A EUROPEAN APPEAL: The peoples or the Financial markets? The governments and the E.U. must choose!

The Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit will be over by the time these lines appear in print. But we can say that it was another attempt to scale the mountain of difficulties.

The 15th people’s Saarc meeting was held in Delhi recently to impress upon the participants of the official Saarc summit in Thimpu, diagnosis Bhutan, order that South Asian countries will continue to lag behind in development until they realise the meaning of cooperation.

Representatives of human rights bodies, thumb trade unions, women groups and others from the Saarc countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka — demanded a union of South Asian countries in the manner of the European Union, while retaining their individual identity and sovereignty. Some even saw the prospects of one market, one visa and one currency. The representatives (60 from Pakistan alone) “reaffirmed the South Asian people’s commitment to creating a South Asia free from all discrimination, exclusion and domination”.

Indeed, these are lofty ideals that are worth pursuing. The participants were not only passionate about them, they were also committed to rising above nationalism and parochialism to make the dream of a South Asia Union come true. Their speeches had no rancour, no bitterness and no allegation.

All the eight countries are different in their own way. Yet many of them were ruled by foreigners which has cast their outlook in a civilisational mould, reflecting their commonality. Unfortunately, they a seek solution to their basic problems, not from within the region but from outside.

This dependence is the fallout of their slavery. The British who ruled practically the entire region were ruthless masters. They used people in the region as brick and mortar to build the structure of their empire. Any big or odd stone that did not fit in was crushed or thrown aside. Not many rose to challenge the system. The efforts of the few who did were nipped in the bud. Others were eliminated.

Still this region, with its people of different traditions, defeated the British. In their journey towards independence, they fell and rose but reached their destination. It is a saga of suffering and sacrifice which is recalled even today.

South Asia has learned the lesson that every enslaved country does from humiliation. But what it has not learnt yet is that people have to make a joint effort to overcome problems. Together they can fight to determine the path they should take, the tactics they should adopt and the allies they should seek. All this demands an understanding that they are together. This cannot be assumed. A method has to be devised to ascertain their opinion, yes or no.

What do the people think? What do the participants in the struggle for the betterment of conditions feel? Their efforts sow the seed of accountability. If some are to be made answerable, they should have the powers to act. Who should such people be? How can they be spotted? Centuries ago, the English established themselves as the world’s supreme nation against rival claimants. Since then the idea of popular sovereignty has become an integral part of civilised governments. Some nations like France learned from England’s example.

We in South Asia are a watchful people. We were determined to throw out the yoke of foreign rule. We also wanted to devise a system to rule ourselves. Our experience was all that the British taught us — the different acts under which carefully selected people would come to the assemblies and parliaments to rule. Very few came directly elected by the people. That was our democratic system. Our struggle in different parts of the region was to have more and more elected representatives.

We shed each other’s blood, although we were independent. The subcontinent of India was partitioned into India and Pakistan on the basis of religion. When the constitution in the newly independent countries was framed, the people’s say was naturally the most.

The biggest achievement of the constitution was to keep the rights of the people supreme and to ensure that the nations did not substitute white masters with brown sahibs.

It was not a question of government alone. It was also a question of the constitutional guarantee whereby sovereignty stayed with the people. And does democracy mean only going to polling booths and registering votes? The answer to such questions may be able to tell whether democracy will survive in South Asia.

The people’s wishes — and prayers — would have yielded some results by this time had the hostility between India and Pakistan been overcome. Neither India nor Pakistan has been able to overcome the differences which go back a long way. In a way, it is the same old bias between Hindus and Muslims. Parochialism spoils the thinking of secular India when it comes to Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan has never adopted secularism even after Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s declaration that the state would have nothing to do with religion.

Between August 1947 and 2010, the two countries have engaged in three wars, apart from militaristic stances over the Rann of Kutch, Siachen and Kargil. Both are also nuclear powers. Still they love to hate each other. Kashmir and water are symptoms, not the disease.

The disease is the bias, suspicion and mistrust which appear in one form or the other. Even if one issue was to be solved, another would rear its ugly head because of the fundamental Hindu-Muslim divide. How do the two nations get away from this posture? The sooner we find an answer to this question, the stronger will be Saarc.

The writer is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.The Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit will be over by the time these lines appear in print. But we can say that it was another attempt to scale the mountain of difficulties.

The 15th people’s Saarc meeting was held in Delhi recently to impress upon the participants of the official Saarc summit in Thimpu, Bhutan, that South Asian countries will continue to lag behind in development until they realise the meaning of cooperation.

Representatives of human rights bodies, trade unions, women groups and others from the Saarc countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka — demanded a union of South Asian countries in the manner of the European Union, while retaining their individual identity and sovereignty. Some even saw the prospects of one market, one visa and one currency. The representatives (60 from Pakistan alone) “reaffirmed the South Asian people’s commitment to creating a South Asia free from all discrimination, exclusion and domination”.

Indeed, these are lofty ideals that are worth pursuing. The participants were not only passionate about them, they were also committed to rising above nationalism and parochialism to make the dream of a South Asia Union come true. Their speeches had no rancour, no bitterness and no allegation.

All the eight countries are different in their own way. Yet many of them were ruled by foreigners which has cast their outlook in a civilisational mould, reflecting their commonality. Unfortunately, they a seek solution to their basic problems, not from within the region but from outside.

This dependence is the fallout of their slavery. The British who ruled practically the entire region were ruthless masters. They used people in the region as brick and mortar to build the structure of their empire. Any big or odd stone that did not fit in was crushed or thrown aside. Not many rose to challenge the system. The efforts of the few who did were nipped in the bud. Others were eliminated.

Still this region, with its people of different traditions, defeated the British. In their journey towards independence, they fell and rose but reached their destination. It is a saga of suffering and sacrifice which is recalled even today.

South Asia has learned the lesson that every enslaved country does from humiliation. But what it has not learnt yet is that people have to make a joint effort to overcome problems. Together they can fight to determine the path they should take, the tactics they should adopt and the allies they should seek. All this demands an understanding that they are together. This cannot be assumed. A method has to be devised to ascertain their opinion, yes or no.

What do the people think? What do the participants in the struggle for the betterment of conditions feel? Their efforts sow the seed of accountability. If some are to be made answerable, they should have the powers to act. Who should such people be? How can they be spotted? Centuries ago, the English established themselves as the world’s supreme nation against rival claimants. Since then the idea of popular sovereignty has become an integral part of civilised governments. Some nations like France learned from England’s example.

We in South Asia are a watchful people. We were determined to throw out the yoke of foreign rule. We also wanted to devise a system to rule ourselves. Our experience was all that the British taught us — the different acts under which carefully selected people would come to the assemblies and parliaments to rule. Very few came directly elected by the people. That was our democratic system. Our struggle in different parts of the region was to have more and more elected representatives.

We shed each other’s blood, although we were independent. The subcontinent of India was partitioned into India and Pakistan on the basis of religion. When the constitution in the newly independent countries was framed, the people’s say was naturally the most.

The biggest achievement of the constitution was to keep the rights of the people supreme and to ensure that the nations did not substitute white masters with brown sahibs.

It was not a question of government alone. It was also a question of the constitutional guarantee whereby sovereignty stayed with the people. And does democracy mean only going to polling booths and registering votes? The answer to such questions may be able to tell whether democracy will survive in South Asia.

The people’s wishes — and prayers — would have yielded some results by this time had the hostility between India and Pakistan been overcome. Neither India nor Pakistan has been able to overcome the differences which go back a long way. In a way, it is the same old bias between Hindus and Muslims. Parochialism spoils the thinking of secular India when it comes to Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan has never adopted secularism even after Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s declaration that the state would have nothing to do with religion.

Between August 1947 and 2010, the two countries have engaged in three wars, apart from militaristic stances over the Rann of Kutch, Siachen and Kargil. Both are also nuclear powers. Still they love to hate each other. Kashmir and water are symptoms, not the disease.

The disease is the bias, suspicion and mistrust which appear in one form or the other. Even if one issue was to be solved, another would rear its ugly head because of the fundamental Hindu-Muslim divide. How do the two nations get away from this posture? The sooner we find an answer to this question, the stronger will be Saarc.

The writer is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.

The Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit will be over by the time these lines appear in print. But we can say that it was another attempt to scale the mountain of difficulties.

The 15th people’s Saarc meeting was held in Delhi recently to impress upon the participants of the official Saarc summit in Thimpu, ask Bhutan, that South Asian countries will continue to lag behind in development until they realise the meaning of cooperation.

Representatives of human rights bodies, order trade unions, women groups and others from the Saarc countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka — demanded a union of South Asian countries in the manner of the European Union, while retaining their individual identity and sovereignty. Some even saw the prospects of one market, one visa and one currency. The representatives (60 from Pakistan alone) “reaffirmed the South Asian people’s commitment to creating a South Asia free from all discrimination, exclusion and domination”.

Indeed, these are lofty ideals that are worth pursuing. The participants were not only passionate about them, they were also committed to rising above nationalism and parochialism to make the dream of a South Asia Union come true. Their speeches had no rancour, no bitterness and no allegation.

All the eight countries are different in their own way. Yet many of them were ruled by foreigners which has cast their outlook in a civilisational mould, reflecting their commonality. Unfortunately, they a seek solution to their basic problems, not from within the region but from outside.

This dependence is the fallout of their slavery. The British who ruled practically the entire region were ruthless masters. They used people in the region as brick and mortar to build the structure of their empire. Any big or odd stone that did not fit in was crushed or thrown aside. Not many rose to challenge the system. The efforts of the few who did were nipped in the bud. Others were eliminated.

Still this region, with its people of different traditions, defeated the British. In their journey towards independence, they fell and rose but reached their destination. It is a saga of suffering and sacrifice which is recalled even today.

South Asia has learned the lesson that every enslaved country does from humiliation. But what it has not learnt yet is that people have to make a joint effort to overcome problems. Together they can fight to determine the path they should take, the tactics they should adopt and the allies they should seek. All this demands an understanding that they are together. This cannot be assumed. A method has to be devised to ascertain their opinion, yes or no.

What do the people think? What do the participants in the struggle for the betterment of conditions feel? Their efforts sow the seed of accountability. If some are to be made answerable, they should have the powers to act. Who should such people be? How can they be spotted? Centuries ago, the English established themselves as the world’s supreme nation against rival claimants. Since then the idea of popular sovereignty has become an integral part of civilised governments. Some nations like France learned from England’s example.

We in South Asia are a watchful people. We were determined to throw out the yoke of foreign rule. We also wanted to devise a system to rule ourselves. Our experience was all that the British taught us — the different acts under which carefully selected people would come to the assemblies and parliaments to rule. Very few came directly elected by the people. That was our democratic system. Our struggle in different parts of the region was to have more and more elected representatives.

We shed each other’s blood, although we were independent. The subcontinent of India was partitioned into India and Pakistan on the basis of religion. When the constitution in the newly independent countries was framed, the people’s say was naturally the most.

The biggest achievement of the constitution was to keep the rights of the people supreme and to ensure that the nations did not substitute white masters with brown sahibs.

It was not a question of government alone. It was also a question of the constitutional guarantee whereby sovereignty stayed with the people. And does democracy mean only going to polling booths and registering votes? The answer to such questions may be able to tell whether democracy will survive in South Asia.

The people’s wishes — and prayers — would have yielded some results by this time had the hostility between India and Pakistan been overcome. Neither India nor Pakistan has been able to overcome the differences which go back a long way. In a way, it is the same old bias between Hindus and Muslims. Parochialism spoils the thinking of secular India when it comes to Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan has never adopted secularism even after Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s declaration that the state would have nothing to do with religion.

Between August 1947 and 2010, the two countries have engaged in three wars, apart from militaristic stances over the Rann of Kutch, Siachen and Kargil. Both are also nuclear powers. Still they love to hate each other. Kashmir and water are symptoms, not the disease.

The disease is the bias, suspicion and mistrust which appear in one form or the other. Even if one issue was to be solved, another would rear its ugly head because of the fundamental Hindu-Muslim divide. How do the two nations get away from this posture? The sooner we find an answer to this question, the stronger will be Saarc.

The writer is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.The Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit will be over by the time these lines appear in print. But we can say that it was another attempt to scale the mountain of difficulties.

The 15th people’s Saarc meeting was held in Delhi recently to impress upon the participants of the official Saarc summit in Thimpu, Bhutan, that South Asian countries will continue to lag behind in development until they realise the meaning of cooperation.

Representatives of human rights bodies, trade unions, women groups and others from the Saarc countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka — demanded a union of South Asian countries in the manner of the European Union, while retaining their individual identity and sovereignty. Some even saw the prospects of one market, one visa and one currency. The representatives (60 from Pakistan alone) “reaffirmed the South Asian people’s commitment to creating a South Asia free from all discrimination, exclusion and domination”.

Indeed, these are lofty ideals that are worth pursuing. The participants were not only passionate about them, they were also committed to rising above nationalism and parochialism to make the dream of a South Asia Union come true. Their speeches had no rancour, no bitterness and no allegation.

All the eight countries are different in their own way. Yet many of them were ruled by foreigners which has cast their outlook in a civilisational mould, reflecting their commonality. Unfortunately, they a seek solution to their basic problems, not from within the region but from outside.

This dependence is the fallout of their slavery. The British who ruled practically the entire region were ruthless masters. They used people in the region as brick and mortar to build the structure of their empire. Any big or odd stone that did not fit in was crushed or thrown aside. Not many rose to challenge the system. The efforts of the few who did were nipped in the bud. Others were eliminated.

Still this region, with its people of different traditions, defeated the British. In their journey towards independence, they fell and rose but reached their destination. It is a saga of suffering and sacrifice which is recalled even today.

South Asia has learned the lesson that every enslaved country does from humiliation. But what it has not learnt yet is that people have to make a joint effort to overcome problems. Together they can fight to determine the path they should take, the tactics they should adopt and the allies they should seek. All this demands an understanding that they are together. This cannot be assumed. A method has to be devised to ascertain their opinion, yes or no.

What do the people think? What do the participants in the struggle for the betterment of conditions feel? Their efforts sow the seed of accountability. If some are to be made answerable, they should have the powers to act. Who should such people be? How can they be spotted? Centuries ago, the English established themselves as the world’s supreme nation against rival claimants. Since then the idea of popular sovereignty has become an integral part of civilised governments. Some nations like France learned from England’s example.

We in South Asia are a watchful people. We were determined to throw out the yoke of foreign rule. We also wanted to devise a system to rule ourselves. Our experience was all that the British taught us — the different acts under which carefully selected people would come to the assemblies and parliaments to rule. Very few came directly elected by the people. That was our democratic system. Our struggle in different parts of the region was to have more and more elected representatives.

We shed each other’s blood, although we were independent. The subcontinent of India was partitioned into India and Pakistan on the basis of religion. When the constitution in the newly independent countries was framed, the people’s say was naturally the most.

The biggest achievement of the constitution was to keep the rights of the people supreme and to ensure that the nations did not substitute white masters with brown sahibs.

It was not a question of government alone. It was also a question of the constitutional guarantee whereby sovereignty stayed with the people. And does democracy mean only going to polling booths and registering votes? The answer to such questions may be able to tell whether democracy will survive in South Asia.

The people’s wishes — and prayers — would have yielded some results by this time had the hostility between India and Pakistan been overcome. Neither India nor Pakistan has been able to overcome the differences which go back a long way. In a way, it is the same old bias between Hindus and Muslims. Parochialism spoils the thinking of secular India when it comes to Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan has never adopted secularism even after Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s declaration that the state would have nothing to do with religion.

Between August 1947 and 2010, the two countries have engaged in three wars, apart from militaristic stances over the Rann of Kutch, Siachen and Kargil. Both are also nuclear powers. Still they love to hate each other. Kashmir and water are symptoms, not the disease.

The disease is the bias, suspicion and mistrust which appear in one form or the other. Even if one issue was to be solved, another would rear its ugly head because of the fundamental Hindu-Muslim divide. How do the two nations get away from this posture? The sooner we find an answer to this question, the stronger will be Saarc.

The writer is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.

The Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit will be over by the time these lines appear in print. But we can say that it was another attempt to scale the mountain of difficulties.

The 15th people’s Saarc meeting was held in Delhi recently to impress upon the participants of the official Saarc summit in Thimpu, malady Bhutan, store that South Asian countries will continue to lag behind in development until they realise the meaning of cooperation.

Representatives of human rights bodies, trade unions, women groups and others from the Saarc countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka — demanded a union of South Asian countries in the manner of the European Union, while retaining their individual identity and sovereignty. Some even saw the prospects of one market, one visa and one currency. The representatives (60 from Pakistan alone) “reaffirmed the South Asian people’s commitment to creating a South Asia free from all discrimination, exclusion and domination”.

Indeed, these are lofty ideals that are worth pursuing. The participants were not only passionate about them, they were also committed to rising above nationalism and parochialism to make the dream of a South Asia Union come true. Their speeches had no rancour, no bitterness and no allegation.

All the eight countries are different in their own way. Yet many of them were ruled by foreigners which has cast their outlook in a civilisational mould, reflecting their commonality. Unfortunately, they a seek solution to their basic problems, not from within the region but from outside.

This dependence is the fallout of their slavery. The British who ruled practically the entire region were ruthless masters. They used people in the region as brick and mortar to build the structure of their empire. Any big or odd stone that did not fit in was crushed or thrown aside. Not many rose to challenge the system. The efforts of the few who did were nipped in the bud. Others were eliminated.

Still this region, with its people of different traditions, defeated the British. In their journey towards independence, they fell and rose but reached their destination. It is a saga of suffering and sacrifice which is recalled even today.

South Asia has learned the lesson that every enslaved country does from humiliation. But what it has not learnt yet is that people have to make a joint effort to overcome problems. Together they can fight to determine the path they should take, the tactics they should adopt and the allies they should seek. All this demands an understanding that they are together. This cannot be assumed. A method has to be devised to ascertain their opinion, yes or no.

What do the people think? What do the participants in the struggle for the betterment of conditions feel? Their efforts sow the seed of accountability. If some are to be made answerable, they should have the powers to act. Who should such people be? How can they be spotted? Centuries ago, the English established themselves as the world’s supreme nation against rival claimants. Since then the idea of popular sovereignty has become an integral part of civilised governments. Some nations like France learned from England’s example.

We in South Asia are a watchful people. We were determined to throw out the yoke of foreign rule. We also wanted to devise a system to rule ourselves. Our experience was all that the British taught us — the different acts under which carefully selected people would come to the assemblies and parliaments to rule. Very few came directly elected by the people. That was our democratic system. Our struggle in different parts of the region was to have more and more elected representatives.

We shed each other’s blood, although we were independent. The subcontinent of India was partitioned into India and Pakistan on the basis of religion. When the constitution in the newly independent countries was framed, the people’s say was naturally the most.

The biggest achievement of the constitution was to keep the rights of the people supreme and to ensure that the nations did not substitute white masters with brown sahibs.

It was not a question of government alone. It was also a question of the constitutional guarantee whereby sovereignty stayed with the people. And does democracy mean only going to polling booths and registering votes? The answer to such questions may be able to tell whether democracy will survive in South Asia.

The people’s wishes — and prayers — would have yielded some results by this time had the hostility between India and Pakistan been overcome. Neither India nor Pakistan has been able to overcome the differences which go back a long way. In a way, it is the same old bias between Hindus and Muslims. Parochialism spoils the thinking of secular India when it comes to Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan has never adopted secularism even after Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s declaration that the state would have nothing to do with religion.

Between August 1947 and 2010, the two countries have engaged in three wars, apart from militaristic stances over the Rann of Kutch, Siachen and Kargil. Both are also nuclear powers. Still they love to hate each other. Kashmir and water are symptoms, not the disease.

The disease is the bias, suspicion and mistrust which appear in one form or the other. Even if one issue was to be solved, another would rear its ugly head because of the fundamental Hindu-Muslim divide. How do the two nations get away from this posture? The sooner we find an answer to this question, the stronger will be Saarc.

The writer is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.The Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit will be over by the time these lines appear in print. But we can say that it was another attempt to scale the mountain of difficulties.

The 15th people’s Saarc meeting was held in Delhi recently to impress upon the participants of the official Saarc summit in Thimpu, Bhutan, that South Asian countries will continue to lag behind in development until they realise the meaning of cooperation.

Representatives of human rights bodies, trade unions, women groups and others from the Saarc countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka — demanded a union of South Asian countries in the manner of the European Union, while retaining their individual identity and sovereignty. Some even saw the prospects of one market, one visa and one currency. The representatives (60 from Pakistan alone) “reaffirmed the South Asian people’s commitment to creating a South Asia free from all discrimination, exclusion and domination”.

Indeed, these are lofty ideals that are worth pursuing. The participants were not only passionate about them, they were also committed to rising above nationalism and parochialism to make the dream of a South Asia Union come true. Their speeches had no rancour, no bitterness and no allegation.

All the eight countries are different in their own way. Yet many of them were ruled by foreigners which has cast their outlook in a civilisational mould, reflecting their commonality. Unfortunately, they a seek solution to their basic problems, not from within the region but from outside.

This dependence is the fallout of their slavery. The British who ruled practically the entire region were ruthless masters. They used people in the region as brick and mortar to build the structure of their empire. Any big or odd stone that did not fit in was crushed or thrown aside. Not many rose to challenge the system. The efforts of the few who did were nipped in the bud. Others were eliminated.

Still this region, with its people of different traditions, defeated the British. In their journey towards independence, they fell and rose but reached their destination. It is a saga of suffering and sacrifice which is recalled even today.

South Asia has learned the lesson that every enslaved country does from humiliation. But what it has not learnt yet is that people have to make a joint effort to overcome problems. Together they can fight to determine the path they should take, the tactics they should adopt and the allies they should seek. All this demands an understanding that they are together. This cannot be assumed. A method has to be devised to ascertain their opinion, yes or no.

What do the people think? What do the participants in the struggle for the betterment of conditions feel? Their efforts sow the seed of accountability. If some are to be made answerable, they should have the powers to act. Who should such people be? How can they be spotted? Centuries ago, the English established themselves as the world’s supreme nation against rival claimants. Since then the idea of popular sovereignty has become an integral part of civilised governments. Some nations like France learned from England’s example.

We in South Asia are a watchful people. We were determined to throw out the yoke of foreign rule. We also wanted to devise a system to rule ourselves. Our experience was all that the British taught us — the different acts under which carefully selected people would come to the assemblies and parliaments to rule. Very few came directly elected by the people. That was our democratic system. Our struggle in different parts of the region was to have more and more elected representatives.

We shed each other’s blood, although we were independent. The subcontinent of India was partitioned into India and Pakistan on the basis of religion. When the constitution in the newly independent countries was framed, the people’s say was naturally the most.

The biggest achievement of the constitution was to keep the rights of the people supreme and to ensure that the nations did not substitute white masters with brown sahibs.

It was not a question of government alone. It was also a question of the constitutional guarantee whereby sovereignty stayed with the people. And does democracy mean only going to polling booths and registering votes? The answer to such questions may be able to tell whether democracy will survive in South Asia.

The people’s wishes — and prayers — would have yielded some results by this time had the hostility between India and Pakistan been overcome. Neither India nor Pakistan has been able to overcome the differences which go back a long way. In a way, it is the same old bias between Hindus and Muslims. Parochialism spoils the thinking of secular India when it comes to Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan has never adopted secularism even after Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s declaration that the state would have nothing to do with religion.

Between August 1947 and 2010, the two countries have engaged in three wars, apart from militaristic stances over the Rann of Kutch, Siachen and Kargil. Both are also nuclear powers. Still they love to hate each other. Kashmir and water are symptoms, not the disease.

The disease is the bias, suspicion and mistrust which appear in one form or the other. Even if one issue was to be solved, another would rear its ugly head because of the fundamental Hindu-Muslim divide. How do the two nations get away from this posture? The sooner we find an answer to this question, the stronger will be Saarc.

The writer is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.

After having been saved by the States, order here come the banks and financial markets attacking these same States. They have not got over their unbalanced behaviour before the crisis that had led to it. The States have saved the banks without giving themselves the means of controlling them, help they have restored the power of the financial markets by abandoning the idea of regulating them without developing socially and ecologically useful forms of production, research and services and without reviving employment and social justice or increasing public receipts.

For the population this means a double punishment. After years of deterioration because of neo-liberal policies, their living conditions are suffering from the direct effects of the financial crisis (unemployment, recession) and are now being hit by the social regression that their governments intend to inflict on them. Those who are most vulnerable — particularly the women, young people, migrants and the insecure — already hard hit will be plunged into even more tragic situations.

The governments must break with the principle “The State assumes the debts, the people tighten their belts and the profits go to the financial sector”. It must be possible to find solutions with other principles and logics.

The attitude of the principal political leaders renewing the legitimacy of the Stability Pact (which, nevertheless, they all generally trampled underfoot at the height of the crisis, it was so unworkable) and of the Lisbon strategy is totally irresponsible and endangers the very existence of the euro and the E.U. The E.U. demands that Greece bring its public debt back into balance by brute force altough an austerity programme would only increase the danger of a recession and further reduce its fiscal revenue. Thus it wants to make an example of this country, which is being attacked by the markets, after having handed over to the IMF several of the European States most hard hit by the crisis, without the slightest measure of solidarity. This clearly doesn’t exist within the Union. The agreement concluded March 26th reveals again through the call to the IMF the incapacity of the European Union to set up real measures of solidarity within the Eurozone.

Making people think that the problems are “national” is a way of hiding the extent to which the E.U. is, today, a creator of crisis and is contributing towards the development of inequalities in its very heart, in particular by setting the States up in fiscal and social competition with one another. There is a great danger that we will see this brutal policy leading to divisions and the hunt for scapegoats within the various Societies of Europe. A “nationalisation” of problems can only give more weight to nationalist trends, to Right wing, populist and extremist forces already present in Europe and to splits between North and South, East and West of the continent. More generally, one is forced to note that the aggressive principles of financialised capitalism are building up threats to democracy and peace.

As signatories of this appeal, we consider that:

1. It is not up to the populations to pay for the crisis of the financial markets. The States and their populations must be set free from the stranglehold of finance. The E.U. has means of limiting its weight in its region. We must put an end to the independence of the European Central Bank, its restrictive policies, the ban on its lending to member States. The States must be able to borrow under acceptable conditions.

2. The banks and finance must be resized, subjected to strict controls and significant taxation of financial movements and of exess pofits. It is necessary to tax at once the incomes of the financial agents and of major shareholders; create public banking centres that cooperate at a European level; redirect credit towards socially useful and ecologically sustainable activities; suspend the EU directive “on shareholders rights” and accompany this with the strengthening of public authorities.

3. The neo-liberal dogmas conveyed by the European Union and the States must be dismissed once and for all. The European budget must enable more significant means to be pooled for mutual benefit, so as to favour cohesion and the reduction of inequalities between regions. There must be a break with the Lisbon strategy that is a source of job insecurity, of the privatisation of public services, health and retirement pensions, of the treatment of knowledge, research, training as mere commodities.

4, The single currency must not become a tool for competition; it must be accompanied by a “Pact of cooperation and solidarity” as well as by common objectives regarding industrial and research policies, cooperation between public services, all of which presupposes the “upward harmonisation of wages and social security, which in turn presupposes fiscal convergences, compatible budgetary choices. Fiscal, social and ecological dumping must be banned.

5. The E.U. and its member states must act in a united manner at continental and planet-wide levels in favour of a new kind of ecologically sustainable development. This presupposes a change of direction in all international institutions and when concluding trade agreements.

It is time that the governments of the European Union stop the plundering of their population by the banks! They must stop behaving like objective allies of finance!

I sign this Appeal:

Surname, first name:

I wish my name to be published in the list or signatories, accompanied by the following description (profession, level of responsibility, organisation…).

Country:

Town and postcode:

Address:

Email:

Telephone:

Remarks:

Please return this Appeal to:

  • Elisabeth Gauthier (Transform! European network) elgauthi@internatif.org
  • Frédéric Viale (Group Europe – Attac France) frederic.viale@free.fr

SAPA: “Forging Solidarity, Building Alternatives”

 

4th GENERAL FORUM
Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA)
“Forging Solidarity, Building Alternatives”
The Everest Hotel, Kathmandu, Nepal
26 – 27 March 2010

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Day 1, March 26, Public Forum

The Asian Challenge: Forging Solidarity, Building Alternatives

The public forum started at 10:07 am. Ms. Jenina Joy Chavez started by providing an explanation why the program was delayed saying that a South Asian delegation was meeting with the Nepali Prime Minister.

The forum agreed to the suggestion to start with the round of introductions of the participants of the forum.

Joy Chavez gave a short overview about how the general forum will proceed in the next two days and asked everybody to examine the packet of documents that has been provided as kit. She pointed out that it was a conscious decision on the part of SAPA conveners to hold the 4th SAPA General Forum in South Asia to encourage more participation and cooperation with South Asian counterparts. (Annex 1. Program for the General Forum)

The next part was the keynote address of Dr. Netra Timsina, President of the NGO Federation of Nepal entitled “South Asia’s Significance in Global Affairs and People’s Struggles.” His keynote started with a geographical-sociological-political description of South Asia and the current political trends affecting South Asia. He identified population growth, degradation of natural environment, widespread poverty, malnutrition, low literacy level, lack of adequate health and housing facilities, shortfall of energy, caste and gender-based exclusion as crucial and critical challenges that South Asia face. He pointed to the fact that most South Asian countries are experiencing political unrest and are experiencing problems on human trafficking. He said that despite all these problems there are attempts to combat all of these problems through wide sharing of ideas, experiences and forging solidarity across the borders. He said that the people’s struggles for rights and freedom have also been multidimensional and gave Nepal’s democratic movements as an example. He said that the big challenge is to institutionalize the achievements of the democratic movements of Nepal and to continue raising the consciousness of the people so that they defend their democratic rights. He ended with a discussion on how the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has failed but pointed to the success of Peoples’ SAARC in providing a common platform for social movements, networks and alliances across the region. He wished that SAPA be successful in turn in forging solidarity and building alternatives in Asia for the poor and marginalized people at the regional and sub-regional levels. (Annex 2. Keynote Address of Dr. Netra Timsina)

Ms. Joy Chavez provided a brief summary of Dr. Netra’s presentation pointing out that the presentation surfaced a lot of issues in South Asia, the commonalities, and how peoples’ and peoples’ movements deal with and tackle the issues that confront them. She said that the challenge is to come up with fresh ideas to work together on issues that confront Asia and its sub-regions by looking at the ways that people try to cope and face these issues.

With the arrival of the delegation who met with the Prime Minister, another round of introduction was done. Ms. Joy Chavez also introduced Mr. Subodh Pyakurel, Chairperson of Forum-Asia and INSEC Chair, who is supposed to give the welcome remarks. She mentioned that INSEC is the main partner of the SAPA conveners in setting up the 4th General Forum.

Mr. Subodh Pyakurel started his welcome remarks by apologizing and explaining why they were late for the forum. He thanked SAPA for the resolution to conduct the meeting in South Asia which he said shows the willingness of SAPA to work with other organizations and peoples’ from South Asia. He said that South Asia is grappling with a lot of issues and challenges and the formation of SAARC has not helped in resolving these issues. He noted that it is even worse in North East Asia since there is no intergovernmental regional platform where civil society can work together. He said that he believe SAPA can be the platform where peoples and civil society in Asia can work together, support each other, advance the cause together to maximize the impact of collective advocacy. He expects more South Asian groups to participate in SAPA by strengthening the Working Group in South Asia and by engaging with the Peoples’ SAARC. He hopes for the next General Forum to be held in North East Asia to get more NEA groups to be involved in the SAPA process. He ended by wishing for the success of the general forum and the request that all work together to forward democracy and human rights in Asia. (Annex 3. Welcome Remarks of Mr. Pyakurel)

Ms. Joy Chavez came next with the short explanation/discussion of the different plenary that will be held on that day. She said that there will be three plenaries: (1) globalization and climate change; (2) human rights and state of freedoms; and (3) state of civil society movements.

Plenary 1 – Regional Responses to Globalization

The Climate and the Market: Challenges Faced by the Region

Panel: Mr. T. Jayaraman, Tata Institute India and Ms. Dorothy Grace Guerrero, Focus,

SAPA Working Group on the Environment

Moderator: Mr. William Gois, Migrant Forum in Asia/SAPA RSC

Mr. T. Jayaraman Input Talked about FRAMEWORK rather than details, given time constraint. Crucial questions are “How do we frame Climate issues?”

1. Central to the issue of climate is the context of development and the perspective of developing countries faced with development deficit. There is a need to deal with issues of climate and trade on the context of development and to cope with the issue of global inequity. Climate must be highlighted as an issue of the global commons.

– On development deficit: present and future: do we simply get rid of problems we face today or do we envision an alternative future?

§ OPEN FUTURE: extrapolate from the present but also toward an alternative future

– Trade and climate as different issues. Distinguishing bet Climate and Trade

§ When it comes to trade, we have the option of walking away, stalling, playing hard ball not giving in. On Climate, it is not clear whether developing countries have the same open ended options like they have in trade. Developing countries may not have enough space to achieve an industrial future.

§ Carbon space for the industrial future of developing nations

§ Action: we do not have the option to just walk away from negotiating table? But what are options available to the Global South?

§ Climate points out issue of global commons, while trade talks about maximizing individual interests

§ Central Issue: Copenhagen, on the one hand, demonstrated an almost exemplary solidarity among nation-states in the developing world; solidarity came apart in the writing of the Copenhagen accord

· What is the basis of this coming apart? 1) In grasping the importance of climate science in negotiating how much development space DC have; ex. Connection bet climate and poverty; to what extent is CC responsible for the poverty of the small farmer?

· This in turn determines negotiating space available to developing countries

· In Copenhagen, entire discourse focused on the question of financial transfers from developed to developing countries framing it as the global north paying for the inequities; but this distracts people from the real issue of cutting emissions of the global North

· Historical responsibilities and polluter pays principle; but looking at it in this lens, debate was reduced to finance, whether China or India would stand in the way

· North vs South: issue of climate is being hinged entirely on money and financial transfers?

· No new bright ideas for Mexico round; A remarkable silence on what to do in Mexico from the capitals of Europe

· There is something here that we need to think through and there is no option to walk away, how de we face question of how we deal with development under a constrained future? How do we frame the question of development in an unequal world? What actions are possible here, what spaces are provided?

· The main demand should be the need for dramatic reduction of emissions by the global north.

Ms. Dorothy Grace Guerrero Input – Centered on “Climate Crisis and Climate Justice Movement Building (Annex 4. PowerPoint Presentation)

Input focused on discussing climate in the political-economy perspective. It is not just an environmental issue but fundamental question is the right to development. Continuing development of developing countries is being equated on the right to pollute. Three main sections: (1) the climate crisis, (2) responses to climate change, and (3) climate justice. Climate issue provides new opportunities to organize people and organizations.

· Climate crisis is really an issue for the survival of the people and the crisis is global. Climate change is due to human activities and that there are just and sustainable solutions but would require the overhaul of system.

· China has been blamed for the fact that there was no deal arrived at in Copenhagen. But 39 countries on annex 1 have refused to accept their responsibility and there were no discussions on reduction of emissions. Focus was on technology transfers, climate financing.

· New transactions show old patterns of colonization. Similar to the WTO position where developing countries position weakened by engaging in bilateral negotiation rather than a stronger position.

· Need for global movement building. COP has more mass actions, more radical way of addressing the issue. Movement building, moving beyond the negotiations by pushing national governments, how money can be used for financing development.

· Main challenges – can’t solve the problems with what caused it in the first place. Movement of no deal is better that a bad deal, calling for systematic overhaul. Many campaign groups coming forward to demand change in the system of production, patterns of consumption. Climate is the new trade. Climate must be seen as a political issue, negotiation is the justice element is missing. Idea of climate debt for the IFI campaigners, north has used up their share of the atmospheric space. No critique on the issue of markets and finances.

· SAPA moving forward, South East Asia lucky because of the intercessional held in Bangkok because it mobilized people, Working group on environment in the Asean and we are pushing for an ASEAN pillar on environment, climate, big development projects and biodiversity.

Points Raised during OPEN FORUM for Plenary 1

· Two presentations are reductionist and only look at trade, financing and investment on the issue of climate. Life and climate should be seen together, we need to look at climate as right to life. Does not mention inequality.

· Climate should be linked to other important but old issues like human rights, poverty, discrimination, war and conflicts.

· Adaptation as the main strategy to combat climate problems.

· Climate is not simply a fashionable issue, with climate any time loss is crucial especially for threatened cities like Manila, Jakarta, Bangkok.

· Everybody wants financial transfer but models of purely trade-led group should be rejected, adaptation and finance must not be regarded as manna from heaven. The demand should be for developed countries to cut their emissions since developing countries need that amount of space for a low-carbon future.

· While issue of climate is new, confusing and technical, it should be linked to justice. For IP fundamental issue is recognition of their rights. For women groups no gender justice without climate justice. Farmers are also linking their issues to climate change and going against agribusiness. The gist is climate crisis cannot be resolved with continued model of development. No business as usual.

· People’s security rather than national security.

· Not everything is linked to climate, there must be distinctions. Case of island states, of Maldives, openly pushing for advocacy to global north. Capacity building is needed so that we can do our out own thinking.

· Sad that many developing countries are not positioning themselves as developing countries. Who are negotiating on their behalf? The government is opening space for NGOs for national delegation to climate talks. Studying the issues is needed, and not all government can afford negotiators who can study the issues. Act now but act right.

Plenary 2 -Human Rights, Peace, Democracy and Self-Determination The meanings of freedom today

Speakers: Mr. Tapan Bose and Mr. Sammy Gamboa, IID

Moderator: Mr. Yap See Sweng, FORUM-Asia

Mr. Tapan Bose Input

Targeting of Muslims

· In India most of arrested are young educated Muslims

· Growing number of victims of state bias and security

· Laws have been changed to support this bias

Growing section of the middle class in its search for security, are also willingly surrendering human rights because of the threat of terrorism

· In Sri Lanka, the LTTE has become a military organization and the people have taken a peculiar position that the state and government will take care of them, and that the people are safe.

· No freedoms left in Sri Lanka, human rights, peace, journalists don’t talk, mostly non-Tamil leave the country.

· That the whole concept of security post the so-called war of terror, has been internalized by the states, and has been used by government to crack on the rights that we have taken too long to win.

· The impetus of globalization has hijacked the economy, a part of the middle class do not care. Empowerment and democratization process, how capital has been moving, the state has withdrawn from social agenda and labor laws have collapsed. The middle class (empowered section of the population) has retreated, and do not care what happens to the rest of the society.

· Contractualization has proliferated. The multinationals dictate amendments to labor laws to allow them to dictate contracts. Loss of our rights and freedoms. E.g. Worker rights, amendment of labor laws being surrendered; hours worked, amendment of labor laws, undermining hard-won gains in the labor front and the struggle toward empowerment of the worker

· Narrowing down of the definition of human rights. Division among communities and persecution of minorities. Loss of human rights has become a reality. Since 2001 the war has been going on, and it is a powerful determining factor, and its impact has been going on. Draconian laws’ effect is the narrowing down of the definition of human rights. In India, the number of attacks on the minority has become commonplace. Legitimate demand of minority communities has not been addressed in Nepal.

· Kashmir, Manipur, etc. How is RSD going to be articulated and achieved in our time?

· The responsibility of HR groups/defenders becomes even more critical. We have to do deep thinking regarding the relationship of politics, human rights and democracy and self-determination. Does the first-pass-the-polls definition of democracy represent people? These are issues that our community needs to look into—unless we do that, issues of RSD, governance, management of our resources, will continue be beyond our reach, and we will continue to be manipulated in the name of growth, job, development which divided people.

Mr. Sammy Gamboa Input (see Annex 5)

On Southeast Asia

· Southeast Asia is a region diversity, contrast and paradox, where the meaning of freedoms today are played out in a way that on the one hand they are threatened and curtailed by current obstacles and emerging challenges. And on the other, they are continuously fought for, asserted, reinvented and re-imagined in various ways and circumstances. Issues are interlinked.

· Key factor in the dynamism are the people’s movements and the civil society.

· Gains have been achieved.

· Lessons and challenges – HR must continually be asserted and defended. Popularization of human rights defenders. Need to address emerging issues e.g. non-state perpetrators of violence. RSD to be asserted as a basic human right.

Southeast Asia Issues

· HR: Impunity and Human Rights Violations; e.g. Burma. Malaysia and Singapore. EJK in the Philippines

· Burma as Hotspot Human Rights issue in the ASEAN

· Land and resource conflicts; Development Aggression

Positive Developments:

· AICHR: promises some kind of a relief for human rights work in the region. Organizations like FA are busy working on terms of engaging this body toward preserving and claiming spaces

· Human rights movement/Resilience: have not lost hope despite swing of victory and defeat

Challenges:

· Human Rights need to be continuously defended

· Addressing new challenges posed by emerging issues: non-state actors, multinationationals, climate, ESCR, right to development

· RSD as basic human right

· Need to make AICHR to work effectively

On Democracy:

1. Proliferation of different types of democracies in SOUTHEAST ASIA

· Elite democracy and capture of state; e.g. In Indonesia betrayal of reformasi, in Thailand, yellow and red revolts

· need to develop concept of democracy and construction of sovereignty; RSD, IP issues

2. Right to Self-Determination

· Land issues

· Annexation of IP land

· Continued minoritization and discrimination of IPs

3. Mindanao, West Papua, S. Thailand. Also Burma to a certain extent

4. Grassroots based Independent Peoples Peace Agenda

5. Linking up peace movement and other actors

6. Link global power players to the issues in SEA

Challenges to Moving forward:

1. Re-imagine and recast

2. Revisit constructs such as state, rights, etc

3. Are we now in the era of transnationalization of movements? Encourage multiple centers of peoples powers

4. Define and validate, definition of resistance framework of movements

5. Pushing the boundaries of existing spaces, and creating new spaces; reflecting on our ways of working for e.g. in AICHR: how do we balance our work- with effective intervention in AICHR

6. Dangers of Projectization, Sectoralization, etc

7. RSD in CS and SAPA, highlighting and mainstreaming RSD advocacy.

Points Raised during the Open Forum

· Good that RSD is being given some attention. The UN does not want to touch that. It is concept, a norm, right and principle. Notion of RSD is very limited. RSD is always related to secession. Women rights have always been denied. There is a need to rethink and get acts together. Prerequisite for all other rights. It is always having a choice. Whole Burma has been domesticated and what about their rights about RSD. Next challenge is democracy, is that enough to just sign all the treaties?

· RSD has taken a backseat. There is confusion among civil society organizations. We need to think how we are moving forward.

· Important thing is that we need solidarity. There is a need for the human rights movement to also forge solidarity with groups working on local issues. Support the local movements.

· How to define RSD. Nationalism with a vengeance which includes the struggle of IPs, etc. The whole definition of nation state should be reevaluated.

· It is not only organizations but even without changing the labor law, the judiciary system is with the companies. It must be people-centric.

· There are many minority groups and they are demanding federalism, to have their own language and self ruling. They want their RSD. It is incomplete democracy. There should be self-government and RSD for people to equally settle.

· RSD is for nation states that have been taken over by another country. In the post colonial societies to be built, every individual has an equal right. The experience is mixed because it also creates its own elite. All the others are also asking for their own RSD.

· There is a need to re-conceptualize the state in terms of RSD. It should be the people who must determine the direction of the state, and not the state determining the future and destiny of the people

· People who struggle for resources, water land, etc are considered anti-state and terrorist. RSD was a principle; a very powerful principle to crack open colonization. Now we have to imagine, if RSD can crack open globalization.

Plenary 3- The State of Civil Society and People’s Movements

Confronting challenges in official and people processes

Speakers: Ms. Meena Menon, Focus and Ms. Anelyn de Luna, Alternative ASEAN for Burma

Moderator: Ms. Ruby Lora, Initiative for International Dialogue

On South Asia and Movements:

· South Asia as a region is different because of India. India is a big defining factor, and it dominates the region that there is a skewed region here. It is very difficult to move something in SAARC since it is not in the priority of India. Economic integration is totally dominated by India.

· Conflict between India and Pakistan, two nuclear countries threatening each other across the border. After the Mumbai attack, all talks, confidence building efforts have been stopped.

· Culture of violence, language of hatred, militarization.

Challenge:

1. Language of peace. Militarization has affected the daily life of most South Asians and everyone has a stake in peace and cooperation.

2. Building work through peace and cooperation. There is a common history much more than Asean countries. South Asians has a resonance and this is the reason why people are interested in People’s SAARC. Need for economic cooperation has not been put in the agenda of India. E.g. India prefers to conduct trade outside rather than with its neighbors

3. Issues of South Asia, peace and justice should start at the domestic level. The region is very diverse that there is a huge diversity, political diversity as well. Coming together is not easy and it is one major weakness of civil society. Civil society encompasses all kinds of people. I think we should have a common mechanism. How do we develop a more democratic consciousness within civil society? It is important that we do not have democratic deficit because why everybody cannot work together. If we can come together then change would not be difficult. Why should people be concerned with CC? Theoretical link to real movement? People coming together taking issue outside their constituencies still need to happen. Culture of working together, coming/marching together is something that we seem to have lost along the way.

4. PEOPLES SAARC- will happen. Ministry of Affairs has approved. In Delhi 22-23 April

SAFTA, DEVELOPMENT FUND, FOOD BANK are some of the things we need to do as PSAARC. How can economic cooperation be further enriched, not in the form of FTAs but genuine COOPERATION? What are the contours of such cooperation? What other regional solutions can be explored? Develop the concept of regional concepts further

Ms. Anelyn de Luna, Alternative ASEAN for Burma

On Political Space and CSOs:

· How wide and how narrow is the political space in South East Asia. In the 10 countries, Brunei does not any record of civil society and movement. Little space for Burma has to fight for space. Laos and Vietnam, space is dictated by the government, they have GONGOs. In terms of political space, they do not do open protests. Even those who attend regional meetings. Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia, political space is there but it is always threatened. Like in Malaysia because they have an Internal Security where if you do protest you can be arrested. Cambodia is more land rights, Singapore you have few people, hundreds of people showing any reaction to Singapore’s repressive laws. Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia have their own vibrant CS.

· Political space has been gained through the struggles waged through the years. One gauge of the political space is the jargon that has been made in a country. In all of these civil society movements and political movements, it is vibrant and active and sustained in some countries. Some CSO groups have been invited by the government to form part of the official panel. Space has been claimed through the regional and the international level. ASEAN work has become more formalized and systematic. And working groups have been providing inputs for AICHR TOR, security pillar, etc.

Challenges:

1. Mobilizations and engagements with governments. One challenge for CSOs and POs; civil society organizations were more pronounced but POs are not on the same level, sometimes left behind. For examples, in regional meetings we find more CSOs there and less of the POs. Challenge is to make presence of POs more pronounced; but this always should go hand in hand- CSOs and Pos.

2. What happens to other types of struggles, as we get into more formal engagements? How do we balance these two?

3. Interlinkage of issues/intersectoralization

4. Resource mobilization. Scarcity of resources, not only finance but human resource. We need to find strategies to be able to collaborate.

5. Good relationship with ASEAN secretariat. ASEAN PEOPLES CENTER- but right now the APC needs to look for more staff, to be able to fulfill it’s role as conduit to the official ASEAN. Need to strengthen APC

6. Dealing with GONGOs

7. How have we monitored these inputs? How much of your inputs been covered in official documents?

8. In dealing with the government, how much do we compromise? We should always monitor. We should strive to have good relationship with ASEAN secretariat. The APC needs to look for more staff to be able to do that role. If we have APC then we know we have a conduit. We are active in the SAPA, we have Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and we have GONGOs in the forum and when we need to come up with the statement. How do we monitor?

9. Knowing our non-negotiables; sectoralization of issues vs interrelation; Expanding our constituencies

Points Raised During the Open Forum

· Unfinished discussion on RSD. In Burma, RSD definition is clear, because of ethnic composition.

· Why is democratic movement going back and forth? For instance in the Philippines. Role of CS is to point out government weak point and wrong doing. In Burma, GONGOs proliferate. How can they be real civil society when they cannot play this role?

· India is not interested in SAARC but interested in ASEAN plus. Civil society groups and the growth but this does not go back to the marginalized people. Growth is big in India but the impact to the people is not clear. The motivation of the people leading the state matters, e.g. Lula because he came from the labor movement. People to people is good but we have to deal with business people. PSAARC: inch by inch kind of slow. In India, civil society groups do not have much impact on people.

· Pakistan-India: people to people relations ok. But others destroy relations; like business people.

· History of this whole process is quite old. There has been engagement but there is a need for a more total kind of engagement. There was a talk before of a South Asian visa, but now it is more difficult to get Indian visa than US visa. We really should go round to include people in the discussions as part of the regional movement that we want to build. Look at regionalism as a possible alternative and a democratic coming together of nations. It’s true that India and Pakistan that dominates, whenever there is a stand-off between India and Pakistan, people’s SAARC is parked. Other smaller countries should assert their right and tell India and Pakistan to get their acts together.

· India is more interested in bilaterals rather than regional. Even civil society is more India and Pakistan. The rest of the region is not included. 10,000 people have been killed in the border. What do we really want to do? Do we subscribe to this class-based, caste-based approach. We don’t have that unity and cooperation because we have been co-opted. Challenge in SAARC is bilateralism- soul searching.

· One of SAPA’s objectives was to engage in intergovernmental bodies. There is a history of being a region, memory of South Asia before India-Pakistan partition, before Pakistan-Bangladesh partition. It would be a sad day if we give up our idea of South Asian Union, there is something in the region that is not present in ASEAN. I hope it if Union of Peoples would define their own regionalism, then we can define better People’s SAARC. We have lost what could have been re-envisioning regionalism in a different way. Looking at the SAPA processes as the way we want to go with regionalism.

· ASEAN Peoples Charter- we have lost what could have been the element of regionalism in a different way. I don’t think the ASEAN PEOPLES FORUM is what we envisioned as a PEOPLES process.

· Bringing constituencies into the discussions: When I say we, there’s a huge we, and there are many, many different attempts.

· Building constituencies- but what are the contours of an integration of this region?

· Objects to GONGO term especially in relation to Vietnam. GONGOs are mass movements. It is also not very accurate to say that the only independent CSOs are it. It is still a mass organization though organized systematically. After liberation, these are organizations which struggled but were integrated into a systemic part of the state. How do we deal with other types of organizations? Should we only relate with groups that play fiscalizer role, groups that are diametrically opposed to the state? These are questions we have to grapple with

· Context is that non-government/civil society is continually being defined; also as states are changing

· State uses the law against NGOs, criminalized. Some of movements have chosen violent means. As states become more militarized, movements also take up arms. This is also impacting on the work of NGOs. There are prejudices being developed vis-à-vis NGOs. They label you as anti-developmentalist, anti-something.

· This is happening in China as well. How do we relate with this country? This is something we need to think about. This whole exercise of creating a charter and all, ASEAN. SAARC then is a diff species. But the point is we need to constantly talk about the contextual space in which we are operating.

· ASEAN is not as perfect a model that you can learn from. ASEAN at the moment, not to prevent commies from coming into Southeast Asia, why are they talking about this- it’s economic integration. Who is leading it? Rich countries, also looking into a market of 500 million people. Is it really for the benefit of the people? Look at ASEAN all these NGOs, where are they getting their money, from US OSI, and here we are talking about rubbish like this.

· On SAARC and political parties: if change is what we want, if we look at ourselves as only as a pressure group working on various issue, placed before the government.

· One of the challenges is to get these various political organizations and peoples organization because this is still very hard. What if one becomes a part of government? Does he become our enemy? I think it is more mechanical. If we say that anything to do with government is bad, we must maintain a criticality but also fluid in our judgment.


SAPSN Statement: PROMOTING SOUTHERN AFRICAN SOLIDARITY

Dot Keet, AIDC Regional Briefs 6/2004

Following a three day conference, in August 2000, of twenty four independent peoples civil society organisations, sectoral networks and coalitions from many sectors and from all the countries of Southern Africa, the following declaration was produced. This expresses the perspectives of peoples organisations from across the region, and calls on other such organisations to endorse these positions on some of the broad economic dimensions of regional cooperation and integration that are being considered by the governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); and for other such peoples organisations to join together to add their own proposals and demands in other areas of concern which are all integral to a holistic program of regional development cooperation.

Declaration

“Making Southern African Development Cooperation and Integration a People-centered and People-driven Regional Challenge to Globalisation

As members of community-based development coalitions, trade union and other labour organisations, faith-based social development organisations, campaigning networks for debt cancellation and reparations, alliances against the IMF and World Bank, a women and trade network, development NGOs and popular education, information and capacity building bodies – and as participants in the ‘Southern African Peoples Solidarity Network’ (SAPSN) gathered together in Windhoek on the occasion of the Summit of the SADC Heads of State, 1-7 August 2000, we as

Peoples’ organisations state

  • We are united by our common history of colonisation and mutual support in our struggles for national liberation, as well as our shared experience of the depredations of apartheid and its destabilisation and devastation across the whole region. We are also conscious that we are part of a region enormously rich in human and natural resources which has the potential to become a community of nations enjoying peace and human security, guaranteed human rights and equitable human development. But these aims will only be achieved if peoples organisations give an effective lead to the governments of the region in order that they work together towards this historic goal.
  • We are committed to a vision of a united Southern Africa in which local and community-based development is the fundamental substance of national development programmes. These, in turn, will be strengthened by coordinated and combined programmes of people-based regional development, and the creation of an integrated development community in Southern Africa. Such an integrated region would also be a building block towards broader African peoples cooperation and unity, and could be an effective economic and political base from which to challenge capitalist globalisation.
  • We note, however, that the overwhelming majority of the people of our region are living in conditions of appalling poverty and already suffering the effects of an AIDS epidemic of potentially catastrophic proportions; but that the governments of our countries
    • have for long mainly engaged in rhetorical declarations about national development, and development cooperation and regional integration, with few effective achievements;
    • are mainly concerned with preserving and promoting their own individual and group status, power and privileges, and their personal and aspirant-class appropriation of our nations’ resources; and, for these reasons, are frequently engaged in divisive competition and even dangerous conflicts amongst themselves at the expense of the interests of the people at national and regional levels;
    • are, at the same time, committed to supporting and defending each other whenever the interests and power of the ruling elites come into conflict with the human rights, and the democratic and development aspirations of their own populations; and are using SADC as a self-serving ‘old boys’ club’ for such mutual support;
    • are increasingly responsive and subordinate to external inducements and pressures from governmental agencies in the richest industrialised countries, and their global corporations, banks and other financial organisations, and the ‘multilateral’ institutions dominated and used by them.

    We note also the grossly uneven development within and between the countries of the
    region caused by a long history of deliberate political and economic programs in favour of the needs of South African and international companies, and privileged (mainly white) elites; and that, with the increasing penetration of the region by South African business, the dominant role of the South African economy in the region has not diminished but actually increased since 1994.

Peoples’ organisations demand

  • The Governments of SADC must reject claims that the transformation and development of the regional economy should (and can) be driven by national and regional ‘market forces’ and should be structured to serve and further the business interests of ‘indigenous’ private enterprise and ‘national’ capital in the countries of the region. This applies particularly to South African trading companies, banks and corporations, often operating in conjunction with their international partners, which will reinforce not reduce the inherited inequalities within, and imbalances between our countries.
  • The governments of SADC must desist from their collaboration and collusion with national and international political and economic forces and neo-liberal agencies, particularly the IMF and World Bank, to turn SADC into an ‘open region’ of free trade, free capital movements and investment rights, to the benefit of international traders, transnational corporations and financial speculators. This runs counter to the potential for full and effective, internally-generated and rooted national and regional development.
  • The governments of SADC must provide for the effective participation of organised forces of civil society, and respond to the voices and needs of the people of the region for peace and security, democracy and development; and actively commit all the governments of the region to multilaterally negotiated cooperation and equitable development throughout the region. This must go hand in hand with independent popular initiatives for the empowerment of people in their own organisations and communities and at all levels of the regional community.
  • The governments of SADC must insist upon the illegitimacy of our purported national ‘debts’ and the continuous outflow of our hard-earned national financial resources into the coffers of the governments of the richest industrialised countries, private banks and the IMF and World Bank. Our governments must actively prepare, together with other ‘debtor’ countries like ours – and with the support of international peoples movements against debt – for collective and concerted repudiation of those debts if they are not promptly and definitively canceled. This must be carried further with demands for reparations for the long-standing economic, social and ecological damages imposed by such agencies upon our countries.
  • The governments of SADC must unite and act together with other countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, and with democratic forces everywhere, to challenge and replace the currently dominant neo-liberal ideology and globalising capitalist system. This process must be started immediately by dealing with the dominant instruments of globalisation , particularly the IMF, World Bank and the WTO, whose policies and programmes are so manifestly detrimental to our economies, environments, societies, cultures and people.

Peoples’ organisations propose

On trade

Our governments must drop their uncritical embrace of the arguments for ‘free trade’ within our region which are reflected in the SADC trade agreement; and, instead,

  • create a negotiated variable and graduated preferential trade area within and through which to create clear and effective production development and diversification strategies for communities, national economies and the region as a whole;
  • replace the liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation policies in national and regional programmes and create trade and development cooperation agreements for Southern Africa which address region-specific issues and are not predetermined or constricted by ‘compliance’ with WTO terms and trade-related conditionalities, or any similar terms in ‘post-Lome’ agreements;
  • convince the South African government to revise its free trade agreement with the European Union where it is in conflict with the declared priority goals of cooperation and development in the SADC region, including South Africa.

On investment

Our governments have to abandon the futile illusion that foreign investors will respond to ‘positive macro-economic signals’ and an ‘open region’; and that such reliance on private capital will create development; and, instead

  • recognise that capital is a social relation not a neutral and disinterested financial instrument and, as the embodiment of social/class interests, any growth that such capital produces is distorted and incidental to its main aim of self-expansion (or profit);
  • build on the widespread experiences in the countries of the region, and elsewhere, that the free or ‘liberalised’ movement of capital is not conducive to financial stability and sound economic development, and requires strategic regulation;
  • base national and regional investment and production policies on the strategic direction of private national and international capital projects – where and in so far as they are required – for specific selected purposes, and clearly defined periods; but
  • prioritise the strategic mobilisation of inwardly-oriented and more varied and committed internal investment resources including public (governmental), parastatal, cooperative and community resources.

On labour

All the governments of the region have to recognise the vital role that labour plays in all economic projects/enterprises and national economic development, and recognise that governments have to adopt effective social and economic development policies that

  • bring to an end the forced migration of millions of workers in search of employment and survival resources for their families, for this is deeply disruptive of families and undermines community cohesion and stability;
  • tackle effectively and with urgency the dramatic growth of unemployment throughout the region, that contributes further towards the flows of economic refugees across borders and between rural and urban areas within all the countries of the region;
  • develop holistic and integrated urban and rural programmes to enable people to create their own incomes or obtain employment incomes, economic security and social and cultural fulfillment within their own communities;
  • incorporate in such social and development programmes, inter-governmental agreements to deal with the brain drain of precious skills from the poorer to the more developed and well-endowed countries of the region;
  • create economic, political and social conditions that will allow for the free movement of people throughout the region.

Peoples’ organisations declare

  • We are committed to deepen and extend our experiences of cooperation and solidarity, our strong sense of mutual recognition as the people of this region of Africa, to build on our joint needs and shared aspirations for the common benefit of our people; and at the same time work to counter any negative or conflictual attitudes towards each other amongst some sectors of our populations.
  • We are also committed to deepen and extend our strategies for cooperation and joint action with other regional peoples cooperation initiatives in the rest of Africa, as well as Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean towards a people-driven challenge to the currently dominant processes and institutions of economic globalisation; that are anti-democratic in their functioning and effects, destabilising of weaker economies and communities throughout the world, creating ever-increasing polarisation, with inequitable and divisive effects amongst peoples, and destructive impacts upon the world’s resources and the global environment.
  • Whether or not our governments accept and act on the above vitally important demands, we as members of peoples organisations from the whole of Southern Africa will continue to pursue these aims and deepen our work in and with existing and emerging mass movements to challenge and change our governments’ policies and strategies; and – if that fails – to change our governments.

By Servaas van den Bosch

WINDHOEK, Mar 29, 2010 (IPS) – Southern African governments must regain control over the negotiations on the trade deals known as economic partnership agreements (EPAs). Issues earmarked as deal-breakers should be resolved before talks to a full EPA are continued. These include limiting the EPA to a goods-only agreement and the EU dropping its demand for reciprocity.

These demands emanate from a public meeting of the Southern Africa People?s Solidarity Network (SASPN) and the Southern African Christian Intiative (SACHI) held on Mar 24 and 25 in the Namibian capital.

SACHI is a non-denominational Christian non-governmental organisation (NGO) that strives towards “empowering leaders to become vibrant and transparent citizens, promotes Christian moral values and its obligations, and actively engages in the democratic process in Southern African region”.

SASPN was started in 1999 by civil society groups that believe the struggle for economic, environmental, social and political justice, including for people?s participation in decision-making, continues after the fall of apartheid. In this vein activists from nine African countries, representing three EPA negotiating blocs, adopted a statement against the EPAs at the meeting.

“If we open up the services sectors like the EU wants, European companies with a huge competitive advantage have unlimited access to our water, electricity or telecommunications sectors while we have no regulations in place,” said Rangarirai Machemedze, deputy director of the Harare-based Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), a member of SAPSN.

African countries should diversify their trade options; and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Customs Union should advance much more decisively with regional economic integration, declared Dot Keet, trade activist and research associate at the Alternative Information and Development Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, another SAPSN member.

Part of this, according to Machemedze, is the development of domestic regulatory frameworks before embarking on trade deals that require opening of markets.

“The EPAs in their current form will not in any way help develop the economies of Africa,” Machemedze argued.

“While the developed world sees trade as an end in itself, for us trade is a means to an end. This end is development. Currently maybe five African countries are able to produce goods, add value to products and sell these internationally. Other countries are unable to do this, because of poor infrastructure, limited production capacity and a lack of investment in research and development.

“So how can Africa effectively compete with the EU on a basis of supposed equality?” Machemedze asked.

Dakarayi Matanga, SAPSN secretary general, added that, “reciprocity in trade in this case actually means ?the winner takes all?. The countries that dominated global trade in the past will continue to do so. But Africa deserves the opportunity to protect its markets. No country has been able to develop its economy without protection.”

The principle of reciprocity in the EPA ? insisted on by the EU – is laughable, according to Keet. “One of the biggest myths in the EPA negotiations is that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) demands reciprocity in the EPA. The Europeans give non-reciprocal access to their markets all the time, most recently to the Balkan states, without this leading to a challenge at the WTO.

Brussels? insistence on reciprocity and on the controversial most favoured nation-clause that automatically extends preferential trade agreements with third countries to the EU are, in her opinion, driven by a desperate need of the Europeans to access new markets.

“It is a complete inversion of reality that the EPAs would be in our interests. The Euro-global strategy set out by Brussels is directly aimed at ensuring market access for European producers who are under immense pressure from emerging countries (such as China, India and Brazil).

“This is why it is important for Europe to re-assert its dominance over Africa. The European Commission deliberately exploits existing tensions and encourages particular interests, such as those of the cut flower industry in Kenya.”

EPA critics in SAPSN point out that the interests of Kenyan flower producers gave the decisive push for the East African Community (EAC) to sign the controversial trade agreement. “But obviously there are many more interests in that region that should have been taken into account,” Keet pointed out.

“How does it help your food security if you stop growing crops and start growing flowers for export?” added Matanga.

The EU is playing a game of stick and carrot, according to the civil society groups? analysis. “They refuse to discuss the wider economic context, such as Europe?s own agricultural subsidies that are very hard to compete with,” Matanga commented.

Poor countries are being blocked through WTO rules to pay subsidies to their farmers and, even if they were allowed, they would not be able to spend 365 billion dollars on such subsidies, as rich countries did in 2007.

Matanga further argued that the EU uses development aid as a “sweetener” to open up markets.

Said Keet, “we understand the desperation of countries like Mozambique that are almost fully dependent on aid. Zimbabwe just signed the EPA, basically giving away its infant industry protection simply as a public relations exercise with the EU. Still, there are countries like Namibia, Malawi and Zambia that have taken a stance and said they will not sign unless some conditions are met.”

Meanwhile the EPAs hinder the project of regional economic integration in SADC by dividing the region into separate EPA negotiating blocs. “Zambia and Zimbabwe have been swayed to negotiate under the East and Southern African (ESA) EPA configuration,” explained Machemedze. “This is an obscure grouping that doesn?t even exist in terms of current regional structures.”

Matanga added: “We are being balkanised. Through the EPAs the EU promotes a neoliberal agenda that divides us. Instead of talking about real fair trade, the fast-track opening of markets threatens the livelihoods of small producers and farmers in Southern Africa.” (END)

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50820

SAPSN Statement on EPAs, prescription WINDHOEK, healing 25 MARCH 2010

The Southern African Peoples Solidarity Network (SAPSN) is a regional network embracing a wide range of civil society organizations, for sale labour and social movements from all the countries of the whole Southern African region. Amongst many concerns common to all the countries and peoples of our region, we also have to deal with the economic and political relations between the governments of our region and the European Union (EU). These have most recently been expressed in their negotiations over so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

In this context we observe the active and highly questionable interventions of representatives of the European Commission (EC) on the ground in various of the countries and in relation to targeted governments in our region. This has recently included criticisms and barely veiled threats targeted against the government of Namibia.

Meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, 24-25 March 2010, we take this opportunity to commend the stand taken by the government of Namibia – actively supported by Namibian labour and social movements and other national stakeholders – not to accept the many highly contentious demands inserted into the EPA negotiations by the EU.

We also note that EC negotiators manipulate the perceived aid and trade needs of various African governments to propel them into agreeing to the extensive opening up of their economies to European exporters and investors. The self-serving and opportunistic tactics of the EC are also evident in their negotiation and initialing of an interim EPA agreement with the government of Zimbabwe which they simultaneously denounce and sanction as a paraiah state.

We observe and deplore the multiple pressures to which African (and other governments) are being subjected by the EC, and the simultaneous persuasions and false reassurances from many European politicians. But we are also aware of the “Global Europe” strategic aims driving the international EU offensive to maintain its competitive position in the world and to secure its continued dominance over Africa’s rich resources.

In the EU’s pursuit of these global aims, existing African regional groupings – the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in our region of Africa – have been broken up through the EPA negotiations with the EU. African governments, however, also carry responsibility for the success of the EU’s divide and rule tactics.

Thus, we urge all African governments to resist the EU’s EPA offensive, reverse the damaging fragmentation of SADC and counter the threats to the integrity of SACU and , instead, to reunite and act decisively to advance and deepen the development cooperation and integration of the Southern African region. We urge all African governments not to compromise their policy-making (political) rights and obligations to their peoples by signing long-term trade, investment, services and other areas of liberalization through EPAs with the EU, or other similar ‘free trade’ agreements with other governments, North or South.

Thus, we demand a suspension of any further EPAs negotiation until all the implications have been fully investigated and alternatives devised throughtransparent and inclusive processes.

In the face of current profound economic, socio-economic, social and environmental stresses and pressures in our countries, and looming climate change challenges to the whole region, we are committed to do all we can, as the peoples of this region, to ensure that our governments are responsive and accountable to us and do not undermine our rights and block our development and security aspirations through their adverse agreements with foreign governments and concessions to powerful financial and economic forces.

El fracaso de Bretton Woods y los tres pilares de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional

25 March 2010, clinic Windhoek
Climate change is one of the biggest catastrophes facing humankind as result of unsustainable economic growth and consumption and production patterns, largely from the GLOBAL NORTH. The dominant economic growth paradigm is turning the earth into a hostile environment with increasing droughts, floods, water-scarcity and many more physical disasters affecting every sector of society.
Despite this challenge our governments have supported the undemocratic and opaque Copenhagen Accord through which the Global North seeks to renege on its responsibility to reduce its unsustainable consumption and provide the necessary finance and technology to address climate change and a just transition to low carbon economies.
We acknowledge that climate change is a symptom of the exploitative, destructive, polluting, profit – driven consumption and production. As such the current orientation to address climate change through market – driven and trade- led approaches to promote competiveness, “green” tariffs, carbon markets and finance encouraging green capitalism is highly problematic.
We demand the polluter pays principle be implemented and reject the right to pollute through carbon trading and markets.
We reject the technology quick fix solutions to address the climate crisis, particularly the imposed false solutions to address the energy and food crises such as GMOs, agro-fuels, synthetic fertilisers, agrochemicals. These deepen will deepen the crises and perpetuate food aid dependency.
We demand sufficient, mandatory, predictable climate financing to developing countries. Climate funds are compensation and not aid. These funds should be over and above the longstanding ODA commitments (0.7% of GNP). In addition, funding should be in the form of grants which is consistent with the idea of reparations
We demand democratic governance and decision making of financing mechanisms under the UN process and the Conference of Parties (COP) and not the World Bank.
We urge governments and civil society to recognize the gendered dimensions of Climate Change, and facilitate meaningful dialogue between women who are directly affected with policy makers at both local and national levels as well as regional and global level.
We call for the removal intellectual property rights and trade restrictions that place severe constraints on people’s access to climate friendly technologies and thus their ability to promote low carbon alternatives.
Finally we call for civil society in Southern Africa to collaborate with other people based movements on Climate Change globally, and immediately activate existing networks and resources within our ranks, need to build each other’s capacities to engage meaningfully on pro-people solutions to the crisis of climate change.

People’s SAARC 2010

Seminar on the Right to Repartition of Bhutanese Refugees: Sharing testimonies by Bhutanese refugees with south Asian representatives

25-26 April 2010, help Birtamod, sale Jhapa, Nepal

Organized by: South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) and the Bhutanese  Refugees Repatriation Committee

We, more than 50 Bhutanese refugees representing all seven refugee camps located in Jhapa and Morang districts of Nepal and the members of SAAPE from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, and peasant organisations, academia, women associations and social movements from different countries of South Asia have gathered here in Birtamod, Jhapa on April 25, 2010 on the occasion of People’s SAARC 2010 to defend the rights of Bhutanese refugees. As an extension of People’s SAARC 2010 Delhi, India, this one day seminar has come up with the following realizations and demands: During our visit to the camps we found the citizens of Bhutan living under total deprivation and in de humanized conditions. This is a situation which must not be allowed to continue and demands immediate all round intervention to ensure that all basic entitlements are made available without any further delay or prevarication,

1. Thousands of Bhutanese citizens have been evicted from their homeland by way of political victimization and intolerance for the voice of democratic dissent and forced to live as political refugees on the borders of India and Bhutan and the refugee camps of Nepal;

2. This illegality and immorality have been perpetuated for more than 18 years against the norms and standards of international law and violation of human rights;

3. It is high time for south Asian countries to bring pressure on the government of Bhutan to allow the rights of the refugees to return to their homelands and to facilitate their repatriation with full dignity, honour and the right to equality and full participation as citizens of Bhutan;

4. We, on behalf of people of the South Asian nations, demand that this issue be taken up on the agenda of official SAARC and an urgent solution found to this aggravated humanitarian emergency prevailing along the borders of south asia, even as the heads of the governments engage in empty tokenism in the capital of Bhutan, thus bestowing legitimacy to an anti-people and anti-democratic government;

5. We also demand an immediate end to the suppression of the democratic rights of these refugees and the gross violation of their civil and political rights;

6. We demand for the formation of South Asia Refugee Commission within the framework of SAARC to engage and take care of the refugee problems in the region;

7. We take note of the inadequacy of third country resettlement of Bhutanese refugees;

8. We urge the South Asian governments, particularly India, Bhutan and Nepal to address the Bhutanese refugee’s demands to return to their homeland. We request international community to facilitate the process of repatriation to their homelands;

9. We urge that all South Asian nations follow the lead of Afghanistan and ratify the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and enact suitable legal framework to address the problems of the refugees; and

10. Finally we commit ourselves to continue activities to make South Asia a refugee free region. We believe in solidarity, fraternity and mutual respect for all.


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People’s SAARC 2010

Seminar on the Right to Repartition of Bhutanese Refugees: Sharing testimonies by Bhutanese refugees with south Asian representatives

25-26 April 2010, Birtamod, Jhapa, Nepal

Organized by: South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) and the Bhutanese  Refugees Repatriation Committee

We, more than 50 Bhutanese refugees representing all seven refugee camps located in Jhapa and Morang districts of Nepal and the members of SAAPE from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, and peasant organisations, academia, women associations and social movements from different countries of South Asia have gathered here in Birtamod, Jhapa on April 25, 2010 on the occasion of People’s SAARC 2010 to defend the rights of Bhutanese refugees. As an extension of People’s SAARC 2010 Delhi, India, this one day seminar has come up with the following realizations and demands: During our visit to the camps we found the citizens of Bhutan living under total deprivation and in de humanized conditions. This is a situation which must not be allowed to continue and demands immediate all round intervention to ensure that all basic entitlements are made available without any further delay or prevarication,

1. Thousands of Bhutanese citizens have been evicted from their homeland by way of political victimization and intolerance for the voice of democratic dissent and forced to live as political refugees on the borders of India and Bhutan and the refugee camps of Nepal;

2. This illegality and immorality have been perpetuated for more than 18 years against the norms and standards of international law and violation of human rights;

3. It is high time for south Asian countries to bring pressure on the government of Bhutan to allow the rights of the refugees to return to their homelands and to facilitate their repatriation with full dignity, honour and the right to equality and full participation as citizens of Bhutan;

4. We, on behalf of people of the South Asian nations, demand that this issue be taken up on the agenda of official SAARC and an urgent solution found to this aggravated humanitarian emergency prevailing along the borders of south asia, even as the heads of the governments engage in empty tokenism in the capital of Bhutan, thus bestowing legitimacy to an anti-people and anti-democratic government;

5. We also demand an immediate end to the suppression of the democratic rights of these refugees and the gross violation of their civil and political rights;

6. We demand for the formation of South Asia Refugee Commission within the framework of SAARC to engage and take care of the refugee problems in the region;

7. We take note of the inadequacy of third country resettlement of Bhutanese refugees;

8. We urge the South Asian governments, particularly India, Bhutan and Nepal to address the Bhutanese refugee’s demands to return to their homeland. We request international community to facilitate the process of repatriation to their homelands;

9. We urge that all South Asian nations follow the lead of Afghanistan and ratify the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and enact suitable legal framework to address the problems of the refugees; and

10. Finally we commit ourselves to continue activities to make South Asia a refugee free region. We believe in solidarity, fraternity and mutual respect for all.

Documento borrador para discusión. El fracaso de Bretton Woods y los tres pilares de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional.
Por: Equipo Técnico Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional –Banco del Sur. Ecuador
Septiembre 22 de 2009

1. El Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial: su fracaso histórico

De la cita de Bretton Woods en las postrimeras de la Segunda Guerra Mundial surgen las instituciones llamadas a configurar los pilares del que sería el Nuevo Orden Económico Mundial sobre la base de un claro direccionamiento hacia los intereses particulares de la nación que se erguía con la hegemonía en Occidente. Es así que nace el Fondo Monetario Internacional en el pilar monetario, patient el Banco Mundial en el pilar del desarrollo y la fallida Organización Internacional del Comercio, que sería sustituida por el proceso GATT – OMC, en el pilar comercial.

El FMI se configuró en el objetivo específico de proveer créditos de corto plazo en divisas a los países en situaciones de problemas en sus balanzas de pagos a efectos de que puedan preservar sus niveles de reservas internacionales, y con ello la estabilidad cambiaria de sus monedas.

Cabe recordar que esta función del FMI se inscribía en el esquema monetario impuesto por el patrón oro-dólar con los Estados Unidos como emisor primario del dinero del mundo, y los demás países sujetos a un manejo monetario respaldado en sus tenencias en dólares.

Este esquema original no pudo sostenerse por la desenfrenada emisión estadounidense que le llevó a este país a un auge económico inusitado en la década de los cincuenta, a expensas de exportar su inflación al mundo volviendo insostenible el fundamento de tipos de cambio fijos.

Luego del colapso definitivo del patrón oro-dólar, para los años setenta, la liberalización cambiaria resultante hubiera significado la desaparición del FMI al extinguirse su razón de ser.

Pero la capacidad de adaptación de esta entidad y el aprovechamiento de las propias consecuencias del colapso del esquema original, le dieron nueva vida y poder.

La crisis económica de los países latinoamericanos en los ochenta, fundamentada en la crisis de su deuda externa, impulsó a que el FMI se convierta en el prestamista obligado para atender las necesidades urgentes de financiamiento de estos países sobre endeudados y con sus canales convencionales de acceso a recursos rotos. Esta coyuntura derivó en un redireccionamiento del papel del FMI, ahora convertido en el puntal del Consenso de Washington para la imposición del modelo neoliberal como opción única de manejo económico a través del condicionamiento de los recursos que esta entidad prestaba a los tan necesitados países de la Región.

La paradoja neoliberal impulsada desde el FMI obligó a que dos décadas de recuperación económica de América Latina no hayan podido aprovecharse para mejorar la calidad de vida de los más necesitados a través de un real fortalecimiento de las economías. El creciente ahorro nacional que se iba gestando de un lado gracias al sacrificio de la población, resultó en un proceso de acumulación obligado a título de alcanzar niveles “adecuados” de reservas internacionales como requisito para que por el otro lado, los países puedan recibir recursos del FMI y su aval para otros créditos de la banca multilateral de desarrollo para financiar un supuesto desarrollo económico condicionado por todos lados. Es en esta lógica del financiamiento para el desarrollo en la que se inscribe el Banco Mundial, asimismo, transmutado en su condición desde unos inicios institucionales que bien podrían haberse inscrito en esfuerzos orientados a la canalización de recursos efectivamente para impulsar a las economías más necesitadas. Pero, en el mismo contexto del Consenso de Washington vino a convertirse en otro más de los mecanismos de condicionamiento del manejo económico de los países prestatarios y altamente necesitados de recursos para su desarrollo.

En esta línea y con la condicionalidad asociada al cumplimiento de las “recetas” del FMI, el Banco Mundial juega un papel complementario en la imposición de un modelo económico tendiente a perennizar los esquemas vigentes de explotación y beneficio para unos pocos, tanto en la escala global como en la local.

Dos décadas de neoliberalismo solo afianzaron las arcaicas estructuras de subyugación económica al Norte. Se exacerbó el esquema vigente en la división internacional del trabajo.

Muchas economías de la Región evidenciaron procesos de reprimarización de su producción y de concentración de sus exportaciones en pocos productos con reducido valor agregado y pocos destinos. Asimismo, se afianzó en un círculo vicioso un progresivo deterioro de los términos de intercambio que por el lado comercial exigía cada vez más su compensación por el lado financiero a través del endeudamiento externo.

Es en esas circunstancias de desprotección y arrasamiento de las estructuras productivas que la Región ahora viene a enfrentar una crisis financiera y económica internacional de escala global en la que nuevamente sus causantes pretenden que el resto pague la factura.

Es precisamente en respuesta a este fracaso que se plantea como alternativa efectiva y soberana la configuración de una Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional.

2. El Banco del Sur, génesis, oportunidad histórica y necesidad de su consolidación en el contexto regional

El día 9 de diciembre de 2007, el Ecuador, junto con otros seis países sudamericanos, Argentina, Brasil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay y Venezuela, suscribió el Acta Fundacional del Banco del Sur, entidad consagrada al impulso del desarrollo económico y social desde una nueva perspectiva, acorde con las necesidades particulares de la región. Este esfuerzo ratifica la voluntad de los países de dar soluciones viables a los principales problemas que han postergado mejoras en los niveles de vida de la población y la justicia social.

El Banco del Sur surge como el eje articulador de una nueva arquitectura financiera regional (NAFR) dirigida a cubrir las necesidades del desarrollo que no han podido ser atendidas desde los espacios de acción de las entidades y organismos multilaterales que tradicionalmente han asumido ese papel. De esta manera, el Banco del Sur será el pilar de esta redefinición estructural que, junto al Fondo Común de Reservas del Sur, entidad encargada de la estabilización monetaria y cambiaria, y con la creación de una Unidad Monetaria del Sur, configurarán un nuevo esquema financiero en la Región orientado a canalizar sus propios recursos para alcanzar un desarrollo acorde con sus realidades específicas, en un marco de integración.

A través de una redefinición del papel convencional de la banca de desarrollo multilateral, el Banco del Sur viene a dar una salida a la paradoja histórica que ha condicionado el desarrollo económico y social de la Región.

La configuración de las estructuras financieras vigentes ha propiciado que países en desarrollo como el Ecuador permanentemente hayan destinado ingentes recursos privados y públicos, entre estos últimos, principalmente las inversiones de sus reservas internacionales, hacia entidades e instrumentos financieros de países del Primer Mundo, a la par que las necesidades de financiamiento para su propio desarrollo, especialmente las de los sectores más deprimidos y vulnerables de la sociedad, han sido insuficientemente satisfechas a través de un continuo endeudamiento con los organismos multilaterales tradicionales y, muchas veces, condicionadas a intereses ajenos a los objetivos nacionales y regionales.

Además, al constituirse el Banco del Sur como una entidad de carácter regional con el aporte de países que comparten intereses y necesidades similares, no solo queda demostrada su capacidad de impulsar su propio desarrollo, sino que se excluye cualquier posibilidad de injerencia de terceros, ahora casi una norma bajo las estructuras vigentes debido a la participación accionaria mayoritaria de países exógenos a la Región en la actual banca de desarrollo multilateral. En esa misma línea, el Banco del Sur no solo circunscribe el financiamiento del desarrollo a los intereses nacionales de sus miembros, sino que su gobernanza se enmarca en un manejo democrático en que la participación de cada país en las decisiones no estará condicionada a la proporción de su aporte en el capital de la entidad.

La definición de los criterios sustanciales para el impulso al desarrollo que se dará desde el Banco del Sur se asienta en el planteamiento de nuevas prioridades. Primeramente, la denominada soberanía alimentaria define como un eje fundamental del desarrollo de los países su capacidad de atender las necesidades alimentarias de la población desde su propia producción, privilegiando a los productos autóctonos de la región, sin depender de importaciones, de recursos externos o de condicionamientos exógenos y fuera del control de las acciones de política interna.

Asimismo, la soberanía energética, también definida como una condición inobjetable del desarrollo económico, apunta a consolidar la capacidad de los países de aprovechar sus propios recursos energéticos renovables y no renovables sobre la base de sus necesidades y con independencia de otras fuentes externas, respetando al medio ambiente y minimizando el impacto ecológico resultante de su obtención y utilización.

De la misma manera, considerando el papel fundamental de salud en el desarrollo de los pueblos, la acción del Banco del Sur se orientará a garantizar a la población de los países de la Región el acceso a medicamentos de marca y genéricos, a costos asequibles y de producción local, que principalmente combatan enfermedades endémicas para las cuales la oferta convencional desde las grandes casas farmacéuticas del mundo desarrollado no atiende adecuadamente por no tratarse de mercados de alta rentabilidad.

En este mismo espacio, también se encuentra el apoyo a la investigación sobre prácticas médicas ancestrales, incluyendo a los conocimientos agrícolas y ecológicos de los pueblos nativos.

En el conjunto de estas nuevas prioridades, el Banco del Sur también promoverá el desarrollo de instrumentos y mercados post Kyoto a efectos de perfeccionar mecanismos financieros dirigidos a precautelar el medio ambiente y a la protección del acervo ecológico de la Región.

Las acciones del Banco del Sur se enmarcarán en propiciar una nueva dinámica entre Estado, economía popular y empresas, a efectos de potenciar el desarrollo de los países de la Región sobre una base de inclusión de todos los actores productivos.

Por otra parte, si bien décadas atrás, las acciones de la banca multilateral de desarrollo se orientaban hacia el impulso a sectores que bien podían entenderse como dinamizadores del desarrollo económico de los países receptores, desde hace algún tiempo estos esfuerzos más bien se han orientado a financiar la reforma institucional de los Estados nacionales en el marco de políticas específicas originadas en los centros de poder en el mundo sobre las bases de sus propios intereses geoestratégicos. Pero ahora cuando las necesidades de los pueblos demandan nuevos horizontes en una coyuntura que coinciden los gobiernos de varios países enmarcados en una visión divergente de la línea neoliberal prevaleciente en la Región durante más de dos décadas, y más allá todavía, el momento y las condiciones están dados para impulsar una nueva arquitectura financiera.

3. El Fondo Común de Reservas del Sur como pilar de la estabilidad monetaria y cambiaria de la Región

En el marco de la redefinición estructural hacia una nueva arquitectura financiera regional, además del Banco del Sur como pilar fundamental a través de su papel de banca de desarrollo, es también indispensable establecer los mecanismos tendientes a propiciar la estabilidad monetaria y cambiaria de los países miembros, en cumplimiento de los condicionantes mínimos que permitan alcanzar el objetivo de la integración a través de la profundización del comercio intrarregional, así como el establecimiento de mecanismos dirigidos a precautelar y apuntalar las reservas monetarias de los países de la Región, en especial, ante los embates de crisis financieras de carácter global. Es en este sentido que se configurará el Fondo Común de Reservas del Sur, como eje articulador de los instrumentos y acciones destinados a precautelar los niveles de reservas internacionales de los países miembros, a través del uso de recursos de la propia Región, en sustitución de los mecanismos convencionales que caracterizaron la dependencia financiera y de las políticas económicas nacionales a los dictados del Fondo Monetario Internacional.

El Fondo Común de Reservas del Sur incorporará mecanismos dirigidos a que los países miembros puedan mantener sus reservas internacionales en niveles adecuados en caso de enfrentar impactos derivados de crisis financieras locales o externas, así como instrumentos que otorguen las seguridades suficientes para que los bancos centrales puedan enfrentar estos problemas sin requerir del mantenimiento de niveles de reservas muy elevados invertidos en el exterior a costa de que parte de esos recursos puedan canalizarse hacia el financiamiento del desarrollo local.

4. La Unidad de Cuenta en el marco de un Sistema de Pagos Regional

Asimismo, en el marco de la NAFR se evidencia la necesidad de contar con un sistema de pagos regional, con la utilización de una unidad de cuenta regional con el propósito de favorecer la utilización de las monedas locales de los países miembros para la realización de los pagos internacionales. La unidad de cuenta regional se plantea con el claro propósito de desacoplar al comercio intrarregional de la lógica del dólar en un esfuerzo para reducir los costos cambiarios y de transacciones, a efectos de su potenciación como uno de los elementos sustantivos en los esfuerzos dirigidos hacia la integración.

La unidad de cuenta regional es el primer paso dirigido a consolidar en el largo plazo una moneda única regional, de manera consistente con las tendencias mundiales en que se impone la conformación de grandes áreas monetarias, como es el caso actual de Europa con el euro.

En este sentido, ya se ha avanzado con la propuesta del Sistema Único de Compensación Regional (SUCRE) en el que la definición del sistema de pagos para el comercio intrarregional se ha establecido en conjunción con las entidades de financiamiento para el desarrollo inscritas en la NAFR. Con ello, el sistema no se limita a un esquema convencional de compensación de pagos internacionales, más bien, abre la posibilidad de incorporar mecanismos tendientes hacia la ampliación del intercambio intrarregional, fundamentado en el aprovechamiento de las complementariedades productivas en procura de convergencia al equilibrio comercial.

Para ello, se configurará al “sucre” como la unidad de cuenta regional y se establecerán los mecanismos para la definición de los tipos de cambio bilaterales con las respectivas monedas de los países participantes, que serán los medios de pago locales con los que se realizarán las transacciones comerciales internacionales. El sistema de pagos y la unidad de cuenta regional son instrumentos que deberán enmarcarse en un espacio más amplio de políticas comerciales nacionales orientadas hacia los objetivos de integración regional, sobre la base de la redefinición de la división internacional del trabajo, en franca intención de reducir la dependencia comercial bajo el esquema Norte-Sur en el que nuestros países han sido históricos exportadores de materias primas y productos con reducido valor agregado, e importadores de productos industrializados y tecnológicos, con los consecuentes efectos de un deterioro progresivo de los términos de intercambio. Por ello, esta redefinición comercial, asentada en la potenciación de la complementariedad productiva de la Región y viabilizada a través de los instrumentos monetarios regionales, se orientará a reforzar la relación Sur-Sur.

5. Conveniencia de crear un centro alternativo para la solución de las diferencias en materia de inversiones (CIADI alternativo)

En los sesentas el mundo vivía procesos de descolonización por lo que la preocupación central de los inversionistas extranjeros fue la de diseñar mecanismos para defenderse de las expropiaciones y nacionalizaciones confiscatorias. Para resolver esta dificultad, en 1964, el Banco Mundial propuso la creación del Centro de Arreglo de Diferencias Relativas a Inversiones (CIADI).

El CIADI nació como una alternativa excepcional, originariamente como un instrumento defensivo para las inversiones extranjeras, pero desde los años noventa, cuando se dio una ola de ajustes estructurales, privatizaciones y una proliferación de tratados bilaterales de inversión, TBIs, el CIADI empezó a utilizarse como un instrumento ofensivo ampliando el concepto de “expropiación indirecta” a la aplicación de normas legales por parte del Estado receptor de la inversión en su territorio. De esta manera se limitó la capacidad regulatoria de los Estados y en suma se redujo los espacios de políticas públicas.

El CIADI, en la actualidad, se ha transformado en un instrumento ofensivo, pues asegura grandes réditos para las multinacionales, más allá de que éstas verdaderamente inviertan y generen riqueza y trabajo como reza el discurso neoliberal.

De acuerdo a la UNCTAD, en 2007, se estima que al menos 35 nuevos casos (inversionista – Estado) fueron presentados en virtud de la suscripción de TBI’s, de los cuales, 27 fueron interpuestos ante el CIADI. De estos 35 casos 17 se presentaron en contra de los países en desarrollo, 7 en contra de los países en transición y 11 contra los países desarrollados.

En materia de inversiones, según UNCTAD, se prefiere al foro del CIADI, pues el número de controversias presentados ante el CIADI llegaron a 182, las controversias bajo el arbitraje con normas de la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho Mercantil Internacional (CNUDMI) ascendió a 80, la Cámara de Comercio de Estocolmo recibió 14 casos, la Cámara de Comercio Internacional recibió 5 casos, en arbitraje ad-hoc se presentaron 5 controversias, y otros 4 casos fueron presentados ante la Corte Permanente de Arbitraje y el Centro Regional de El Cairo.

El CIADI es totalmente dependiente del Banco Mundial, y por lo tanto de los intereses que este Banco representa. El Vicepresidente del Banco Mundial funge como Secretario General del CIADI y el Presidente del Banco, preside el Consejo Administrativo del CIADI, pudiendo designar árbitros conciliadores en los diferendos.

Por otro lado, el alto riesgo de conflicto de intereses, en torno al CIADI puede verificarse en la designación de árbitros, quienes suelen ser abogados vinculados con las transnacionales.

Los mecanismos de solución de controversias tienen un elevado costo para los países receptores.

El principio universal del derecho Non Bis In Idem, según el cuál no se puede juzgar a alguien dos veces por la misma causa, no es respetado por el CIADI, ya que del arbitraje que surge de los TBIs, el doble juzgamiento por la misma causa es posible y sucede.

El proceso de resquebrajamiento de la institucionalidad neoliberal, al tiempo de mostrar las graves deficiencias del sistema de administración de justicia del CIADI, genera la necesidad de proponer un sistema de solución de controversias alternativo a este mecanismo. Esta propuesta, asentada en el respecto estricto a los derechos fundamentales y a los principios generales del derecho, fue acogida en el marco de la UNASUR, con la aprobación de su Consejo de Ministros de Relaciones Exteriores de una resolución por medio de la que se constituyó un Grupo de Trabajo, que tiene como objetivo crear dicho mecanismo.

Para que este objetivo pueda alcanzarse, el primer paso está en que los países que forman parte de esta iniciativa denuncien el Tratado de Washington que crea el CIADI.

Seguidamente, deberán realizar una revisión a fondo de cada uno de los tratados bilaterales que han suscrito y que se encuentran en plena vigencia, y se entre a un proceso de renegociación en los casos que sean necesarios –la principal vía de acceso al CIADI son los TBIs, y las demandas a los Estados se basan en las cláusulas de estos contratos.

El sistema a configurarse no puede reproducir los errores criticados, tanto más cuando la realización de la justicia debe ser su objetivo primordial, por lo que debe considerarse:
– El respeto estricto a los derechos fundamentales y a los principios generales del derecho.
– Una definición apropiada de inversión.
– Que el arbitraje internacional es un mecanismo de solución de controversias de carácter excepcional y alternativo;
– Que solo podrá ser activado debido al consentimiento claro y expreso de las partes;
– Que el tratamiento adecuado del conflicto de intereses como una estrategia preventiva anticorrupción, es un elemento indispensable.
– Que la posibilidad de revisión de los fallos debe existir;
– Que la rendición de cuentas debe ser completa;
– Que la consecuencia de los actos reprochables de los operadores de justicia deben derivar en responsabilidades administrativas y civiles.

Esta propuesta se asienta en el respeto estricto a los derechos fundamentales y a los principios generales del derecho. A partir de aquello, se propone la construcción de un mecanismo de carácter excepcional y alternativo, donde la piedra angular para activarlo sea la voluntad libre y expresa de las partes involucradas; además de la delimitación del verdadero alcance del concepto de inversión; un adecuado tratamiento del conflicto de intereses como una estrategia preventiva anticorrupción, para lo cual se propone el establecimiento de un tribunal permanente que administre justicia con las consecuentes responsabilidades de su actuación, la posibilidad de revisión de sus fallos o laudos a través de un recurso de apelación; un mecanismo accesible por sus costos. En definitiva un sistema alternativo transparente de administración de justicia.

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Estado de Situación del SUCRE

Por Comisión Técnica Presidencial NAFR-BS
FECHA: Marzo, treatment 2010

1. Introducción

El Sistema Unitario de Compensación Regional, patient SUCRE, illness tiene su origen en la III Cumbre extraordinaria de jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América – Tratado de Comercio de los Pueblos (ALBA-TCP) y la República del Ecuador, realizada el 26 de noviembre de 2008 con el objetivo de impulsar el comercio recíproco de estos países minimizando la utilización de divisas en el pago de sus  operaciones resultantes. Esta iniciativa fue propuesta en procura de avanzar hacia una redefinición estructural de los elementos monetarios y financieros vigentes en el marco de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Internacional. En este sentido, el SUCRE se planteó como un sistema de características superiores a otros mecanismos de pagos utilizados en la Región como son la Cámara de Compensación Centroamericana (1960-1993) y el Convenio de Pagos y Créditos Recíprocos y su mecanismo de pagos de ALADI (1982-actualmente). Asimismo, su esencia se proyecta bajo características distintas a la reciente iniciativa del Sistema de pagos en Monedas Locales, SML, entre Argentina y Brasil. Todo esto a partir de una configuración que se asienta fundamentalmente en el desacoplamiento de la lógica del dólar a  través de la incorporación de una moneda electrónica que cumple la función de unidad de cuenta para el registro de las operaciones comerciales a canalizarse por este Sistema y de medio de pago limitado a la liquidación de los pagos resultantes entre los bancos centrales participantes.

El SUCRE incorpora también mecanismos novedosos para la gestión de los superávit y déficit comerciales en procura de atender a su objetivo central de convergencia al equilibrio comercial basada en el intercambio a partir de la complementariedad productiva de los países participantes.

En el afán de construir un sistema más allá de una configuración de un simple mecanismo de pagos, el SUCRE incorpora también instancias de  intermediación financiera y de generación de crédito orientadas al impulso de la producción exportable en el objetivo de ampliar el comercio en beneficio de los países con déficit recurrentes.

La dinámica de expansión en que se plantea la evolución del SUCRE desde un inicio a escala reducida permite operar bajo el mecanismo de “administración de comercio” a través de lo cual, desde las políticas comerciales y económicas nacionales, es posible controlar el comercio a canalizarse por este Sistema bajo criterios de priorización orientada hacia objetivos de desarrollo interno y complementariedad externa, coadyuvando a la consecución del equilibrio comercial.

Cabe indicarse que estos elementos constituyen los componentes estructurales del diseño técnico del SUCRE. Este documento se desarrolla sobre la base de la propuesta ecuatoriana que se ha constituido en la línea central de construcción de esta iniciativa.

2. Características básicas del SUCRE

2.1. Naturaleza
El SUCRE, jurídicamente se constituyó mediante la suscripción de su Tratado Constitutivo el 17 de octubre de 2009 en Cochabamba Bolivia por parte de los mandatarios de las Repúblicas del Ecuador, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivariana de Venezuela y Plurinacional de Bolivia, estableciendo la esencia de este Sistema en sus objetivos de canalizar eficientemente los pagos internacionales de los países participantes desacoplándose del dólar, propendiendo al incremento del comercio recíproco sobre bases de complementariedad productiva como eje de un mayor desarrollo económico, y fundamentado en sus propias necesidades y agendas.

Hasta la fecha, el Tratado Constitutivo del SUCRE ha sido ratificado por los órganos legislativos de Cuba y Venezuela permitiendo a estos dos países operar bajo el Sistema. La primera operación efectiva fue realizada entre estos dos países el día 3 de febrero de 2010.

Objetivos
1. Impulsar la expansión del comercio entre los países participantes sobre la base de la complementariedad productiva.
2. Propender al equilibrio comercial entre los países participantes como mecanismo de reducción de asimetrías y de fortalecimiento del propio Sistema.
3. Desacoplar al comercio entre los países participantes de la lógica del dólar y de su dinámica vigente basada en un esquema de división internacional del trabajo de articulación Norte-Sur.
4. Establecer las bases para la profundización de nuevos mecanismos de integración regional.

Funciones
1. Establecer, sobre bases técnicas, las asignaciones en moneda electrónica para los países participantes, a efectos de proveer de liquidez para la realización de sus pagos internacionales en una primera instancia producto de su comercio recíproco.
2. Determinar, sobre bases técnicas, el mecanismo de valoración de la moneda electrónica y de determinación de los tipos de cambio respectivos con las monedas de los países participantes.
3. Administrar y procesar el registro de las operaciones de comercio exterior y de pagos internacionales entre los países participantes.
4. Establecer el mecanismo operativo para la liquidación en moneda electrónica de las operaciones de comercio exterior canalizadas por el Sistema.
5. Proporcionar mecanismos para la gestión de los superávit y déficit comerciales a efectos de propender al equilibrio comercial de los países participantes.
6. Proporcionar el espacio para la coordinación y cooperación de las políticas monetarias y cambiarias de los países participantes, a efectos de que éstas coadyuven a alcanzar los objetivos del sistema.

Ventajas
1. Proporciona liquidez suficiente a los bancos centrales, ampliando su capacidad de realización de pagos internacionales, a través de asignaciones en moneda electrónica, como activos internacionales, a efectos de impulsar el comercio internacional entre los países participantes.
2. Minimiza los costos cambiarios, al no utilizar al dólar u otra divisa como intermediario para los pagos internacionales, a través de los sistemas de pagos internacionales convencionales.
3. Minimiza los costos de transacción al no utilizar las largas cadenas de corresponsalías entre entidades financieras bajo los sistemas de pagos internacionales convencionales.
4. Elimina la dependencia en el uso de medios de pagos, cuya emisión no es controlable desde los países participantes.
5. Facilita la coordinación de las políticas monetarias y cambiarias en los espacios específicos del sistema de pagos y del comercio internacional, entre los países participantes, desvinculándolas de los condicionamientos de la utilización del dólar u otra divisa.

2.2. Situación actual
– El SUCRE formalmente inició sus operaciones el 3 de febrero de 2010 con el curso de una operación de importación de arroz por parte de Cuba desde Venezuela por un valor de 135 mil dólares.
– En este momento solamente Venezuela y Cuba pueden canalizar operaciones por el SUCRE ya que son los únicos países que ya han cumplido con el requisito de ratificación por parte de sus órganos legislativos del Tratado Constitutivo del SUCRE.
– Se espera que Bolivia ratifique en el transcurso de las próximas semanas con lo que ese país se incorporaría al uso de este Sistema.
– El Ecuador podrá entrar a operar también cuando el Tratado sea ratificado por la Asamblea Nacional, trámite que se encuentra en curso.
– A pesar de que ya ha transcurrido un mes desde la primera operación, no se han cursado más. Se está tratando en el Consejo Monetario Regional del SUCRE (CMR), máxima instancia rectora de este Sistema, la definición de acciones para impulsar el uso del SUCRE.
– Entre las acciones para impulsar el uso del SUCRE el CMR está coordinando una estrategia de difusión a escala regional, la que deberá acompañarse con estrategias y acciones locales.
– El SUCRE es entendido en el marco de los Estados Partes como un paso tendiente a la unificación monetaria regional. En el caso del Ecuador se trata de evitar cualquier asociación con una posible salida de la dolarización.
– El beneficio fundamental del SUCRE es el ahorro de divisas (dólares) para la realización de pagos internacionales, en el caso del Ecuador resulta en una situación de reforzamiento de la dolarización.
– El SUCRE se basa en los pagos y cobros a los exportadores e importadores en las respectivas monedas locales de los países, en el caso del Ecuador será en dólares (los exportadores recibirán dólares).
– Las ventajas concretas para los importadores ecuatorianos son las siguientes:
o Se reducen los precios de las importaciones por cuanto el SUCRE minimiza los costos de transacción (costo de transferencias por realización de pagos internacionales).
o Se elimina el pago del 2% del impuesto a la salida de capitales, reduciendo el costo de las importaciones.
o Se eliminan los costos cambiarios respecto a la monedas locales (conversión de dólares a cada moneda local) para los exportadores que envían sus productos hacia el Ecuador con lo que sus precios pueden mejorarse en beneficio de los importadores y consumidores ecuatorianos.
– Las ventajas concretas para los exportadores ecuatorianos son las siguientes:
o Se reducen los costos para los importadores por lo que pueden ofrecerse mejores precios para los exportadores ecuatorianos y/o mayor demanda de sus productos.
o Las exportaciones ecuatorianas se vuelven más competitivas en los mercados importadores respecto de exportaciones de productos similares a los mismos mercados.
o Se eliminan retrasos en los pagos a los exportadores ecuatorianos
cuando exporten a países que aplican mecanismos de control de divisas (recibirán sus pagos en dólares al momento en que éstos sean
realizados por los importadores de acuerdo a las condiciones actadas en la operación respectiva, particularmente aplica para el caso de las exportaciones con Venezuela).

– El CMR desarrollará reuniones conjuntas con el Comité de Comercio del ALBA, instancia que se encuentra trabajando con el objetivo de ampliar el comercio, sobre la base de los nuevos criterios de integración en los que se basa este espacio, a efectos de que el SUCRE pueda operar en función de sus objetivos y como instrumento dirigido al perfeccionamiento del comercio intrarregional.

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Declaración alimentaria europea: Por una Política Agrícola y Alimentaria Común sana, sostenible, justa y solidaria


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

European Food declaration

Covernote of the “European Food declaration”
We are a broad range of organisations -see list in “who are we”- – who are concerned with the future of food and agriculture in Europe. As in other regions in the world, ampoule the number of people and organizations that are working towards a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable food system is growing. Many of them are actively engaged in building a viable alternative to the current food production, distribution and consumption – from the bottom up. This new system of food and agriculture is firmly grounded on equity, the universal right to food, good governance and transparency.
A wide range of renewed activities such as increasing local food production, local markets, local procurement, seed swaps and so on has been emerging and growing across Europe. In addition new movements, such as the Transition Town movement, GM-free regions and national and local debates on food policy show increasing public support for another form of food and agriculture.
Yet, grassroots activities and local movements are not enough. We believe it is time to build a broad coalition of groups at the European level to challenge the current Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and the European Commission’s and our governments’ avowed plans for a renewed CAP in 2013. Their vision is, to keep the global ‘competitiveness’ of Europe’s food industry as the chief objective of Europe’s CAP. The political process for the new CAP 2013 is starting now. We believe a strong message is needed, not only for EU policy makers, but for policy makers in our countries – a vision for a CAP suitable for the 21st century.
We have created a “European Food Declaration: towards a healthy, sustainable, fair and mutually supportive Common Agriculture and Food Policy”. It outlines what we think the policy objectives of a CAP for the next decades should be. We invite as many organizations, groups and individuals as possible to sign this declaration and to use it as a tool to promote the discussion about what kind of food and agriculture policy we need. We also ask you to share this declaration with other grassroots, civil society, environment and food organisations that are actively engaged in building a better food system.
Our aim is to collect as many signatures within our different networks before the end of February 2010. Early February, we will invite the public to sign the declaration.
This declaration is the first step in our efforts to build a broad movement for change towards food sovereignty policies and practices in Europe, including the EU. We are also planning a Europe-wide forum in 2011 for people and organisations who are concerned about these issues and who would like to join forces in order to reach our common objectives together. If you are interested to be involved in the preparation of that forum or could help us to organise that forum please contact us.
European Food declaration
We, the undersigned, believe that the European Union needs to meet the urgent challenges Europe is facing regarding food and agriculture.
After more than a half-century of industrialisation of agriculture and food production, sustainable family farming and local food cultures have been substantially reduced in Europe. Today, our food system is dependent on under-priced fossil fuels, does not recognize the limitations of water and land resources, and supports unhealthy diets high in calories, fat and salt, and low in fruit, vegetables and grains. Looking ahead, rising energy costs, drastic losses in biodiversity, climate change and declining water and land resources threaten the future of food production. At the same time, a growing world population faces the potential dual burden of widespread hunger and chronic diseases due to overconsumption.
We will only be able to address these challenges successfully with a completely different approach to food and agriculture policies and practices. The European Union must recognize and support the crucial role of sustainable family farming in the food supply of the population. All people should have access to healthy, safe, and nutritious food. The ways in which we grow, distribute, prepare and eat food should celebrate Europe’s cultural diversity, providing sustenance equitably and sustainably.
The present Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is currently being debated and is due for change in 2013. After decades of the domination by transnational corporations and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in determining food and agriculture policy, it is time for people in Europe to re-appropriate agriculture and food policy: it is time for food sovereignty. We believe a new Common Food and Agriculture Policy should guarantee and protect citizens’ space in the EU and candidate countries and their ability and right to define their own models of production, distribution and consumption following the principles outlined below.
The new Common Food and Agriculture Policy:
1. considers food as a universal human right, not merely a commodity.
2. gives priority to growing food and feed for Europe and changes international trade in agricultural products according to principles of equity, social justice and ecological sustainability. The CAP should not harm other countries’ food and agriculture systems.
3. promotes healthy eating patterns, moving towards plant-based diets and towards a reduced consumption of meat, energy-dense and highly processed foods, and saturated fats, while respecting the regional cultural dietary habits and traditions.
4. gives priority to maintaining an agriculture all over Europe that involves numerous farmers producing food and caring for the countryside. That is not achievable without fair and secure farm prices, which should allow a fair income for farmers and agricultural workers, and fair prices for consumers.
5. ensures fair, non-discriminatory conditions for farmers and agricultural workers in Central and Eastern Europe, and promotes a fair and equitable access to land.
6. respects the local and global environment, protects the finite resources of soil and water, increases biodiversity and respects animal welfare.
7. guarantees that agriculture and food production remain free from GMOs and fosters farmers’ seeds and the diversity of domestic livestock species, building on local knowledge.
8. stops promoting the use and the production of industrial agrofuels and gives priority to the reduction of transport in general.
9. ensures transparency along the food chain so that citizens know how their food is produced, where it comes from, what it contains and what is included in the price paid by consumers.
10. reduces the concentration of power in the agricultural, food processing and retail sectors and their influence on what is produced and consumed, and promotes food systems that shorten the distance between farmers and consumers.
11. encourages the production and consumption of local, seasonal, high quality products reconnecting citizens with their food and food producers.
12. devotes resources to teaching children the skills and knowledge required to produce, prepare, and enjoy healthy, nutritious food.
View list of signatures and sign the Declaration
For more information on the European Food Declaration, visit: http://www.europeanfooddeclaration.org

El incierto nuevo rostro de la integración

Edgardo Lander (Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisferico del Foro Social Mundial, about it Venezuela) discusses regional integration and the current economic model in Latin America. Interview filmed at the International Conference of Governments and Social Movements ‘Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises?’ (21 and 22 July 2009, Asuncion, Paraguay)

Edgardo Lander (Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisferico del Foro Social Mundial, no rx Venezuela) analiza la integración regional y el modelo económico actual en América Latina.  La entrevista fue filmada durante la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (21 y 22 Julio 2009, malady Asunción, cure Paraguay)

Edgardo Lander (Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisferico del Foro Social Mundial, online Venezuela) analiza la integración regional y el modelo económico actual en América Latina.  La entrevista fue filmada durante la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (21 y 22 Julio 2009, diagnosis Asunción, Paraguay)

Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, sales Senegal) gives his perspective on regional integration in the context of the current crises and discusses some key issues involved in creating a new form of regional integration. He argues that regional integration is the only viable response to the crises and outlines the need for food sovereignty, rx regional institutions, a common defence system and new forms of political institutions. Interview by Cecilia Olivet (TNI) filmed at the International Conference of Governments and Social Movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, Asunción, Paraguay)

Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, buy Senegal) da su perspectiva sobre la integración regional en el contexto de la crisis actual y analiza algunas cuestiones clave que participan en la creación de una nueva forma de integración regional. Argumenta que la integración regional es la única respuesta viable a la crisis y subraya la necesidad de la soberanía alimentaria, de las instituciones regionales, patient de un sistema común de defensa y de las nuevas formas de instituciones políticas.

La entrevista fue filmada durante la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (21 y 22 Julio 2009, Asunción, Paraguay)

Entrevista en Inglés con subtitulos en español (Activar subtitulos en español haciendo click en el simbolo cc-small, y luego click en “spanish”)

Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, pills Senegal) da su perspectiva sobre la integración regional en el contexto de la crisis actual y analiza algunas cuestiones clave que participan en la creación de una nueva forma de integración regional. Argumenta que la integración regional es la única respuesta viable a la crisis y subraya la necesidad de la soberanía alimentaria, diagnosis de las instituciones regionales, illness de un sistema común de defensa y de las nuevas formas de instituciones políticas.

Entrevista en Inglés

La entrevista fue filmada durante la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (21 y 22 Julio 2009, Asunción, Paraguay)

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, treat The Netherlands) discusses regional integration in Latin America and Europe. Brid argues that the current paradigmatic crisis needs to be dealt with at the regional level. In this respect, sales Latin American movements have already mobilised and placed different models of development and integration at the centre of their struggle. However, Brid warns against the adoption of an approach similar to the European Union, whereby integration is geared towards the interests of transnational corporations. Interview filmed at the International Conference of Governments and Social Movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, Asunción, Paraguay)

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, cure Holanda) analiza la integración regional en América Latina y Europa. Brid sostiene que la crisis paradigmática actual debe tratarse a nivel regional. En este sentido, los movimientos de América Latina ya se han movilizado y los diferentes modelos de desarrollo y la integración ya se han situado en el centro de su lucha. Sin embargo, Brid advierte sobre la adopción de un enfoque similar al de la Unión Europea, según el cual la integración se orienta hacia los intereses de las empresas transnacionales.

La entrevista fue filmada durante la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (21 y 22 Julio 2009, Asunción, Paraguay)

Entrevista en Inglés con subtitulos en español (Activar subtitulos en español haciendo click en el simbolo cc-small, y luego click en “spanish”)

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, Holanda) analiza la integración regional en América Latina y Europa. Brid sostiene que la crisis paradigmática actual debe tratarse a nivel regional. En este sentido, sick los movimientos de América Latina ya se han movilizado y los diferentes modelos de desarrollo y la integración ya se han situado en el centro de su lucha. Sin embargo, Brid advierte sobre la adopción de un enfoque similar al de la Unión Europea, según el cual la integración se orienta hacia los intereses de las empresas transnacionales.

Entrevista en Inglés

La entrevista fue filmada durante la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (21 y 22 Julio 2009, Asunción, Paraguay)


Por Emilio Godoy

MÉXICO, patient 23 feb (IPS) – Una nueva organización regional, look acordada este martes en México por los gobernantes de América Latina y el Caribe, here heredará una agenda cargada de temas candentes, sin la influencia de Estados Unidos y Canadá.

En la llamada Cumbre de la Unidad de América Latina y del Caribe, los delegados de 32 naciones resolvieron dar vida a la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, al cierre de la reunión de dos días en la ciudad turística de Cancún, situada 1.950 kilómetros al sudeste de la capital mexicana.

La nueva organización “deberá prioritariamente impulsar la integración regional con miras a la promoción de nuestro desarrollo sostenible, impulsar la agenda regional en foros globales y tener un mejor posicionamiento ante acontecimientos relevantes mundiales”, dijo el anfitrión, el presidente mexicano Felipe Calderón, en la clausura del encuentro.

En el próximo encuentro, en julio de 2011 en Caracas, los representantes de los gobiernos deberán definir los lineamientos del nuevo bloque al que se integrarán el Grupo de Río, un ámbito latinoamericano de concertación política, y la Cumbre de América Latina y el Caribe. En 2012 volverán a verse las caras en Chile.

Con ese acuerdo, los asistentes salvaron virtualmente una reunión en la que no se vislumbró una convergencia de dimensiones mayores.

“Es viable el nuevo organismo, es un espacio político, cultural y económico que tiene mucho más que ver entre ellos mismos que con Estados Unidos y Canadá. Pueden mucho más fácilmente compartir una serie de puntos en la agenda”, dijo a IPS el analista Alexander Main, del no gubernamental Center for Economic and Policy Research, de Estados Unidos.

El lunes, el presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez y su par colombiano Álvaro Uribe se engarzaron en un feroz duelo verbal, interrumpido rápidamente por la intervención de Calderón y su homólogo cubano Raúl Castro.

De hecho, esa rispidez es la primera prueba que la Comunidad deberá afrontar y que fue abordada mediante la creación del “Grupo de amigos” de Colombia y Venezuela, presidido por el gobernante de República Dominicana, Leonel Fernández, y acompañado por México y Brasil.

Caracas y Bogotá están enfrascadas en un conflicto vinculado a la creciente presencia militar de Estados Unidos en el territorio colombiano, donde actúan guerrillas izquierdistas desde hace casi medio siglo.

Además, el presidente de Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, es un exponente de la derecha, y su par venezolano, Chávez, quiere instaurar en su país el “socialismo del siglo XXI”.

“Los organismos regionales, desde la OEA (Organización de los Estados Americanos), que es transregional, hasta los más modestos en términos de cobertura geográfica o específica de reciente factura, exhiben planteamientos teóricos de altas intenciones, pero logros de bajas proporciones”, comentó a IPS el analista costarricense Jorge Poveda.

Los mandatarios condenaron en Cancún el bloqueo económico estadounidense contra Cuba, respaldaron a Argentina en su reclamo contra la decisión de Londres de iniciar la exploración petrolera en las australes islas Malvinas, ocupadas por Gran Bretaña, y ratificaron su apoyo a la reconstrucción del caribeño Haití, devastado por el terremoto del 12 de enero.

“Están dadas las condiciones para avanzar hacia la constitución de una organización regional puramente latinoamericana y caribeña y que represente a las 33 naciones independientes de la América Latina y el Caribe”, manifestó este martes el presidente cubano Castro.

El caso de Honduras, ausente en Cancún a raíz del golpe de Estado que se perpetró el 28 de junio contra el entonces presidente constitucional Manuel Zelaya, no concitó mucha atención en las sesiones, aunque se duda que pueda ser aceptado en la nueva Comunidad. La declaración de 88 párrafos no menciona a la nación centroamericana, suspendida en casi todos los foros regionales e internacionales.

“No podemos aceptar ni en broma que esta experiencia de juntas militares de Honduras prevalezca en otros países de América Latina y del Caribe, porque dentro de poco resuelven entender que cualquiera de nosotros está de más y por lo tanto nos apartan para que ellos pongan el orden”, dijo el brasileño Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva en la segunda jornada de sesiones.

Guatemala y Panamá reconocieron al nuevo presidente hondureño, Porfirio Lobo, triunfador en los comicios del 29 de noviembre e investido presidente en enero. Pero no lo han hecho México, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina y Brasil, entre otros.

El Grupo de Río, hasta ahora el foro político más influyente en América Latina, surgió en 1986 como un esquema de diálogo y consulta para promover la democracia y la solución pacífica de diferencias. En 2008 acogió a sus miembros más recientes, Cuba, Haití y Guyana, para sumar 22 países adherentes.

El mecanismo ha realizado 20 encuentros presidenciales y 30 sesiones de cancilleres. En marzo de 2008 decidió que los jefes de Estado se reunieran cada dos años y no anualmente.

En Cancún aparecieron propuestas de varios nombres y estructuras. La propuesta mexicana fue la instauración de la Unión de Estados de América Latina, la brasileña giró en torno a la creación de la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños y la venezolana apostó por la Organización de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños.

La aparición de la Comunidad coloca un signo de interrogación sobre la OEA, de la que no participa Cuba, pese a que el año pasado se removieron las resoluciones que suspendían su membresía plena, ni Honduras, suspendida el año pasado tras del golpe de Estado contra Zelaya.

La definición en marzo de quién ejercerá la secretaría general de la OEA podría definir su futuro.

“Estados Unidos está desconectado de la realidad latinoamericana. Este acuerdo puede ser una respuesta a la lejanía de Estados Unidos hacia América Latina”, señaló Main.

Pero no se descarta que Washington consiga influir en la nueva Comunidad a través de sus aliados, como Colombia.

La cumbre “renueva nuestra convicción de que los pueblos latinoamericanos y caribeños debemos contar con un nuevo y reforzado mecanismo que, además de trazar el rumbo de la integración regional, permita dirimir las diferencias de manera razonable”, remarcó Calderón, quien entregó la secretaría temporal del Grupo de Río a Chile, en la figura de su presidenta Michelle Bachelet.

Ésta fue la despedida de las cumbres de Bachelet, quien entregará el 11 de marzo la banda presidencial a su sucesor Sebastián Piñera, del mandatario de Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, que hará lo propio el día 1 con José Mujica, y del costarricense Óscar Arias, quien cederá el poder el 8 de mayo a Laura Chinchilla.

“No es cierto que América Latina sea un bloque, menos un bloque unido, salvo por la continuidad geográfica. ¿Y cuál es la estrategia para lograr la creación de un bloque que supere esa severa limitación? Ciertamente, sobre las mismas bases ideológicas-políticas no lo vamos a lograr”, apuntó Poveda.

http://www.ipsnoticias.net/nota.asp?idnews=94745