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Peter Willetts, Emeritus Professor of Global Politics
Primary Sources for The Voice of Which People?
Downloaded from www.southngocaucus.com/media/Html/ALGIERS_DECLARATION.htm and copy-edited by Peter Willetts making minor lay-out changes.
We, the delegates of the Southern Summit for Partnerships in Sustainable Development, representing 10,000 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in developing countries of the world, met in Algiers on the 16th and 17th of March 2002. We evaluated the first decade since the adoption of Agenda 21, described our present conditions, and proposed solutions and actions plans.
We declare that:
In the past decade very little progress has been made with respect to the eradication of poverty. However we have witnessed the increase of war, genocide, and refugees, as well as the restriction of liberties. Intolerance and a lack of respect for diversities of cultures and political systems have become too common place. The elimination of racism, ethnic and gender discrimination has not been adequately addressed.
Environmental degradation and destruction have not been arrested. The gap between the rich and poor, within and between countries, has widened. Debt commitments have continued to increase the burden of peoples and communities through the new processes unleashed by global regulations and trade agreements, like Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS), General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS), Environment clause and social clause, and Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). Resources to implement Agenda 21 have not materialized and top-down international initiatives have failed to substantially improve the lives of millions of people.
There has been a lack of adequate provision for participation of independent representative of the peoples and communities at risk in developing countries in international and regional fora where decisions are being made affecting diversity and plurality in everyday life in the South.
We are also concerned about the promotion of genetically modified foods and removal of quotas which will have grave impacts on peoples lives and production processes.
These circumstances call for the creation of alternative strategies, master plans and actions plans in partnership with primary stakeholder, CSOs, government and international bodies.
We, the more than 5000 CSO representatives, that actively participated directly in the National and Regional Consultations leading up to the Southern NGO Summit,
Envision a world:
Where peace with justice prevails; where wars instigated to exploit the resources of the South cease, and where the Earth Charter and other culturally diverse values frameworks, and the Indigenous Platform for Human Rights that adopted ethical foundations for human interaction, are considered.
Whereas wars have displaced people not only from their roots but also their livelihoods, exploited the resources of the occupied, and violated human rights charters, we envision a world where refugees are granted the right to return to their homelands and that peace be provided with all the means for their well-being and where the occupied peoples be granted the right of self-determination so that they have complete sovereignty and access to livelihood resources and so that their basic human rights are respected
Where there is equality of opportunities for all and racism and other forms of discrimination cease to be obstacles to Sustainable Development. Peoples and CSOs of developing countries of the world have the opportunity and the tools to participate effectively in Sustainable Economic and Social Development.
Where our communities and developing nations are seriously considered and respected as stakeholders deserving respect, security, and equal consideration of their interests.
Where the world including CSOs from the North, funding sources and United Nation agencies recognize the rights of peoples and CSOs of developing countries of the world to speak for themselves in all international fora, without manipulation and interference.
Where the CSOs, the Communities and Major Groups that we represent are able to participate in the creation of action plans for the Sustainable Development of our communities, in collaboration with local, national and regional government authorities.
Where the CSOs, the Communities and Major Groups that we represent, are able to develop working alliances, partnerships and linkages among ourselves, other CSOs, and International Institutions, that enable us to advance our respective agendas while contributing to the elimination of poverty and conservation of the environment.
Where the International Financial Institutions include the efforts of CSOs, based in developing countries and involved in Sustainable Development issues, as equal participants in development of economic models, and recognize them as legitimate sources of information and knowledge for the elimination of poverty.
Where International and Regional Financial Institutions, UN agencies, private sector investors and donors support grass roots initiatives, like regional community development banks, which would be developed, owned and operated by the communities. To ensure their successful management and operation, capacity building for the community should be funded.
Where the north does not enrich itself at the expense of the south through natural resource exploitation of the south .
Where the process of globalisation through the WTO does not undermine sovereignty of our southern states.
We endorse the Millennium Forum Vision Statement:
"The Vision of 1350 representatives of over 1000 CSO organizations gathered at the United Nations on 22-26 of May 2000 for the Milleniumd Forum is for a world that is family. In all our diversity, living on one common homeland and sharing a just, human centered and genuinely democratic, where all human beings are full participants and determine their own destinies. In our vision we are one human sustainable and peaceful world guided by universal principles of democracy, equality, inclusion, voluntarism, non-discrimination and participation by all persons, men and women, young and old, regardless of race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or nationality. It is a world where everyone lives in a clean environment with a fair distribution of the earths resources. Our vision includes a special role for the dynamism of young people and the experience of the elderly, and reaffirms the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights -civil, political, economic, social and cultural."
We endorse the Vision Statement by Southern CSOs at the World Summit on Social Development.
We reaffirm that the WSSD agreements should not be based on re-negotiation of Agenda 21 but should focus on further implementation of Agenda 21. Emerging issues such as Racism, Capacity-Building for Southern CSOs, and emerging trade conflicts related to WTO and globalization, must be adequately resolved. Institutions, especially those in the north, should respect the ability of Southern CSOs to represent themselves and reform of the aid system so that more resources can be directly mobilized to implement action plans for sustainable development and the elimination of poverty.
Racism and Discrimination as Obstacles to Sustainable Development
We recognize that racism, in all its forms, is a serious impediment to sustainable development. We note that people in the south, particularly African, African descendant, and Indigenous Peoples, and these aforementioned populations in the north, are disproportionately impacted by racism. Environmental racism includes the trans-boundary shipment of toxic waste from the north to the south, the placing of toxic waste sites near particular populations, the double standards used in the extraction of natural resources which all lead to detrimental health, environmental, socio-cultural and economic problems, with profound and irreversible damage to land, air, water, and all living organisms and people. The WSSD must address environmental racism, as it relates to poverty and its other manifestations.
Colonialism- and slavery-related actions resulted in gross violations of human rights for the purpose of economic enrichment of the colonizer, and created long-lasting conditions that impeded development. The concept of reparations must be recognized as one of the motivating forces for adequate financing of developing agendas of the countries and peoples that have suffered from colonialism and slavery.
Linkage of Financing for Development System to the UN
The failure of the Conference on Financing for Development to recommend greater linkage between WTO and the United Nations and, particularly, the Commission on Sustainable Development leaves open a serious defect that will continue to be obstacles to sustainable Development. The World Summit for Sustainable development must address this issue.
Linkage of Outcomes from Social Summit and Other CSO Events to Sustainable Development
We endorse and support the positions developed in the Social Summit and urge the WSSD to include, in strong language, consideration of social and cultural issues as part of sustainable development. We consider social and cultural impacts to be the basis of a people-centered policy of development.
We, the youth of the south, support all the recommendations of the fourth session of the World Youth Forum of the United Nations system in Dakar, Senegal in August of 2001, and the International Student Festival Declaration in Trondheim, Norway in 2001.
Southern CSO Participation in International Fora
We condemn the practice of discriminatory funding between Northern and Southern CSOs. We also condemn conditionalities attached by funding agencies with regard to representation.
Southern NGOParticipation in Government National and Regional Plans
The WSSD should encourage and support direct access to resources for capacity- building and participation of CSO national networks that are inclusive of Major Groups, in the preparation of national government action plans for sustainable development (NGAPSD).
Making Aid Programs Work in Support of NGAPSDs that include CSO Input
The WSSD should encourage greater effort on the part of foundations, international donors, and United Nations-related bodies and agencies to focus on funding to government and CSO initiatives that contribute to the successful implementation of national and regional government action plans and development processes.
Capacity Building of SD CSOs with participation of Southern Professionals
UNDP must be given additional capacity-building resources to assist national networks of CSOs, to develop national and regional CSO action plans and initiatives. This should include resources to facilitate representation in regional and international fora.
CSO Access to Capital and Credit
Given the acknowledgement of the significant contributions of CSOs to the development process, and the expansion of the sector involved in Sustainable Development, governments and international institutions should encourage the development of surplus income-generating initiatives. Innovative mechanisms must be created to provide affordable access to capital and credit for existing initiatives of this type.
Community Based Development Banking
Given a history of racism and other forms of class and caste discrimination against groups of people, International Financing Institutions should be encouraged to support joint ventures, regional and national community-based development banking, initiated and organized by communities, especially discriminated and marginalized groups.
Adopted at the Southern NGO Summit in Algiers, Algeria, on March 17, 2002.