FSE/ESF Forum social européen/European Social Forum - A global political agenda for the EU development
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A global political agenda for the EU development [en] | fr
16 December 2003

The outcome of the Cancun WTO Ministerial conference presents remarkable implications for the functioning and political debate around global financial institutions, going far beyond the WTO case.



 

Recent debate at annual meetings of Bretton Woods institutions in Dubai and in capitals in main developing countries, in particular about internal governance and debt related issues, clearly shows the impressive spill-over of Cancun outcome onto the crises of current neoliberal global financial architecture.

The political dimension has finally regained supremacy in the international agenda above economic, financial and commercial matters, as ideologically opposed instead by the neoliberal paradigm in the last twenty years. The neoliberal agenda is finally facing its structural limitation to expand under current multilateral structures, even though its impacts are still strong in practice. At the same time Southern emerging economies are calling for a radical reform of decision making processes and power balance within global trade and financial institutions.

Such a dramatic move is a challenge to both global institutions and social movements. It is time to go beyond the traditional reform/abolition dilemma and finally challenge the power structure of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation in order to produce a drastic shift and make collapse the neoliberal approach to international relations. At this regard the role of UE and its relationship with the United States will be crucial. It is time for a radical change of decision making bodies within these undemocratic and unaccountable institutions.

Alternative proposals

2004 is the 60th anniversary of the Bretton Woods institutions, at a time when the process of appointment of the new World Bank President will begin as well. It is time to establish the supremacy of existing international law on human rights, environment, social and labour matters above the policies implemented by these institutions, thus opening up more political space for the work of other UN specialised agencies on these themes.

EU countries should free up space within the boards of the Bank and the Fund for allowing developing countries in. Civil society should challenge the idea that next World Bank president should not be American or European, but from the South. Foreign debt put in a political perspective might represent a unique leverage for Southern countries to challenge all together the current global power structure. Civil society should start calling for reparations for the damage done in the past, thus opening up more political space for communities in Southern countries.

Implementation

CRBM will present its ideasfor a global WB President Campaign to be conducted by social movements, in order to expose and challenge the undemocratic structures of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the year of their 60th anniversary. By doing this, further need for a multipolar approach to a new multilateral agenda will be pointed out.

Global movements should start an internal process of selection of their symbolic candidate from the South for World Bank Presidency and present worldwide an electoral programme of drastic changes at the Bank, including the end to immunity for World Bank officials, full transparency of the institution, the right to reparation for all past World Bank activities which devastated the environment and local communities’ life, the change of World Bank board structure to allow paritarian representation of developing and developed countries, the adoption of the principle of free, prior and informed consent for local communities in order to veto on programme and project proposals, the binding endorsement of all relevant international law, the phase out of public support to fossil fuel technology and large scale dams, and finally the cancellation of all odious debt.






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