2. Defining Globalisation
3. Challenges of Globalisation
4. Reshaping the Global Political Economy
5. What the UN must do
6. What member states must do
7. What NGOs must do
Globalisation means different things to different people, which is one reason why opinions of it differ so dramatically. Some proponents see it as not only inevitable but fundamentally beneficial, if only we could distribute the benefits better. Yet many millions experience it not as progress, but as a disruptive, even destructive force.
There is not too little globalisation, nor is there too much - the wrong kind of globalisation has dominated. Corporate-led globalisation, that is, accelerated deregulation of commerce and investment, is the most advanced and the most destructive aspect of globalisation, and the aspect which cries out for the United Nation's guiding hand to bring it under control.
With corporate globalisation, there are winners and losers, and the decision about who wins or loses is currently made in a most undemocratic fashion. Corporate globalisation per se cannot foster improvements in democracy or respect for cultural diversity.
We must not assume that all people in all countries are best served by the same economic and technological agenda. This assumption can damage not only economies but cultures and politics as well. Multinational corporations influence the lives and welfare welfare of billions of people, yet their accountability is limited largely to their shareholders, with their influence on national and international policy-making kept behind the scenes.
To many millions of people the great gains of science, medicine and technology, let alone access to the internet, might as well take place on another planet. Meanwhile, criminal groups take advantage of porous borders and powerful new technology for their own nefarious aims. Although we have more wealth and technology than ever before, the number of people living in poverty and dying of hunger is still growing. Many poor countries and poor people are increasingly marginalized. Increasing inequity is taking a particularly heavy toll on women. People's of colour are experiencing old and new forms of xenophobia as races jostle for positions in the undemocratic new world order. Although the cold war has ended, we are facing new threats to humanity such as the terror of potential nuclear wars and the crisis of environmental sustainability. Corporate driven globalisation puts the integrity of cultures at risk.
To treat people as statistics, such as in poverty and mortality statistics and to commodity them in some form has repercussions. Social realities such as unemployment, loss of identity, loss of the will to live, cannot be quantified. They are deep and profound factors of the soul and their effect is both individual and collective. Alcohol, drugs and suicide then become alternatives to living. This too often has been the situation with Indigenous peoples around the world in surviving the decimating and corroding impact of colonisation, and is becoming more pervasive throughout the world. Globalisation must never be allowed to fill the shoes of colonisation. The very nature of globalisation deprives families and households headed by individual parents, most often women, of their formative and caring roles by placing on them unprecedented new and old burdens as they are forced into longer hours of paid and unpaid work.
The nature of the current economic globalisation process changes, and in fact weakens the role and the authority of governments, the building block of the UN. Through activities in the WTO, governments have become complicit in accelerating economic globalisation at the expense of their own people. While the UN must steer the current, corporate dominated forms of globalisation toward a human centered process, this will require the strengthening and democratisation of the UN as the legitimate forum of the global community. The question is how the UN will empower itself to reform this corporate driven globalisation process towards a human-centered globalisation that values equity, justice and diversity.
Globalisation of human rights and environmental standards will be aided by grassroots globalisation - the coming together of diverse movements for human rights, labor rights, health and environmental protection, and by governmental and intergovernmental support for those values above the value of free market economics.
The Millennium Assembly of the UN is a global forum that could provide powerful momentum for moving the agenda forward on the future of global governance. Civil society, or we the people, will be present in large numbers to witness this historic event. We commend to the heads of government who will be participating in the Millennium Summit, the concerns and proposals for action in facing the challenges of globalisation formulated at this UN NGO Millennium Forum. We also urge that these concerns and proposals be discussed and debated through public gatherings around the world leading up to the Summit so that the voices of we, the peoples of the United Nations, will also be heard on this historic occasion.
2. Defining Globalisation
Although globalisation has many facets, economic globalisation - the removal of barriers to trade and investment through trade liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation - is the dominant trend from which political and cultural globalisation flow. The aim of economic globalisation is to remove the obstacles to the global movement of capital and the production of goods and services that have accumulated in industrially developed capitalist countries. Today's globalisation could be called 'corporate globalisation' or 'global corporatization', considering that corporations not only produce goods and services but also define and control economic as well as social, political and cultural aspects of our lives. For the purposes of this paper we will focus on the challenges of economic globalisation and will offer suggestions for how to understand the potential for political and cultural globalisation.
3. Challenges of Globalisation
a) Trade: unfair, with double standards
Economically developing countries have been the losers under the rules of trade under the Uruguay Round of GATT and the WTO. It is estimated that economic losses of the non-industrialised world from the agricultural protectionism of the industrialized world may be as high as $20 billion per year. According to UNCTAD, it is estimated that an extra $700 billion of annual export earnings could be achieved by the South in a relatively short time in a number of low technology and resource-based industries, if those markets were not protected in the North.
b) Foreign Direct Investment:
concentrated in the developed and emerging markets FDI has been rapidly increasing; however nearly three quarters of it takes place among industrialsed countries, with the largest share in the UK and US. Of the remaining quarter, most FDI flow is concentrated in a few emerging market countries in unsustainable industries, and the poorest countries receive just a tiny fraction of FDI. FDI should be conditioned on the building of technological and human infrastructure as determined by local participants. FDI should not be conditional on tax holidays, relaxed standards of entry or other 'race to the bottom' concessions.
c) Financial markets: highly volatile
The Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, characterized by swift withdrawal of investments and rapid spread of the crisis to other countries, exposed the risks inherent in close integration with the global financial markets. Human impacts are severe and are likely to persist long after economic recovery. Financial crises have been increasingly common with the spread and growth of global capital flows as pushed for through the undemocratic process of the IMF, World Bank and the Wall Street treasury complex. They result from rapid buildups and reversals of short-term speculative capital flows, also known as "Casino Capitalism" and are likely to recur. Liberalized financial markets, without well-developed monitoring and regulating system, proved to be very vulnerable to the volatility of capital flows.
d) Social Impact
A recent UN study on the experiences of various developing countries shows liberalisation of trade and capital has led to greater inequality of incomes. A World Bank report says the worldwide total of people living on $1 per day or less has risen from 1.2 billion in 1987 to 1.5 billion today, and if recent trends persist, will reach 1.9 billion by 2015. Meanwhile, most countries have experienced erosion of the tax base because of liberalisation of trade and financial markets, and fiscal pressures are cutting back on the supply of public services. Tax revenue declined in poor countries from 18% of GDP in the early 1980s to 16% in the 1990s. Although labor mobility is still highly restricted compared to high capital mobility, economic globalisation has had a great impact on labor markets. Job and income security has worsened in both poor and rich countries. Employment situation in most countries is increasingly characterized by reduced wages, underemployment, informalisation, and greater flexibilisation of labor. Wage differentials between skilled and unskilled workers rose with liberalization of trade and capital. Competition for foreign investment and the greater ability of employers to shift production to other locations has undermined job security and collective bargaining. And many countries have weakened labor laws. In particular, mergers and acquisitions have come with corporate restructuring and massive layoffs. The privatisation of prisons, combined with an increasing criminalisation of civil life through harsh laws, mandatory sentencing and "three strikes you're out" policies militarise our societies and criminalise poverty. Ironically, the advantaged are also oppressed by their over-development, evidenced by poor health consequences of overeating, personal isolation stemming from community disintegration and spiritual bankruptcy through the cultural dominance of consumerism.
e) Militarism and Military Spending
860 billion dollars are spent each year globally on militarism, one quarter of which would provide people with housing, food, education, and environmental clean up for this planet. The conditions for war are created by economic policy. In the recent past, macro economic policy has caused crises in resources and local markets that have built tension and caused war. High-tech sanatised warfare combined with low intensity weapons, the development of rogue armies; privatized defense force companies that protect private property and wage wars and child soldiers are all manifestations of modern militarism. Searching for a post-cold war profit margin, many military corporations moved into the arming of civilian police forced with so-called "non-lethal" weaponry, much of which (pepper spray etc) has been used on people calling for social justice and a halt to the negative developments of globalisation.
Debt servicing requirements imposed by the IMF through Structural Adjustment Programmes reached an unpayable level ten years ago and prevent Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC's) from making adequate investments in education and health care. The total debt of developing countries amounts to $2.5 trillion. The enhanced HIPC initiative, agreed by the Cologne Summit of the G-8 and endorsed by the IMF and the World Bank last year, is alleged to offer broader debt relief than the original HIPC initiative launched in 1996. However, projected reductions in debt servicing are far too conditional, slow and are too small to make any difference in many countries
Technology is a tool that has the potential to oragnise NGOs, educate constituencies and to empower all of civil society. Technological advances are driving economic globalisation. The Internet had more than 140 million users in mid-1998, a number that is expected to pass 700 million by 2001. English prevails in almost 80% of websites. However, the Internet poses severe problems of access and exclusion, especially in South Asia and Africa. The excessive privatization and concentration of technology worldwide is also highly problematic. Corporations define research agendas and tightly control their findings with patents, racing to lay claims to intellectual property under the rules set out in the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
h) Gender impact
The use of women's flexible labour in both developed and developing countries has been a central strategy of globalisation in the development of the global assembly line. While more women are now in the paid labour market, their work is characterised by insecurity of employment, lower wages and poorer labour protection. In addition women's unpaid labour in the home and community is taken for granted as a way of making up the service deficits created by the privatisation of public and social services. Capital accumulation at the top is possible because of the low paid and unpaid work provided by women. Poorer women in both developed and developing countries are particularly vulnerable to economic downturns and financial crises. Poverty heightens the probability that a woman's biology will become her destiny, and also puts great responsibility on women to carry the survival of their community, not to mention the global burden caused by overpopulation.
i) Environmental impact
With the dynamics of globalisation, some of the world's unsustainable industries - the ones that should be pushed out - are instead going global. For example, the fossil fuel industries are among the world's most globalised, pushing for further development in the South while resisting curtailment of its use in the North. Carbon emissions, which are the major cause of global warming, have quadrupled in the last 50 years. Average temperatures are projected to increase by 1.2 to 3.5 degrees Centigrade over the course of the present century, which would raise sea levels and pose threats to hundreds of millions of coastal dwellers. Nevertheless, the industrialized countries still use excessive energy and are reluctant to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which will bind them to verifiable emission limitation and reduction targets. It should be noted that one fifth of the world's people living in the industrialized world account for nearly 60% of the world's total consumption of energy, and thus are most responsible for global warming.
j) Cultural impact
Globalisation is accompanied by a flood of cultural products, information and ideas in one direction, from rich countries to poor. Rather than a dialogue between cultures, we are witnessing a spread of global brands, images and ideologies, which increasingly threatens the diversity of our cultures, political systems and identities. Individual choice and creativity are being subordinated to the demands of consumerism and technology. The domination of English pervades the global system and is a form of linguistic imperialism. Just as biodiversity is under threat, so too is our human diversity and specificity.
k) Food as a Human Right
Water and food are not merely products or goods, neither are they services. Access to these essential components of human life is a right held in common. The piracy of food, appropriation of food heritage and speculation on food should be seen as a crime against humanity. Similarly, the patenting of seeds and indigenous medicinal knowledge under the TRIPS agreement of GATT threatens our biosecurity and should be reversed. Bio-prospecting should be regulated as part of this reversal. UN-accountable institutions, such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation should be accountable for these areas and regulatory mechanisms.
l) Refugees, Immigrants and Displaced Persons
The current dominant form of globalisation has directly contributed to economic and ethnic strife resulting in wars and millions of people being forced into the status of refugees and asylum seekers. The vast majority of politically displaced persons are women and children, often left economically insecure, physically vulnerable and emotionally wrenched. For many their anticipated short term displacement dissolves into a permanent situation. Still millions of other people, especially from the global south become economic refugees as they are forced to migrate north in search of some modicum of economic security as immigrants, sometimes legal, often not, they are subject to economic exploitation, criminal encroachment, political discrimination and cultural marginalisation. They are often subjected to xenophobia, and the injustices of unfair laws, which become unnecessarily punitive.
m) Lack of Global governance
We are lacking adequate global governance. Economic globalisation, which allows corporations to make production, marketing and investment decisions relatively free of national constraints, has revealed a mismatch between current systems and institutions that are national or inter-national and the global nature of economic activities. The criminal informal economy drives illicit drugs, money laundering and the trafficking in women and children and justifies the intervention of a global governance system. What passes for global governance is controlled by institutions with an agenda of deregulating trade rather than democracy, peace, human rights or environmental protection. Poor countries and poor people have little influence in today's international policy making. At the World Trade Organization, about 30 poor countries cannot afford to run permanent offices at its headquarters in Geneva, and are therefore excluded from shaping crucial trade agreements that affect their future. At the IMF and the World Bank, the prime mechanism of control is the size of rich countries' capital subscriptions, which gives them enormous voting power by comparison with the mass of developing countries. The Group of Eight nations has 48% of the voting power
4. Strengthening political and cultural responses to globalisastion: Reshaping the Global Political Economy
a) The Future of Human Diversity and Specificity
"Diversity" like "globalisation" is a new term used to describe the complexity of the lived experiences of human beings on this planet. Like "biodiversity" we are coming to understand the critical importance of maintaining a healthy diversity of expression of human thought and behavior. The forces of globalisation, economic, technological, cultural and political, are working in paradoxical ways. Firstly, with the greater capacity for communication and exchange taking place, we are able to find out about each other, about our similarities and differences. Through global migration we settle in countries other than the one of our birth, we are still learning to manage our differences as we live together. Secondly, there exists a very real danger of cultural homogenisation as the result of contemporary "western" driven models of globalisation and the current supremacy of the market in our global society. Economic globalisation in its current form has the potential to radically reorganise us as human beings. Land, water, sexual orientations, indigenous knowledge and cultural artifacts can now all be commodified. Different cultures need the opportunity to examine their own responses to globalisation in order to relocate themselves into this current reality. Among the most urgent needs are a reshaping of educational systems to foster knowledge and love of local ecological and cultural diversity, and the integration and development of mother tongues in basic education and local administration. There is also a need to develop more equitable and effective means of communication and cooperation across the differences, so that it is not always the voices of privileged groups that are heard. As yet, we do not really know the impact of globalisation on our human diversity and specificity. The delegates at this forum express deep concern about how to protect and support the value of human diversity in the face of the powerful negative potential that globalisation exerts.
b) Sustainable Human Development
We should pursue sustainable and equitable human development rather than place so much emphasis on economic growth and liberalization. The profit motive and pursuit of efficiency alone do not bring us equity and justice. We need to create a different paradigm that subordinates narrow efficiency to the values of equity, justice, sustainability and diversity. Values like equity, freedom, solidarity, tolerance, democratic adaptability, non-violence, respect for nature, and shared responsibility should be shared by all nations and all peoples.
c) Achieving Fair Trade and an Equitable Global Trading System
Free trade, understood as liberalised, privatised and deregulated trade, has been over-emphasised at the expense of fair trade. Fair trade implies regulation and includes, equitable terms of trade, respect of human rights, recognition of collective production and ownership, people centered development, humane labour conditions and environmental protection. All countries need to cooperate together in the development of a just economic order that understands communities, not corporations as the center of economic life. Wealthy countries, that currently dominate and benefit from the existing trading system have a responsibility to move from free to fair markets as a basic principle of operation. Developed countries should examine the social impact of their own subsidies and protectionisms and practices of enforcing liberalisation on their own people and people in other parts of the world. Application of these tools must be broadened so that these tools are used to achieve equitable trading systems. For example, it is necessary to promote better world market access for agricultural and textile products from developing countries. Considering their influence on the lives of billions of people as well as on the national and international policy making, there is a need for global regulatory bodies to hold TNCs accountable to the public interest, internationally recognised human rights and environmental standards. The principles of applying universally accepted standards contained in the Secretary General's Global Compact with Corporations are laudable, but the initiative relies on voluntary observance and does not have monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. While there is a global move of corporations towards adopting triple bottom line reporting (economic, social and environmental costs of their company's activities) and corporate social responsibility programmes, these moves need to be seen in the context of broader principles of human rights and accountability. We urge the Secretary General to use his good offices to engage in the process of entering into the Citizens Compact on the UN and Corporations that will safeguard the image, mission and credibility of the UN as it deals with the private sector. The Citizen's Compact includes provisions for creation of a legally binding framework for controlling global corporations on the world stage, assistance to civil society and governments in implementing national and local legislation to protect human rights and the environment from corporations, avoidance of any public association with companies engaged in widespread abuse of human rights or the environment and full transparency in all UN dealings with the private sector.
5. What the UN must do.
In this new globalizing era, the United Nations has a vital role to play in filling the vacuum of global governance. The UN, with its near-universal membership and scope and the shared values embodied in its Charter, can play a central role in developing a life sustaining economic system.
a) Strengthen the UN:
If the world's peoples and leaders are truly willing to construct a global community with equity, justice and diversity, they first need to make the UN stronger, more efficient and more participatory as the center of global governance. The UN has to have adequate resources to do its important global tasks. Non-payment of dues, especially by wealthiest countries, is not acceptable and should result in loss of voting rights immediately. Any member state must not attempt to dominate or direct the UN by its own will to pursue its narrow national interest. The proposal to transform the UN General Assembly into a popularly elected world parliament also needs to be considered.
b) Monitor and Regulate Globalisation:
The UN must monitor and regulate fair trade, FDI flows, volatile financial markets and advocate for the HIPC debt elimination scheme, facilitate technology transfers between technology rich and technology poor nations, oppose TRIPS, encourage member states to strengthen labour laws and consider its role in global governance. The UN Center on Transnational Corporations had many shortcomings. It was one place in the UN system monitoring the actions of TNCs and struggling to formulate a code of conduct for TNCs that would give the people of the world some standards against which to assess the performance of these giant entities. This prospect, limited in its scope as it was, proved to be anathema to TNCs, and they worked relentlessly both directly and through major industrialized governments to undermine and eventually dismantle the Center. The Center, which was shut down in 1992, should be restored immediately. To develop a legally binding framework regulating the actions of transnational corporations, respecting the international labour, human rights, and environmental standards set by the United Nations and its relevant Specialized Agencies. The regulatory mechanism should include the active participation of workers and communities directly affected by TNC operations in order to prevent the abuse of regulatory mechanisms, to subordinate TNCs to democratic civil authority and to foster community-based modeling of socio-economic systems.
c) Implementing World Summit on Social Development Commitments:
The UN has to work not only in words but also in deeds. The UN General Assembly Special Session for the five-year review of the World Summit for Social Development, which is to be held in Geneva in June 2000, and the Millennium Summit should adopt an "International Anti-Poverty Pact", which was proposed by the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW). The Pact should involve both developed and developing countries, as well as international financial institutions. The Pact would involve commitments to 'inputs' (resources), as well as to the 'outcomes' (targets). The targets could include the International Development Targets agreed by OECD as well as the Secretary-General's Millennium proposals such as halving the proportion of the world's people (currently 22%) living on less than one dollar a day, halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water (currently 20%), narrowing the gender gap in primary and secondary education (by 2005), achieving universal primary education, and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, by 2015. The resources could include an internationally coordinated system of national taxes on foreign exchange transactions (Tobin tax), ODA, debt cancellation, and reduction of military spending. Anti-corruption legislation and land reform, where appropriate, could also be effective ways of national resource mobilization. In this regard, world's leaders should consider the creation of a Global Anti-Poverty Fund or a World solidarity Fund.
d) Upgrade ECOSOC:
The UN system, in particular, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) should be upgraded if the UN is to play an important roles in the areas of trade, finance, debt, Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), peacekeeping and regulation of TNCs. It is essential that ECOSOC either strengthens the size, role and effectiveness of its Bureau or develops some other mechanism, which enables prompt, focused and vigorous action to be taken without calling full Council meeting of more than 50 members. ECOSOC needs also to engage more closely with regional groupings that have developed outside the UN system. The Bretton Woods Institutions and the WTO should be overseen by ECOSOC and should report regularly to this body.
e) Reform the Security Council:
The Security Council is currently undemocratically convened, reflecting the interests of the wealthier countries of 1945 and not the political realities of the new millennium. The veto has a virtual characteristic in that many initiatives are not raised due to anticipation of the veto. If maintained the veto should be restricted to Chapter 7 issues. If maintained, the Permanent seats should be allocated on a regional basis, with regions deciding on a rotational basis, their representative.
f) Promote Disarmament:
The current global economy is dominated by the Military Industrial Complex. One quarter of current global military spending is what is needed to meet all human and environmental needs. The Security Council should implement its role as outlined in Article 26 in formulating the establishment of a system for the regulation of armament. As currently comprised the Permanent 5 members reap over 80% of the profits in the global arms trade. Secretary General Annan's proposal for convening a major conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers should be adopted.
g) Strengthen UNCTAD:
World's leaders should not limit UNCTAD's role too narrowly. UNCTAD could help to make the world trade system more participatory and fairer and should oversee the WTO.
h) Promote Financing for Development:
The UN should establish a new debt arbitration process, possibly through Financing for Development. This new debt arbitration body could be incorporated into ECOSOC. The UN also has a key role in monitoring, in cooperation with civil society, how funds released by debt cancellation are actually spent by governments; the UNICEF 20 by 20 formula is a possible model. (The first 20% for restoring health services and the next 20% for restoring education). The UN, in particular the Financing for Development process should start to study the introduction of a currency transaction tax immediately and make an international agreement. Another area of study should be the UNILETS (United Nations International Local Employment and Trading System). In addition, a multilateral framework on competition policy, or a world anti-monopoly authority, should be established with regard to anti-competition conduct of TNCs. Social responsible investing should be promoted.
i) Consider the Tobin Tax:
The Tobin tax, as a first step toward stopping short-term speculation, could be used to generate revenue by the UN to finance programmes in development, environment and peace keeping as well as its regulatory activities of TNCs. A Tobin tax would also generate substantial revenue that could be used for social development. The annual value of foreign-exchange transactions is over $450 trillion, and a tax of 0.1% is expected to create $150 billion to $225 billion global revenue, far surpassing the total ODA of OECD countries ($48 billion in 1997), assuming that the level of transactions would fall by 50-67% in face of the tax. The revenue could be collected nationally and distributed between the national and international level as ODA. Local exchange, trade and currency practices should be developed further and examined for international application. The abolition of debts and the eradication of interest are essential components in pursuing sustainable human development.
j) Reform the International Financial Institutions:
The UN needs to monitor these institutions to ensure that all international decision-making processes are as fully open and accountable as possible. Lending should be conditional on the building of technological human infrastructure and determined by local participants. There is also a need for introducing an ombudsman mechanism within the WTO, World Bank and IMF to investigate cases of alleged bias and injustice in their operations. In particular, the UN should convene a conference similar to the Bretton Woods conference of 1944 to discuss what sort of new financial architecture is needed for our rapidly globalising world. The adoption of the time standard of money and abolition of interest rates are both ideas worthy of consideration.
k) Encourage Local Participation:
The UN should foster democratic civic participation in every locality, paying particular attention to rural areas and poor urban areas. Essential to local democracy is the people owning, controlling and operating their means of communication. The UN could facilitate and foster the distribution of low-power transmitters and photo-voltaic power sources to the hundreds of thousands of rural localities and urban neighborhoods; training in radio production, operations, and repair, and development of governmental support regimes - usually just non-interference from national or commercial sources. The UN should ensure access by local producers to internet for locally relevant information and for exchange of experience with similar communities worldwide. Telephone service enabling internet should also be made available cheaply to the local public. The UN should establish a number of mobile radio units to record or directly transmit the observations and experience of local people in diverse regions and communities for broadcast on their local radio outlets.
l) Respect the Collective Right of Indigenous Peoples, Expatriates and Minority
Groups to Participate:
The UN should facilitate the participation of the native people who at one time have been systematically excluded. Further the UN must recognise that those who have left their place of birth and live as expatriates or minority groups and have gained further experience in developed countries, are vital resources to their country of origin in the development process. This can enhance reconciliation and effective cooperation. The UN must acknowledge the right of all three groupings within the current system where member states are often hostile to such rights.
6) What member states must do:
Support for strengthening the UN does not mean that it should become a world government with centralized bureaucratic behemoths trampling on the rights of people and states. Nor does it mean weakening the national governments. As Secretary General Annan's Millennium Report states, "Weak states are one of the main impediments to effective governance today, at national and international levels alike. By the same token, states need to develop a deeper awareness of their dual role in our global world. In addition to the separate responsibilities each state bears towards its own society, states are, collectively, the custodians of our common life on this planet."
a) Reclaim their Role in Representing and Protecting Citizens:
The state's indispensable role in protecting the welfare of its populations in the pursuit of social and economic justice should not be abandoned. All states must in collaboration with the UN make institutions more accountable and transparent in: ensuring that human rights and fundamental freedoms are protected without distinction to cultural and ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, class, age, disability, language or religion. developing social policies to achieve sustainable and equitable human development. actively playing their role to prevent and complement market failures and to provide their people with public goods, such as health care and education; ameliorating the living conditions of disabled people and their families who are still facing discrimination, exclusion and poverty; support, practice and enforce the principles of the Standard Rules for equalization of Opportunities for Disabled Persons promoted by the United Nations since 1993; develop mechanisms to ensure access to resources available for older persons.
b) Monitor and Regulate Economic Globalisation:
The recent trend of excessive emphasis on liberalization, deregulation and privatisation must be reconsidered. The recent Asian financial crisis that rapid liberalization of financial markets is very dangerous and that national and international mechanisms must be developed to cope with the volatility of capital flows. Governments must take their responsibilities as overseers and decision-makers in the Bretton Woods Institutions to work for democracy and transparency of these institutions together with limiting their political impact. With the UN, member states must monitor and regulate fair trade, FDI flows, volatile financial markets and advocate for the HIPC debt elimination scheme, facilitate technology transfers between technology rich and technology poor nations, oppose TRIPS, encourage member states to strengthen labour laws and consider its role in global governance, and channel Tobin taxes.
c) Increase Overseas Development Assistance:
Donor countries must fulfill the agreed target of 0.7% of GNP as soon as possible, and achieve at least 0.5% by no later than 2005. Within those targets, donor countries need to earmark 0.15 to 0.20% of their GNP for the least developed countries, and new ODA should be provided in the form of grant rather than a loan, and free of interest. In addition, more assistance should be allocated to meet the basic needs such as primary education and basic health care. Developed countries should open up their markets for the import of agricultural and textile products from developing countries.
d) Implement Commitments:
National governments should live up to the promises and pledges they agreed to in the major action plans produced at the major UN conferences of the last decade. In particular, national governments in the Global North should live up to their pledge to produce and share global public goods with the countries in the Global South. Also national parliaments need to regularly discuss global issues.
e) Participating in the Global Community:
The world's leaders as well as peoples must be able to go beyond the narrow concept of national interest. Leaders of national governments should cooperate together to enhance global public interest, while keeping their own national interest and respecting others' at the same time. They have to cope with global market failures together; examples of necessary cooperation include global economic stability, global health research, global or regional environmental improvement, and international peace and security. Recognising that certain goods and services (like biodiversity, human genome, and cultural heritage of the peoples) are common heritage of humanity they cannot become sources of private ownership for profit making. Fresh water, food, education, health care and other human essentials must not be considered as economic goods but declared common goods upon which a collective custody must be undertaken.
f) Protect and Promote Diversity:
Governments must respect the aspirations for self-determination of indigenous peoples and minority groups without the domination or superiority of any.
g) Reducing Military Spending:
National governments should cooperate together to substantially reduce military spending. At the Copenhagen Social Summit in 1995, the cost of the absolute eradication of extreme poverty was estimated at $80 billion a year over a period of 20 years, compared to worldwide military spending that was nearly $800 billion in that year. National governments should be urged to reduce military spending and increase social spending.
h) Increase Transparency and Accountability:
National governments must involve civil society organizations in their decision-making processes. The UN conferences of the 1990s have played a central role not only in forging normative consensus among governments and spelling out practical solutions on the great issues of the day, but also in engaging and empowering civil society worldwide. The UNDP Poverty Report 2000 shows well that good governance is the key to poverty reduction and that grass-roots participation is the key to good governance.
7) What NGOs must do.
NGOs play a key role in addressing global issues at the national and international level. As the Millennium Report states, "Transnational single-issue campaigns have contributed to strengthen norms and build legal regimes, leading for instance to the convention banning landmines or to last year's agreement on enhanced debt relief for the heavily indebted poor countries. These campaigns, often conducted in concert with the UN, have helped to raise- and alter- the consciousness of the international community and to change the behavior of states on many critical global issues."
In the face of global challenges, NGOs recognise the need to strengthen cooperation among themselves and other members of civil society. NGOs must: increase awareness among people of the challenges of globalisation; lobby and mobilize public pressure to monitor and regulate globalisation; interface between global, national, regional and local interests; develop coalitions for single-issue campaigns. extend communication and interaction among the NGO community through Internet and exchange programmes; integrate globalisation as a constant thematic focus in NGO fora; develop and share locality based alternative global system models. NGOs consider that their responsibility lies in educating, organizing and mobilizing people around goals of increasing our influence and authority both among ourselves and with other institutions. NGOs, as a significant global force representing global public interest in its diversity, can make a vital difference and contribute to the transformation of the currently inhuman globalisation into a people-centered globalisation.
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