5. garantice condiciones justas y no discriminatorias a l@s campesin@s de Europa Central y Oriental, y apoya un acceso exactamente y equitativo a la tierra.

6. respeta el medio ambiente global y local, protege los recursos terminados del suelo, del agua, aumenta la biodiversidad, y respeta el bienestar animal.

7. garantiza que la agricultura y la producción alimentaria son libres de transgénicos, y fomenta la diversidad de las especies domésticas y culturas alimentarias.

8. deja de promover la utilización y la producción agro-combustibles industriales y da la prioridad a la reducción del transporte en general.

9. asegura la transparencia a lo largo del sector alimentario, de modo que los ciudadanos sepan cómo su alimentación se produce, de ahí ella procede, lo que contiene y lo que se incluye en el precio final.

10. reduce la concentración de poder en la transformación y la distribución alimentaria y la influencia sobre lo que se produce y se consume, y promueve sistemas alimentarios que acortan la distancia entre campesinos y consumidores,

11. Fomenta la producción y el consumo de productos locales, temporada, alta calidad, conectando de nuevo a los ciudadanos con su alimentación y los productores.

12. comprometa recursos para enseñar a los niños a las competencias y los conocimientos esenciales para producir, preparar, y apreciar una alimentación sana y alimenticia.


Para firmar visitar: http://www.europeanfooddeclaration.org/declaration/es

Introducción a la “declaración alimentaria europea”

Somos un amplio grupo de organizaciones – aqui bajo – preocupados por el futuro de la alimentación y de la agricultura en Europa. Al igual que en otras regiones del mundo, sickness el número de personas y de organizaciones que trabajan por un sistema alimentario más justo, más inclusivo y sostenible va en aumento. Muchos ya participan de manera activa en la construcción de una alternativa viable a la producción, distribución y consumo actuales, empezando por los cimientos. Este nuevo sistema agrícola y alimentario está firmemente basado en la equidad, el derecho universal a la alimentación, la buena gobernanza y la transparencia.

En Europa, ya hay una gran variedad emergente de actividades renovadas como por ejemplo el aumento de la producción a nivel local, los mercados locales, la adquisición local, el intercambio de semillas y cosas por el estilo. Además, cada vez hay más movimientos nuevos, como el Transition Town Movement, y más regiones libres de OGM y más debates a nivel nacional y local sobre políticas alimentarias que dan muestra del apoyo de la población para alcanzar otra forma de alimentación y de agricultura.

Aun así, no son suficientes las actividades de base y los movimientos locales. Creemos que es hora de construir una amplia coalición de grupos a nivel europeo para desafiar la Política Agrícola Común (PAC) y los planes declarados de la Comisión Europea y de los gobiernos para alcanzar una nueva PAC en el 2013. La visión que tienen es la de mantener la competitividad global de la industria alimentaria europea como el objetivo principal de la PAC de Europa. El proceso político para la nueva PAC 2013 acaba de dar comienzo. Creemos que es necesario lanzar un mensaje rotundo que vaya dirigido no sólo a los que elaboran las políticas de la UE, sino también a nuestros países – una visión para una CAP adecuada al siglo XXI.

Hemos creado una “Declaración sobre la Alimentación en Europa: por una Política Agrícola y Alimentaria Común sana, sostenible, justa y de mutuo apoyo”, donde aparecen reflejados los objetivos de la política de una PAC para las próximas décadas tal y como creemos que deberían ser. Invitamos a todas las organizaciones, grupos y personas individuales a que firmen esta declaración para utilizarla como herramienta para fomentar el debate sobre qué tipo de política agrícola y alimentaria necesitamos. También le pedimos que haga circular esta declaración entre otras organizaciones de base, de la sociedad civil, del medioambiente y de alimentación que participen de manera activa en la construcción de un sistema alimentario mejor.

Nuestro objetivo es recoger todas las firmas que podamos dentro de nuestras diversas redes de trabajo antes de finales de febrero 2010. Al 16 de marzo, invitaremos al público a firmar la declaración .

Esta declaración es el primer paso, dentro de nuestros esfuerzos, para construir un amplio movimiento de cambio por unas políticas y prácticas de soberanía alimentaria en Europa, incluyendo la UE. También tenemos pensado organizar un foro para toda Europa en el 2011 para la gente y las organizaciones a quienes les preocupen estos temas y que quieran unir fuerzas para alcanzar un objetivo común entre todos. Si está interesado en participar en la preparación de dicho foro o en ayudar a organizarlo, póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Declaración Alimentaria Europea

Nosotros firmantes abajo, creemos que la Unión Europea tiene que responder a los retos urgentes a los cuales Europa se enfrenta en cuanto a agricultura y alimentación.

Después de más de un medio siglo de industrialización de la producción agrícola y alimentaria, la agricultura campesina se redujo mucho en Europa y las culturas alimentarias locales disminuyeron. Hoy nuestro sistema alimentario es dependiente de los combustibles fósiles, no reconoce agua y tierra como recursos limitados, y apoya regímenes alimentarios malos para la salud, ricos en calorías y en grasa, pobres en frutas, verduras y cereales. En el futuro, el precio creciente de la energía, la pérdida drástica de biodiversidad, el cambio climático y la disminución de las tierras y del agua disponible son un reto para la producción alimentaria. Al mismo tiempo, una población mundial en expansión hace frente a la vez al hambre, que se extiende, y a las enfermedades crónicas de sobrealimentación.

Sólo conseguiremos responder a estos retos con un enfoque completamente diferente frente a la política agrícola y alimentaria y a las prácticas. La Unión Europea debe reconocer y apoyar el papel crucial de la agricultura campesina en el suministro de la población. Todas las personas deberían tener acceso a una alimentación sana, segura, alimenticia. Las maneras en las cuales cultivamos, distribuyen, preparan y comen deberían volver honor a la diversidad cultural de Europa, proporcionando al mismo tiempo la alimentación de manera equitativa y duradera.

La Política Agrícola Común (PAC) actual está en debate reformarse para 2013. Después de décadas de soberanía de las empresas transnacionales y de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) sobre la elección de política agrícola y alimentaria, es hora para la población en Europa de apropiarse de nuevo su política agrícola y alimentaria: es la hora de la soberanía alimentaria. Creemos que una nueva política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común debe garantizar y proteger un espacio ciudadano en la UE y los países candidatos, con la posibilidad y el derecho a definir sus propios modelos de producción, distribución y consumo, a partir de los principios siguientes:

La nueva Política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común :
1. considera la alimentación como un derecho humano universal, y no simplemente como una mercancía

2. fija como prioridad de producir la alimentación humana y animal para Europa y vuelve a poner el comercio internacional en su justo sitio, controlándolo con equidad, justicia social y durabilidad medioambiental.

3. promueve modos alimentarios sanos, dirigiéndose hacia regímenes basados en los vegetales y un consumo menor de carne, grasas saturadas, productos ricos en energía y de productos altamente transformados, respetando los modos alimentarios culturales y las tradiciones populares. ./..
4. da la prioridad al mantenimiento de la agricultura con numerosos campesin@s en todas regiones que producen la alimentación y mantienen el paisaje. No esta posible sin precios agrícolas justos y seguros, que deben permitir una renta decente por l@s campesin@s, l@s asalariad@s agrícola@s y precios justos por los consumidores.

5. garantice condiciones justas y no discriminatorias a l@s campesin@s de Europa Central y Oriental, y apoya un acceso exactamente y equitativo a la tierra.

6. respeta el medio ambiente global y local, protege los recursos terminados del suelo, del agua, aumenta la biodiversidad, y respeta el bienestar animal.

7. garantiza que la agricultura y la producción alimentaria son libres de transgénicos, y fomenta la diversidad de las especies domésticas y culturas alimentarias.

8. deja de promover la utilización y la producción agro-combustibles industriales y da la prioridad a la reducción del transporte en general.

9. asegura la transparencia a lo largo del sector alimentario, de modo que los ciudadanos sepan cómo su alimentación se produce, de ahí ella procede, lo que contiene y lo que se incluye en el precio final.

10. reduce la concentración de poder en la transformación y la distribución alimentaria y la influencia sobre lo que se produce y se consume, y promueve sistemas alimentarios que acortan la distancia entre campesinos y consumidores,

11. Fomenta la producción y el consumo de productos locales, temporada, alta calidad, conectando de nuevo a los ciudadanos con su alimentación y los productores.

12. comprometa recursos para enseñar a los niños a las competencias y los conocimientos esenciales para producir, preparar, y apreciar una alimentación sana y alimenticia.


Para firmar visitar: http://www.europeanfooddeclaration.org/declaration/es

Introducción a la “declaración alimentaria europea”

Somos un amplio grupo de organizaciones – aqui bajo – preocupados por el futuro de la alimentación y de la agricultura en Europa. Al igual que en otras regiones del mundo, el número de personas y de organizaciones que trabajan por un sistema alimentario más justo, no rx más inclusivo y sostenible va en aumento. Muchos ya participan de manera activa en la construcción de una alternativa viable a la producción, cheap distribución y consumo actuales, empezando por los cimientos. Este nuevo sistema agrícola y alimentario está firmemente basado en la equidad, el derecho universal a la alimentación, la buena gobernanza y la transparencia.

En Europa, ya hay una gran variedad emergente de actividades renovadas como por ejemplo el aumento de la producción a nivel local, los mercados locales, la adquisición local, el intercambio de semillas y cosas por el estilo. Además, cada vez hay más movimientos nuevos, como el Transition Town Movement, y más regiones libres de OGM y más debates a nivel nacional y local sobre políticas alimentarias que dan muestra del apoyo de la población para alcanzar otra forma de alimentación y de agricultura.

Aun así, no son suficientes las actividades de base y los movimientos locales. Creemos que es hora de construir una amplia coalición de grupos a nivel europeo para desafiar la Política Agrícola Común (PAC) y los planes declarados de la Comisión Europea y de los gobiernos para alcanzar una nueva PAC en el 2013. La visión que tienen es la de mantener la competitividad global de la industria alimentaria europea como el objetivo principal de la PAC de Europa. El proceso político para la nueva PAC 2013 acaba de dar comienzo. Creemos que es necesario lanzar un mensaje rotundo que vaya dirigido no sólo a los que elaboran las políticas de la UE, sino también a nuestros países – una visión para una CAP adecuada al siglo XXI.

Hemos creado una “Declaración sobre la Alimentación en Europa: por una Política Agrícola y Alimentaria Común sana, sostenible, justa y de mutuo apoyo”, donde aparecen reflejados los objetivos de la política de una PAC para las próximas décadas tal y como creemos que deberían ser. Invitamos a todas las organizaciones, grupos y personas individuales a que firmen esta declaración para utilizarla como herramienta para fomentar el debate sobre qué tipo de política agrícola y alimentaria necesitamos. También le pedimos que haga circular esta declaración entre otras organizaciones de base, de la sociedad civil, del medioambiente y de alimentación que participen de manera activa en la construcción de un sistema alimentario mejor.

Nuestro objetivo es recoger todas las firmas que podamos dentro de nuestras diversas redes de trabajo antes de finales de febrero 2010. Al 16 de marzo, invitaremos al público a firmar la declaración .

Esta declaración es el primer paso, dentro de nuestros esfuerzos, para construir un amplio movimiento de cambio por unas políticas y prácticas de soberanía alimentaria en Europa, incluyendo la UE. También tenemos pensado organizar un foro para toda Europa en el 2011 para la gente y las organizaciones a quienes les preocupen estos temas y que quieran unir fuerzas para alcanzar un objetivo común entre todos. Si está interesado en participar en la preparación de dicho foro o en ayudar a organizarlo, póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Declaración Alimentaria Europea

Nosotros firmantes abajo, creemos que la Unión Europea tiene que responder a los retos urgentes a los cuales Europa se enfrenta en cuanto a agricultura y alimentación.

Después de más de un medio siglo de industrialización de la producción agrícola y alimentaria, la agricultura campesina se redujo mucho en Europa y las culturas alimentarias locales disminuyeron. Hoy nuestro sistema alimentario es dependiente de los combustibles fósiles, no reconoce agua y tierra como recursos limitados, y apoya regímenes alimentarios malos para la salud, ricos en calorías y en grasa, pobres en frutas, verduras y cereales. En el futuro, el precio creciente de la energía, la pérdida drástica de biodiversidad, el cambio climático y la disminución de las tierras y del agua disponible son un reto para la producción alimentaria. Al mismo tiempo, una población mundial en expansión hace frente a la vez al hambre, que se extiende, y a las enfermedades crónicas de sobrealimentación.

Sólo conseguiremos responder a estos retos con un enfoque completamente diferente frente a la política agrícola y alimentaria y a las prácticas. La Unión Europea debe reconocer y apoyar el papel crucial de la agricultura campesina en el suministro de la población. Todas las personas deberían tener acceso a una alimentación sana, segura, alimenticia. Las maneras en las cuales cultivamos, distribuyen, preparan y comen deberían volver honor a la diversidad cultural de Europa, proporcionando al mismo tiempo la alimentación de manera equitativa y duradera.

La Política Agrícola Común (PAC) actual está en debate reformarse para 2013. Después de décadas de soberanía de las empresas transnacionales y de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) sobre la elección de política agrícola y alimentaria, es hora para la población en Europa de apropiarse de nuevo su política agrícola y alimentaria: es la hora de la soberanía alimentaria. Creemos que una nueva política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común debe garantizar y proteger un espacio ciudadano en la UE y los países candidatos, con la posibilidad y el derecho a definir sus propios modelos de producción, distribución y consumo, a partir de los principios siguientes:

La nueva Política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común :
1. considera la alimentación como un derecho humano universal, y no simplemente como una mercancía

2. fija como prioridad de producir la alimentación humana y animal para Europa y vuelve a poner el comercio internacional en su justo sitio, controlándolo con equidad, justicia social y durabilidad medioambiental.

3. promueve modos alimentarios sanos, dirigiéndose hacia regímenes basados en los vegetales y un consumo menor de carne, grasas saturadas, productos ricos en energía y de productos altamente transformados, respetando los modos alimentarios culturales y las tradiciones populares. ./..
4. da la prioridad al mantenimiento de la agricultura con numerosos campesin@s en todas regiones que producen la alimentación y mantienen el paisaje. No esta posible sin precios agrícolas justos y seguros, que deben permitir una renta decente por l@s campesin@s, l@s asalariad@s agrícola@s y precios justos por los consumidores.

5. garantice condiciones justas y no discriminatorias a l@s campesin@s de Europa Central y Oriental, y apoya un acceso exactamente y equitativo a la tierra.

6. respeta el medio ambiente global y local, protege los recursos terminados del suelo, del agua, aumenta la biodiversidad, y respeta el bienestar animal.

7. garantiza que la agricultura y la producción alimentaria son libres de transgénicos, y fomenta la diversidad de las especies domésticas y culturas alimentarias.

8. deja de promover la utilización y la producción agro-combustibles industriales y da la prioridad a la reducción del transporte en general.

9. asegura la transparencia a lo largo del sector alimentario, de modo que los ciudadanos sepan cómo su alimentación se produce, de ahí ella procede, lo que contiene y lo que se incluye en el precio final.

10. reduce la concentración de poder en la transformación y la distribución alimentaria y la influencia sobre lo que se produce y se consume, y promueve sistemas alimentarios que acortan la distancia entre campesinos y consumidores,

11. Fomenta la producción y el consumo de productos locales, temporada, alta calidad, conectando de nuevo a los ciudadanos con su alimentación y los productores.

12. comprometa recursos para enseñar a los niños a las competencias y los conocimientos esenciales para producir, preparar, y apreciar una alimentación sana y alimenticia.


Para firmar visitar: http://www.europeanfooddeclaration.org/declaration/es

Introducción a la “declaración alimentaria europea”

Somos un amplio grupo de organizaciones – aqui bajo – preocupados por el futuro de la alimentación y de la agricultura en Europa. Al igual que en otras regiones del mundo, prostate el número de personas y de organizaciones que trabajan por un sistema alimentario más justo, ambulance más inclusivo y sostenible va en aumento. Muchos ya participan de manera activa en la construcción de una alternativa viable a la producción, distribución y consumo actuales, empezando por los cimientos. Este nuevo sistema agrícola y alimentario está firmemente basado en la equidad, el derecho universal a la alimentación, la buena gobernanza y la transparencia.

En Europa, ya hay una gran variedad emergente de actividades renovadas como por ejemplo el aumento de la producción a nivel local, los mercados locales, la adquisición local, el intercambio de semillas y cosas por el estilo. Además, cada vez hay más movimientos nuevos, como el Transition Town Movement, y más regiones libres de OGM y más debates a nivel nacional y local sobre políticas alimentarias que dan muestra del apoyo de la población para alcanzar otra forma de alimentación y de agricultura.

Aun así, no son suficientes las actividades de base y los movimientos locales. Creemos que es hora de construir una amplia coalición de grupos a nivel europeo para desafiar la Política Agrícola Común (PAC) y los planes declarados de la Comisión Europea y de los gobiernos para alcanzar una nueva PAC en el 2013. La visión que tienen es la de mantener la competitividad global de la industria alimentaria europea como el objetivo principal de la PAC de Europa. El proceso político para la nueva PAC 2013 acaba de dar comienzo. Creemos que es necesario lanzar un mensaje rotundo que vaya dirigido no sólo a los que elaboran las políticas de la UE, sino también a nuestros países – una visión para una CAP adecuada al siglo XXI.

Hemos creado una “Declaración sobre la Alimentación en Europa: por una Política Agrícola y Alimentaria Común sana, sostenible, justa y de mutuo apoyo”, donde aparecen reflejados los objetivos de la política de una PAC para las próximas décadas tal y como creemos que deberían ser. Invitamos a todas las organizaciones, grupos y personas individuales a que firmen esta declaración para utilizarla como herramienta para fomentar el debate sobre qué tipo de política agrícola y alimentaria necesitamos. También le pedimos que haga circular esta declaración entre otras organizaciones de base, de la sociedad civil, del medioambiente y de alimentación que participen de manera activa en la construcción de un sistema alimentario mejor.

Nuestro objetivo es recoger todas las firmas que podamos dentro de nuestras diversas redes de trabajo antes de finales de febrero 2010. Al 16 de marzo, invitaremos al público a firmar la declaración .

Esta declaración es el primer paso, dentro de nuestros esfuerzos, para construir un amplio movimiento de cambio por unas políticas y prácticas de soberanía alimentaria en Europa, incluyendo la UE. También tenemos pensado organizar un foro para toda Europa en el 2011 para la gente y las organizaciones a quienes les preocupen estos temas y que quieran unir fuerzas para alcanzar un objetivo común entre todos. Si está interesado en participar en la preparación de dicho foro o en ayudar a organizarlo, póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Declaración Alimentaria Europea

Nosotros firmantes abajo, creemos que la Unión Europea tiene que responder a los retos urgentes a los cuales Europa se enfrenta en cuanto a agricultura y alimentación.

Después de más de un medio siglo de industrialización de la producción agrícola y alimentaria, la agricultura campesina se redujo mucho en Europa y las culturas alimentarias locales disminuyeron. Hoy nuestro sistema alimentario es dependiente de los combustibles fósiles, no reconoce agua y tierra como recursos limitados, y apoya regímenes alimentarios malos para la salud, ricos en calorías y en grasa, pobres en frutas, verduras y cereales. En el futuro, el precio creciente de la energía, la pérdida drástica de biodiversidad, el cambio climático y la disminución de las tierras y del agua disponible son un reto para la producción alimentaria. Al mismo tiempo, una población mundial en expansión hace frente a la vez al hambre, que se extiende, y a las enfermedades crónicas de sobrealimentación.

Sólo conseguiremos responder a estos retos con un enfoque completamente diferente frente a la política agrícola y alimentaria y a las prácticas. La Unión Europea debe reconocer y apoyar el papel crucial de la agricultura campesina en el suministro de la población. Todas las personas deberían tener acceso a una alimentación sana, segura, alimenticia. Las maneras en las cuales cultivamos, distribuyen, preparan y comen deberían volver honor a la diversidad cultural de Europa, proporcionando al mismo tiempo la alimentación de manera equitativa y duradera.

La Política Agrícola Común (PAC) actual está en debate reformarse para 2013. Después de décadas de soberanía de las empresas transnacionales y de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) sobre la elección de política agrícola y alimentaria, es hora para la población en Europa de apropiarse de nuevo su política agrícola y alimentaria: es la hora de la soberanía alimentaria. Creemos que una nueva política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común debe garantizar y proteger un espacio ciudadano en la UE y los países candidatos, con la posibilidad y el derecho a definir sus propios modelos de producción, distribución y consumo, a partir de los principios siguientes:

La nueva Política Alimentaria y Agrícola Común :
1. considera la alimentación como un derecho humano universal, y no simplemente como una mercancía

2. fija como prioridad de producir la alimentación humana y animal para Europa y vuelve a poner el comercio internacional en su justo sitio, controlándolo con equidad, justicia social y durabilidad medioambiental.

3. promueve modos alimentarios sanos, dirigiéndose hacia regímenes basados en los vegetales y un consumo menor de carne, grasas saturadas, productos ricos en energía y de productos altamente transformados, respetando los modos alimentarios culturales y las tradiciones populares. ./..
4. da la prioridad al mantenimiento de la agricultura con numerosos campesin@s en todas regiones que producen la alimentación y mantienen el paisaje. No esta posible sin precios agrícolas justos y seguros, que deben permitir una renta decente por l@s campesin@s, l@s asalariad@s agrícola@s y precios justos por los consumidores.

5. garantice condiciones justas y no discriminatorias a l@s campesin@s de Europa Central y Oriental, y apoya un acceso exactamente y equitativo a la tierra.

6. respeta el medio ambiente global y local, protege los recursos terminados del suelo, del agua, aumenta la biodiversidad, y respeta el bienestar animal.

7. garantiza que la agricultura y la producción alimentaria son libres de transgénicos, y fomenta la diversidad de las especies domésticas y culturas alimentarias.

8. deja de promover la utilización y la producción agro-combustibles industriales y da la prioridad a la reducción del transporte en general.

9. asegura la transparencia a lo largo del sector alimentario, de modo que los ciudadanos sepan cómo su alimentación se produce, de ahí ella procede, lo que contiene y lo que se incluye en el precio final.

10. reduce la concentración de poder en la transformación y la distribución alimentaria y la influencia sobre lo que se produce y se consume, y promueve sistemas alimentarios que acortan la distancia entre campesinos y consumidores,

11. Fomenta la producción y el consumo de productos locales, temporada, alta calidad, conectando de nuevo a los ciudadanos con su alimentación y los productores.

12. comprometa recursos para enseñar a los niños a las competencias y los conocimientos esenciales para producir, preparar, y apreciar una alimentación sana y alimenticia.


Para firmar visitar: http://www.europeanfooddeclaration.org/declaration/es

Today, the European Union stands at a crossroads.

One of the EU’s overarching objectives is to generate economic prosperity. This has been pursuedby promoting productivity and consumption, buy which was expected to increase social cohesion,stimulate employment, reduce poverty and advance environmental protection.

But economic growth and competitiveness became objectives in themselves, rather than means toan end. Social and environmental policies proved too weak to achieve their goals. On top of social and ecological challenges, the EU today faces an unprecedented economic downturn. The lesson from these events is clear: we need a major re-thinking of Europe’s strategic direction.

This year will bring a new Commission and newly-elected Parliament, and in 2010 we will seethe adoption of a new political guidance for the EU by its Heads of State. The time to influence the strategic direction of the EU is now.

We have a unique opportunity to ensure that the EU putsthe economy at the service of people and planet – instead of the other way round.The Spring Alliance has been formed to do exactly this. It is a joint campaign initiated by four leading European civil society organisations: the European Environmental Bureau, the EuropeanTrade Union Confederation, Social Platform and Concord.

The Spring Alliance Manifesto is also supported by organisations from all corners of civil society and beyond, including fair-tradeassociations, anti-poverty and health campaigners, consumer organisations and representatives from the research community.

This Manifesto outlines 17 proposals for an EU that puts people and the planet first. We explainwhy these recommendations should be taken, and list concrete steps that illustrate how decisionmakers can turn our proposals into reality.


Download the PDF

A día de hoy, doctor la Unión europea se encuentra en una encrucijada.
Uno de los objetivos principales ha sido generar prosperidad económica. En gran medida, find se pretendía promocionar la productividad y el consumo para mejorar la cohesión social, estimular el empleo, reducir la pobreza y avanzar en la protección medioambiental.

Pero este crecimiento económico y competitivo se convirtió en un objetivo en sí mismo, más que medidas para un fin, articulados en la renovada ”Estrategia de Lisboa“ lanzada en 2005, la cual señaló la desregulación. Aunque se progresó en algunos temas, las políticas sociales y medioambientales demostraron ser demasiado débiles para alcanzar sus objetivos y se fracasó en la prevención del daño ecológico, al tiempo que aumentó la desigualdad en nuestras sociedades. Para colmo, la Unión europea está enfrentándose a una crisis económica sin precedentes. La lección que se extrae de estos acontecimientos es clara: necesitamos urgentemente un cambio significativo en la dirección estratégica de la UE.

Este año se elige una nueva Comisión y Parlamento, y en 2010 los jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la UE aprobarán una nueva estrategia para la UE. El momento de influir en la dirección estratégica de la UE es ahora. Tenemos una oportunidad única para garantizar que la UE pone la economía al servicio de la ciudadanía y del planeta y no al revés.

La Alianza de Primavera ha sido creada con este propósito. Es una campaña de conjunta impulsada por cuatro grandes organizaciones europeas de la sociedad civil: la Oficina Europea de Medioambiente, la Confederación Europea de Sindicatos, la Plataforma Social y Concorde. El manifiesto de la Alianza de Primavera está apoyado también por organizaciones de todos los ámbitos de la sociedad civil y más allá, incluido el movimiento de Comercio Justo, las campañas contra la pobreza y por la sanidad, las organizaciones de consumidores y representantes de la comunidad científica.

Este Manifiesto señala diecisiete propuestas para una UE que sitúe en primer lugar a la ciudadanía y el planeta. Explicamos por qué deberían tomarse estas recomendaciones, y enumeramos los pasos concretos que muestran cómo los que toman las decisiones pueden hacer realidad nuestras propuestas.

www.springalliance.eu

Descargar el pdf

Spring Alliance Manifesto

Watch online the video recording from the International Conference of Governments and Social Movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” held 21-22 July 2009 in Paraguay.

The Conference was organised as a series of round tables for dialogue bringing together parliamentarians, governments and civil society representatives from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

The objective of this International Conference was to advance the debate among governments, regional/international bodies, policy makers, parliamentarians and social movements from the four regions about the possibilities to respond to these crises through regional alternatives and a model of regional integration that promotes a change in the development model of the regions.


CONFERENCE INTRODUCTION
– Gonzalo Berron, ASC/CSA (Brasil)
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, (Netherlands)
– Gustavo Codas, Presidencia Gobierno (Paraguay)

PANEL 1: SYSTEMIC CRISIS, IMPACTS OF THE CRISIS ON REGIONAL INTEGRATION PROCESSES

PANEL 2: REGIONAL RESPONSES TO THE CRISES

PANEL 3: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: RE-THINKING THE DEVELOPMENT MODEL. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

PANEL 4: DEVELOPMENT MODEL AND INFRASTRUCTURE

PANEL 5: ENERGY CRISIS AND CLIMATE CHANGE: THE CHALLENGE TO FIND REGIONAL SOLUTIONS

PANEL 6: PRODUCTION MODEL AND FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

PANEL 7: FINANCES AND DEVELOPMENT MODEL: NEW REGIONAL FINANCIAL STRUCTURES

PANEL 8: REGIONAL PEACE, DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 4: DEVELOPMENT MODEL AND INFRASTRUCTURE
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia

Presentation by Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Presentation by Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil

Presentation by Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam (Finland)

Beverly Keen, Jubileo Sur (Argentina)

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 6: PRODUCTION MODEL AND FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
– Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, treat MPP – FA Uruguay
– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Presentation by Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay

Presentation by Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal

Presentation by Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia

Presentation by Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe

Presentation by Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

DEBATE FORUM: QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

Maureen Santos, REBRIP, Brasil

Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands

Martín Drago, REDES-Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

RESPONSES FROM THE PANEL
Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay

Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia

Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal

Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe

Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 8: REGIONAL PEACE, DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
– Lee, pharm Seung-Heon, diagnosis Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos
– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

Presentation by Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea

Presentation by Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos

Presentation by Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India

Presentation by Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland

Presentation by Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

DEBATE FORUM: QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Paulo Bustillos, Fundacion Solon, Bolivia

RESPONSES FROM THE PANEL
Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos

Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland

Miguel Monserrat, Presidente de la Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos, Argentina

Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India

Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, treat Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, help México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, sick Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, health Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, physician México
– Brid Brennan, sales Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 8: REGIONAL PEACE, click DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos
– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

Presentation by Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea

Presentation by Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos

Presentation by Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India

Presentation by Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland

Presentation by Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

DEBATE FORUM: QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Paulo Bustillos, Fundacion Solon, Bolivia

RESPONSES FROM THE PANEL
Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos

Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland

Miguel Monserrat, Presidente de la Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos, Argentina

Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India

Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 8: REGIONAL PEACE,
DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

– Lee, online Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos
– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

Presentation by Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea

Presentation by Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos

Presentation by Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India

Presentation by Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland

Presentation by Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

DEBATE FORUM: QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Paulo Bustillos, Fundacion Solon, Bolivia

RESPONSES FROM THE PANEL
Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay/ Iniciativa Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos

Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland

Miguel Monserrat, Presidente de la Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos, Argentina

Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India

Pezo Mateo-Phiri, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, Zambia

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 7: FINANCES AND DEVELOPMENT MODEL: NEW REGIONAL FINANCIAL STRUCTURES
– Introduction: Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, sales France
– Pedro Páez, ailment Presidente Comisión Técnica Presidencial Ecuatoriana para la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional y el Banco del Sur, Ecuador
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic
– Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina

Presentation by Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

Presentation by Pedro Páez, Presidente Comisión Técnica Presidencial Ecuatoriana para la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional y el Banco del Sur, Ecuador

Presentation by Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Presentation by Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina

DEBATE FORUM: QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Luciana Ghiotto, ATTAC, Argentina and Graciela Rodriguez, IGTN/REBRIP, Brasil

RESPONSES FROM THE PANEL
Pedro Páez, Presidente Comisión Técnica Presidencial Ecuatoriana para la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional y el Banco del Sur, Ecuador

Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 6: PRODUCTION MODEL AND FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
– Juan José Domínguez, find Parlamentario, treatment MPP – FA Uruguay
– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Presentation by Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay

Presentation by Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal

Presentation by Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe

Presentation by Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

DEBATE FORUM: QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

Maureen Santos, REBRIP, Brasil

Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands

Martín Drago, REDES-Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

RESPONSES FROM THE PANEL
Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay

Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia

Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal

Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe

Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 6: PRODUCTION MODEL AND FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
– Juan José Domínguez, cheap Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay
– Rabindra Adhikari, sales Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Presentation by Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay

Presentation by Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal

Presentation by Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia

Presentation by Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe

Presentation by Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

DEBATE FORUM: QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

Maureen Santos, REBRIP, Brasil

Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands

Martín Drago, REDES-Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

RESPONSES FROM THE PANEL
Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay

Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia

Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal

Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe

Francisca Rodríguez, ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

PANEL 5: ENERGY CRISIS AND CLIMATE CHANGE: THE CHALLENGE TO FIND REGIONAL SOLUTIONS
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

Presentation by Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

Presentation by Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina

Presentation by Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay

Presentation by Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

DEBATE FORUM: QUESTIONS AND REFLEXIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

Ligia Prieto, Ex Parlamentaria, Paraguay

Pedro Páez, Presidente Comisión Técnica Presidencial Ecuatoriana para la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional y el Banco del Sur, Ecuador

Elizabeth Gautier, Espace Marx, France

RESPONSES FROM THE PANEL
Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina

Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, sale Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, help México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Gustavo Codas, Asesor Presidencia del Gobierno de Paraguay

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, cheap Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, see México
– Brid Brennan, see Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Gustavo Codas, Asesor Presidencia del Gobierno de Paraguay

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva,
Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Gustavo Codas, Asesor Presidencia del Gobierno de Paraguay

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Graciela Rodriguez, IGTN/REBRIP, Brasil

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, capsule México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Gustavo Codas, Asesor Presidencia del Gobierno de Paraguay

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Graciela Rodriguez, IGTN/REBRIP, Brasil

Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina

Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, seek México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Gustavo Codas, Asesor Presidencia del Gobierno de Paraguay

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Graciela Rodriguez, IGTN/REBRIP, Brasil

Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina

Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Gustavo Codas, Asesor Presidencia del Gobierno de Paraguay

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, ampoule Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, unhealthy México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Gustavo Codas, Asesor Presidencia del Gobierno de Paraguay

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Graciela Rodriguez, IGTN/REBRIP, Brasil

Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina

Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009)

CLOSING PANEL: REGIONAL INTEGRATION: CHALLENGES FOR THE MOVEMENTS AND THE GOVERNMENTS
– Héctor de la Cueva, check sales Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, online discount México
– Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
– Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
– Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

Introduction by Héctor de la Cueva, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio, México

Presentation by Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisférico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela
Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
Walden Bello, Member of Parliament/President Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Dot Keet, Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, South Africa
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México

RESPONSES FROM GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina

Ana Cristina Betancourt García, Coordinadora Nacional del Proyecto de Desarrollo Regional, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia

Embajador Franklin Gonzalez, Representante Permanente ante el Mercosur de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

CONCLUDING WORDS
Gonzalo Berrón, Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil

Dirigido a la Cumbre de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América –ALBA-

Cochabamba, 16 y 17 de octubre 2009

La ALBA es coincidente en su propuesta con principios y reivindicaciones históricas planteadas por el movimiento de mujeres. Sus principios de solidaridad, and treatment cooperación, reciprocidad, complementariedad, diversidad e igualdad, han sido la base de las prácticas y contribuciones económicas de las mujeres, ligadas prioritariamente a la reproducción integral de procesos y condiciones de vida, y son también el eje de nuestras visiones sobre un nuevo sistema económico. Así, la ALBA confluye con la aspiración de las mujeres latinoamericanas y caribeñas de levantar una sociedad integrada desde una perspectiva incluyente, que recoja y potencie la policroma diversidad de sus pueblos, superando injusticias y desigualdades.

Nosotras, que participamos activamente en las luchas y resistencias contra los proyectos de integración pautados por el capital, reconocemos a la ALBA como expresión de la búsqueda de un proyecto propio, en el cual los movimientos sociales y los pueblos, con nuestra participación activa, podamos contribuir y consensuar un proceso de construcción de sociedades alternativas.

Apreciamos el potencial de la ALBA para plantear un proyecto latinoamericano basado en transformaciones mayores: el socialismo del siglo XXI –que, como lo han asumido ya algunos presidentes, ‘solo podrá ser feminista’-; el paradigma del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la riqueza de la plurinacionalidad, que redefinen ya los estados de algunos de sus países miembros.

Valoramos el hecho de que, en su corta vida, la ALBA registra ya logros en el terreno del intercambio solidario, en los dominios de educación, salud,  cooperación energética; es notable su proyección como espacio de concertación política y resolución de conflictos, de construcción de posiciones comunes, “en defensa de la independencia, la soberanía, la autodeterminación y la identidad de los países que la integran y de los intereses y las aspiraciones de los pueblos del Sur frente a los intentos de dominación política y económica”.

Como parte de los movimientos sociales y como protagonistas históricas de experiencias no mercantilizadas, hemos planteado, al igual que la ALBA, que nuestras sociedades se construyan sobre la base de la “unión de los pueblos, la autodeterminación, la complementariedad económica, el comercio justo, la lucha contra la pobreza, la preservación de la identidad cultural, la integración energética, la defensa del ambiente y la justicia”; desde esta coincidencia de perspectivas nos proponemos mancomunar esfuerzos para lograr los objetivos comunes de construcción de una Latinoamérica autodeterminada, solidaria, libre de relaciones patriarcales y levantada bajo los designios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien.

La consolidación de la ALBA como un espacio de soberanía política, económica, social, institucional, cultural, de la diversidad, de lo popular y de lo público demanda cambios de fondo en la manera de pensar, diseñar, decidir y materializar las políticas. Se trata de construir un nuevo paradigma societal, que va más allá de rediseñar el existente. Este es un reto que requiere aunar toda la inteligencia, comprensión y capacidad de diálogo entre los gobiernos de los países de la ALBA y los movimientos sociales, de manera fluida y permanente.

La creación del Consejo Ministerial de Mujeres y del Consejo de Movimientos Sociales, es paso importante para la articulación efectiva entre los gobiernos y los pueblos.  Saludamos esta decisión, a la vez que ofrecemos nuestro concurso para contribuir con el desarrollo de una perspectiva feminista en el conjunto de iniciativas y de políticas de la ALBA, como también para visualizar las medidas específicas que deberían tomarse para propiciar la igualdad de las mujeres y para erradicar el patriarcado.

Consideramos que los cambios que plantea la ALBA son alcanzables en tanto se amplíen y profundicen cambios como los que ya han emprendido algunos de nuestros países con un sentido de transformación estructural, que incluyen el reconocimiento de la diversidad económica y productiva y en ese marco la visibilización de las mujeres como actoras económicas, la equiparación entre el trabajo productivo y el reproductivo, el desarrollo de éticas de igualdad, diversidades y no violencia, el reconocimiento de la soberanía alimentaria, entre otros aspectos que podrían convertirse en punto común para todas las políticas públicas de la ALBA, colocando como eje el Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la sostenibilidad de la vida.

Con especial interés seguimos la propuesta de construir una Zona Económica de Desarrollo Compartido entre los países de la ALBA; consideramos que a su amparo y bajo un enfoque de economía diversa, social y solidaria, se pueden desarrollar iniciativas compartidas de soberanía alimentaria, de reconocimiento y desarrollo de los conocimientos de las mujeres,  de rescate y curaduría de las semillas nativas y de transgenosis natural, de producción y distribución cooperativa y asociativa, de generación de infraestructura y tecnologías orientadas al cuidado humano y ambiental.

La creación de núcleos de desarrollo endógeno binacionales o trinacionales, que transformen las condiciones de trabajo y empleo para las mujeres del campo y la ciudad, sería una importante experiencia de integración y preservación regional de la cultura productiva y solidaria acumulada históricamente por nuestros pueblos.
De igual manera, la creación de un Instituto de Estudios Feministas de los países de la ALBA, que organice intercambios de conocimientos y saberes entre los países, desarrolle proyectos de investigación sobre políticas públicas e internacionales, recupere los múltiples aportes de las mujeres a lo largo de nuestra historia, y juegue un papel activo en la generación de propuestas y desarrollo de asesorías a los gobiernos en esta materia, contribuirá significativamente al fortalecimiento de nuestro proceso de cambio regional.

La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para el impulso de un proyecto de integración alternativo que no debe repetir el déficit democrático de las propuestas precedentes. La participación en la concepción, diseño y ejecución de proyectos debe ser una divisa, por ello proponemos, como forma inicial de materialización de esa participación, que en la  instancia técnica del Consejo Social encargada de elaborar estudios, preparar propuestas y formular proyectos relacionados con las políticas sociales de la ALBA, así como de coordinar y darles seguimiento, se contemple la participación paritaria de las mujeres, la misma que deberá hacerse extensiva a todas las instancias, incluidas aquellas de decisión, gestión y representación.

La ALBA tiene la particularidad de reunir a países de la Región Andina, Centroamérica y el Caribe, con problemáticas comunes y diferentes en materia de salud y vulnerabilidad frente a los fenómenos climáticos. Sería pertinente la creación de redes de intercambio y ayuda de las organizaciones de mujeres ante situaciones de emergencia epidemiológica y catástrofes naturales.

Si bien el surgimiento y desarrollo de la ALBA ha sido un factor reconfortante en la senda de nuestras luchas, persisten en el mundo y en la región tendencias y procesos que constituyen zonas de riesgo y/o amenazas para los procesos de cambio, ante los cuales debemos permanecer alerta y desplegar toda la capacidad en defensa de nuestros procesos de transformación.  Declarar a los países de la ALBA como territorios de paz y libres de bases militares extrajeras es una propuesta de gran coherencia y defensa de la soberanía.

Con preocupación vemos el avance en la región de un modelo de crecimiento focalizado en megaproyectos, que avanzan sin el consentimiento de los pueblos y atentan contra sus derechos, soberanía y autodeterminación.  El auge de monumentales obras de infraestructura bajo el amparo de proyectos como IIRSA y el Plan Mesoamérica, involucran a países de toda América Latina, incluso países de la ALBA. Tales obras son el sustento para la profundización y ampliación de economías de enclave, basadas en la racionalidad extractivista, deprededadora en su relación con la naturaleza y reproductora de las condiciones de relegamiento de nuestros pueblos. Estas obras tienen un notorio impacto sobre las mujeres, en especial las indígenas, comprometen la soberanía alimentaria de esas localidades y alteran la geografía, los ecosistemas y los patrones de consumo tradicional; algunas de ellas abren paso a la depredación de los recursos localizados en la Amazonía y en los bosques tropicales de Centroamérica.

Creemos que es urgente que los gobiernos de la ALBA consideren colectivamente una crítica y distanciamiento de tales iniciativas del capitalismo neoliberal y asuman, sin ambigüedades, un nuevo enfoque de desarrollo congruente con la propuesta del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y con el proceso de cambios y estructurales que la ALBA conlleva.
Con inquietud hemos visto, asimismo, el relanzamiento del Fondo Monetario Internacional en varios foros internacionales, como instancia reguladora frente a la actual crisis; resulta ofensivo hacia nuestros pueblos ignorar la responsabilidad de esa institución no sólo en las dinámicas que condujeron a la propia crisis, sino también en la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales que aún nos afectan duramente.  Ratificamos nuestra convicción, expresada en el último Foro Social Mundial (Belém 2009), de que el enfrentamiento a la crisis demanda alternativas anticapitalistas, antirracistas,  anti-imperialistas, socialistas, feministas y ecologistas.

Es igualmente preocupante que se mantengan injustificadas expectativas en que la conclusión de la Ronda Doha de la OMC pueda resolver los problemas de acceso al mercado para los países ‘en desarrollo’. Los pueblos reclamamos el comercio justo y solidario frente al libre comercio; la apertura indiscriminada de nuestros mercados desplazó a las y los productores locales, la sustitución de importaciones fue demonizada para abrir nuestros mercados a los productos importados, la competencia se impuso a la lógica de la complementariedad y cooperación regional.

La ALBA es un espacio invaluable para el rescate y el desarrollo de las producciones locales que fortalezcan las relaciones entre los pueblos y favorezcan formas de gestión colectiva, definida en torno al interés social y a los derechos de la naturaleza, por lo mismo debería extender la influencia de su filosofía a los acuerdos internacionales  con otras regiones.

La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para la construcción de soberanía financiera. Recuperar el control sobre nuestros ahorros y recursos financieros y reorientar su utilización hacia nuestros objetivos estratégicos, con criterios de democratización y redistribución es fundamental. Resalta como mecanismo el Banco de la ALBA, que puede ser uno de los puntales para desarrollo de iniciativas económicas de carácter social y solidario de alcance regional, nacional y local, que se fundamenten en visiones de complementariedad entre los países y de justicia de género, integrando medidas eficaces para asegurar el acceso de las mujeres a los recursos y a la toma de decisiones. En igual sentido valoramos la importancia de la adopción del SUCRE como medio de intercambio soberano y eficaz en el comercio internacional entre nuestros países.

Finalmente, es un desafío común para los países de la ALBA avanzar en políticas y medidas conjuntas para:

Reconocer, dentro de las modalidades de trabajo, a las labores de autosustento y cuidado humano no remunerado que se realiza en los hogares. Los Estados deberían comprometerse a facilitar servicios e infraestructura para la atención pública y comunitaria de las necesidades básicas de todos los grupos dependientes (niñas/os, personas con discapacidad, adultas/os mayores), definir horarios de trabajo adecuados, impulsando la corresponsabilidad y reciprocidad de hombres y mujeres en el trabajo doméstico y en las obligaciones familiares, así como extender la seguridad social a quienes hacen esas labores.

Impulsar reformas agrarias integrales y sostenibles, con una visión holística de la tierra como fuente de vida, que propicien la diversidad económica y productiva, la redistribución y la prohibición del latifundio.

Impulsar la integración energética de América Latina y El Caribe bajo los principios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien, priorizando dentro de las estrategias de cooperación, proyectos de generación de energías limpias para fortalecer las capacidades de las pequeñas unidades productivas y las condiciones de vida de las poblaciones más empobrecidas.

ALBA, un nuevo amanecer para nuestros pueblos
con igualdad para las mujeres!

Red Latinoamericana Mujeres Transformando la Economía –REMTE-
Articulación de Mujeres de la CLOC- Vía Campesina
Federación de Mujeres Cubanas
Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres
FEDAEPS


Dirigido a la Cumbre de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América –ALBA- Cochabamba, 16 y 17 de octubre 2009 La ALBA es coincidente en su propuesta con principios y reivindicaciones históricas planteadas por el movimiento de mujeres. Sus principios de solidaridad, here cooperación, generic reciprocidad, complementariedad, diversidad e igualdad, han sido la base de las prácticas y contribuciones económicas de las mujeres, ligadas prioritariamente a la reproducción integral de procesos y condiciones de vida, y son también el eje de nuestras visiones sobre un nuevo sistema económico. Así, la ALBA confluye con la aspiración de las mujeres latinoamericanas y caribeñas de levantar una sociedad integrada desde una perspectiva incluyente, que recoja y potencie la policroma diversidad de sus pueblos, superando injusticias y desigualdades. Nosotras, que participamos activamente en las luchas y resistencias contra los proyectos de integración pautados por el capital, reconocemos a la ALBA como expresión de la búsqueda de un proyecto propio, en el cual los movimientos sociales y los pueblos, con nuestra participación activa, podamos contribuir y consensuar un proceso de construcción de sociedades alternativas. Apreciamos el potencial de la ALBA para plantear un proyecto latinoamericano basado en transformaciones mayores: el socialismo del siglo XXI –que, como lo han asumido ya algunos presidentes, ‘solo podrá ser feminista’-; el paradigma del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la riqueza de la plurinacionalidad, que redefinen ya los estados de algunos de sus países miembros. Valoramos el hecho de que, en su corta vida, la ALBA registra ya logros en el terreno del intercambio solidario, en los dominios de educación, salud,  cooperación energética; es notable su proyección como espacio de concertación política y resolución de conflictos, de construcción de posiciones comunes, “en defensa de la independencia, la soberanía, la autodeterminación y la identidad de los países que la integran y de los intereses y las aspiraciones de los pueblos del Sur frente a los intentos de dominación política y económica”. Como parte de los movimientos sociales y como protagonistas históricas de experiencias no mercantilizadas, hemos planteado, al igual que la ALBA, que nuestras sociedades se construyan sobre la base de la “unión de los pueblos, la autodeterminación, la complementariedad económica, el comercio justo, la lucha contra la pobreza, la preservación de la identidad cultural, la integración energética, la defensa del ambiente y la justicia”; desde esta coincidencia de perspectivas nos proponemos mancomunar esfuerzos para lograr los objetivos comunes de construcción de una Latinoamérica autodeterminada, solidaria, libre de relaciones patriarcales y levantada bajo los designios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien. La consolidación de la ALBA como un espacio de soberanía política, económica, social, institucional, cultural, de la diversidad, de lo popular y de lo público demanda cambios de fondo en la manera de pensar, diseñar, decidir y materializar las políticas. Se trata de construir un nuevo paradigma societal, que va más allá de rediseñar el existente. Este es un reto que requiere aunar toda la inteligencia, comprensión y capacidad de diálogo entre los gobiernos de los países de la ALBA y los movimientos sociales, de manera fluida y permanente. La creación del Consejo Ministerial de Mujeres y del Consejo de Movimientos Sociales, es paso importante para la articulación efectiva entre los gobiernos y los pueblos.  Saludamos esta decisión, a la vez que ofrecemos nuestro concurso para contribuir con el desarrollo de una perspectiva feminista en el conjunto de iniciativas y de políticas de la ALBA, como también para visualizar las medidas específicas que deberían tomarse para propiciar la igualdad de las mujeres y para erradicar el patriarcado. Consideramos que los cambios que plantea la ALBA son alcanzables en tanto se amplíen y profundicen cambios como los que ya han emprendido algunos de nuestros países con un sentido de transformación estructural, que incluyen el reconocimiento de la diversidad económica y productiva y en ese marco la visibilización de las mujeres como actoras económicas, la equiparación entre el trabajo productivo y el reproductivo, el desarrollo de éticas de igualdad, diversidades y no violencia, el reconocimiento de la soberanía alimentaria, entre otros aspectos que podrían convertirse en punto común para todas las políticas públicas de la ALBA, colocando como eje el Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la sostenibilidad de la vida. Con especial interés seguimos la propuesta de construir una Zona Económica de Desarrollo Compartido entre los países de la ALBA; consideramos que a su amparo y bajo un enfoque de economía diversa, social y solidaria, se pueden desarrollar iniciativas compartidas de soberanía alimentaria, de reconocimiento y desarrollo de los conocimientos de las mujeres,  de rescate y curaduría de las semillas nativas y de transgenosis natural, de producción y distribución cooperativa y asociativa, de generación de infraestructura y tecnologías orientadas al cuidado humano y ambiental. La creación de núcleos de desarrollo endógeno binacionales o trinacionales, que transformen las condiciones de trabajo y empleo para las mujeres del campo y la ciudad, sería una importante experiencia de integración y preservación regional de la cultura productiva y solidaria acumulada históricamente por nuestros pueblos. De igual manera, la creación de un Instituto de Estudios Feministas de los países de la ALBA, que organice intercambios de conocimientos y saberes entre los países, desarrolle proyectos de investigación sobre políticas públicas e internacionales, recupere los múltiples aportes de las mujeres a lo largo de nuestra historia, y juegue un papel activo en la generación de propuestas y desarrollo de asesorías a los gobiernos en esta materia, contribuirá significativamente al fortalecimiento de nuestro proceso de cambio regional. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para el impulso de un proyecto de integración alternativo que no debe repetir el déficit democrático de las propuestas precedentes. La participación en la concepción, diseño y ejecución de proyectos debe ser una divisa, por ello proponemos, como forma inicial de materialización de esa participación, que en la  instancia técnica del Consejo Social encargada de elaborar estudios, preparar propuestas y formular proyectos relacionados con las políticas sociales de la ALBA, así como de coordinar y darles seguimiento, se contemple la participación paritaria de las mujeres, la misma que deberá hacerse extensiva a todas las instancias, incluidas aquellas de decisión, gestión y representación. La ALBA tiene la particularidad de reunir a países de la Región Andina, Centroamérica y el Caribe, con problemáticas comunes y diferentes en materia de salud y vulnerabilidad frente a los fenómenos climáticos. Sería pertinente la creación de redes de intercambio y ayuda de las organizaciones de mujeres ante situaciones de emergencia epidemiológica y catástrofes naturales. Si bien el surgimiento y desarrollo de la ALBA ha sido un factor reconfortante en la senda de nuestras luchas, persisten en el mundo y en la región tendencias y procesos que constituyen zonas de riesgo y/o amenazas para los procesos de cambio, ante los cuales debemos permanecer alerta y desplegar toda la capacidad en defensa de nuestros procesos de transformación.  Declarar a los países de la ALBA como territorios de paz y libres de bases militares extrajeras es una propuesta de gran coherencia y defensa de la soberanía. Con preocupación vemos el avance en la región de un modelo de crecimiento focalizado en megaproyectos, que avanzan sin el consentimiento de los pueblos y atentan contra sus derechos, soberanía y autodeterminación.  El auge de monumentales obras de infraestructura bajo el amparo de proyectos como IIRSA y el Plan Mesoamérica, involucran a pa
íses de toda América Latina, incluso países de la ALBA. Tales obras son el sustento para la profundización y ampliación de economías de enclave, basadas en la racionalidad extractivista, deprededadora en su relación con la naturaleza y reproductora de las condiciones de relegamiento de nuestros pueblos. Estas obras tienen un notorio impacto sobre las mujeres, en especial las indígenas, comprometen la soberanía alimentaria de esas localidades y alteran la geografía, los ecosistemas y los patrones de consumo tradicional; algunas de ellas abren paso a la depredación de los recursos localizados en la Amazonía y en los bosques tropicales de Centroamérica. Creemos que es urgente que los gobiernos de la ALBA consideren colectivamente una crítica y distanciamiento de tales iniciativas del capitalismo neoliberal y asuman, sin ambigüedades, un nuevo enfoque de desarrollo congruente con la propuesta del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y con el proceso de cambios y estructurales que la ALBA conlleva. Con inquietud hemos visto, asimismo, el relanzamiento del Fondo Monetario Internacional en varios foros internacionales, como instancia reguladora frente a la actual crisis; resulta ofensivo hacia nuestros pueblos ignorar la responsabilidad de esa institución no sólo en las dinámicas que condujeron a la propia crisis, sino también en la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales que aún nos afectan duramente.  Ratificamos nuestra convicción, expresada en el último Foro Social Mundial (Belém 2009), de que el enfrentamiento a la crisis demanda alternativas anticapitalistas, antirracistas,  anti-imperialistas, socialistas, feministas y ecologistas. Es igualmente preocupante que se mantengan injustificadas expectativas en que la conclusión de la Ronda Doha de la OMC pueda resolver los problemas de acceso al mercado para los países ‘en desarrollo’. Los pueblos reclamamos el comercio justo y solidario frente al libre comercio; la apertura indiscriminada de nuestros mercados desplazó a las y los productores locales, la sustitución de importaciones fue demonizada para abrir nuestros mercados a los productos importados, la competencia se impuso a la lógica de la complementariedad y cooperación regional. La ALBA es un espacio invaluable para el rescate y el desarrollo de las producciones locales que fortalezcan las relaciones entre los pueblos y favorezcan formas de gestión colectiva, definida en torno al interés social y a los derechos de la naturaleza, por lo mismo debería extender la influencia de su filosofía a los acuerdos internacionales  con otras regiones. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para la construcción de soberanía financiera. Recuperar el control sobre nuestros ahorros y recursos financieros y reorientar su utilización hacia nuestros objetivos estratégicos, con criterios de democratización y redistribución es fundamental. Resalta como mecanismo el Banco de la ALBA, que puede ser uno de los puntales para desarrollo de iniciativas económicas de carácter social y solidario de alcance regional, nacional y local, que se fundamenten en visiones de complementariedad entre los países y de justicia de género, integrando medidas eficaces para asegurar el acceso de las mujeres a los recursos y a la toma de decisiones. En igual sentido valoramos la importancia de la adopción del SUCRE como medio de intercambio soberano y eficaz en el comercio internacional entre nuestros países. Finalmente, es un desafío común para los países de la ALBA avanzar en políticas y medidas conjuntas para: Reconocer, dentro de las modalidades de trabajo, a las labores de autosustento y cuidado humano no remunerado que se realiza en los hogares. Los Estados deberían comprometerse a facilitar servicios e infraestructura para la atención pública y comunitaria de las necesidades básicas de todos los grupos dependientes (niñas/os, personas con discapacidad, adultas/os mayores), definir horarios de trabajo adecuados, impulsando la corresponsabilidad y reciprocidad de hombres y mujeres en el trabajo doméstico y en las obligaciones familiares, así como extender la seguridad social a quienes hacen esas labores. Impulsar reformas agrarias integrales y sostenibles, con una visión holística de la tierra como fuente de vida, que propicien la diversidad económica y productiva, la redistribución y la prohibición del latifundio. Impulsar la integración energética de América Latina y El Caribe bajo los principios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien, priorizando dentro de las estrategias de cooperación, proyectos de generación de energías limpias para fortalecer las capacidades de las pequeñas unidades productivas y las condiciones de vida de las poblaciones más empobrecidas. ALBA, un nuevo amanecer para nuestros pueblos con igualdad para las mujeres! Red Latinoamericana Mujeres Transformando la Economía –REMTE- Articulación de Mujeres de la CLOC- Vía Campesina Federación de Mujeres Cubanas Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres FEDAEPS

Dirigido a la Cumbre de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América –ALBA-

Cochabamba, 16 y 17 de octubre 2009

La ALBA es coincidente en su propuesta con principios y reivindicaciones históricas planteadas por el movimiento de mujeres. Sus principios de solidaridad, and cooperación, reciprocidad, complementariedad, diversidad e igualdad, han sido la base de las prácticas y contribuciones económicas de las mujeres, ligadas prioritariamente a la reproducción integral de procesos y condiciones de vida, y son también el eje de nuestras visiones sobre un nuevo sistema económico. Así, la ALBA confluye con la aspiración de las mujeres latinoamericanas y caribeñas de levantar una sociedad integrada desde una perspectiva incluyente, que recoja y potencie la policroma diversidad de sus pueblos, superando injusticias y desigualdades. Nosotras, que participamos activamente en las luchas y resistencias contra los proyectos de integración pautados por el capital, reconocemos a la ALBA como expresión de la búsqueda de un proyecto propio, en el cual los movimientos sociales y los pueblos, con nuestra participación activa, podamos contribuir y consensuar un proceso de construcción de sociedades alternativas. Apreciamos el potencial de la ALBA para plantear un proyecto latinoamericano basado en transformaciones mayores: el socialismo del siglo XXI –que, como lo han asumido ya algunos presidentes, ‘solo podrá ser feminista’-; el paradigma del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la riqueza de la plurinacionalidad, que redefinen ya los estados de algunos de sus países miembros. Valoramos el hecho de que, en su corta vida, la ALBA registra ya logros en el terreno del intercambio solidario, en los dominios de educación, salud,  cooperación energética; es notable su proyección como espacio de concertación política y resolución de conflictos, de construcción de posiciones comunes, “en defensa de la independencia, la soberanía, la autodeterminación y la identidad de los países que la integran y de los intereses y las aspiraciones de los pueblos del Sur frente a los intentos de dominación política y económica”. Como parte de los movimientos sociales y como protagonistas históricas de experiencias no mercantilizadas, hemos planteado, al igual que la ALBA, que nuestras sociedades se construyan sobre la base de la “unión de los pueblos, la autodeterminación, la complementariedad económica, el comercio justo, la lucha contra la pobreza, la preservación de la identidad cultural, la integración energética, la defensa del ambiente y la justicia”; desde esta coincidencia de perspectivas nos proponemos mancomunar esfuerzos para lograr los objetivos comunes de construcción de una Latinoamérica autodeterminada, solidaria, libre de relaciones patriarcales y levantada bajo los designios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien. La consolidación de la ALBA como un espacio de soberanía política, económica, social, institucional, cultural, de la diversidad, de lo popular y de lo público demanda cambios de fondo en la manera de pensar, diseñar, decidir y materializar las políticas. Se trata de construir un nuevo paradigma societal, que va más allá de rediseñar el existente. Este es un reto que requiere aunar toda la inteligencia, comprensión y capacidad de diálogo entre los gobiernos de los países de la ALBA y los movimientos sociales, de manera fluida y permanente. La creación del Consejo Ministerial de Mujeres y del Consejo de Movimientos Sociales, es paso importante para la articulación efectiva entre los gobiernos y los pueblos.  Saludamos esta decisión, a la vez que ofrecemos nuestro concurso para contribuir con el desarrollo de una perspectiva feminista en el conjunto de iniciativas y de políticas de la ALBA, como también para visualizar las medidas específicas que deberían tomarse para propiciar la igualdad de las mujeres y para erradicar el patriarcado. Consideramos que los cambios que plantea la ALBA son alcanzables en tanto se amplíen y profundicen cambios como los que ya han emprendido algunos de nuestros países con un sentido de transformación estructural, que incluyen el reconocimiento de la diversidad económica y productiva y en ese marco la visibilización de las mujeres como actoras económicas, la equiparación entre el trabajo productivo y el reproductivo, el desarrollo de éticas de igualdad, diversidades y no violencia, el reconocimiento de la soberanía alimentaria, entre otros aspectos que podrían convertirse en punto común para todas las políticas públicas de la ALBA, colocando como eje el Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la sostenibilidad de la vida. Con especial interés seguimos la propuesta de construir una Zona Económica de Desarrollo Compartido entre los países de la ALBA; consideramos que a su amparo y bajo un enfoque de economía diversa, social y solidaria, se pueden desarrollar iniciativas compartidas de soberanía alimentaria, de reconocimiento y desarrollo de los conocimientos de las mujeres,  de rescate y curaduría de las semillas nativas y de transgenosis natural, de producción y distribución cooperativa y asociativa, de generación de infraestructura y tecnologías orientadas al cuidado humano y ambiental. La creación de núcleos de desarrollo endógeno binacionales o trinacionales, que transformen las condiciones de trabajo y empleo para las mujeres del campo y la ciudad, sería una importante experiencia de integración y preservación regional de la cultura productiva y solidaria acumulada históricamente por nuestros pueblos. De igual manera, la creación de un Instituto de Estudios Feministas de los países de la ALBA, que organice intercambios de conocimientos y saberes entre los países, desarrolle proyectos de investigación sobre políticas públicas e internacionales, recupere los múltiples aportes de las mujeres a lo largo de nuestra historia, y juegue un papel activo en la generación de propuestas y desarrollo de asesorías a los gobiernos en esta materia, contribuirá significativamente al fortalecimiento de nuestro proceso de cambio regional. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para el impulso de un proyecto de integración alternativo que no debe repetir el déficit democrático de las propuestas precedentes. La participación en la concepción, diseño y ejecución de proyectos debe ser una divisa, por ello proponemos, como forma inicial de materialización de esa participación, que en la  instancia técnica del Consejo Social encargada de elaborar estudios, preparar propuestas y formular proyectos relacionados con las políticas sociales de la ALBA, así como de coordinar y darles seguimiento, se contemple la participación paritaria de las mujeres, la misma que deberá hacerse extensiva a todas las instancias, incluidas aquellas de decisión, gestión y representación. La ALBA tiene la particularidad de reunir a países de la Región Andina, Centroamérica y el Caribe, con problemáticas comunes y diferentes en materia de salud y vulnerabilidad frente a los fenómenos climáticos. Sería pertinente la creación de redes de intercambio y ayuda de las organizaciones de mujeres ante situaciones de emergencia epidemiológica y catástrofes naturales. Si bien el surgimiento y desarrollo de la ALBA ha sido un factor reconfortante en la senda de nuestras luchas, persisten en el mundo y en la región tendencias y procesos que constituyen zonas de riesgo y/o amenazas para los procesos de cambio, ante los cuales debemos permanecer alerta y desplegar toda la capacidad en defensa de nuestros procesos de transformación.  Declarar a los países de la ALBA como territorios de paz y libres de bases militares extrajeras es una propuesta de gran coherencia y defensa de la soberanía. Con preocupación vemos el avance en la región de un modelo de crecimiento focalizado en megaproyectos, que avanzan sin el consentimiento de los pueblos y atentan contra sus derechos, soberanía y autodeterminación.  El auge de monumentales obras de infraestructura bajo el amparo de proyectos como IIRSA y el Plan Mesoamérica, involucran a países de toda América Latina, incluso países de la ALBA. Tales obras son el sustento para la profundización y ampliación de economías de enc
lave, basadas en la racionalidad extractivista, deprededadora en su relación con la naturaleza y reproductora de las condiciones de relegamiento de nuestros pueblos. Estas obras tienen un notorio impacto sobre las mujeres, en especial las indígenas, comprometen la soberanía alimentaria de esas localidades y alteran la geografía, los ecosistemas y los patrones de consumo tradicional; algunas de ellas abren paso a la depredación de los recursos localizados en la Amazonía y en los bosques tropicales de Centroamérica. Creemos que es urgente que los gobiernos de la ALBA consideren colectivamente una crítica y distanciamiento de tales iniciativas del capitalismo neoliberal y asuman, sin ambigüedades, un nuevo enfoque de desarrollo congruente con la propuesta del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y con el proceso de cambios y estructurales que la ALBA conlleva. Con inquietud hemos visto, asimismo, el relanzamiento del Fondo Monetario Internacional en varios foros internacionales, como instancia reguladora frente a la actual crisis; resulta ofensivo hacia nuestros pueblos ignorar la responsabilidad de esa institución no sólo en las dinámicas que condujeron a la propia crisis, sino también en la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales que aún nos afectan duramente.  Ratificamos nuestra convicción, expresada en el último Foro Social Mundial (Belém 2009), de que el enfrentamiento a la crisis demanda alternativas anticapitalistas, antirracistas,  anti-imperialistas, socialistas, feministas y ecologistas. Es igualmente preocupante que se mantengan injustificadas expectativas en que la conclusión de la Ronda Doha de la OMC pueda resolver los problemas de acceso al mercado para los países ‘en desarrollo’. Los pueblos reclamamos el comercio justo y solidario frente al libre comercio; la apertura indiscriminada de nuestros mercados desplazó a las y los productores locales, la sustitución de importaciones fue demonizada para abrir nuestros mercados a los productos importados, la competencia se impuso a la lógica de la complementariedad y cooperación regional. La ALBA es un espacio invaluable para el rescate y el desarrollo de las producciones locales que fortalezcan las relaciones entre los pueblos y favorezcan formas de gestión colectiva, definida en torno al interés social y a los derechos de la naturaleza, por lo mismo debería extender la influencia de su filosofía a los acuerdos internacionales  con otras regiones. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para la construcción de soberanía financiera. Recuperar el control sobre nuestros ahorros y recursos financieros y reorientar su utilización hacia nuestros objetivos estratégicos, con criterios de democratización y redistribución es fundamental. Resalta como mecanismo el Banco de la ALBA, que puede ser uno de los puntales para desarrollo de iniciativas económicas de carácter social y solidario de alcance regional, nacional y local, que se fundamenten en visiones de complementariedad entre los países y de justicia de género, integrando medidas eficaces para asegurar el acceso de las mujeres a los recursos y a la toma de decisiones. En igual sentido valoramos la importancia de la adopción del SUCRE como medio de intercambio soberano y eficaz en el comercio internacional entre nuestros países. Finalmente, es un desafío común para los países de la ALBA avanzar en políticas y medidas conjuntas para: Reconocer, dentro de las modalidades de trabajo, a las labores de autosustento y cuidado humano no remunerado que se realiza en los hogares. Los Estados deberían comprometerse a facilitar servicios e infraestructura para la atención pública y comunitaria de las necesidades básicas de todos los grupos dependientes (niñas/os, personas con discapacidad, adultas/os mayores), definir horarios de trabajo adecuados, impulsando la corresponsabilidad y reciprocidad de hombres y mujeres en el trabajo doméstico y en las obligaciones familiares, así como extender la seguridad social a quienes hacen esas labores. Impulsar reformas agrarias integrales y sostenibles, con una visión holística de la tierra como fuente de vida, que propicien la diversidad económica y productiva, la redistribución y la prohibición del latifundio. Impulsar la integración energética de América Latina y El Caribe bajo los principios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien, priorizando dentro de las estrategias de cooperación, proyectos de generación de energías limpias para fortalecer las capacidades de las pequeñas unidades productivas y las condiciones de vida de las poblaciones más empobrecidas. ALBA, un nuevo amanecer para nuestros pueblos con igualdad para las mujeres!

Red Latinoamericana Mujeres Transformando la Economía –REMTE- Articulación de Mujeres de la CLOC- Vía Campesina Federación de Mujeres Cubanas Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres FEDAEPS

Dirigido a la Cumbre de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América –ALBA-

Cochabamba,
16 y 17 de octubre 2009

La ALBA es coincidente en su propuesta con principios y reivindicaciones históricas planteadas por el movimiento de mujeres. Sus principios de solidaridad, sovaldi sale cooperación, buy reciprocidad, complementariedad, diversidad e igualdad, han sido la base de las prácticas y contribuciones económicas de las mujeres, ligadas prioritariamente a la reproducción integral de procesos y condiciones de vida, y son también el eje de nuestras visiones sobre un nuevo sistema económico. Así, la ALBA confluye con la aspiración de las mujeres latinoamericanas y caribeñas de levantar una sociedad integrada desde una perspectiva incluyente, que recoja y potencie la policroma diversidad de sus pueblos, superando injusticias y desigualdades.

Nosotras, que participamos activamente en las luchas y resistencias contra los proyectos de integración pautados por el capital, reconocemos a la ALBA como expresión de la búsqueda de un proyecto propio, en el cual los movimientos sociales y los pueblos, con nuestra participación activa, podamos contribuir y consensuar un proceso de construcción de sociedades alternativas.

Apreciamos el potencial de la ALBA para plantear un proyecto latinoamericano basado en transformaciones mayores: el socialismo del siglo XXI –que, como lo han asumido ya algunos presidentes, ‘solo podrá ser feminista’-; el paradigma del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la riqueza de la plurinacionalidad, que redefinen ya los estados de algunos de sus países miembros.

Valoramos el hecho de que, en su corta vida, la ALBA registra ya logros en el terreno del intercambio solidario, en los dominios de educación, salud,  cooperación energética; es notable su proyección como espacio de concertación política y resolución de conflictos, de construcción de posiciones comunes, “en defensa de la independencia, la soberanía, la autodeterminación y la identidad de los países que la integran y de los intereses y las aspiraciones de los pueblos del Sur frente a los intentos de dominación política y económica”. Como parte de los movimientos sociales y como protagonistas históricas de experiencias no mercantilizadas, hemos planteado, al igual que la ALBA, que nuestras sociedades se construyan sobre la base de la “unión de los pueblos, la autodeterminación, la complementariedad económica, el comercio justo, la lucha contra la pobreza, la preservación de la identidad cultural, la integración energética, la defensa del ambiente y la justicia”; desde esta coincidencia de perspectivas nos proponemos mancomunar esfuerzos para lograr los objetivos comunes de construcción de una Latinoamérica autodeterminada, solidaria, libre de relaciones patriarcales y levantada bajo los designios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien. La consolidación de la ALBA como un espacio de soberanía política, económica, social, institucional, cultural, de la diversidad, de lo popular y de lo público demanda cambios de fondo en la manera de pensar, diseñar, decidir y materializar las políticas. Se trata de construir un nuevo paradigma societal, que va más allá de rediseñar el existente. Este es un reto que requiere aunar toda la inteligencia, comprensión y capacidad de diálogo entre los gobiernos de los países de la ALBA y los movimientos sociales, de manera fluida y permanente. La creación del Consejo Ministerial de Mujeres y del Consejo de Movimientos Sociales, es paso importante para la articulación efectiva entre los gobiernos y los pueblos.  Saludamos esta decisión, a la vez que ofrecemos nuestro concurso para contribuir con el desarrollo de una perspectiva feminista en el conjunto de iniciativas y de políticas de la ALBA, como también para visualizar las medidas específicas que deberían tomarse para propiciar la igualdad de las mujeres y para erradicar el patriarcado. Consideramos que los cambios que plantea la ALBA son alcanzables en tanto se amplíen y profundicen cambios como los que ya han emprendido algunos de nuestros países con un sentido de transformación estructural, que incluyen el reconocimiento de la diversidad económica y productiva y en ese marco la visibilización de las mujeres como actoras económicas, la equiparación entre el trabajo productivo y el reproductivo, el desarrollo de éticas de igualdad, diversidades y no violencia, el reconocimiento de la soberanía alimentaria, entre otros aspectos que podrían convertirse en punto común para todas las políticas públicas de la ALBA, colocando como eje el Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la sostenibilidad de la vida. Con especial interés seguimos la propuesta de construir una Zona Económica de Desarrollo Compartido entre los países de la ALBA; consideramos que a su amparo y bajo un enfoque de economía diversa, social y solidaria, se pueden desarrollar iniciativas compartidas de soberanía alimentaria, de reconocimiento y desarrollo de los conocimientos de las mujeres,  de rescate y curaduría de las semillas nativas y de transgenosis natural, de producción y distribución cooperativa y asociativa, de generación de infraestructura y tecnologías orientadas al cuidado humano y ambiental. La creación de núcleos de desarrollo endógeno binacionales o trinacionales, que transformen las condiciones de trabajo y empleo para las mujeres del campo y la ciudad, sería una importante experiencia de integración y preservación regional de la cultura productiva y solidaria acumulada históricamente por nuestros pueblos. De igual manera, la creación de un Instituto de Estudios Feministas de los países de la ALBA, que organice intercambios de conocimientos y saberes entre los países, desarrolle proyectos de investigación sobre políticas públicas e internacionales, recupere los múltiples aportes de las mujeres a lo largo de nuestra historia, y juegue un papel activo en la generación de propuestas y desarrollo de asesorías a los gobiernos en esta materia, contribuirá significativamente al fortalecimiento de nuestro proceso de cambio regional. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para el impulso de un proyecto de integración alternativo que no debe repetir el déficit democrático de las propuestas precedentes. La participación en la concepción, diseño y ejecución de proyectos debe ser una divisa, por ello proponemos, como forma inicial de materialización de esa participación, que en la  instancia técnica del Consejo Social encargada de elaborar estudios, preparar propuestas y formular proyectos relacionados con las políticas sociales de la ALBA, así como de coordinar y darles seguimiento, se contemple la participación paritaria de las mujeres, la misma que deberá hacerse extensiva a todas las instancias, incluidas aquellas de decisión, gestión y representación. La ALBA tiene la particularidad de reunir a países de la Región Andina, Centroamérica y el Caribe, con problemáticas comunes y diferentes en materia de salud y vulnerabilidad frente a los fenómenos climáticos. Sería pertinente la creación de redes de intercambio y ayuda de las organizaciones de mujeres ante situaciones de emergencia epidemiológica y catástrofes naturales. Si bien el surgimiento y desarrollo de la ALBA ha sido un factor reconfortante en la senda de nuestras luchas, persisten en el mundo y en la región tendencias y procesos que constituyen zonas de riesgo y/o amenazas para los procesos de cambio, ante los cuales debemos permanecer alerta y desplegar toda la capacidad en defensa de nuestros procesos de transformación.  Declarar a los países de la ALBA como territorios de paz y libres de bases militares extrajeras es una propuesta de gran coherencia y defensa de la soberanía. Con preocupación vemos el avance en la región de un modelo de crecimiento focalizado en megaproyectos, que avanzan sin el consentimiento de los pueblos y atentan contra sus derechos, soberanía y autodeterminación.  El auge de monumentales obras de infraestructura bajo el amparo de proyectos como IIRSA y el Plan Mesoamérica, involucran a países de toda América Latina, incluso países de la ALBA. Tales obras son el sustento para la profundización y ampliación de economías de enclave, basadas en la racionalidad extractivista, deprededadora en su relación con la naturaleza y reproductora de las condiciones de relegamiento de nuestros pueblos. Estas obras tienen un notorio impacto sobre las mujeres, en especial las indígenas, comprometen la soberanía alimentaria de esas localidades y alteran la geografía, los ecosistemas y los patrones de consumo tradicional; algunas de ellas abren paso a la depredación de los recursos localizados en la Amazonía y en los bosques tropicales de Centroamérica. Creemos que es urgente que los gobiernos de la ALBA consideren colectivamente una crítica y distanciamiento de tales iniciativas del capitalismo neoliberal y asuman, sin ambigüedades, un nuevo enfoque de desarrollo congruente con la propuesta del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y con el proceso de cambios y estructurales que la ALBA conlleva. Con inquietud hemos visto, asimismo, el relanzamiento del Fondo Monetario Internacional en varios foros internacionales, como instancia reguladora frente a la actual crisis; resulta ofensivo hacia nuestros pueblos ignorar la responsabilidad de esa institución no sólo en las dinámicas que condujeron a la propia crisis, sino también en la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales que aún nos afectan duramente.  Ratificamos nuestra convicción, expresada en el último Foro Social Mundial (Belém 2009), de que el enfrentamiento a la crisis demanda alternativas anticapitalistas, antirracistas,  anti-imperialistas, s
ocialistas, feministas y ecologistas. Es igualmente preocupante que se mantengan injustificadas expectativas en que la conclusión de la Ronda Doha de la OMC pueda resolver los problemas de acceso al mercado para los países ‘en desarrollo’. Los pueblos reclamamos el comercio justo y solidario frente al libre comercio; la apertura indiscriminada de nuestros mercados desplazó a las y los productores locales, la sustitución de importaciones fue demonizada para abrir nuestros mercados a los productos importados, la competencia se impuso a la lógica de la complementariedad y cooperación regional. La ALBA es un espacio invaluable para el rescate y el desarrollo de las producciones locales que fortalezcan las relaciones entre los pueblos y favorezcan formas de gestión colectiva, definida en torno al interés social y a los derechos de la naturaleza, por lo mismo debería extender la influencia de su filosofía a los acuerdos internacionales  con otras regiones. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para la construcción de soberanía financiera. Recuperar el control sobre nuestros ahorros y recursos financieros y reorientar su utilización hacia nuestros objetivos estratégicos, con criterios de democratización y redistribución es fundamental. Resalta como mecanismo el Banco de la ALBA, que puede ser uno de los puntales para desarrollo de iniciativas económicas de carácter social y solidario de alcance regional, nacional y local, que se fundamenten en visiones de complementariedad entre los países y de justicia de género, integrando medidas eficaces para asegurar el acceso de las mujeres a los recursos y a la toma de decisiones. En igual sentido valoramos la importancia de la adopción del SUCRE como medio de intercambio soberano y eficaz en el comercio internacional entre nuestros países. Finalmente, es un desafío común para los países de la ALBA avanzar en políticas y medidas conjuntas para: Reconocer, dentro de las modalidades de trabajo, a las labores de autosustento y cuidado humano no remunerado que se realiza en los hogares. Los Estados deberían comprometerse a facilitar servicios e infraestructura para la atención pública y comunitaria de las necesidades básicas de todos los grupos dependientes (niñas/os, personas con discapacidad, adultas/os mayores), definir horarios de trabajo adecuados, impulsando la corresponsabilidad y reciprocidad de hombres y mujeres en el trabajo doméstico y en las obligaciones familiares, así como extender la seguridad social a quienes hacen esas labores. Impulsar reformas agrarias integrales y sostenibles, con una visión holística de la tierra como fuente de vida, que propicien la diversidad económica y productiva, la redistribución y la prohibición del latifundio. Impulsar la integración energética de América Latina y El Caribe bajo los principios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien, priorizando dentro de las estrategias de cooperación, proyectos de generación de energías limpias para fortalecer las capacidades de las pequeñas unidades productivas y las condiciones de vida de las poblaciones más empobrecidas. ALBA, un nuevo amanecer para nuestros pueblos con igualdad para las mujeres!

Red Latinoamericana Mujeres Transformando la Economía –REMTE- Articulación de Mujeres de la CLOC- Vía Campesina Federación de Mujeres Cubanas Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres FEDAEPS

Dirigido a la Cumbre de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América –ALBA-

Cochabamba, medical 16 y 17 de octubre 2009

La ALBA es coincidente en su propuesta con principios y reivindicaciones históricas planteadas por el movimiento de mujeres. Sus principios de solidaridad, cooperación, reciprocidad, complementariedad, diversidad e igualdad, han sido la base de las prácticas y contribuciones económicas de las mujeres, ligadas prioritariamente a la reproducción integral de procesos y condiciones de vida, y son también el eje de nuestras visiones sobre un nuevo sistema económico. Así, la ALBA confluye con la aspiración de las mujeres latinoamericanas y caribeñas de levantar una sociedad integrada desde una perspectiva incluyente, que recoja y potencie la policroma diversidad de sus pueblos, superando injusticias y desigualdades.

Nosotras, que participamos activamente en las luchas y resistencias contra los proyectos de integración pautados por el capital, reconocemos a la ALBA como expresión de la búsqueda de un proyecto propio, en el cual los movimientos sociales y los pueblos, con nuestra participación activa, podamos contribuir y consensuar un proceso de construcción de sociedades alternativas.

Apreciamos el potencial de la ALBA para plantear un proyecto latinoamericano basado en transformaciones mayores: el socialismo del siglo XXI –que, como lo han asumido ya algunos presidentes, ‘solo podrá ser feminista’-; el paradigma del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la riqueza de la plurinacionalidad, que redefinen ya los estados de algunos de sus países miembros.

Valoramos el hecho de que, en su corta vida, la ALBA registra ya logros en el terreno del intercambio solidario, en los dominios de educación, salud,  cooperación energética; es notable su proyección como espacio de concertación política y resolución de conflictos, de construcción de posiciones comunes, “en defensa de la independencia, la soberanía, la autodeterminación y la identidad de los países que la integran y de los intereses y las aspiraciones de los pueblos del Sur frente a los intentos de dominación política y económica”.

Como parte de los movimientos sociales y como protagonistas históricas de experiencias no mercantilizadas, hemos planteado, al igual que la ALBA, que nuestras sociedades se construyan sobre la base de la “unión de los pueblos, la autodeterminación, la complementariedad económica, el comercio justo, la lucha contra la pobreza, la preservación de la identidad cultural, la integración energética, la defensa del ambiente y la justicia”; desde esta coincidencia de perspectivas nos proponemos mancomunar esfuerzos para lograr los objetivos comunes de construcción de una Latinoamérica autodeterminada, solidaria, libre de relaciones patriarcales y levantada bajo los designios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien.

La consolidación de la ALBA como un espacio de soberanía política, económica, social, institucional, cultural, de la diversidad, de lo popular y de lo público demanda cambios de fondo en la manera de pensar, diseñar, decidir y materializar las políticas. Se trata de construir un nuevo paradigma societal, que va más allá de rediseñar el existente. Este es un reto que requiere aunar toda la inteligencia, comprensión y capacidad de diálogo entre los gobiernos de los países de la ALBA y los movimientos sociales, de manera fluida y permanente.

La creación del Consejo Ministerial de Mujeres y del Consejo de Movimientos Sociales, es paso importante para la articulación efectiva entre los gobiernos y los pueblos.  Saludamos esta decisión, a la vez que ofrecemos nuestro concurso para contribuir con el desarrollo de una perspectiva feminista en el conjunto de iniciativas y de políticas de la ALBA, como también para visualizar las medidas específicas que deberían tomarse para propiciar la igualdad de las mujeres y para erradicar el patriarcado.

Consideramos que los cambios que plantea la ALBA son alcanzables en tanto se amplíen y profundicen cambios como los que ya han emprendido algunos de nuestros países con un sentido de transformación estructural, que incluyen el reconocimiento de la diversidad económica y productiva y en ese marco la visibilización de las mujeres como actoras económicas, la equiparación entre el trabajo productivo y el reproductivo, el desarrollo de éticas de igualdad, diversidades y no violencia, el reconocimiento de la soberanía alimentaria, entre otros aspectos que podrían convertirse en punto común para todas las políticas públicas de la ALBA, colocando como eje el Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la sostenibilidad de la vida.

Con especial interés seguimos la propuesta de construir una Zona Económica de Desarrollo Compartido entre los países de la ALBA; consideramos que a su amparo y bajo un enfoque de economía diversa, social y solidaria, se pueden desarrollar iniciativas compartidas de soberanía alimentaria, de reconocimiento y desarrollo de los conocimientos de las mujeres,  de rescate y curaduría de las semillas nativas y de transgenosis natural, de producción y distribución cooperativa y asociativa, de generación de infraestructura y tecnologías orientadas al cuidado humano y ambiental.

La creación de núcleos de desarrollo endógeno binacionales o trinacionales, que transformen las condiciones de trabajo y empleo para las mujeres del campo y la ciudad, sería una importante experiencia de integración y preservación regional de la cultura productiva y solidaria acumulada históricamente por nuestros pueblos. De igual manera, la creación de un Instituto de Estudios Feministas de los países de la ALBA, que organice intercambios de conocimientos y saberes entre los países, desarrolle proyectos de investigación sobre políticas públicas e internacionales, recupere los múltiples aportes de las mujeres a lo largo de nuestra historia, y juegue un papel activo en la generación de propuestas y desarrollo de asesorías a los gobiernos en esta materia, contribuirá significativamente al fortalecimiento de nuestro proceso de cambio regional.

La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para el impulso de un proyecto de integración alternativo que no debe repetir el déficit democrático de las propuestas precedentes. La participación en la concepción, diseño y ejecución de proyectos debe ser una divisa, por ello proponemos, como forma inicial de materialización de esa participación, que en la  instancia técnica del Consejo Social encargada de elaborar estudios, preparar propuestas y formular proyectos relacionados con las políticas sociales de la ALBA, así como de coordinar y darles seguimiento, se contemple la participación paritaria de las mujeres, la misma que deberá hacerse extensiva a todas las instancias, incluidas aquellas de decisión, gestión y representación.

La ALBA tiene la particularidad de reunir a países de la Región Andina, Centroamérica y el Caribe, con problemáticas comunes y diferentes en materia de salud y vulnerabilidad frente a los fenómenos climáticos. Sería pertinente la creación de redes de intercambio y ayuda de las organizaciones de mujeres ante situaciones de emergencia epidemiológica y catástrofes naturales. Si bien el surgimiento y desarrollo de la ALBA ha sido un factor reconfortante en la senda de nuestras luchas, persisten en el mundo y en la región tendencias y procesos que constituyen zonas de riesgo y/o amenazas para los procesos de cambio, ante los cuales debemos permanecer alerta y desplegar toda la capacidad en defensa de nuestros procesos de transformación.  Declarar a los países de la ALBA como territorios de paz y libres de bases militares extrajeras es una propuesta de gran coherencia y defensa de la soberanía. Con preocupación vemos el avance en la región de un modelo de crecimiento focalizado en megaproyectos, que avanzan sin el consentimiento de los pueblos y atentan contra sus derechos, soberanía y autodeterminación.  El auge de monumentales obras de infraestructura bajo el amparo de proyectos como IIRSA y el Plan Mesoamérica, involucran a países de toda América Latina, incluso países de la ALBA. Tales obras son el sustento para la profundización y ampliación de economías de enclave, basadas en la racionalidad extractivista, deprededadora en su relación con la naturaleza y reproductora de las condiciones de relegamiento de nuestros pueblos. Estas obras tienen un notorio impacto sobre las mujeres, en especial las indígenas, comprometen la soberanía alimentaria de esas localidades y alteran la geografía, los ecosistemas y los patrones de consumo tradicional; algunas de ellas abren paso a la depredación de los recursos localizados en la Amazonía y en los bosques tropicales de Centroamérica. Creemos que es urgente que los gobiernos de la ALBA consideren colectivamente una crítica y distanciamiento de tales iniciativas del capitalismo neoliberal y asuman, sin ambigüedades, un nuevo enfoque de desarrollo congruente con la propuesta del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y con el proceso de cambios y estructurales que la ALBA conlleva. Con inquietud hemos visto, asimismo, el relanzamiento del Fondo Monetario Internacional en varios foros internacionales, como instancia reguladora frente a la actual crisis; resulta ofensivo hacia nuestros pueblos ignorar la responsabilidad de esa institución no sólo en las dinámicas que condujeron a la propia crisis, sino también en la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales que aún nos afectan duramente.  Ratificamos nuestra convicción, expresada en el último Foro Social Mundial (Belém 2009), de que el enfrentamiento a la crisis demanda alternativas anticapitalistas, antirracistas,  anti-imperialistas, socialistas, feministas y ecologistas. Es igualmente preocupante que se mantengan injustificadas expectativas en que la conclusión de la Ronda Doha de la OMC pueda resolver los problemas de acceso al mercado para los países ‘en desarrollo’. Los pueblos reclamamos el comercio justo y solidario frente al libre comercio; la apertura indiscriminada de nuestros mercados desplazó a las y los productores locales, la sustitución de importaciones fue demonizada para abrir nuestros mercados a los productos importados, la competencia se impuso a la lógica de la complementariedad y cooperación regional. La ALBA es un espacio invaluable para el rescate y el desarrollo de las producciones locales que fortalezcan las relaciones entre los pueblos y favorezcan formas de gestión colectiva, definida en torno al interés social y a los derechos de la naturaleza, por lo mismo debería extender la influencia de su filosofía a los acuerdos internacionales  con otras regiones. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para la construcción de soberanía financiera. Recuperar el control sobre nuestros ahorros y recursos financieros y reorientar su utilización hacia nuestros objetivos estratégicos, con criterios de democratización y redistribución es fundamental. Resalta como mecanismo el Banco de la ALBA, que puede ser uno de los puntales para desarrollo de iniciativas económicas de carácter social y solidario de alcance regional, nacional y local, que se fundamenten en visiones de complementariedad entre los países y de justicia de género, integrando medidas eficaces para asegurar el acceso de las mujeres a los recursos y a la toma de decisiones. En igual sentido valoramos la importancia de la adopción del SUCRE como medio de intercambio soberano y eficaz en el comercio internacional entre nuestros países. Finalmente, es un desafío común para los países de la ALBA avanzar en políticas y medidas conjuntas para: Reconocer, dentro de las modalidades de trabajo, a las labores de autosustento y cuidado humano no remunerado que se realiza en los hogares. Los Estados deberían comprometerse a facilitar servicios e infraestructura para la atención pública y comunitaria de las necesidades básicas de todos los grupos dependientes (niñas/os, personas con discapacidad, adultas/os mayores), definir horarios de trabajo adecuados, impulsando la corresponsabilidad y reciprocidad de hombres y mujeres en el trabajo doméstico y en las obligaciones familiares, así como extender la seguridad social a quienes hacen esas labores. Impulsar reformas agrarias integrales y sostenibles, con una visión holística de la tierra como fuente de vida, que propicien la diversidad económica y productiva, la redistribución y la prohibición del latifundio. Impulsar la integración energética de América Latina y El Caribe bajo los principios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien, priorizando dentro de las estrategias de cooperación, proyectos de generación de energías limpias para fortalecer las capacidades de las pequeñas unidades productivas y las condiciones de vida de las poblaciones más empobrecidas. ALBA, un nuevo amanecer para nuestros pueblos con igualdad para las mujeres!

Red Latinoamericana Mujeres Transformando la Economía –REMTE- Articulación de Mujeres de la CLOC- Vía Campesina Federación de Mujeres Cubanas Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres FEDAEPS

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Dirigido a la Cumbre de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América –ALBA-

Cochabamba, click 16 y 17 de octubre 2009

La ALBA es coincidente en su propuesta con principios y reivindicaciones históricas planteadas por el movimiento de mujeres. Sus principios de solidaridad, for sale cooperación, reciprocidad, complementariedad, diversidad e igualdad, han sido la base de las prácticas y contribuciones económicas de las mujeres, ligadas prioritariamente a la reproducción integral de procesos y condiciones de vida, y son también el eje de nuestras visiones sobre un nuevo sistema económico. Así, la ALBA confluye con la aspiración de las mujeres latinoamericanas y caribeñas de levantar una sociedad integrada desde una perspectiva incluyente, que recoja y potencie la policroma diversidad de sus pueblos, superando injusticias y desigualdades.

Nosotras, que participamos activamente en las luchas y resistencias contra los proyectos de integración pautados por el capital, reconocemos a la ALBA como expresión de la búsqueda de un proyecto propio, en el cual los movimientos sociales y los pueblos, con nuestra participación activa, podamos contribuir y consensuar un proceso de construcción de sociedades alternativas.

Apreciamos el potencial de la ALBA para plantear un proyecto latinoamericano basado en transformaciones mayores: el socialismo del siglo XXI –que, como lo han asumido ya algunos presidentes, ‘solo podrá ser feminista’-; el paradigma del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la riqueza de la plurinacionalidad, que redefinen ya los estados de algunos de sus países miembros.

Valoramos el hecho de que, en su corta vida, la ALBA registra ya logros en el terreno del intercambio solidario, en los dominios de educación, salud,  cooperación energética; es notable su proyección como espacio de concertación política y resolución de conflictos, de construcción de posiciones comunes, “en defensa de la independencia, la soberanía, la autodeterminación y la identidad de los países que la integran y de los intereses y las aspiraciones de los pueblos del Sur frente a los intentos de dominación política y económica”.

Como parte de los movimientos sociales y como protagonistas históricas de experiencias no mercantilizadas, hemos planteado, al igual que la ALBA, que nuestras sociedades se construyan sobre la base de la “unión de los pueblos, la autodeterminación, la complementariedad económica, el comercio justo, la lucha contra la pobreza, la preservación de la identidad cultural, la integración energética, la defensa del ambiente y la justicia”; desde esta coincidencia de perspectivas nos proponemos mancomunar esfuerzos para lograr los objetivos comunes de construcción de una Latinoamérica autodeterminada, solidaria, libre de relaciones patriarcales y levantada bajo los designios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien.

La consolidación de la ALBA como un espacio de soberanía política, económica, social, institucional, cultural, de la diversidad, de lo popular y de lo público demanda cambios de fondo en la manera de pensar, diseñar, decidir y materializar las políticas. Se trata de construir un nuevo paradigma societal, que va más allá de rediseñar el existente. Este es un reto que requiere aunar toda la inteligencia, comprensión y capacidad de diálogo entre los gobiernos de los países de la ALBA y los movimientos sociales, de manera fluida y permanente.

La creación del Consejo Ministerial de Mujeres y del Consejo de Movimientos Sociales, es paso importante para la articulación efectiva entre los gobiernos y los pueblos.  Saludamos esta decisión, a la vez que ofrecemos nuestro concurso para contribuir con el desarrollo de una perspectiva feminista en el conjunto de iniciativas y de políticas de la ALBA, como también para visualizar las medidas específicas que deberían tomarse para propiciar la igualdad de las mujeres y para erradicar el patriarcado.

Consideramos que los cambios que plantea la ALBA son alcanzables en tanto se amplíen y profundicen cambios como los que ya han emprendido algunos de nuestros países con un sentido de transformación estructural, que incluyen el reconocimiento de la diversidad económica y productiva y en ese marco la visibilización de las mujeres como actoras económicas, la equiparación entre el trabajo productivo y el reproductivo, el desarrollo de éticas de igualdad, diversidades y no violencia, el reconocimiento de la soberanía alimentaria, entre otros aspectos que podrían convertirse en punto común para todas las políticas públicas de la ALBA, colocando como eje el Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la sostenibilidad de la vida.

Con especial interés seguimos la propuesta de construir una Zona Económica de Desarrollo Compartido entre los países de la ALBA; consideramos que a su amparo y bajo un enfoque de economía diversa, social y solidaria, se pueden desarrollar iniciativas compartidas de soberanía alimentaria, de reconocimiento y desarrollo de los conocimientos de las mujeres,  de rescate y curaduría de las semillas nativas y de transgenosis natural, de producción y distribución cooperativa y asociativa, de generación de infraestructura y tecnologías orientadas al cuidado humano y ambiental.

La creación de núcleos de desarrollo endógeno binacionales o trinacionales, que transformen las condiciones de trabajo y empleo para las mujeres del campo y la ciudad, sería una importante experiencia de integración y preservación regional de la cultura productiva y solidaria acumulada históricamente por nuestros pueblos.
De igual manera, la creación de un Instituto de Estudios Feministas de los países de la ALBA, que organice intercambios de conocimientos y saberes entre los países, desarrolle proyectos de investigación sobre políticas públicas e internacionales, recupere los múltiples aportes de las mujeres a lo largo de nuestra historia, y juegue un papel activo en la generación de propuestas y desarrollo de asesorías a los gobiernos en esta materia, contribuirá significativamente al fortalecimiento de nuestro proceso de cambio regional.

La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para el impulso de un proyecto de integración alternativo que no debe repetir el déficit democrático de las propuestas precedentes. La participación en la concepción, diseño y ejecución de proyectos debe ser una divisa, por ello proponemos, como forma inicial de materialización de esa participación, que en la  instancia técnica del Consejo Social encargada de elaborar estudios, preparar propuestas y formular proyectos relacionados con las políticas sociales de la ALBA, así como de coordinar y darles seguimiento, se contemple la participación paritaria de las mujeres, la misma que deberá hacerse extensiva a todas las instancias, incluidas aquellas de decisión, gestión y representación.

La ALBA tiene la particularidad de reunir a países de la Región Andina, Centroamérica y el Caribe, con problemáticas comunes y diferentes en materia de salud y vulnerabilidad frente a los fenómenos climáticos. Sería pertinente la creación de redes de intercambio y ayuda de las organizaciones de mujeres ante situaciones de emergencia epidemiológica y catástrofes naturales.

Si bien el surgimiento y desarrollo de la ALBA ha sido un factor reconfortante en la senda de nuestras luchas, persisten en el mundo y en la región tendencias y procesos que constituyen zonas de riesgo y/o amenazas para los procesos de cambio, ante los cuales debemos permanecer alerta y desplegar toda la capacidad en defensa de nuestros procesos de transformación.  Declarar a los países de la ALBA como territorios de paz y libres de bases militares extrajeras es una propuesta de gran coherencia y defensa de la soberanía.

Con preocupación vemos el avance en la región de un modelo de crecimiento focalizado en megaproyectos, que avanzan sin el consentimiento de los pueblos y atentan contra sus derechos, soberanía y autodeterminación.  El auge de monumentales obras de infraestructura bajo el amparo de proyectos como IIRSA y el Plan Mesoamérica, involucran a países de toda América Latina, incluso países de la ALBA. Tales obras son el sustento para la profundización y ampliación de economías de enclave, basadas en la racionalidad extractivista, deprededadora en su relación con la naturaleza y reproductora de las condiciones de relegamiento de nuestros pueblos. Estas obras tienen un notorio impacto sobre las mujeres, en especial las indígenas, comprometen la soberanía alimentaria de esas localidades y alteran la geografía, los ecosistemas y los patrones de consumo tradicional; algunas de ellas abren paso a la depredación de los recursos localizados en la Amazonía y en los bosques tropicales de Centroamérica.

Creemos que es urgente que los gobiernos de la ALBA consideren colectivamente una crítica y distanciamiento de tales iniciativas del capitalismo neoliberal y asuman, sin ambigüedades, un nuevo enfoque de desarrollo congruente con la propuesta del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y con el proceso de cambios y estructurales que la ALBA conlleva.
Con inquietud hemos visto, asimismo, el relanzamiento del Fondo Monetario Internacional en varios foros internacionales, como instancia reguladora frente a la actual crisis; resulta ofensivo hacia nuestros pueblos ignorar la responsabilidad de esa institución no sólo en las dinámicas que condujeron a la propia crisis, sino también en la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales que aún nos afectan duramente.  Ratificamos nuestra convicción, expresada en el último Foro Social Mundial (Belém 2009), de que el enfrentamiento a la crisis demanda alternativas anticapitalistas, antirracistas,  anti-imperialistas, socialistas, feministas y ecologistas.

Es igualmente preocupante que se mantengan injustificadas expectativas en que la conclusión de la Ronda Doha de la OMC pueda resolver los problemas de acceso al mercado para los países ‘en desarrollo’. Los pueblos reclamamos el comercio justo y solidario frente al libre comercio; la apertura indiscriminada de nuestros mercados desplazó a las y los productores locales, la sustitución de importaciones fue demonizada para abrir nuestros mercados a los productos importados, la competencia se impuso a la lógica de la complementariedad y cooperación regional.

La ALBA es un espacio invaluable para el rescate y el desarrollo de las producciones locales que fortalezcan las relaciones entre los pueblos y favorezcan formas de gestión colectiva, definida en torno al interés social y a los derechos de la naturaleza, por lo mismo debería extender la influencia de su filosofía a los acuerdos internacionales  con otras regiones.

La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para la construcción de soberanía financiera. Recuperar el control sobre nuestros ahorros y recursos financieros y reorientar su utilización hacia nuestros objetivos estratégicos, con criterios de democratización y redistribución es fundamental. Resalta como mecanismo el Banco de la ALBA, que puede ser uno de los puntales para desarrollo de iniciativas económicas de carácter social y solidario de alcance regional, nacional y local, que se fundamenten en visiones de complementariedad entre los países y de justicia de género, integrando medidas eficaces para asegurar el acceso de las mujeres a los recursos y a la toma de decisiones. En igual sentido valoramos la importancia de la adopción del SUCRE como medio de intercambio soberano y eficaz en el comercio internacional entre nuestros países.

Finalmente, es un desafío común para los países de la ALBA avanzar en políticas y medidas conjuntas para:

Reconocer, dentro de las modalidades de trabajo, a las labores de autosustento y cuidado humano no remunerado que se realiza en los hogares. Los Estados deberían comprometerse a facilitar servicios e infraestructura para la atención pública y comunitaria de las necesidades básicas de todos los grupos dependientes (niñas/os, personas con discapacidad, adultas/os mayores), definir horarios de trabajo adecuados, impulsando la corresponsabilidad y reciprocidad de hombres y mujeres en el trabajo doméstico y en las obligaciones familiares, así como extender la seguridad social a quienes hacen esas labores.

Impulsar reformas agrarias integrales y sostenibles, con una visión holística de la tierra como fuente de vida, que propicien la diversidad económica y productiva, la redistribución y la prohibición del latifundio.

Impulsar la integración energética de América Latina y El Caribe bajo los principios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien, priorizando dentro de las estrategias de cooperación, proyectos de generación de energías limpias para fortalecer las capacidades de las pequeñas unidades productivas y las condiciones de vida de las poblaciones más empobrecidas.

ALBA, un nuevo amanecer para nuestros pueblos
con igualdad para las mujeres!

Red Latinoamericana Mujeres Transformando la Economía –REMTE-
Articulación de Mujeres de la CLOC- Vía Campesina
Federación de Mujeres Cubanas
Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres
FEDAEPS

Dirigido a la Cumbre de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América –ALBA-

Cochabamba, 16 y 17 de octubre 2009

La ALBA es coincidente en su propuesta con principios y reivindicaciones históricas planteadas por el movimiento de mujeres. Sus principios de solidaridad, ask cooperación, reciprocidad, complementariedad, diversidad e igualdad, han sido la base de las prácticas y contribuciones económicas de las mujeres, ligadas prioritariamente a la reproducción integral de procesos y condiciones de vida, y son también el eje de nuestras visiones sobre un nuevo sistema económico. Así, la ALBA confluye con la aspiración de las mujeres latinoamericanas y caribeñas de levantar una sociedad integrada desde una perspectiva incluyente, que recoja y potencie la policroma diversidad de sus pueblos, superando injusticias y desigualdades. Nosotras, que participamos activamente en las luchas y resistencias contra los proyectos de integración pautados por el capital, reconocemos a la ALBA como expresión de la búsqueda de un proyecto propio, en el cual los movimientos sociales y los pueblos, con nuestra participación activa, podamos contribuir y consensuar un proceso de construcción de sociedades alternativas. Apreciamos el potencial de la ALBA para plantear un proyecto latinoamericano basado en transformaciones mayores: el socialismo del siglo XXI –que, como lo han asumido ya algunos presidentes, ‘solo podrá ser feminista’-; el paradigma del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la riqueza de la plurinacionalidad, que redefinen ya los estados de algunos de sus países miembros. Valoramos el hecho de que, en su corta vida, la ALBA registra ya logros en el terreno del intercambio solidario, en los dominios de educación, salud,  cooperación energética; es notable su proyección como espacio de concertación política y resolución de conflictos, de construcción de posiciones comunes, “en defensa de la independencia, la soberanía, la autodeterminación y la identidad de los países que la integran y de los intereses y las aspiraciones de los pueblos del Sur frente a los intentos de dominación política y económica”. Como parte de los movimientos sociales y como protagonistas históricas de experiencias no mercantilizadas, hemos planteado, al igual que la ALBA, que nuestras sociedades se construyan sobre la base de la “unión de los pueblos, la autodeterminación, la complementariedad económica, el comercio justo, la lucha contra la pobreza, la preservación de la identidad cultural, la integración energética, la defensa del ambiente y la justicia”; desde esta coincidencia de perspectivas nos proponemos mancomunar esfuerzos para lograr los objetivos comunes de construcción de una Latinoamérica autodeterminada, solidaria, libre de relaciones patriarcales y levantada bajo los designios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien. La consolidación de la ALBA como un espacio de soberanía política, económica, social, institucional, cultural, de la diversidad, de lo popular y de lo público demanda cambios de fondo en la manera de pensar, diseñar, decidir y materializar las políticas. Se trata de construir un nuevo paradigma societal, que va más allá de rediseñar el existente. Este es un reto que requiere aunar toda la inteligencia, comprensión y capacidad de diálogo entre los gobiernos de los países de la ALBA y los movimientos sociales, de manera fluida y permanente. La creación del Consejo Ministerial de Mujeres y del Consejo de Movimientos Sociales, es paso importante para la articulación efectiva entre los gobiernos y los pueblos.  Saludamos esta decisión, a la vez que ofrecemos nuestro concurso para contribuir con el desarrollo de una perspectiva feminista en el conjunto de iniciativas y de políticas de la ALBA, como también para visualizar las medidas específicas que deberían tomarse para propiciar la igualdad de las mujeres y para erradicar el patriarcado. Consideramos que los cambios que plantea la ALBA son alcanzables en tanto se amplíen y profundicen cambios como los que ya han emprendido algunos de nuestros países con un sentido de transformación estructural, que incluyen el reconocimiento de la diversidad económica y productiva y en ese marco la visibilización de las mujeres como actoras económicas, la equiparación entre el trabajo productivo y el reproductivo, el desarrollo de éticas de igualdad, diversidades y no violencia, el reconocimiento de la soberanía alimentaria, entre otros aspectos que podrían convertirse en punto común para todas las políticas públicas de la ALBA, colocando como eje el Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y la sostenibilidad de la vida. Con especial interés seguimos la propuesta de construir una Zona Económica de Desarrollo Compartido entre los países de la ALBA; consideramos que a su amparo y bajo un enfoque de economía diversa, social y solidaria, se pueden desarrollar iniciativas compartidas de soberanía alimentaria, de reconocimiento y desarrollo de los conocimientos de las mujeres,  de rescate y curaduría de las semillas nativas y de transgenosis natural, de producción y distribución cooperativa y asociativa, de generación de infraestructura y tecnologías orientadas al cuidado humano y ambiental. La creación de núcleos de desarrollo endógeno binacionales o trinacionales, que transformen las condiciones de trabajo y empleo para las mujeres del campo y la ciudad, sería una importante experiencia de integración y preservación regional de la cultura productiva y solidaria acumulada históricamente por nuestros pueblos. De igual manera, la creación de un Instituto de Estudios Feministas de los países de la ALBA, que organice intercambios de conocimientos y saberes entre los países, desarrolle proyectos de investigación sobre políticas públicas e internacionales, recupere los múltiples aportes de las mujeres a lo largo de nuestra historia, y juegue un papel activo en la generación de propuestas y desarrollo de asesorías a los gobiernos en esta materia, contribuirá significativamente al fortalecimiento de nuestro proceso de cambio regional. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para el impulso de un proyecto de integración alternativo que no debe repetir el déficit democrático de las propuestas precedentes. La participación en la concepción, diseño y ejecución de proyectos debe ser una divisa, por ello proponemos, como forma inicial de materialización de esa participación, que en la  instancia técnica del Consejo Social encargada de elaborar estudios, preparar propuestas y formular proyectos relacionados con las políticas sociales de la ALBA, así como de coordinar y darles seguimiento, se contemple la participación paritaria de las mujeres, la misma que deberá hacerse extensiva a todas las instancias, incluidas aquellas de decisión, gestión y representación. La ALBA tiene la particularidad de reunir a países de la Región Andina, Centroamérica y el Caribe, con problemáticas comunes y diferentes en materia de salud y vulnerabilidad frente a los fenómenos climáticos. Sería pertinente la creación de redes de intercambio y ayuda de las organizaciones de mujeres ante situaciones de emergencia epidemiológica y catástrofes naturales. Si bien el surgimiento y desarrollo de la ALBA ha sido un factor reconfortante en la senda de nuestras luchas, persisten en el mundo y en la región tendencias y procesos que constituyen zonas de riesgo y/o amenazas para los procesos de cambio, ante los cuales debemos permanecer alerta y desplegar toda la capacidad en defensa de nuestros procesos de transformación.  Declarar a los países de la ALBA como territorios de paz y libres de bases militares extrajeras es una propuesta de gran coherencia y defensa de la soberanía. Con preocupación vemos el avance en la región de un modelo de crecimiento focalizado en megaproyectos, que avanzan sin el consentimiento de los pueblos y atentan contra sus derechos, soberanía y autodeterminación.  El auge de monumentales obras de infraestructura bajo el amparo de proyectos como IIRSA y el Plan Mesoamérica, involucran a países de toda América Latina, incluso países de la ALBA. Tales obras son el sustento para la profundización y ampliación de economías de enc
lave, basadas en la racionalidad extractivista, deprededadora en su relación con la naturaleza y reproductora de las condiciones de relegamiento de nuestros pueblos. Estas obras tienen un notorio impacto sobre las mujeres, en especial las indígenas, comprometen la soberanía alimentaria de esas localidades y alteran la geografía, los ecosistemas y los patrones de consumo tradicional; algunas de ellas abren paso a la depredación de los recursos localizados en la Amazonía y en los bosques tropicales de Centroamérica. Creemos que es urgente que los gobiernos de la ALBA consideren colectivamente una crítica y distanciamiento de tales iniciativas del capitalismo neoliberal y asuman, sin ambigüedades, un nuevo enfoque de desarrollo congruente con la propuesta del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien y con el proceso de cambios y estructurales que la ALBA conlleva. Con inquietud hemos visto, asimismo, el relanzamiento del Fondo Monetario Internacional en varios foros internacionales, como instancia reguladora frente a la actual crisis; resulta ofensivo hacia nuestros pueblos ignorar la responsabilidad de esa institución no sólo en las dinámicas que condujeron a la propia crisis, sino también en la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales que aún nos afectan duramente.  Ratificamos nuestra convicción, expresada en el último Foro Social Mundial (Belém 2009), de que el enfrentamiento a la crisis demanda alternativas anticapitalistas, antirracistas,  anti-imperialistas, socialistas, feministas y ecologistas. Es igualmente preocupante que se mantengan injustificadas expectativas en que la conclusión de la Ronda Doha de la OMC pueda resolver los problemas de acceso al mercado para los países ‘en desarrollo’. Los pueblos reclamamos el comercio justo y solidario frente al libre comercio; la apertura indiscriminada de nuestros mercados desplazó a las y los productores locales, la sustitución de importaciones fue demonizada para abrir nuestros mercados a los productos importados, la competencia se impuso a la lógica de la complementariedad y cooperación regional. La ALBA es un espacio invaluable para el rescate y el desarrollo de las producciones locales que fortalezcan las relaciones entre los pueblos y favorezcan formas de gestión colectiva, definida en torno al interés social y a los derechos de la naturaleza, por lo mismo debería extender la influencia de su filosofía a los acuerdos internacionales  con otras regiones. La ALBA es un espacio privilegiado para la construcción de soberanía financiera. Recuperar el control sobre nuestros ahorros y recursos financieros y reorientar su utilización hacia nuestros objetivos estratégicos, con criterios de democratización y redistribución es fundamental. Resalta como mecanismo el Banco de la ALBA, que puede ser uno de los puntales para desarrollo de iniciativas económicas de carácter social y solidario de alcance regional, nacional y local, que se fundamenten en visiones de complementariedad entre los países y de justicia de género, integrando medidas eficaces para asegurar el acceso de las mujeres a los recursos y a la toma de decisiones. En igual sentido valoramos la importancia de la adopción del SUCRE como medio de intercambio soberano y eficaz en el comercio internacional entre nuestros países. Finalmente, es un desafío común para los países de la ALBA avanzar en políticas y medidas conjuntas para: Reconocer, dentro de las modalidades de trabajo, a las labores de autosustento y cuidado humano no remunerado que se realiza en los hogares. Los Estados deberían comprometerse a facilitar servicios e infraestructura para la atención pública y comunitaria de las necesidades básicas de todos los grupos dependientes (niñas/os, personas con discapacidad, adultas/os mayores), definir horarios de trabajo adecuados, impulsando la corresponsabilidad y reciprocidad de hombres y mujeres en el trabajo doméstico y en las obligaciones familiares, así como extender la seguridad social a quienes hacen esas labores. Impulsar reformas agrarias integrales y sostenibles, con una visión holística de la tierra como fuente de vida, que propicien la diversidad económica y productiva, la redistribución y la prohibición del latifundio. Impulsar la integración energética de América Latina y El Caribe bajo los principios del Buen Vivir / Vivir Bien, priorizando dentro de las estrategias de cooperación, proyectos de generación de energías limpias para fortalecer las capacidades de las pequeñas unidades productivas y las condiciones de vida de las poblaciones más empobrecidas. ALBA, un nuevo amanecer para nuestros pueblos con igualdad para las mujeres!

Red Latinoamericana Mujeres Transformando la Economía –REMTE- Articulación de Mujeres de la CLOC- Vía Campesina Federación de Mujeres Cubanas Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres FEDAEPS

Today, troche the European Union stands at a crossroads.

One of the EU’s overarching objectives is to generate economic prosperity. This has been pursuedby promoting productivity and consumption,

But economic growth and competitiveness became objectives in themselves, rather than means toan end. Social and environmental policies proved too weak to achieve their goals. On top of social and ecological challenges, the EU today faces an unprecedented economic downturn. The lesson from these events is clear: we need a major re-thinking of Europe’s strategic direction.

This year will bring a new Commission and newly-elected Parliament, and in 2010 we will seethe adoption of a new political guidance for the EU by its Heads of State. The time to influence the strategic direction of the EU is now.

We have a unique opportunity to ensure that the EU putsthe economy at the service of people and planet – instead of the other way round.The Spring Alliance has been formed to do exactly this. It is a joint campaign initiated by four leading European civil society organisations: the European Environmental Bureau, the EuropeanTrade Union Confederation, Social Platform and Concord.

The Spring Alliance Manifesto is also supported by organisations from all corners of civil society and beyond, including fair-tradeassociations, anti-poverty and health campaigners, consumer organisations and representatives from the research community.

This Manifesto outlines 17 proposals for an EU that puts people and the planet first. We explainwhy these recommendations should be taken, and list concrete steps that illustrate how decisionmakers can turn our proposals into reality.


Download the PDF

Americas Program Americas Program Report: A New Financial Architecture for Latin America, Part 2

South American Trade and Currency Volatility


by Tony Phillips


Latin America has of some of the world’s largest countries, in terms of land area, but the continent has no large global economy: and only two medium-sized economies, Brazil and Mexico. The region also lacks a local hard currency as a basis for international, and especially intra-regional, trade.

Many of the commodities that South American countries export are not traded in the currency of the originating country. So, if Chile imports oil from Argentina or Argentina copper from Chile, they pay in U.S. dollars. A regional currency facilitates trade and the creation of financial service hubs.

Europe developed its financial services and its regional development bank around the Pound Sterling, the Mark, the French Franc, and its economic stability now depends largely on the Euro. The U.S. Dollar filled this role in North America, and Asia uses the Yen (and increasingly the Yuan). The lack of a continental currency leads to unstable national currencies and also financial dependence, in this case on the U.S. dollar.

Three Latin American democracies are dollarized (Ecuador, Panama, and El Salvador). While the Bank of the South will not replace the use of the dollar, even in development projects, it could be a step in the right direction in terms of locally-sourced development infrastructure. It is also a step toward a South American regional currency. The Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA in Spanish) countries have proposed beginning with a Sucre, a transactional currency introduced at the latest ALBA-TCP (TCP—Peoples Trade Agreement) conference in Cumaná, Venezuela. ALBA itself was created as a “Bolivarian” alternative for Latin American commerce to oppose the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Ecuador recently agreed to join ALBA.

Latin America is rich in real terms, however its financial infrastructure is primitive. This means that many national and international transactions pass unnecessarily via northern financial centers, sometimes requiring two hard currency conversions from buyer currency to dollar to seller currency. Even transactions within a country can be in external currencies; buying an apartment in Buenos Aires, for example, involves a transaction in dollars. For a time this was also the case in Brazil. However, increased self-reliance, the strength of the Brazilian Real, and banking regulation have gradually replaced the dollar with the Brazilian Real in most Brazilian financial transactions.

One recent step forward has been a bilateral Central Bank agreement between Brazil and Argentina, allowing trade to occur between these two countries in local currencies. However, this Central Bank to Central Bank facility is not backed by basic financial services in Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires, such as currency hedges to protect the transaction in the case of a sharp currency move between the Brazilian Real and the Argentine Peso. With the global financial crisis, currency moves are becoming more volatile. The result is that traders pay extra to buy and sell futures on the U.S. dollar, which offers them the currency security they need to plan ahead and fix the price of a future transaction, so use of this new facility accounts for less than 20% of transactions between Brazil and Argentina.

A History of Instability


Latin America has experienced economic instability for centuries. Some economic historians believe this to be the result of bad habits inherited from colonial times. During the Spanish and Portuguese empires, export policies were policed by viceroys for the benefit of their Iberian kings (and corrupt local customs officials). With military conquest came exploitation of human and natural resources for export markets abroad. Iberian royalty cared little about the working conditions in their silver mines or large estancias. It never even occurred to them to pay for the silver and gold coins smelted there for use in Madrid or Lisbon which funded Europe’s development. In effect they were a donation of Latin American resources to Europe. New World plunder financed the development of Old World empires.

With independence came change and some improvement in the chain of international production. Recent decades, however, have seen another consolidation in the control of exploitation, production, transport, and marketing of South American resources, introducing new economic forces, a process known as the transnationalization of these economies. The chain of production has shifted to the hands of private transnational corporations. Examples include U.S. transnational Cargill’s activities in grains and oils (especially soybeans) in Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; or banking giants such as Citibank and HSBC; or Spanish transnationals such as Telefonica, Banco Santander, BBVA, and Repsol.

Today none of South America’s commodity exports are denominated in their own currencies and most of the financial system is held and controlled by developed country-based transnational companies. This leaves national currencies and financial systems weak and vulnerable, what some have called a “neo-colonial” order that undermines regional development. This results in flows of capital from South America to the headquarters of the transnationals which operate there leaving the countries permanently short of hard currency. This causes so-called stop-and-go economic instability cycles: (stop) crisis in the balance of payments and then (go) after devaluation of currency. Stop-and-go makes development planning impossible.


Latin America’s economic problems are compounded by foreign debt and the growth of dollar-denominated commodity exports. This has a cyclical destructive pattern in Latin America from the shortage of savings in local currencies. Who wants to save for a rainy day when their currency is constantly losing value, if not by internal inflation, then by forced devaluation relative to other currencies? When Argentines have excess currency they ask their economist friends: “Should I buy euros or dollars?” This means they have more pesos when the currency devalues and often means they can avoid taxes. On the contrary in Brazil some save in foreign currencies, but due to recent economic stability and high interest rates, many save in Reals. This aids stability in Brazil but not in Argentina.

Much of Latin America’s debt began with “development” or “aid” loans made to the region via Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) or the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Much of this money was used in Latin America to develop local infrastructure and to buy weapons for the military but the money never left the lending countries—it was simply recycled into their arms manufacturers and construction companies.

President Chavez of Venezuela recently presented U.S. President Obama with a copy of Eduardo Galeano’s 1971 “Open Veins of Latin America;” the symbolism of open veins has a contemporary analogy in international finance. If the rivers of interest payments are dammed, they will stop pouring into oceans of foreign finance and instead can be re-channeled within Latin America. This could result in a constructive dynamic cycle of growth and currency stabilization. A regional bank such as the Bank of the South (BDS) could promote peace and economic development by the sourcing of development from neighboring countries. This is good for both source and destination countries. The net result is dynamic development cycles which also aid the local country exporting the service. It also provides an aquifer of local finance that replenishes itself from local fronts.

To examine the cyclic destructive nature of the current lack of development, consider the following characteristics of Latin American public finance:

  1. High Cost Debt
    Regional countries exhibit high debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratios. They are indebted to countries outside the region and the cost of that debt has a high risk premium (country risk) also calculated by agencies external to the region. Much of their debt is in foreign currencies. All this combined makes the cost of debt repayments very high.
  2. Exports Bring Collars for Interest Payments
    National governments are advised by neoclassical economists (such as those who work for the World Bank or the IADB) to counteract debt problems with economic policies that prioritize exports. This is compounded by the arguable theory that nations should only compete in exports in which they have natural competitive advantages over other nations. This in turn leads to policies to promote the export of commodities in primary form (from mining and agricultural sectors) while ignoring local industrial sectors that are not directly related to commodities and inhibiting the development of value-added industries.
  3. Transnational Export Trade, Not Denominated in Local Currencies
    Many countries in Latin America compete with their neighbors in commodity exports. In mining these include oil, copper, gold, silver, and iron ore and in agriculture; cattle, corn, sugar, bananas, soybeans, etc. Exports of these products to countries outside the region are characteristically transacted in foreign commodity markets, such as the Chicago Board of Trade with prices denominated in the U.S. dollar. Trade in commodities is handled by a small number of global transnational corporations competing with their own divisions in neighboring Latin American countries. Therefore, there is a tendency for exporters (those same transnational corporations and land owners in particular) to influence national governments in a race to the bottom, driving down national production costs by pitting neighbor against neighbor in devaluing national currencies. Competition for national economic activity also pressurizes neighboring countries to compete with each other. National governments are encouraged to provide production subsidies to export industries or to weaken environmental or labor laws, thereby enticing the presence of transnational production facilities to their country rather than to that of their neighbor. Examples include automobile production in Brazil and Argentina. It is interesting to note that while General Motors may be bankrupt it is still loath to sell its Brazilian plants, which are one of only a few profitable divisions in the company.
  4. Large Foreign Reserves Abroad, Less at Home
    Managing devalued currencies and speculative attacks by currency speculators requires countries to maintain large reserves of foreign currency. The currency is derived from exports (again largely denominated in U.S. dollars). This leaves smaller funds to pay off debts, and for internal development.
  5. Export Policies Push Down Currency Values, Debt Repayment More Expensive
    Devaluations of currencies lead to high debt repayment costs for debt denominated in foreign currencies due to a lower tax-base in a devalued currency. This, in turn, has the unfortunate side-effect of high inflation due to increased costs of imports. It can even lead to internal social unrest due to unpopular taxation policies within the country. The current world financial crisis is leading to greater concentration of global wealth due to nations being forced to salvage their financial sectors by bankrolling private financial interests. While such problems are mainly in developed countries capable of the financial sophistication required, there are also risks in Latin American economies. Dr, Pedro Paéz, minister of Economic Policy Coordination of Ecuador and coordinator of the Southern Bank, singled out competitive devaluations as a distinct risk, one that can be alleviated by trade policies based on regional solidarity, and not solely driven by raw competition. Such policies, along with policies of nationalization of critical economic sectors, fly in the face of the interests of transnational corporations operating across multiple Latin American borders. The ALBA system of trade, for example, has two primary tenets related to trade and production: Solidarity, complementarity, and non-competition along with harmony with Mother Nature for long-term sustainability.

Dr Paéz’s own country has recently taken measures to escape the debt trap. Ecuador assembled a debt audit commission (Comisión Para la Auditoría Integral del Crédito Público, CAIC), an internationally advised national debt audit committee, in its department of finance. President Correa has refused to pay what the commission ruled on as fraudulent and/or onerous debt in an effort to break the debt/underdevelopment stranglehold that high debt repayments bring.

This has not made Ecuador any friends in the international financial community. Like Argentina or Iceland, the Ecuadorian default has lead the country to be punished by “high country-risk” status, making traditional sources of investment and credit expensive or completely unavailable from New York, London, Berlin, Paris, and Tokyo. This lack of alternative funding makes creating an alternative source of development like the BDS even more attractive for the black sheep of international finance.




Toward a Future of Financial Integration



If the BDS launches successfully, then regional leaders can choose to implement other modules described by President Correa above—a regional reserves fund and a common currency. These two elements would offer the region an opportunity to stabilize currencies relative to each other and prevent competitive devaluation, by loaning to each other in times of stress.

For a common currency proposal like the Sucre to develop into a transactional currency it will need the participation of Brazil and Argentina to gain international acceptance. For now, currencies are still national, and fiscal policy will be tight for the next few years. Latin America will have to look to alternative markets for loans, such as currency swaps with China or with each other.

Long-term stability will require savings and investment in Latin America even by Latin Americans. It will also require the development of basic financial services with local regulation. The BDS, regulated for its constituents and not solely for the benefit of its transnationals, can be used to fund genuine cross-border development projects for South Americans by South Americans. It is a promising step in the right direction for regional financial autonomy.


End Notes

  1. As well as the U.S. dollar.
  2. In the ALBA-TCP meeting in Cumaná, Venezuela, a nominal transactional currency was introduced, called the Sucre, for transactions between ALBA nations in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.
  3. A single system for regional exchange of payments; “Sistema Único de Compensación Regional de Pagos.”
  4. Notorious examples include the silver mines of Guanajuato (New Spain / Mexico) and Potosi (Upper Peru, now Bolivia).
  5. The capital leaves as dividends, interest, and via pseudo-legal transfers to countries with lower (or no) national taxes, a process known as “transfer pricing” (simple definition: http://www.solhaam.org/articles/clm503.html) (Technical discussion re U.S. transnationals: http://www.bdo.com/publications/tax/intlalert/LatinAmerTPpaper4-05-3.pdf).
  6. Video of presentation: http://monthlyreview.org/books/openveinslatinamerica.php.
  7. Example: the public debt to GDP ratio in Argentina grew from 29% to 41% between 1993 and 1998 and to 134% in 2003. Even after growth in GDP in Argentina of nearly 10% per annum since 2003, Argentina and Brazil both still have ratios above 50%.
  8. http://www.cbot.com/.
  9. A word that is so alien to Anglo-Saxon finance that it is barely used in English, the Oxford dictionary defines it as a situation in which two or more different things enhance each other or form a balanced whole; http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/complementarity?view=uk.


Tony Phillips is a researcher and journalist on trade and multinational finance with an emphasis on dictatorships and the WTO, and a translator and analyst for the Americas Program at www.americaspolicy.org. Much of Tony’s work is published at http://projectallende.org/.


SEATINI: Statement to the COMESA Summit on the ESA-EC Economic Partnership Agreements Negotiations

By Thomas Wallgren

* Presentation given at International Conference of governments and social movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, ask Asunción del Paraguay)


Because of systemic constraints in the so called leading nations we cannot wait for the Obamas and even Lulas of the world to show the way for the deep changes we need. Political, cultural and moral initiative that will inspire hope on all continents can and needs to come from many places.

In the golden age of the Nordic model, the small North European area that I come from, had disproportionate global significance in pro-people politics. Many of us in these countries still work to preserve and take further the Nordic tradition. We must, however, humbly admit that the Nordic identity has weakened in the last 15 years as we have been been overwhelmed by globalisation and EU-integration.

In this spirit I want to join the large number of people on all continents who enthusiastically welcome the recent wave of positive developments in Latin America, including also many smaller countries, such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. I recognise the enormous difficulties you are facing, including the current crisis in Honduras. Nevertheless I want to welcome the quality and direction of development in many South and Latin American countries in the last few years and the efforts and the decisive contribution of ordinary people from the struggling classes to them.

A. GLOBAL AND HISTORICAL PREMISES OF REGIONAL COOPERATION

Regional integration in the context of collapsing neo-liberalism, authoritarian capitalism and the search for cultural alternatives

1. “Neoliberalism died in 2008-2009. ” Is this statement true or false?
It is true in a limited sense. The state is back in the economy. Simultaneously deregulation, privatisation and trade liberalisation are all on a hold or they are rolled back. George W. Bush goes down in the books as the greatest socialiser of banks and enterprises in world history. Market fundamentalism will not come back easily as an economic orthodoxy. So far so good.


Nevertheless, as we have seen during the past months the demise of neo-liberalism does not mean the end of capitalism nor does it automatically change the balance of power or fundamental policies. Banks are bailed out and the costs of enterprise failures are carried by tax-payers. In the EU the centralising and liberalising Lissabon treaty is back on track. In India the elections were won by a centre right still pursuing growth through exports, international competitiveness, intensified exploitation of domestic natural resources and deepened integration into global markets. Obama brings the US back on a more Keynesian track and into multilateral cooperation, but his victory was more due to the catastrophic results of Bush’s politics than of a desire for fundamental redirection of US power. Financial regulation remains weak, tax havens still work as usual and even the Tobin tax awaits its implementation. In the global arenas, at WTO, the World Bank or even in the climate negotiations positive news are yet to come. All in all, it is clear by now that radical shifts in power structures, economic distribution or national or international policies are not easily within reach.


The main lesson of the past winter is that neo-liberalism was always only a radical fashion, a tip of the iceberg. When it goes away we can see again clearly that the modern state in most countries remains committed to a development model in which a mix of capitalist, growth dependent exploitative economy and consumerist, individualistic, civilisational values remains central. The global trend in the last years and months is not that neo-liberal capitalism is replaced by socialism, a new green politics or even social liberalism but, unfortunately, by authoritarian capitalism. In fact, what we witness on all continents is a colossal lack of political and cultural creativity in the state and corporate sector. Hence, and this is my first point today, people seeking social and ecological justice need to recognise that the shift to politics for sustainable futures that the world so badly needs will not come about just because neo-liberalism goes away.

The good news is that with neo-liberalism gone, with George Bush down and out and with the states and business sector at a loss both intellectually and morally we can begin to understand our responsibility and define our tasks and challenges more clearly than has been possible during the past ten years.


Everywhere people recognise that the ruling elites are failing and at a loss. We need a new internationalism that is not founded on state to state cooperation or market integration. The regional cooperation we are looking for must protect and build upon people-to-people solidarity and conviviality. It must draw its strength from the confidence and creativity of ordinary people who are engaged in a multitude of local struggles and in a plurality of efforts towards decolonisation and civilisational renewal.

2. Too often only the global and national level are recognized as relevant political arenas. They are important, but should not make us overlook the relevance of the local and regional levels. From the perspective of radical and comprehensive democracy building from below and strengthening the disempowered is essential in all responses to the crisis. Democratising the politics and economy of globalisation is important but difficult. In global efforts large corporations and states still have a relative advantage over other actors. Hence, as long as power structure are not altered, we should not expect too much good to come out from institutions working on global regulation of e.g. finance and climate.


The experience of the past years has shown clearly the inadequacy of the current structure, instruments and policies of global financial regulation and economic development. The Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO-framwork have been insufficient or even dysfunctional for development, ecological responsibility and economic stability, especially for the global South. This much should now be uncontroversial. It remains open, however, what the implications are for the politics of global governance and the role of regional and national politics.

My second point today is that regional politics needs to be recognised more than before as a relevant arena of political initiative in its own right. The regional arena is too often considered to be only complementary to nation states and global institutional arrangements and global governance. Regional cooperation in the South can provide protection from dysfunctional and failing global institutions. It can also strengthen the bargaining power of the South, especially the smaller countries of the South, in global politics. Thirdly regional political instruments may play a huge role in achieving at the regional level governance services and functions that are not available at the global level. These can include for instance protection and support of micro and small enterprise as well as of local knowledge systems and forms or democracy, the launch of local and regional currencies with high social and ecological value, and so forth.

3. State borders are becoming more porous than before, people are meeting and mixing more than before. The future belongs, as Indian social philosoper Lohia said fifty years ago, increasingly to “the bastards.” We see every day along the Southern borders of the US and the EU that efforts to keep borders closed and nations clean lead to disaster. Regional cooperation presents major opportunities if the physical and cultural mobility of peoples in the region and between them is enhanced. The opposite politics of regional integration which allows mobility only internally and is closed to the outer world, with exceptions allowed only for selfish reasons or on market premises is a false and dangerous model.


In societies atomised socially and empoverished culturally by late capitalism and consumerism nation state are often seen as competitors. The sense of competition fosters widely felt anxiety. As we have seen in South Asia, Europe, North America and elsewhere the consequence is often un upsurge of xenophobic identity-politics, increasing militarisation and securitisation and even terror by states and non-state agencies.

Regional protection and strategic cooperation should be built with a clear commitment to global solidarity.

In building regionalism for a new internationalism it is essential that we go beyond the current logic of competetive identity politics. In this a people-to-people cooperation and diplomacy, as pursued for instance in the World Social Forum and by a multitude of innovative smaller groups and movementsduring the past years, can play an important role. The legitimacy and need for non-state political cooperation is obvious and  in regional cooperation as well tax-payers money and other public resources should not be exclusively spent on state and market driven integration.

Having said this let me stress that our efforts must complement and give life to, but not undermine the UN centred multilateral system. The G-192 that met in June 2009 for a UN General Assembly on the financial crisis and its impact on development also needs strengthening.

4. Regional cooperation in the South should not only protect the weak. It should also lead the world out of its multiple crises on the long-term. Globally the political debates seem to be moving from a discussion of separate crises to a discussion of inter-connected crises: of the finance sector, the world economy, political governance, food, water, development and climate. I welcome the synthetic framework of this conference. I only want to add that not only are the different areas of crisis interconnected and systemic. They should all be seen as symptoms of an underlying cultural crisis; a crisis of development models and the fundamental aspirations and ideals of modernization.

My fourth suggestion is that all political reforms and initiatives now of the short and medium term should be shaped so as not to hamper but rather support a civilisational shift in which the ultimate goals and ideals of development are reconsidered. It is clear that people, states and corporations in Europe and America must be pressed to responsibility and that we must pay for the mess we have caused during five hundred years through exploitation of other continents and mother earth. Nevertheless, for historical, cultural and social reasons the global North cannot be trusted too much in the search for new civilisational visions and new socially and ecologically enriching models for progress and development. The global South must take the lead. Regional cooperation in the global South and between increasingly self-reliant but co-operating Southern regional blocs can be essential for gaining economic, political and cultural autonomy from Europe and the US, serving global solidarity and environmental responsibility.

Latin America, with its strong tradition of mass participation in politics, progressive left movements, liberation theology and its great cultural variety should be a strong region in this search. In recent years the increasingly lively alliances throughout the region of indigenous and other emancipatory movements, that has given one country a president coming from the indigenous movements and another country a constitution that recognises Mother Earth is of particular interest for people on all continents who are searching for new political tools, ideas and visions. In decolonising development, art iculating new visions of good life (buen vivir) and building radical democracy the movements South America are today a great source of energy and hope for people on all continents. It is important for us all that this political and cultural resurgence is placed at the centre of regional integration here.

6. Nuclear proliferation, the totalisation of war through the war on terror and anti-hegemonic insurgency with little or no dependence on states, and the largely uncalculable threats of new military technologies combining e.g. new IT, nano-technology and genetic engineering make 21st century questions of war and peace more intractable than before. For this reason pro-people regional cooperation should systematically promote cultures and economies of sustainability and peace.

Peace-politics cannot imply thoughtless pacifism. We can still draw insight and inspiration from the Gandhian notion of and experiments with truth-force (“satyagraha”). This year 100 years have passed since Gandhi wrote his definitive statement, the pivotal pamphlet Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule on board a ship between Britain and South  Africa. The new politics of global security that we need, must, as Gandhi and others have clearly seen long back, be linked to the construction of pro-people and environmentally sound development models. These can emerge on the basis of the variety of sustainable life-styles, democracies and civilisational values existing today especially in the global South.

The industrial growth centred development model that first emerged in Europe and North America in the 18th to 20th century needs to be seriously reconsidered. The global record seems to be that industrial growth economies are not capable of overcoming poverty and deprivation everywhere. Without a commitment to peaceful cooperation and civilisational alternatives zero-sum competition for growth and unsustainable life-styles among nations and regions is likely to dominate global politics in the 21st century. Regions are then more than likely to develop into competing, protectionist blocs forming strategic alliances. Even under the condition of functional interdependence globally of the competing blocs, climate change, development failures and resource depletion combined with nuclear proliferation and the evolution of new military technologies may easily lead to completely new types of wars with planetary consequences. Hence, regional cooperation in Latin America, in other Southern regions and between them needs to be globally oriented towards cooperation and solidarity, not competition. It may be helpful in this regard to think of the global North in a new way: not as the developed regions that have made it, but as regions suffering from serious development failures. Even quite conservative new models for measuring overall success in development, such as the so called Happy Planet Index, indicate that life-conditions in the US, Sweden, Germany and other similar countries reached an all-time high in th 1970s and haved steadily deteriorated since then.

B. LESSONS FROM THE EUROPEAN MODEL

Since the early 1950s the emergence of, first the European Economic Community, EEC, and later, its sequel, the European Union, has been the dynamic centre of European  integration. The EU is now the most advanced model of regional integration globally. It has the largest internal market, the most ambitious common political instruments and the tightest juridical integration.

European integration has gained popular support and political legitimacy from two great promises. It has been seen, first, as a peace project and, secondly, increasingly in later years, as a project for benign, political governance of corporate driven globalisation. Without these impressive ideas European integration could not have been brought to its present level. Both ideas are now in a crisis.

I wish to bring out some lessons for regional integration from the fifty years of building the European Union:

(1) Peace ambitions may undermine democracy:
Since its inception in the 1950s the EU has been seen as a device to overcome the belligerent tendencies of nation-states. Drawing on analysis and inspiration coming from the 18th century German enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant and others, the idea has been to promote peace through functional integration of the national economies in the region.
The dark side of this idea was that EU integration has worked top-down. The people have been seen as prone to aggressive sentiment. Integration has proceeded on the initiative and under the leadership of bureaucratic elites. Economic integration has intentionally been built as a device that will promote political and other integration later, behind the backs of the reluctant citizens. For this reason the EU carries a vast democratic deficit. In recent years the democratic deficit in Europe has become obvious to all. The repeated side-stepping of the outcome of national referenda on EU-issues, such as the French and Dutch rejection of the EU constitution  and the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty is rapidly leading Europe to a very serious and deep crisis in democratic legitimacy and participation.
The deficit is structural: decision-making in the EU is so undemocratic that, ironically, the EU, if it would be a nation, would not qualify for membership in the EU.  Because of the post-war technocratic logic of EU-integration the democratic crisis in Europe is also very deep-seated. It will take time to overcome it. At the moment, the effort by EU-leaders to enforce the Lisbin treaty show that so far the EU is on the wrong track in this regard.
The lesson to be learnt is that regional cooperation must, much more than has been the case in Europe, be built democratically, with explicit consent and support by the citizens.

(2) Peace ambitions regionally may be counterproductive for peace globally:

In the aftermath of the second world war the sound ambition of the architects of European integration was to prevent the outbreak of war between European nations. Less attention has, for understandable reasons, been paid to the contribution of Europe to global security. The consequence is that wars between the leading countries of Europe has become highly unlikely but that their integration between them may become, or has perhaps already become, counter-productive for global security. In the great wars of the Bush regime – on Iraq and Afghanistan – a new obscene division of labour is emerging between the trans-Atlantic forces. The USA carries the main burden of classical warfare, the EU steps in economically and logistically in the aftermath of the war, takinmg care of crisis management. This, it may be argued, is the new logic of Western, imperial military hegemony.
If other regions follow the EU model and see regional integration of foreign policy, security policy and trade policy as an instrument for selfish and hegemonic ambitions the ensuing world order may easily end up repeating the calamities of what we in Europe call the westphalian order of competing, sovereign nation states, at a new, higher level.

(3) Regional cooperation for global governance needs to be built democratically from below. Special care must be taken at every step to keep economic policies within democratic control and to avoid spill-over from economic policies on social protection, environmental protection and other vital policy areas:

Since the 1980s the main left and centre argument in favour of deepening European integration has no longer been the argument from peace. The new argument has been the argument from globalization. The main ideas are familiar to all by now. Technological changes have made possible deep changes in the economy. Deepening economic interdependence between nations and regions, the increasing importance of a globalised capital market and the increasing size and power of transnational corporations have overburdened the steering and regulating capacity of nation states. For these reasons new instruments for political regulations are called for. The European Union has been seen by many as a much needed instrument for improved global governance of the economy at first, and now increasingly also of climate change, migration etc.
For this and other reasons the primacy of economic policy instruments is a deep-seated feature of European integration. The creation of a common internal market and of common external economic policies, especially as regards trade, has been a priority in European integration.
In this tradition markets and trade have often been given politically very expansive interpretations: in the EU (as in the WTO) the free movement of trade in goods has not been enough. Free movement of capital, labour and services have been seen as equally natural parts of economic integration on liberal premises. In consequence, the more the economic instruments have developed the more they have dominated over other policy areas in which decision-making has been more confined to the national level. Social policy, workers rights, health and education, environment have all suffered from a subordination to common economic policies. The strong efforts by trade unions, left governments, environmentalists, women’s movements and others to change the balance of forces in Europe have so far met with, at best, half-success. Recent key developments, such as the text and ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty, the formation of Europe’s new global economic policy, and the struggles over the working time, services and chemical legislation at the European level, show that corporate interests and narrowly defined economic goals still tend to dominate EU-policies.


The lesson for other regions is again negative. It is extremely dangerous for democracy, ecology and social justice to make economic cooperation the heart of regional integration.

(4) Regional integration is possible but needs to be democratic:
Let me close on a more positive note with some recommendations drawn from the European experience:

* Regional integration needs to be built democratically. Economic integration should be subservient to social justice and radical democracy.
To this end, there are four  fundamental conditions:
One: the fundamental principle of democracy, that all state power and all power of regional authorities belongs to the people, must always be recognized formally. (In the EU this is still not the case!)
Two: It is imperative that the juridical hierarchy, including the effective control of constitutional rights and freedoms of people and nature, is never subordinated to economic policies or juridical agreements regulating the economy. In the European Union the primacy of economic rights and freedoms at the level of the common regional market and in trade agreements infringes more and more on the human rights achievements. This is not only a concern at the international level where bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements are known to undermine human rights. Also internally in Europe social rights achievements have some times been undermined by the economic logic of integration.
Three: the peoples must always have effective control, before the fact and after the fact, of the balance of powers between regional and national authorities. In practice, referenda about that powers to hold at the national level and what powers to confer to regional authorities are essential. But these must be complemented by stronger powers to question and interfere in the formation of this balance by national parliaments.
Four: the political logic of democratic regionalism by the people and for the people should be pluralistic and decentred. When the peoples are in effective control of the balance of powers different countries will participate in different ways in regional cooperation, taking exceptions as they see fit and forming sub-units of tighter cooperation as they see fit. This should not be seen as a problem. The example of the European Union shows that even when integration is rigidly designed to create a Union of just one kind of members the end-result will be something else. In actual fact different European countries have different between them quite different kinds of membership in the EU both politically and juridically.

* Economic policies of regions should learn from the failures of the neo-liberal experiments in the EU and elsewhere:

+ A Latin American Central Bank issuing a common currencie that may in the long run function as a (regional?) reserve currency must work under democratic political guidance and pursue socially and ecologically responsible monetary policies;
+  The political weight and influence of large corporations tends to be relatively greater on regional than on national and local levels of political decision-making. In order to curb excess corporate influence strong measures must be taken at all times. They need to include very tight transparency regulation and, as I believe, innovative, radical anti-trust regulation. I suggest that a maximum size of corporations is considered as well as sealings on individual ownership and control of corporate activity.

* Regional cooperation may have democratizing effects on the relations between big and small countries. For this, effective, almost excessive formal veto powers by smaller members states in the regional organisations are needed to counter the effective and lasting, greater political weight of larger members.

* Regional, elected parliaments can play an important role in a new regionalism. The elected parliament should not be subordinate to regional non-elected bodies, but the extent of its powers needs to be controlled from lower levels.

* The world has seen the emergence of many special economic zones lately. In a new kind of regionalism special zones for people’s power from below can be created, where people and nature are protected against corporations and states. In Bolivia there seems to be encouraging experiments along this line that could serve as a model for further work.

* The European experience shows that regional cooperation can be effective in enhancing the power and  economic and social status of oppressed minorities and underprivileged regions. The mechanisms to achieve this need careful attention.

* If we manage to correct the imbalances mentioned the European Union shows that cultural and social solidarity between peoples with a long negative record of wars is possible and can be promoted through regional cooperation.

* Lastly, as compared with Europe, Latin America (as well as e.g. South Asia) has four distinct advantages as compared with Europe in its effort to build pro-people, ecologically sustainable regional cooperation to the benefit of the global community.
+ The first is a commonality of cultural values and identity. I do not want to under underestimate the cultural diversity of the Americas. But it seems to me as an outside observer that the experience of more than 500 years of colonialism and imperialism serves as a source of solidarity between the peoples in Latin America.
+ The second is common languages: Spanish and Portuguese are closely related. Again I hope that I do not offend the many people with other  languages as their first language if I say that the conditions for a common public space, and hence for radical regional democracy is more happy in Latin America than in some other regions. In view of recent experiences elsewhere this is likely to be more important for post-national democracy than computer-intensity.
+ The third is common interest. Again, I do not want to overstate the case, but it appears to me that all countries in Latin Ameica could gain in economic and cultural terns from deepened cooperation between them and also with other Southern regions, even if it has to happen at the cost of laxer links to Europe and North America.
+ The fourth is the mere fact that Latin Ametican efforts towards regional integration can learn from the European experience, positively and negatively. For instance, it appears to me that it can be advantageous to build relatively more on existing sub-regional organizations than has been done in the European context where Benelux, Nordic and other sub-regional cooperation structures have been eroded by European institutions when a better policy could have been to sustain and strengthen them as parts of a multilayered regional cooperation structure.

Latin American regional cooperation may also benefit from solidarity and cooperation with regional cooperation in other regions of the South. Together the cooperating regions may make historic contributions to a post-colonial and post-imperial, pluricentric and peaceful world order

With these remarks I wish Paraguay and all countries in Mercosur and South and Latin America at large determination and democratic energy for regional cooperation that will enhance a new internationalism and civilisational renewal world-wide.

Thank you for your attention.

Thomas Wallgren
E-mail:  thomas.wallgren@helsinki.fi



[1] The author is the secretary of Coalition for comprehensive democracy, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam in Finland. He is affiliated with the Brussels based organisation Corporate Europe Observatory, chair of the Finnish Refugee Council and co-chair of Alternative to the EU – Finland. He serves as an elected member of the city council of Helsinki and is co-chair of the social-democratic group. Wallgren is the head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, Finland. – All references are given for purposes of identification and transparency only. The author claims no ownership of his ideas nor originality for his views. He carries sole responsibility for the views expressed and all shortcomings of his remarks.



INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, Sala 1, drugstore Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, check Sala 1, Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, pills Sala 1, sick Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

* Presentation given at International Conference of governments and social movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, Asunción del Paraguay)


THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD[2]  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa[3].   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD[4].  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports [5]. 
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)[6]  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD[7].

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10)[8],  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period[9].
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”[10].

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry[11].  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all.

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue[12].  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising[13].  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered[14].




NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).



By <!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, no rx li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} p.MsoFootnoteText, li.MsoFootnoteText, div.MsoFootnoteText {margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} p.MsoFooter, li.MsoFooter, div.MsoFooter {margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; tab-stops:center 216.0pt right 432.0pt; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} span.MsoFootnoteReference {vertical-align:super;} p.MsoBodyText, li.MsoBodyText, div.MsoBodyText {margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; text-align:center; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; mso-hyphenate:none; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:EN-US; mso-fareast-language:AR-SA; font-weight:bold;} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} /* List Definitions */ @list l0 {mso-list-id:55590121; mso-list-type:hybrid; mso-list-template-ids:-1141632860 -266690746 67698713 67698715 67698703 67698713 67698715 67698703 67698713 67698715;} @list l0:level1 {mso-level-number-format:roman-upper; mso-level-text:”%1)”; mso-level-tab-stop:54.0pt; mso-level-number-position:left; margin-left:54.0pt; text-indent:-36.0pt;} ol {margin-bottom:0cm;} ul {margin-bottom:0cm;} –> Demba Moussa Dembele*



By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.      
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa.   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD.  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports  
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD.

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10),  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period.
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation   
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all.

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue.  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising.  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered.




NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).



By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.      
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa.   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD.  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports  
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD.   

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.      

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10),  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period.
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.   

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.   

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation   
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.   

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all. 

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue.  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising.  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.   

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered. 


NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).



By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.      
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa.   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD.  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports  
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD.

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10),  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period.
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation   
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all.

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue.  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising.  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered.




NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).



INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, Sala 1, Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal (DOWNLOAD
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, Sala 1, click Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, ambulance Sala 1, Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

* Presentation given at International Conference of governments and social movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, Asunción del Paraguay)


THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa.   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD.  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports  
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD.

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10),  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period.
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all.

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue.  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising.  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered.




NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).




MARCELO I. SAGUIER

Facultad Latinoamerica de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), try here  Argentina


El documento analiza la formación de una coalición transnacional de organizaciones de sociedades civiles coordinadas por la Alianza Social Hemisférica para oponerse al establecimiento de un área de libre comercio entre las Américas. La Alianza Social Hemisférica, purchase help representando sindicatos laborales, movimientos sociales, indígenas, organizaciones del medio ambiente y civiles a lo largo de las Américas, ha servido como mediadora entre múltiples expresiones de resistencia a procesos neoliberales con raíces locales/nacionales y una estrategia más amplia a nivel hemisférico, para lograr una forma sostenible y democrática de alternativa de desarrollo al proyecto de un Área de Libre Comercio entre las Américas (FTAA, por sus siglas en inglés). El documento explora los retos y oportunidades de la Alianza Social Hemisférica (HSA, por sus siglas en inglés) trazando un método del proceso político de la sociología de movimientos sociales, para construir alternativas políticas al plan del proyecto del FTAA. El argumento central es que mientras se logro ? un progreso significativo mediante la HSA al definir una base de consenso hemisférico para un plan político alternativo, permanece el reto de asegurar que el proceso de elaborar tales alternativas sea democra ?tico e incluya a la base y a los sectores populares. Por un lado, debe haber un equilibrio entre la necesidad de la capacidad de ampliar la Alianza Social Hemisférica (HSA, por sus siglas en inglés), para movilizar a las fuerzas sociales críticas del continente en una campaña contra el FTAA y, por el otro lado, para asegurarla cohesión de una coalición que se amplía cada vez más bajo la tensión por la alineación de nuevos sectores y actores.



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Asunción, 23 y 24 de julio de 2009

Nosotras y nosotros, ask organizaciones sociales y políticas de diferentes países y continentes, y pueblos originarios, nos reunimos en la ciudad de Asunción los días 23 y 24 de julio de 2009, en la Cumbre de los Pueblos del Sur “Protagonismo popular, construyendo soberanía” para debatir la coyuntura actual de la crisis del sistema capitalista y las salidas frente a ésta.

Nos plantean desde los poderes estatales, financieros y mediáticos que la crisis que atravesamos es una crisis financiera que puede ser resuelta con la inyección de fondos al Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial. Nunca en la historia del capitalismo se había otorgado tal cantidad de dinero para el salvataje de las empresas privadas. Así se benefician unos pocos que no casualmente son quienes causaron la crisis en un primer lugar. El objetivo del salvataje es entonces que el casino financiero siga funcionando, mientras millones de personas permanecen en la indigencia.

A la par, también promueven la idea de que estamos atravesando una crisis alimentaria diciendo que es a causa de que países como India y China están hoy aumentando su consumo diario de alimento. Pero esta argumentación no muestra que hay un nuevo patrón de producción basado en biotecnologías de avanzada que provocan la destrucción de la agricultura familiar-campesina, y las costumbres campesinas e indígenas.

Este modelo productivo basado en la agricultura mecanizada, extensiva e intensiva, con el uso masivo de transgénicos y agrotóxicos, impacta directamente sobre el medio ambiente, destruyendo y afectando muy fuertemente el clima del planeta. Es por esto que el segundo acuífero mas grande del mundo, el Acuífero Guaraní, está en grave peligro de contaminación por la implementación de este modelo extractivo de desarrollo que está ubicado justamente en las zonas de recarga de dicho acuífero.

Esto viene de la mano de la idea de que estamos viviendo una crisis energética, lo cual coincidió con una campaña mundial impulsada por países como EEUU y Brasil, donde se plantea la necesidad de aumentar la escala del monocultivo de soja, maíz y caña de azúcar para la producción de etanol y biocombustibles.

Frente a esto, nuestra conclusión es que se trata de una crisis integral del capitalismo, que no es momentánea y que no se va a solucionar con la inyección masiva de capitales. Esta crisis integral pone al desnudo el modelo de desarrollo imperante. La respuesta a esta crisis integral debe ser también integral. Hay que transformar el modelo de desarrollo para salir de la crisis. Esto quiere decir que tenemos que construir un proyecto propio desde los pueblos de América Latina.

Por ello hoy estamos en el proceso de construcción y reivindicación de la soberanía alimentaria desde y para los pueblos. Creemos en la necesidad de una producción autónoma, autogestionada y comunitaria, así como la distribución popular e igualitaria. Defendemos el derecho a alimentarnos sanamente, y por ello resistimos desde la defensa de las semillas y la producción agroecológica. Es imprescindible rescatar la memoria y el patrimonio para el saber identitario, desde la pluriculturalidad y desde la puesta en el centro del territorio como base de la identidad cultural. Asimismo, exigimos el diseño de políticas públicas que garanticen la soberanía alimentaria.

Creemos que en el proceso de devastación de nuestros recursos continentales, los pueblos originarios son los principales afectados. En ese sentido, exigimos políticas claras que vayan en el camino de la autodeterminación y soberanía de los pueblos originarios. Una de estas políticas es la generación de espacios nacionales de negociación colectiva en el marco del Convenio 169 de la OIT, así como la conformación de Paritarias Sociales por comunidad.

Reivindicamos la necesidad de construcción de una soberanía energética donde los pueblos podamos disponer libremente de nuestras fuentes de energía así como buscar los modos más convenientes para lograrlo. Vemos esta necesidad particularmente hoy en el caso paraguayo, donde se ha convertido en una causa nacional la recuperación de la soberanía energética sobre las represas de Ytaypu con Brasil y de Yacyreta con Argentina. Aquí reclamamos la revisión de las deudas binacionales y la posibilidad de que el pueblo paraguayo goce de libre disponibilidad y obtenga el precio justo sobre el 50% de la energía allí generada.

A su vez, impulsamos la creación del movimiento de víctimas de cambio climático y la instalación de los tribunales de los pueblos sobre justicia climática. Es central lograr el fortalecimiento de las legislaciones, pero fundamentalmente garantizar el funcionamiento de la justicia hacia las comunidades y territorios más vulnerables como afectados por el cambio climático y la deuda ecológicas. En el mismo sentido, exigimos la incorporación de políticas climáticas en las políticas públicas. Exigimos a los gobiernos del Mercosur que reclamen a los responsables del Norte el reconocimiento y pago de la deuda ecológica en todas las negociaciones internacionales. Y hacemos un llamado a la movilización global por la justicia climática en el marco de la reunión cumbre de Naciones Unidas sobre cambio climático en Copenhague.

También sabemos de la necesidad de construir soberanía financiera desde nuestros países, donde nos paremos en contra del pago de las deudas ilegítimas adquiridas a espaldas de nuestros pueblos. Tomamos el compromiso desde nuestros movimientos y organizaciones de realizar una Auditoría integral ciudadana de las deudas financieras, sociales y ecológicas generadas por la construcción y funcionamiento de Ytaypu y Yacyreta, y el reclamo a los gobiernos involucrados (Paraguay-Brasil-Argentina) de hacer lo mismo. Exigimos la restitución y reparación de las deudas ecológicas, sociales, económicas, etc. Asimismo, ahora más que nunca precisamos avanzar en la construcción de alternativas de soberanía financiera que respondan a las necesidades y los derechos de nuestros pueblos y la madre tierra. Al respecto, denunciamos la lentitud, la falta de diálogo y las trabas que siguen obstaculizando la creación del Banco del Sur. Reclamamos su inmediata puesta en funcionamiento, resguardando el principio de “un país-un voto” en todas sus instancias y niveles de decisión, y la necesidad de que esté al servicio de una integración desde los pueblos y para la transformación del modelo productivo vigente.

Exigimos que además se abran espacios y mecanismos formales de información y participación de la sociedad en la creación y funcionamiento del Banco del Sur. Llamamos a los movimientos y organizaciones sociales a multiplicar las acciones de sensibilización, debate y movilización acerca de la creación de este y otros instrumentos de una nueva arquitectura regional, como podrían ser una unidad de cuenta suramericana, como el sucre, y un sistema regional de reservas.

Apoyamos la decisión de los gobiernos de Bolivia y recientemente de Ecuador de salir del CIADI, mecanismo de solución de controversias sobre inversiones dependiente del Banco Mundial. Demandamos que los países de la región asuman igual compromiso, así como avancen en el rechazo de los Tratados Bilaterales de Inversión (TBI). Rechazamos cualquier forma de tratado comercial que violente la soberanía de los pueblos.

A su vez, repudiamos la represión constante y la criminalización de las luchas de campesinos y campesinas por obtener un pedazo de tierra. Esto sucede en todo el continente, pero se ve hoy con mayor crudeza en Paraguay. Estas represiones se volvieron sistemáticas y se realizan bajo el amparo de fiscales y jueces, que las hacen parecer legales. Exigimos el cese de las políticas de criminalización de la pobreza y de judicialización de la lucha social, así como la derogación de las llamadas leyes antiterroristas. Asimismo reclamamos el desprocesamiento de todos los luchadores y luchadoras sociales en toda América Latina.

Del mismo modo, rechazamos la militarización creciente del continente promovida por los Estados Unidos y sus aliados en la región y exigimos el retiro de la IV flota de Estados Unidos en el Atlántico; el fin de los ejercicios militares conjuntos con los Estados Unidos; el levantamiento de todas las bases y asentamientos militares extranjeros y la no instalación de nuevas bases; la eliminación de la fortaleza militar de la OTAN en Malvinas; la suspensión del envío de efectivos a la Escuela de las Américas u otros institutos similares; el fin de las misiones militares de Estados Unidos en nuestros países; la derogación de las inmunidades concedidas a los efectivos militares de las bases de Estados Unidos instaladas en nuestros países y castigar a los responsables de las violaciones sobre las poblaciones, particularmente a las mujeres.

También expresamos nuestro rechazo al golpe de estado perpetrado recientemente en Honduras y exigimos la inmediata restitución de Manuel Zelaya, legítimo presidente electo por este pueblo hermano. Apoyamos la lucha del pueblo hondureño por la institucionalidad democrática y el derecho a sostener al presidente que ellos mismos se han puesto. De la misma manera, repudiamos firmemente la violencia militar y policial ejercida contra este pueblo.

Alentamos la iniciativa del grupo del ALBA en convocar a sus asociados y hacer declaraciones de apoyo al gobierno de Zelaya. De la misma forma, los pueblos debemos esforzarnos de profundizar las diferentes alternativas de integración regionales que buscan enfrentar al sistema capitalista desde otro modelo. Del mismo modo, creemos que sería importante que los presidentes del Mercosur avancen en el mismo camino.

Es por todo esto que nosotros y nosotras hoy seguimos en el camino de la construcción de una integración latinoamericana desde los pueblos, fortaleciendo nuestra identidad regional. Sabemos que para ello debemos seguir en este proceso de lucha de nuestros pueblos para construir un nuevo sujeto que sea el protagonista de su historia y de su cultura.

Asunción, 23 y 24 de julio de 2009

Asunción, sovaldi sale 23 y 24 de julio de 2009
Nosotras y nosotros, organizaciones sociales y políticas de diferentes países y continentes, y pueblos originarios, nos reunimos en la ciudad de Asunción los días 23 y 24 de julio de 2009, en la Cumbre de los Pueblos del Sur “Protagonismo popular, construyendo soberanía” para debatir la coyuntura actual de la crisis del sistema capitalista y las salidas frente a ésta.
Nos plantean desde los poderes estatales, financieros y mediáticos que la crisis que atravesamos es una crisis financiera que puede ser resuelta con la inyección de fondos al Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial. Nunca en la historia del capitalismo se había otorgado tal cantidad de dinero para el salvataje de las empresas privadas. Así se benefician unos pocos que no casualmente son quienes causaron la crisis en un primer lugar. El objetivo del salvataje es entonces que el casino financiero siga funcionando, mientras millones de personas permanecen en la indigencia.
A la par, también promueven la idea de que estamos atravesando una crisis alimentaria diciendo que es a causa de que países como India y China están hoy aumentando su consumo diario de alimento. Pero esta argumentación no muestra que hay un nuevo patrón de producción basado en biotecnologías de avanzada que provocan la destrucción de la agricultura familiar-campesina, y las costumbres campesinas e indígenas.
Este modelo productivo basado en la agricultura mecanizada, extensiva e intensiva, con el uso masivo de transgénicos y agrotóxicos, impacta directamente sobre el medio ambiente, destruyendo y afectando muy fuertemente el clima del planeta. Es por esto que el segundo acuífero mas grande del mundo, el Acuífero Guaraní, está en grave peligro de contaminación por la implementación de este modelo extractivo de desarrollo que está ubicado justamente en las zonas de recarga de dicho acuífero.
Esto viene de la mano de la idea de que estamos viviendo una crisis energética, lo cual coincidió con una campaña mundial impulsada por países como EEUU y Brasil, donde se plantea la necesidad de aumentar la escala del monocultivo de soja, maíz y caña de azúcar para la producción de etanol y biocombustibles.
Frente a esto, nuestra conclusión es que se trata de una crisis integral del capitalismo, que no es momentánea y que no se va a solucionar con la inyección masiva de capitales. Esta crisis integral pone al desnudo el modelo de desarrollo imperante. La respuesta a esta crisis integral debe ser también integral. Hay que transformar el modelo de desarrollo para salir de la crisis. Esto quiere decir que tenemos que construir un proyecto propio desde los pueblos de América Latina.
Por ello hoy estamos en el proceso de construcción y reivindicación de la soberanía alimentaria desde y para los pueblos. Creemos en la necesidad de una producción autónoma, autogestionada y comunitaria, así como la distribución popular e igualitaria. Defendemos el derecho a alimentarnos sanamente, y por ello resistimos desde la defensa de las semillas y la producción agroecológica. Es imprescindible rescatar la memoria y el patrimonio para el saber identitario, desde la pluriculturalidad y desde la puesta en el centro del territorio como base de la identidad cultural. Asimismo, exigimos el diseño de políticas públicas que garanticen la soberanía alimentaria.
Creemos que en el proceso de devastación de nuestros recursos continentales, los pueblos originarios son los principales afectados. En ese sentido, exigimos políticas claras que vayan en el camino de la autodeterminación y soberanía de los pueblos originarios. Una de estas políticas es la generación de espacios nacionales de negociación colectiva en el marco del Convenio 169 de la OIT, así como la conformación de Paritarias Sociales por comunidad.
Reivindicamos la necesidad de construcción de una soberanía energética donde los pueblos podamos disponer libremente de nuestras fuentes de energía así como buscar los modos más convenientes para lograrlo. Vemos esta necesidad particularmente hoy en el caso paraguayo, donde se ha convertido en una causa nacional la recuperación de la soberanía energética sobre las represas de Ytaypu con Brasil y de Yacyreta con Argentina. Aquí reclamamos la revisión de las deudas binacionales y la posibilidad de que el pueblo paraguayo goce de libre disponibilidad y obtenga el precio justo sobre el 50% de la energía allí generada.
A su vez, impulsamos la creación del movimiento de víctimas de cambio climático y la instalación de los tribunales de los pueblos sobre justicia climática. Es central lograr el fortalecimiento de las legislaciones, pero fundamentalmente garantizar el funcionamiento de la justicia hacia las comunidades y territorios más vulnerables como afectados por el cambio climático y la deuda ecológicas. En el mismo sentido, exigimos la incorporación de políticas climáticas en las políticas públicas. Exigimos a los gobiernos del Mercosur que reclamen a los responsables del Norte el reconocimiento y pago de la deuda ecológica en todas las negociaciones internacionales. Y hacemos un llamado a la movilización global por la justicia climática en el marco de la reunión cumbre de Naciones Unidas sobre cambio climático en Copenhague.
También sabemos de la necesidad de construir soberanía financiera desde nuestros países, donde nos paremos en contra del pago de las deudas ilegítimas adquiridas a espaldas de nuestros pueblos. Tomamos el compromiso desde nuestros movimientos y organizaciones de realizar una Auditoría integral ciudadana de las deudas financieras, sociales y ecológicas generadas por la construcción y funcionamiento de Ytaypu y Yacyreta, y el reclamo a los gobiernos involucrados (Paraguay-Brasil-Argentina) de hacer lo mismo. Exigimos la restitución y reparación de las deudas ecológicas, sociales, económicas, etc. Asimismo, ahora más que nunca precisamos avanzar en la construcción de alternativas de soberanía financiera que respondan a las necesidades y los derechos de nuestros pueblos y la madre tierra. Al respecto, denunciamos la lentitud, la falta de diálogo y las trabas que siguen obstaculizando la creación del Banco del Sur. Reclamamos su inmediata puesta en funcionamiento, resguardando el principio de “un país-un voto” en todas sus instancias y niveles de decisión, y la necesidad de que esté al servicio de una integración desde los pueblos y para la transformación del modelo productivo vigente.
Exigimos que además se abran espacios y mecanismos formales de información y participación de la sociedad en la creación y funcionamiento del Banco del Sur. Llamamos a los movimientos y organizaciones sociales a multiplicar las acciones de sensibilización, debate y movilización acerca de la creación de este y otros instrumentos de una nueva arquitectura regional, como podrían ser una unidad de cuenta suramericana, como el sucre, y un sistema regional de reservas.
Apoyamos la decisión de los gobiernos de Bolivia y recientemente de Ecuador de salir del CIADI, mecanismo de solución de controversias sobre inversiones dependiente del Banco Mundial. Demandamos que los países de la región asuman igual compromiso, así como avancen en el rechazo de los Tratados Bilaterales de Inversión (TBI). Rechazamos cualquier forma de tratado comercial que violente la soberanía de los pueblos.
A su vez, repudiamos la represión constante y la criminalización de las luchas de campesinos y campesinas por obtener un pedazo de tierra. Esto sucede en todo el continente, pero se ve hoy con mayor crudeza en Paraguay. Estas represiones se volvieron sistemáticas y se realizan bajo el amparo de fiscales y jueces, que las hacen parecer legales. Exigimos el cese de las políticas de criminalización de la pobreza y de judicialización de la lucha social, así como la derogación de las llamadas leyes antiterroristas. Asimismo reclamamos el desprocesamiento de todos los luchadores y luchadoras sociales en toda América Latina.
Del mismo modo, rechazamos la militarización creciente del continente promovida por los Estados Unidos y sus aliados en la región y exigimos el retiro de la IV flota de Estados Unidos en el Atlántico; el fin de los ejercicios militares conjuntos con los Estados Unidos; el levantamiento de todas las bases y asentamientos militares extranjeros y la no instalación de nuevas bases; la eliminación de la fortaleza militar de la OTAN en Malvinas; la suspensión del envío de efectivos a la Escuela de las Américas u otros institutos similares; el fin de las misiones militares de Estados Unidos en nuestros países; la derogación de las inmunidades concedidas a los efectivos militares de las bases de Estados Unidos instaladas en nuestros países y castigar a los responsables de las violaciones sobre las poblaciones, particularmente a las mujeres.
También expresamos nuestro rechazo al golpe de estado perpetrado recientemente en Honduras y exigimos la inmediata restitución de Manuel Zelaya, legítimo presidente electo por este pueblo hermano. Apoyamos la lucha del pueblo hondureño por la institucionalidad democrática y el derecho a sostener al presidente que ellos mismos se han puesto. De la misma manera, repudiamos firmemente la violencia militar y policial ejercida contra este pueblo.
Alentamos la iniciativa del grupo del ALBA en convocar a sus asociados y hacer declaraciones de apoyo al gobierno de Zelaya. De la misma forma, los pueblos debemos esforzarnos de profundizar las diferentes alternativas de integración regionales que buscan enfrentar al sistema capitalista desde otro modelo. Del mismo modo, creemos que sería importante que los presidentes del Mercosur avancen en el mismo camino.
Es por todo esto que nosotros y nosotras hoy seguimos en el camino de la construcción de una integración latinoamericana desde los pueblos, fortaleciendo nuestra identidad regional. Sabemos que para ello debemos seguir en este proceso de lucha de nuestros pueblos para construir un nuevo sujeto que sea el protagonista de su historia y de su cultura.
Asunción, 23 y 24 de julio de 2009
Asunción, click 23 y 24 de julio de 2009
Nosotras y nosotros, sick organizaciones sociales y políticas de diferentes países y continentes, physician y pueblos originarios, nos reunimos en la ciudad de Asunción los días 23 y 24 de julio de 2009, en la Cumbre de los Pueblos del Sur “Protagonismo popular, construyendo soberanía” para debatir la coyuntura actual de la crisis del sistema capitalista y las salidas frente a ésta.
Nos plantean desde los poderes estatales, financieros y mediáticos que la crisis que atravesamos es una crisis financiera que puede ser resuelta con la inyección de fondos al Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial. Nunca en la historia del capitalismo se había otorgado tal cantidad de dinero para el salvataje de las empresas privadas. Así se benefician unos pocos que no casualmente son quienes causaron la crisis en un primer lugar. El objetivo del salvataje es entonces que el casino financiero siga funcionando, mientras millones de personas permanecen en la indigencia.
A la par, también promueven la idea de que estamos atravesando una crisis alimentaria diciendo que es a causa de que países como India y China están hoy aumentando su consumo diario de alimento. Pero esta argumentación no muestra que hay un nuevo patrón de producción basado en biotecnologías de avanzada que provocan la destrucción de la agricultura familiar-campesina, y las costumbres campesinas e indígenas.
Este modelo productivo basado en la agricultura mecanizada, extensiva e intensiva, con el uso masivo de transgénicos y agrotóxicos, impacta directamente sobre el medio ambiente, destruyendo y afectando muy fuertemente el clima del planeta. Es por esto que el segundo acuífero mas grande del mundo, el Acuífero Guaraní, está en grave peligro de contaminación por la implementación de este modelo extractivo de desarrollo que está ubicado justamente en las zonas de recarga de dicho acuífero.
Esto viene de la mano de la idea de que estamos viviendo una crisis energética, lo cual coincidió con una campaña mundial impulsada por países como EEUU y Brasil, donde se plantea la necesidad de aumentar la escala del monocultivo de soja, maíz y caña de azúcar para la producción de etanol y biocombustibles.
Frente a esto, nuestra conclusión es que se trata de una crisis integral del capitalismo, que no es momentánea y que no se va a solucionar con la inyección masiva de capitales. Esta crisis integral pone al desnudo el modelo de desarrollo imperante. La respuesta a esta crisis integral debe ser también integral. Hay que transformar el modelo de desarrollo para salir de la crisis. Esto quiere decir que tenemos que construir un proyecto propio desde los pueblos de América Latina.
Por ello hoy estamos en el proceso de construcción y reivindicación de la soberanía alimentaria desde y para los pueblos. Creemos en la necesidad de una producción autónoma, autogestionada y comunitaria, así como la distribución popular e igualitaria. Defendemos el derecho a alimentarnos sanamente, y por ello resistimos desde la defensa de las semillas y la producción agroecológica. Es imprescindible rescatar la memoria y el patrimonio para el saber identitario, desde la pluriculturalidad y desde la puesta en el centro del territorio como base de la identidad cultural. Asimismo, exigimos el diseño de políticas públicas que garanticen la soberanía alimentaria.
Creemos que en el proceso de devastación de nuestros recursos continentales, los pueblos originarios son los principales afectados. En ese sentido, exigimos políticas claras que vayan en el camino de la autodeterminación y soberanía de los pueblos originarios. Una de estas políticas es la generación de espacios nacionales de negociación colectiva en el marco del Convenio 169 de la OIT, así como la conformación de Paritarias Sociales por comunidad.
Reivindicamos la necesidad de construcción de una soberanía energética donde los pueblos podamos disponer libremente de nuestras fuentes de energía así como buscar los modos más convenientes para lograrlo. Vemos esta necesidad particularmente hoy en el caso paraguayo, donde se ha convertido en una causa nacional la recuperación de la soberanía energética sobre las represas de Ytaypu con Brasil y de Yacyreta con Argentina. Aquí reclamamos la revisión de las deudas binacionales y la posibilidad de que el pueblo paraguayo goce de libre disponibilidad y obtenga el precio justo sobre el 50% de la energía allí generada.
A su vez, impulsamos la creación del movimiento de víctimas de cambio climático y la instalación de los tribunales de los pueblos sobre justicia climática. Es central lograr el fortalecimiento de las legislaciones, pero fundamentalmente garantizar el funcionamiento de la justicia hacia las comunidades y territorios más vulnerables como afectados por el cambio climático y la deuda ecológicas. En el mismo sentido, exigimos la incorporación de políticas climáticas en las políticas públicas. Exigimos a los gobiernos del Mercosur que reclamen a los responsables del Norte el reconocimiento y pago de la deuda ecológica en todas las negociaciones internacionales. Y hacemos un llamado a la movilización global por la justicia climática en el marco de la reunión cumbre de Naciones Unidas sobre cambio climático en Copenhague.
También sabemos de la necesidad de construir soberanía financiera desde nuestros países, donde nos paremos en contra del pago de las deudas ilegítimas adquiridas a espaldas de nuestros pueblos. Tomamos el compromiso desde nuestros movimientos y organizaciones de realizar una Auditoría integral ciudadana de las deudas financieras, sociales y ecológicas generadas por la construcción y funcionamiento de Ytaypu y Yacyreta, y el reclamo a los gobiernos involucrados (Paraguay-Brasil-Argentina) de hacer lo mismo. Exigimos la restitución y reparación de las deudas ecológicas, sociales, económicas, etc. Asimismo, ahora más que nunca precisamos avanzar en la construcción de alternativas de soberanía financiera que respondan a las necesidades y los derechos de nuestros pueblos y la madre tierra. Al respecto, denunciamos la lentitud, la falta de diálogo y las trabas que siguen obstaculizando la creación del Banco del Sur. Reclamamos su inmediata puesta en funcionamiento, resguardando el principio de “un país-un voto” en todas sus instancias y niveles de decisión, y la necesidad de que esté al servicio de una integración desde los pueblos y para la transformación del modelo productivo vigente.
Exigimos que además se abran espacios y mecanismos formales de información y participación de la sociedad en la creación y funcionamiento del Banco del Sur. Llamamos a los movimientos y organizaciones sociales a multiplicar las acciones de sensibilización, debate y movilización acerca de la creación de este y otros instrumentos de una nueva arquitectura regional, como podrían ser una unidad de cuenta suramericana, como el sucre, y un sistema regional de reservas.
Apoyamos la decisión de los gobiernos de Bolivia y recientemente de Ecuador de salir del CIADI, mecanismo de solución de controversias sobre inversiones dependiente del Banco Mundial. Demandamos que los países de la región asuman igual compromiso, así como avancen en el rechazo de los Tratados Bilaterales de Inversión (TBI). Rechazamos cualquier forma de tratado comercial que violente la soberanía de los pueblos.
A su vez, repudiamos la represión constante y la criminalización de las luchas de campesinos y campesinas por obtener un pedazo de tierra. Esto sucede en todo el continente, pero se ve hoy con mayor crudeza en Paraguay. Estas represiones se volvieron sistemáticas y se realizan bajo el amparo de fiscales y jueces, que las hacen parecer legales. Exigimos el cese de las políticas de criminalización de la pobreza y de judicialización de la lucha social, así como la derogación de las llamadas leyes antiterroristas. Asimismo reclamamos el desprocesamiento de todos los luchadores y luchadoras sociales en toda América Latina.
Del mismo modo, rechazamos la militarización creciente del continente promovida por los Estados Unidos y sus aliados en la región y exigimos el retiro de la IV flota de Estados Unidos en el Atlántico; el fin de los ejercicios militares conjuntos con los Estados Unidos; el levantamiento de todas las bases y asentamientos militares extranjeros y la no instalación de nuevas bases; la eliminación de la fortaleza militar de la OTAN en Malvinas; la suspensión del envío de efectivos a la Escuela de las Américas u otros institutos similares; el fin de las misiones militares de Estados Unidos en nuestros países; la derogación de las inmunidades concedidas a los efectivos militares de las bases de Estados Unidos instaladas en nuestros países y castigar a los responsables de las violaciones sobre las poblaciones, particularmente a las mujeres.
También expresamos nuestro rechazo al golpe de estado perpetrado recientemente en Honduras y exigimos la inmediata restitución de Manuel Zelaya, legítimo presidente electo por este pueblo hermano. Apoyamos la lucha del pueblo hondureño por la institucionalidad democrática y el derecho a sostener al presidente que ellos mismos se han puesto. De la misma manera, repudiamos firmemente la violencia militar y policial ejercida contra este pueblo.
Alentamos la iniciativa del grupo del ALBA en convocar a sus asociados y hacer declaraciones de apoyo al gobierno de Zelaya. De la misma forma, los pueblos debemos esforzarnos de profundizar las diferentes alternativas de integración regionales que buscan enfrentar al sistema capitalista desde otro modelo. Del mismo modo, creemos que sería importante que los presidentes del Mercosur avancen en el mismo camino.
Es por todo esto que nosotros y nosotras hoy seguimos en el camino de la construcción de una integración latinoamericana desde los pueblos, fortaleciendo nuestra identidad regional. Sabemos que para ello debemos seguir en este proceso de lucha de nuestros pueblos para construir un nuevo sujeto que sea el protagonista de su historia y de su cultura.
Asunción, 23 y 24 de julio de 2009

From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, discount Asunción, Paraguay, July 21-22, 2009

We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.

Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.

On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.

It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples.

We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.

Asuncion del Paraguay, 22 July 2009

COMMUNIQUE
From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, Asunción, sovaldi Paraguay, shop July 21-22, 2009
We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.
Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.
On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.
It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples. .
We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.
COMMUNIQUE
From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, check Asunción, see Paraguay, July 21-22, 2009
We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.
Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.
On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.
It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples.

We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.

COMMUNIQUE

From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, Asunción, Paraguay, July 21-22, 2009

We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.

Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.

On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.

It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples.

We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.

De los participantes de la Conferencia “Integración Regional: una oportunidad frente a la crisis”, Asunción, Paraguay, 21-22 Julio, 2009

Nosotros, representantes de movimientos sociales, sindicales y de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de América Latina, África, Asia y Europa, reunidos en Asunción para discutir la vital importancia de las respuestas regionales a la crisis global actual, instamos a los Jefes de Estado reunidos en Asunción para la Cumbre del Mercosur a tomar una decisión contundente de avanzar en la implementación de modalidades para la cooperación orientada a un verdadero desarrollo al servicio de los pueblos de nuestras regiones.

Estas nuevas modalidades deben, en primer lugar, revisar de manera fundamental los términos injustos del acuerdo de Itaipu firmados décadas atrás por gobiernos dictatoriales de Brasil y Paraguay. La energía es el principal recurso del Paraguay para diseñar un desarrollo sustentable que responda a la necesidad de mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de su pueblo. Los movimientos sociales y el gobierno de Paraguay han demandado el derecho soberano de su país, traducido en la libre disponibilidad y el precio justo, sobre el 50% de la energía producida en Itaipu y Yacyreta, y la revisión de la deuda contraída para la construcción de estas represas. Consideramos estas demandas como justas.

Sobre la base de esta caso altamente significativo y con el objetivo de asegurar que este tipo de mega-proyectos, basados en relaciones de poder desiguales entre países vecinos, no sean en el futuro replicados en ninguna de nuestras respectivas regiones, llamamos a la creación urgente de marcos regionales elaborados conjuntamente y basados en principios de equidad que regulen este tipo de proyectos conjuntos. Estos, en vez, deben incluir el involucramiento activo y los aportes de las fuerzas sociales y de trabajadores organizadas de todas las respectivas regiones.

Fue en este espíritu de cooperación que la conferencia incluyo la participación de parlamentarios de varios países de las distintas regiones, y el dialogo directo con representantes gubernamentales del Mercosur. Algunos de los temas claves que se discutieron incluyeron:

* La urgente necesidad que los gobiernos creen instrumentos financieros regionales tales como Bancos regionales de desarrollo para defender sus economías y sus pueblos de los efectos destructivos del capitalismo globalizado neoliberal.
* El reconocimiento de que la integración regional debe estar basada en principios de solidaridad y programas de complementariedad que reconozcan las asimetrías en términos de tamaños, recursos, y niveles de desarrollo de los países participantes para transformar el modelo de desarrollo hacia un sistema productivo mas balanceado y sostenible entre todos los países, localidades y pueblos.
* En este contexto, la estratégica importancia de tomar una posición firme y activa para revertir el golpe de estado en Honduras y la restauración del gobierno legalmente elegido, desplazado por las fuerzas anti-democráticas que actuaron no solo en contra del Gobierno de Zelaya sino también con el objetivo de revertir las tendencias progresistas en la región buscando mantener el sistema de acumulación del capital, favoreciendo los intereses de las transnacionales de Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea.
* La imperativa urgencia de encontrar modalidades y medios de hacer efectiva la participación de los movimientos sociales, comunidades, trabajadores y trabajadoras para avanzar estrategias de integración regional, en una perspectiva holística, sustentable y de verdadera soberanía desde los pueblos.

Vemos este momento como una coyuntura histórica para el mundo cuando la crisis ha expuesto el funcionamiento fundamentalmente inestable y los efectos peligrosos del sistema capitalista global. Es también una oportunidad para desafiar el régimen económico-político global dominante y para avanzar alternativas enfocadas en las necesidades de los pueblos y la preservación del medio ambiente. Tenemos confianza que los pueblos de América Latina y algunos de sus gobiernos jugaran un papel significativo en la formulación y evolución de alternativas regionales, junto con todas las regiones y pueblos del mundo, que respondan a los intereses de nuestro planeta y nuestro futuro común.

Asuncion del Paraguay, 22 de Julio de 2009

De los participantes de la Conferencia “Integración Regional: una oportunidad frente a la crisis”, for sale Asunción, Paraguay, 21-22 Julio, 2009
Nosotros, representantes de movimientos sociales, sindicales y de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de América Latina, África, Asia y Europa, reunidos en Asunción para discutir la vital importancia de las respuestas regionales a la crisis global actual, instamos a los Jefes de Estado reunidos en Asunción para la Cumbre del Mercosur a tomar una decisión contundente de avanzar en la implementación de modalidades para la cooperación orientada a un verdadero desarrollo al servicio de los pueblos de nuestras regiones.
Estas nuevas modalidades deben, en primer lugar, revisar de manera fundamental los términos injustos del acuerdo de Itaipu firmados décadas atrás por gobiernos dictatoriales de Brasil y Paraguay. La energía es el principal recurso del Paraguay para diseñar un desarrollo sustentable que responda a la necesidad de mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de su pueblo. Los movimientos sociales y el gobierno de Paraguay han demandado el derecho soberano de su país, traducido en la libre disponibilidad y el precio justo, sobre el 50% de la energía producida en Itaipu y Yacyreta, y la revisión de la deuda contraída para la construcción de estas represas. Consideramos estas demandas como justas.
Sobre la base de esta caso altamente significativo y con el objetivo de asegurar que este tipo de mega-proyectos, basados en relaciones de poder desiguales entre países vecinos, no sean en el futuro replicados en ninguna de nuestras respectivas regiones, llamamos a la creación urgente de marcos regionales elaborados conjuntamente y basados en principios de equidad que regulen este tipo de proyectos conjuntos. Estos, en vez, deben incluir el involucramiento activo y los aportes de las fuerzas sociales y de trabajadores organizadas de todas las respectivas regiones.
Fue en este espíritu de cooperación que la conferencia incluyo la participación de parlamentarios de varios países de las distintas regiones, y el dialogo directo con representantes gubernamentales del Mercosur. Algunos de los temas claves que se discutieron incluyeron:
* La urgente necesidad que los gobiernos creen instrumentos financieros regionales tales como Bancos regionales de desarrollo para defender sus economías y sus pueblos de los efectos destructivos del capitalismo globalizado neoliberal.
* El reconocimiento de que la integración regional debe estar basada en principios de solidaridad y programas de complementariedad que reconozcan las asimetrías en términos de tamaños, recursos, y niveles de desarrollo de los países participantes para transformar el modelo de desarrollo hacia un sistema productivo mas balanceado y sostenible entre todos los países, localidades y pueblos.
* En este contexto, la estratégica importancia de tomar una posición firme y activa para revertir el golpe de estado en Honduras y la restauración del gobierno legalmente elegido, desplazado por las fuerzas anti-democráticas que actuaron no solo en contra del Gobierno de Zelaya sino también con el objetivo de revertir las tendencias progresistas en la región buscando mantener el sistema de acumulación del capital, favoreciendo los intereses de las transnacionales de Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea.
* La imperativa urgencia de encontrar modalidades y medios de hacer efectiva la participación de los movimientos sociales, comunidades, trabajadores y trabajadoras para avanzar estrategias de integración regional, en una perspectiva holística, sustentable y de verdadera soberanía desde los pueblos.
Vemos este momento como una coyuntura histórica para el mundo cuando la crisis ha expuesto el funcionamiento fundamentalmente inestable y los efectos peligrosos del sistema capitalista global. Es también una oportunidad para desafiar el régimen económico-político global dominante y para avanzar alternativas enfocadas en las necesidades de los pueblos y la preservación del medio ambiente. Tenemos confianza que los pueblos de América Latina y algunos de sus gobiernos jugaran un papel significativo en la formulación y evolución de alternativas regionales, junto con todas las regiones y pueblos del mundo, que respondan a los intereses de nuestro planeta y nuestro futuro común.
De los participantes de la Conferencia “Integración Regional: una oportunidad frente a la crisis”, shop Asunción, Paraguay, 21-22 Julio, 2009
Nosotros, representantes de movimientos sociales, sindicales y de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de América Latina, África, Asia y Europa, reunidos en Asunción para discutir la vital importancia de las respuestas regionales a la crisis global actual, instamos a los Jefes de Estado reunidos en Asunción para la Cumbre del Mercosur a tomar una decisión contundente de avanzar en la implementación de modalidades para la cooperación orientada a un verdadero desarrollo al servicio de los pueblos de nuestras regiones.
Estas nuevas modalidades deben, en primer lugar, revisar de manera fundamental los términos injustos del acuerdo de Itaipu firmados décadas atrás por gobiernos dictatoriales de Brasil y Paraguay. La energía es el principal recurso del Paraguay para diseñar un desarrollo sustentable que responda a la necesidad de mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de su pueblo. Los movimientos sociales y el gobierno de Paraguay han demandado el derecho soberano de su país, traducido en la libre disponibilidad y el precio justo, sobre el 50% de la energía producida en Itaipu y Yacyreta, y la revisión de la deuda contraída para la construcción de estas represas. Consideramos estas demandas como justas.
Sobre la base de esta caso altamente significativo y con el objetivo de asegurar que este tipo de mega-proyectos, basados en relaciones de poder desiguales entre países vecinos, no sean en el futuro replicados en ninguna de nuestras respectivas regiones, llamamos a la creación urgente de marcos regionales elaborados conjuntamente y basados en principios de equidad que regulen este tipo de proyectos conjuntos. Estos, en vez, deben incluir el involucramiento activo y los aportes de las fuerzas sociales y de trabajadores organizadas de todas las respectivas regiones.
Fue en este espíritu de cooperación que la conferencia incluyo la participación de parlamentarios de varios países de las distintas regiones, y el dialogo directo con representantes gubernamentales del Mercosur. Algunos de los temas claves que se discutieron incluyeron:
* La urgente necesidad que los gobiernos creen instrumentos financieros regionales tales como Bancos regionales de desarrollo para defender sus economías y sus pueblos de los efectos destructivos del capitalismo globalizado neoliberal.
* El reconocimiento de que la integración regional debe estar basada en principios de solidaridad y programas de complementariedad que reconozcan las asimetrías en términos de tamaños, recursos, y niveles de desarrollo de los países participantes para transformar el modelo de desarrollo hacia un sistema productivo mas balanceado y sostenible entre todos los países, localidades y pueblos.
* En este contexto, la estratégica importancia de tomar una posición firme y activa para revertir el golpe de estado en Honduras y la restauración del gobierno legalmente elegido, desplazado por las fuerzas anti-democráticas que actuaron no solo en contra del Gobierno de Zelaya sino también con el objetivo de revertir las tendencias progresistas en la región buscando mantener el sistema de acumulación del capital, favoreciendo los intereses de las transnacionales de Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea.
* La imperativa urgencia de encontrar modalidades y medios de hacer efectiva la participación de los movimientos sociales, comunidades, trabajadores y trabajadoras para avanzar estrategias de integración regional, en una perspectiva holística, sustentable y de verdadera soberanía desde los pueblos.

Vemos este momento como una coyuntura histórica para el mundo cuando la crisis ha expuesto el funcionamiento fundamentalmente inestable y los efectos peligrosos del sistema capitalista global. Es también una oportunidad para desafiar el régimen económico-político global dominante y para avanzar alternativas enfocadas en las necesidades de los pueblos y la preservación del medio ambiente. Tenemos confianza que los pueblos de América Latina y algunos de sus gobiernos jugaran un papel significativo en la formulación y evolución de alternativas regionales, junto con todas las regiones y pueblos del mundo, que respondan a los intereses de nuestro planeta y nuestro futuro común.
Asuncion del Paraguay, 22 de Julio de 2009

COMMUNIQUE

From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, find Asunción, pilule Paraguay, troche July 21-22, 2009

We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.

Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.

On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.

It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples.

We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.

From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, Paraguay, July 21-22, 2009

We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.

Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.

On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.

It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples.

We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.

Asuncion del Paraguay, 22 July 2009

  1. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is holding its Policy Organs meetings and the 13th Summit of Heads of State and Government in the resort town of Victoria Falls, buy Zimbabwe from the 28th May to 8th June 2009 under the theme Consolidating Regional Economic Integration through Value Addition, Trade and Food Security.2.
  2. From the 2nd – 4th June 2009 the Council of Ministers will be meeting to deliberate on a number of issues affecting the COMESA region, check including the current negotiations with the European Union (officially known as the European Community) on concluding Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

We recall that:

3.         The Eastern and Southern Africa Group (ESA) and the European Community (EC) senior officials met in Brussels on 28 April 2009 under the co-chairmanship of H.E Ambassadors S Gunessee and N. Wahab on ESA side as well as P. Thompson, Director, DG Trade on EC side. In their conclusions on the Interim EPAs initialled towards the end of 2007, the officials noted that:

On signature of interim EPA, EC confirmed that provided that an agreement is reached on translation, the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) could be ready for signature around mid-May 2009. ESA confirmed its decision to host the signature in Mauritius and informed that the issue of the date of signature will be considered at the next ESA Council scheduled for the 4th June 2009 in Victoria Falls back to back with COMESA Summit with a view to agreeing on a mutually convenient date as well as its arrangement for the signing ceremony.

We are concerned that:

4.         The ESA countries (as represented by their officials) have confirmed their decision to host the signature of the interim EPAs and that they are already considering discussing the dates of such a ceremony when the outstanding and contentious issues in the interim EPAs have not been addressed and resolved.

5.         The contentious issues arising from the interim EPAs include, inter alia, involve far reaching commitments on tariffs reductions the freezing of export taxes that ESA countries have been using, the requirement that ESA countries should not increase duties on products from the EU beyond what they have been applying (standstill clause), liberalising “substantially all trade”, bilateral safeguards (for infant industry protection)-all these issues are still under negotiations. We take the precautionary principle and reiterate that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

6.         The EC has insisted that the first priority should be the signature of the interim EPA. The EU main interest is in market access which they may achieve in interim EPAs. This limits the scope of focussing on the real issues of interest to ESA countries that need attention before the signature. ESA countries should resist the pressure of rushing to sign the interim EPA when it is clear they will be mortgaging national and public assets to the EC.

We urge ESA countries to recognise that:

7.         Africa remains a marginal player in world trade (6% in 1980 and 3% in 2008) since the continent’s trade structure still lacks diversity in terms of production and exports. As such, negotiations to further liberalise (after Structural Adjustment Programmes) their economies will be a futile and possible suicidal exercise until certain pre-requisites are met and instituted within their economies. The emphasis on trade liberalisation alone as a means to stimulating growth and development is misplaced.

8.         The pre-requisites (as informed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) centre on addressing the structural constraints in ESA countries including

  • increased public investment in research and development, rural infrastructure — including roads — and health and education
  • overhauling the basic productive infrastructure to make production more reliable. Power generation, water supply and telecommunications are three key areas that need special attention. In addition, building a competitive manufacturing sector will require the strengthening of the support infrastructure needed for exporting, including roads, railways and port facilities.
  • encouraging cross-border trade infrastructure. It is unlikely that the manufacturing sector in Africa will grow to a competitive level if it is limited to small domestic markets. The smallness of individual African markets and the difficulty for most firms to access the markets of industrialized countries suggest that in the short and medium term, the expansion of intra-African trade could offer the opportunity to widen markets outside national boundaries. In so doing, some key infrastructure projects could be executed at the regional level, taking into account regional economic complementarities.
  • development of domestic policy regulatory frameworks to regulate the movement of goods and services in and outside ESA countries. This includes adopting policies that ensure Special and Differential Treatment including the Special Safeguard Mechanism in agriculture, use of tariffs, among other things

9.         Trade liberalisation has so far discouraged intra-regional trade in Africa as the reduction of tariffs, which reduce the preference margins given to other African countries, reduce the incentives for intraregional trade.

10.       The Cotonou Agreement (that forms the legal basis of negotiating EPAs), recognise that reciprocal agreements (EPAs) with the EC had to foster regional integration and to be based on current integration efforts. However, as the interim agreements have shown, this commitment has been negated as the current configuration of the EPA encompasses a major risk of undermining ongoing regional integration processes.

11.       Most countries in the region continue to suffer from food shortages and food insecurity. As a result they have been importing more food and energy (including inflation which was at 10.7% in 2008 up from 6.4% in 2007, the continental average excluding Zimbabwe) into the region. Trade liberalisation will exacerbate the problems of food insecurity.

12.       The ESA political leadership have an obligation towards their people and should ensure that whatever decisions they take should not put the lives of people in danger. This means all those targets of reducing poverty, reducing child and maternal mortality and increasing access to education for the people should be used as tools for making informed decisions especially with regards to trade negotiations.

13.       Given the above, liberalising ESA economies under the EPAs as already indicated by the interim EPAs will further weaken the countries’ ability to develop and respond to the challenges posed by liberalisation and Limit Africa to the production and export of low value goods (the so-called “poor-country” goods) based on the so-called comparative advantage argument. This is tantamount to condemning the continent and locking it into poverty.

We therefore recommend that:

14.       A moratorium be put in place on EPAs negotiations until the ESA countries have put in place adequate institutional mechanisms to deal with trade liberalisation as recommended by the African Union, UNCTAD, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa among others.

15.       ESA countries focus on developing its regional market, steps that have already been taken by consolidating the gains of the COMESA FTA, the Customs Union and the move to form a single FTA with the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

16.       In light of the high food and energy prices, the climate crisis and the current global recession triggered by the financial crisis, ESA countries MUST reverse most of the commitments they have agreed under the IMF/World Bank SAP policies, the World Trade Organisation and the so-called interim Economic Partnership Agreements. This will allow the countries to implement favourable home grown policies that are in tandem with their development priorities.