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Third World Network

Website: http://www.twnside.org.sg/

Category: Development

Year of Foundation: 1984

Location of Foundation: Penang, Malaysia

Location of Headquarters: Penang, Malaysia

Brief Description: The Third World Network describes itself as 'an independent non-profit international network of organisations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, Third World and North-South affairs.... Its mission is to bring about a greater articulation of the needs and rights of peoples in the Third World, a fair distribution of world resources, and forms of development which are ecologically sustainable and fulfill human needs. Its main objectives are: to conduct research on economic, social and environmental issues pertaining to the South; to publish books and magazines; to organise and participate in meetings and seminars; and to provide a platform representing broadly Southern interests and perspectives at international fora such as the UN Conferences and processes.' (Source: www.twnside.org.sg; accessed 4 February 2010).

Founding Rationales:

At the founding conference of the Third World Network in Penang, Malaysia, in 1984, it was noted: 'There is a growing disillusionment and frustration about the inadequcy of established international agencies (like the UN organisations) in effectively taking up Third World issues. There is also disillusionment about the role of government and bureaucracy in perpetuating an outmoded form of development which is not successful. In this context, it is heartening to note the emergence of people's movements and organisations in the Third World which have adopted alternative patterns of development that are based on the fulfillment of self-determined basic needs; and geared towards self-identity and against externally imposed alienation. ... We emphasise the need for closer co-operation among NGOs in Third World countries, in order to: strengthen the voice of the poor and alienated and give an international momentum; increase knowledge and experience about alternatives to the present development system; build up an organisational framework which in terms of analysis, conscientization and action can cope with the transnationalization of the development dilemma. ... we especially emphasise the need for the establishment of a network among NGOs in Third World countries as well as more intensive South-North dialogue.' The conference therefore resolved 'to establish a network in order to maintain links among themselves as well as establish links with other groups and individuals involved in Third World issues. It was decided to call this the Third World Network. The aim of the Network would be to coordinate and consolidate cooperation among development groups in the South as well as the North, so that there would be South-South, South-North and North-South exchange. The participants requested the Consumers' Association of Penang to be the Secretariat of the Third World Network.'

Source: Third World Network, 'Third World: Development or Crisis? Declaration and Conclusions of the Third World Conference, Penang, 9-14 Nov. 1984' (Penang: Third World Network, 1984), pp. 78-79, 7.

Evolution of Membership:

Membership not specified.