[fyeg_gen-l] [ATTAC] NEWSLETTER 183 - CONTRADICTIONS AND COLLAPSES

Natalie Debono ndebono at ba-malta.org
Mon Oct 13 09:50:33 CEST 2003


SAND IN THE WHEELS (n°183)
ATTAC Weekly newsletter - Wednesday 15/10/03
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Content

1. The World Social Forum 2004 in Mumbai (By Laurent Jesover)
The 2004 Social Forum is scheduled for the 16th to the 20th January in
Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. The locality chosen in which the
various events will take place is in itself exceptional.  It can hold
75,000 people, which augurs well for the success of this fourth WSF.

2. A tale of a predictable collapse (By Lars Bohn)
During the WTO negotiations in Cancún, the press was focussed on the
conflict about protectionism in the field of agriculture between the
rich countries and a strong group of middle-income countries headed by
Brazil. Because of this, it came as a surprise to most that the
breakdown was on the so-called Singapore issues, and that the main
actor on the side of the developing countries was an entire different
group of countries. Here is the story.

3. The US's Contradictions on International Trade (by Angel Luis
Rivera Agosto)
Recently we have witnessed the collapse of negotiations for a world
free trade agreement under the aegis of the World Trade Organization
(WTO).  According to the news that is being shared on the internet, it
has been proven that the WTO "is not the organization capable of
guaranteeing either fair trade between nations or human development."

4. Poverty from the perspective of the Latin American woman (By Jorge
Coarasa)
The expectations and norms widely accepted in society about masculine
and feminine conduct, role and characteristics in general lead to a
minor access of women to the economical resources and to
decision-making authority, which in turn leads to an unequal balance
in favour of men in gender relationships. According to the report of
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under the title "The State
of World Population 2002" the number of women living in poverty is
worldwide higher  than that of men, and this disparity has increased
in the last decade




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1- The World Social Forum 2004 in Mumbai
____________________________________________________________

By Laurent Jesover
Translation. Jane Holister. Coorditrad, volunteer translator (*)

The 2004 Social Forum is scheduled for the 16th to the 20th January in
Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. The locality chosen in which the
various events will take place is in itself exceptional.  It can hold
75,000 people, which augurs well for the success of this fourth WSF.

To the north of this 50 km.-long city, about an hour's drive from the
Gate of India, the tourist area in central Bombay, there stretches a
former industrial wasteland converted into a conference centre.  A
wooded avenue 700m. long and 10m. wide runs through it.  To the right
of this avenue 400 stands belonging to organizations from around the
world will be set up; on the left will be the hundreds of seminar
rooms and workshops. Further along the avenue there is an open area, a
square for public events and evening conferences that can bring
together between 25,000 and 30,000 people.

The square is surrounded by six halls with a capacity for holding
thousands of people each (one seats 10,000, four seat 5,000, and
another seats 3,000). This is where the conferences and panels will
take place in the morning, the speeches at midday, one conference and
four seminars (of the 200 seminars to be held in various locations) in
the afternoon, as well as a variety of evening assemblies.  There may
also be the retransmission of the evening public events in a location
nearby which would offer the possibility of simultaneous
interpretation. The sixth hall is entirely dedicated to cultural
events: theatre, dance, music, etc. These types of events will be a
significant part of the WSF, made possible by the presence of an
on-site theatre and of ten stages to be found around the site, some of
which have a capacity for holding several thousand people. On top of
this, cultural events are to take place during the daytime and every
night after the public event.

It is hot in Mumbai in January.  No need to read the weather report -
you can count on sunshine and blue sky every day, as it always has
been since . . . since . . . well, for a long, long time.  However the
trees will provide shade and dozens of stands will be there for food
and drink. All you could want! There will be many Brazilians (a
delegation of around 1,000 people is possible) offering cachaça and
caperina, bringing back convivial memories.

The programme itself is structurally very open and interesting. Since
our strength lies in our diversity and this diversity leads to so many
possible alternatives, concrete ideas, and actions, the programme
gives a free hand to 'self-organized' events. This self-organization
is defined according to two criteria: the first is the possibility of
making suggestions; the second is that of organizing with other events
around a central theme and within the same space. We have already had
experience of these methods where workshops are concerned, and again
for seminars, but this will also be the case this time for the
conferences, the panels and the 'testimony' speeches.

The programme preparation group for the Indian organization committee
and the Asian assembly, along with the international secretariat for
the WSF, will be organizing one conference and two panels (out of
four) in the morning, two speeches (out of four) in the afternoon,
will leave the afternoon conference free, but will organize the public
event of the evening. This allows for the creation of programmes for a
day dedicated to themes of debate, reflection, and action judged to be
of critical importance: wars, exclusion, work, sexual persuasion,
discrimination, poverty, the dominant economic system, the environment
and the biosphere etc., thus developing throughout the day, with
actors who are directly involved, dynamics that will allow for the
emergence of not only new themes and challenges, but also of varying
points of view and perspectives.

The guests of the various WSF organization committees at the events to
take place will be numerous.  They will include researchers, experts
and those acting directly within the fields covered, with an equal
balance between men and women.  Among the most renowned of the dozens
of guests invited, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky, and Nelson Mandela
have already accepted our invitation,

The youth camp, with its capacity of 25,000 people, will have its own
dynamic of debates and discussion. As at the previous WSF's, the camp
will not only be a place to sleep but an area of debate, of
coordination and of conviviality. Self-run, it will allow for those
who relate more to these surroundings and wish to fully participate
within them the possibility of laying the foundation then and there
for a new world, one of political and cultural diversity.

We will celebrate the end of our stay with a march starting out in the
centre of town and ending up on the beach where various fishermen's
organizations are likely to be waiting for us.

India is not far, and the WSF seems to be coming up very quickly as we
prepare the mid-November European Social Forum in Paris. Paris-Mumbai
is an eight-hour flight, averaging at a price of 600 euros for a
return trip - hardly peanuts! But it is not an impossible venture,
particularly in light of the fact that India's recent colonial past
and its linguistic realities (over 15 languages, each linguistic
minority representing around 15 million people) have imposed English
as the sole language of communication between the diverse elements of
the population. An English sometimes a little broken, sometimes with
its own particularities, not always easy to understand, but a base
that allows for normal relations with the people encountered, in the
street or elsewhere.

In addition to the cost of the plane ticket, there is an obligatory
50-euro visa to be considered. As for sleeping arrangements, hotels
are to be found nearby. Rooms can be booked from today onwards through
the WSF site - calculate around 20 US dollars / 18 euros per night per
person. A campsite is also to be installed for around ten thousand
people, for sleeping purposes only, that will cost less than 5 euros
for the duration of the forum. Transport will be provided by special
bus connections from town to allow access to the conference site from
hotels; free shuttle services will connect the two nearest train
stations to the WSF entry. The town is also overflowing with taxis and
rickshaws (little yellow three-wheeled Vespas with a wide back seat)
that cost very little and make it easy to get around.

As for the rest, my basis for the calculation of prices is that of a
cup of coffee (the relaxed morning coffee at a bar or a quiet terrace
. . .) or tea, which is 3 rupees, or 7 centimes of a euro. From there
we can work out the price of food, the reputation of which for taste
and variety is already legendary. In case of thirst a bottle of water
costs 28 centimes a litre, beer around the same. To sum up, you will
die neither of hunger nor of thirst.

The WSF is self-financed. It has refused funds from certain
foundations - for political reasons, it cannot allow itself to use
public funding from any town, state or country. Its budget relies
entirely, therefore, on help from organizations, NGO's, on us, on the
individual inscriptions and possible personal donations. At the last
Asian preparation assembly (Chennai, September 2003) it was decided to
change the pricing listed on the website: it will now cost 200 euros
for the inscription of an organization and its first delegate, and 50
euros for those to follow, as for those who sign up individually. An
appeal will soon be published in various newspapers around Europe for
those who cannot physically attend to contribute financially, in this
way involving themselves in the success of the event.

Success is also guaranteed by the presence of eleven official
languages: four Asian languages - Bahasa, Korean, Japanese and Thai;
four Indian languages - Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and ****; three European
languages - English, Spanish and French. To this we will add an
international first (beyond that of the number of participants), as
some communities - French and Indian for example, and probably
Japanese, are planning a system for translation that will not only
allow participants to follow debates on the spot in their own
language, but will enable them to record them in all the languages
present and to play them directly on Internet, again in all the
languages (in France contact the group AP033).  We would like to see
this 'nomad' system become a world standard as a result of our
international conferences, forums and debates.

Volunteers from all five continents will ensure simultaneous
translation. This in itself is more than symbolic - it demonstrates a
real political interest, for the issue is not simply one of offering a
free service but rather of organizing the full participation of
interpreters and translators committed to the construction of
dialogues and exchanges that go beyond this single event. Various
groups are now organizing themselves in India, in Japan, in Korea, in
Thailand, in Indonesia, in Malaysia, and of course in countries of
Europe, Africa and the Americas.

As the Indian Organization Committee says:
Another world is possible!  Let's build it!

Laurent Jesover
Contact: jesover at ras.eu.org

For more information:

WSF India Office
Bhupesh Gupta Bhawan, 3rd Floor
Leningrad Chowk
85 Sayani Road
Prabhadevi
Mumbai 400 025


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2- A tale of a predictable collapse
____________________________________________________________

By Lars Bohn, ATTAC Denmark

The WTO summit in Cancún, Sunday September 14, 4 pm, local time. The
negotiations have just broken down. In the pressroom there is
excitement. The press is surprised the breakdown did not happened in
the highlighted agriculture negotiations between the EU and the G20+
group headed by Brazil. (G20+, because they were 20 at the start, but
grew during the meeting). Instead it was the almost overlooked
negotiations about an international investment deal and other issues
that scuttled the conference.

The first press meting after the breakdown was held in the main hall
by the G20+. They explained the collapse wasn't their fault. The
negotiations hadn't been serious all over, but the EU and the G20+,
they off course had been serious.

Then came the US press meeting. Robert Zoellick, the chief negotiator,
would not discuss who was to blame, but it was the developing
countries fault. They did not want to negotiate seriously and thought
they could free wheel. Now, they would learn otherwise. The hall was
packed with press.

So it was when Pascal Lamy and Franz Fissler gave the view of the EU
at their press meeting afterwards. Though Lamy didn't want to discuss
whose fault it was either, his message was also clear: the EU had gone
far, but the developing countries did not want to negotiate. Now there
had to be new rules made in order to decrease the possibilities of
complaint from "the small sectors of the world economy, that did not
benefit from increased liberalisation".

Those that attended the press conference of the "guilty" countries
could easily get the impression that Lamy was right, when he said they
only represented a small sector of the world economy. The interest was
remarkably smaller than at the big boys meetings. The meeting was held
in a place with room for about ¼ of what was possible at the other
meetings. The room was full but not overcrowded.

Different interests among the developing countries

This was symptomatic of the interest of the press during the summit.
Their focus was on the conflict between the EU on the one side and the
strong group of developing countries in the G20+ group on the other.
The conflict was on the well-known problem, that the protectionism of
the EU is devastating for the export possibilities of the developing
countries.

The counterpart of the EU in these negotiations was impressive! The
G20+ countries consists, besides of Brazil, the worlds 9th biggest
economy, of the two most populated countries in the world, India and
China, and other big countries like Mexico, Pakistan and South Africa.
And during the summit, the biggest Muslim nation on the globe,
Indonesia, joined the group. Together, the countries comprise more
than half the population of the globe and app. 2/3 of those employed
in agriculture. For comparison, less than 1/5 of the world population
lives in the rich countries.

On the sideline were the least developed countries, which were not in
the G20+, and the US, which to some extent hid behind the EU. From the
beginning, the other developing countries were not as well organised
as the G20+, which might explain why their problems did not get much
attention in the press. Unfortunately part of the press took the G20+
to represent the point of view of all developing countries, despite
the fact, that these countries fundamentally has other problems and
interests than the G20+ precisely on agriculture.

The leader of ACP/AU/LDC delegation, Mauritius minister of trade, Mr.
Joya Krishna Cuttaree (centre), explains why the group rejected the EU
proposal. Photo: Lars Bohn

But in fact, the division is not so much between countries as between
types of agriculture. The bigger farms, which take part in economy the
same way as other private companies, have other interests than the
type of smaller farms, that cant produce very efficiently, but can
feed a family if they are not exposed to too much competition from the
more efficient farmers. They need protectionism in order to survive -
just like many of the farmers of the European Union, by the way.

An example from Indonesia might illustrate the problem. Most of the
soy of the big island nation was until recently supplied by small
farmers. But according the minister of trade of Indonesia, Rini M.
Sumarno, the soy bean production of Indonesia has decreased from app.
1,7 million tons to app. 300.000 tons p.a. and app. 1 million small
peasants are now unemployed due to trade liberalisation. But unlike
the unemployed of the rich countries, the unemployed cannot rely on
social welfare to prevent them from sinking into poverty in the slums
of the big cities.

Thus, Indonesia as a nation might gain by increased multilateral
liberalisation on agriculture as a nation, but lots of Indonesian
might not. And of course, in the countries where the majority live by
such small farms, the effect will be disasterous. Therefore, if the
least developed countries are forced to liberalise their agricultural
sectors, it is feared that whole populations are forced into a
life-threatening poverty.

New alliance in Cancún

At the start of the Cancún summit, the least developed countries were
organised in different groupings. One group composed of 33 countries
with Indonesia and the Philippines in front, wanted to protect the
interests of small farmers, but the group was to my knowledge not
engaged in negotiations on the issue on a group basis.

But on Friday September 11, something happened. Three different groups
of developing countries decided to form an alliance that consisted of
more than 80 of the globes poorest countries. The three groups were
the so-called ACP countries from Africa, the Caribbean, and the
Pacific, the African Union (AU) and the least developed countries
(LDCs).

Together, the ACP/AU/LDC are the poorest countries in the world. The
group also has a few middle income countries from Africa like Egypt
and South Africa, and some small states from the Carribean and the
Pasific. More than a billion people in these countries live from
agriculture. That is more than the population of the USA, the EU and
Japan together - and this is what Pascal Lamy see as "small sectors of
the world economy".

At the beginning it was unclear what this group did agree upon. Their
first press conference left more confusion than clarity. But after the
press conference, I interviewed the press secretary of the group, Mr.
Hegel Goutier from Haiti. He said that that the group totally rejected
to negotiate the Singapore issues (named like that because they were
put forward at a summit there for the first time) - a proposal of
rules on investments, procurements, competition and trade
facilitating.

Also, he did not see any contradiction between the G20+ and the new
group. In his opinion, an often-mentioned argument that the proposal
of the G20+ group on agriculture - unlike the proposal of the EU  -
was against the interest of the least developed countries, he found "
surrealistic". The new group was totally on line with the G20+, even
though they have other needs. The poor countries do not need charity,
but a fair chance, he said.

No consensus

The day after, it was clear that the other big conflict of the Cancún
negotiations was between the EU on the one side and the new ACP/AU/LDC
group on the other. The EU wanted to launch negotiations that were
supposed to lead to a deal on the Singapore issues before the
"Doha-development round" was ended.

But the ACP-etc. countries did not come to Cancún in order to
negotiate an investment deal. Already in Doha, it was clear that the
developing countries were tremendously sceptical to the EU proposal.
Therefore, - on the initiative of India - they had made a clause in
the Doha agreement, that negotiations on the Singapore issues could
only be launched if there was an explicit consensus on launching.

In Cancún, they maintained, that the Doha agreement was named a
development round, not a trade-round, because it has been agreed that
it was time to do something to create development. In their opinion,
the Singapore issues did not meet this need in any way. Thus, they did
not wish to launch negotiations. In other words, there was no
consensus - neither implicit, nor explicit. The ACP-etc. concluded
that it would be natural to leave the issue and start talks on other
subjects in stead.

Sunday morning, on behalf of the EU Pascal Lamy offered, to drop the
request to launch negotiations on two of the Singapore issues, namely
investments and competitions. The EU still demanded to launch
negotiations on procurements and trade facilitation.

The negotiators of the ACP-etc group went back to the delegations of
the countries. But they did not want to give in to the cut-down
version of the EU proposal. They were not ready to launch, was the
message.

A brave desicion

When the ACP-etc. negotiators went back to the table with that
message, the facilitator of the WTO concluded, that there was no
ground to continue. The collapse was a fact.

The decision made by the ACP delegations was courageous. Zoellicks
announcement after the collapse underlines that with remarkable
clarity. If you say no to the big boys, you will pay.

But it was also a necessary decision. Even though the poor countries
definitely need to have their possibilities to partake in the world
economy improved, they were about to be bullied to accept a deal, that
would not be to their advantage.

The deal might increase their integration in the world economy, but
instead of creating growth and development to the benefit of the
poorest, this kind of integration would open the countries for
economic interests outside their control. A person close to the
negotiators, who did not want his name out, illustrated that, when he
described the offer of EU this way: We got the choice between loosing
with dignity and loosing without. We chose the first option.

It wasn't just the only possible decision for the developing
countries - it was also the best for ordinary people in the developed
world. Truly, the worst was taken out Sunday morning - the proposal on
investments, which would have granted power and freedom to
international business at the expense of governments and democracy in
the developed world. But if some of the Singapore issues were
launched, one must fear that the road for the others would be open.
This is now prevented for the time being, because the developing world
this year was better organised than previous years, and because the
worlds poorest countries had the courage to say no, despite the
consequences in the form of retaliation and isolation, this might
have.
We ought to thank them for that.

Lars Bohn was at Cancún as a reporter for the Danish magazine Salt


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3- The US's Contradictions on International Trade
____________________________________________________________

By Angel Luis Rivera Agosto
Translation.. Coorditrad, volunteer translator (*)

Recently we have witnessed the collapse of negotiations for a world
free trade agreement under the aegis of the World Trade Organization
(WTO).  According to the news that is being shared on the internet, it
has been proven that the WTO "is not the organization capable of
guaranteeing either fair trade between nations or human development."
The participants of the gathering that took place in a hotel in the
municipality of Benito Juarez pointed out that there is currently a
growing need for civil society to work with the governments of each
country in order to work on the politics that regulate free trade.

What has been noteworthy is the reaction of two important characters
in the project of world free trade.  These people are Robert Zoellick,
the United States government's ambassador and representative in these
fights, and Charles "Chuck" Grassley, Republican Senator from the
state of Iowa and president of the powerful U.S. Congressional Finance
Committee.  Both men have begun complaining about the "rhetoric" of
developing countries, the "loss" of a great opportunity to reactivate
the world economy, and even the veiled threats toward those countries
which were not in "symphony" with the United States in these
negotiations.  The "rhetoric" argument is surprising, given it comes
from two people deeply entrenched in U.S. politics.  On careful
examination of these two men's paths, it is clear that those who wield
rhetorical positions, if not contradictory ones, are actually these
two men.

Let's begin with Zoellick.  Although he really advocates for the
development of free trade and even has said that the United States is
willing to eliminate tariff barriers, he is certainly doing it in a
very astutely, avoiding mention of the effect of the Farm Security and
Rural Investment Act of 2002, submitted by his boss, President Bush,
and approved by the US Congress.  This law contains a budget of $20
billion annually in subsidies for North American agriculture.
Furthermore, this new legislation introduces elements like linking
subsidies and agricultural production, which promotes an increase in
the offer of agricultural products and prepares them to inundate
international markets, especially in the Third World.

This legislation also puts the weight of the agricultural supports on
the tax-payers and not on the market, and therefore the agribusiness
exporters like Cargill and Archer Daniels will and do have access to
these products at costs far below the cost of production.  In other
words, not only do U.S. farmers benefit, but also the intermediaries
who sell to the Third World.  It is not in vain that Kevin Watkins, a
researcher from Oxfam International, specifically points out Robert
Zoellick as a "hypocrite" in his article "Trade Hypocrisy: The Problem
with Robert Zoellick."

When Zoellick was confronted on the contradictions of the Republican
policies related to the agricultural sector, he limited his response
to saying, "the United States is committed to eliminating subsidies
and to cutting tariffs if and only if others do the same, and leaving
it clear that the benefits will not be eliminated from the Agriculture
Law" in question.

In the case of "Chuck" Grassley turns out to also be quite
picturesque.  What Grassley says is good for the world is not
convenient for his own state.  A study recently prepared by a
Washington DC lobbying group, the Environmental Working Group, shows
that most of the payments to farmer support programs in the United
States go precisely to the farmers of the state of Iowa, the state
from which Senator Grassley is a Congressman.  Of the $114 billion
that the federal government has invested from 1995 to 2002 to protect
its farmers, Iowa's farmers receive a trifle $10.2 billion.  According
to this organization, Iowa receives more money that any other state in
the North American nation in direct payments to its farmers.  In fact,
in terms of agricultural subsidies - a hot topic in the Cancun
negotiations that, among other things, led to the collapse of the
negotiations - the same study details how, in recent years, the upper
ten percent of the benefited farmers in that state received $7.8
billion, which represents 65 percent of all the subsidies and a 10
percent increase of the same since 1995.

The contradictions of these two representatives of "free trade, U.S.
style" are evident.  Nonetheless, we shouldn't be fooled about the
nature of the discussions that destabilized the WTO.  This is not
merely the business of freeing trade in exchange for the elimination
of trade barriers.  If we limit ourselves to that, then we are buying
the process of free trade at a very low cost.

The rhetoric of the United States turns out to be trickier than what
it seems.  Even if we assumed that US diplomacy advocated for the
cancellation of trade barriers, there are still a series of food
sanitation barriers, prohibitions on seasonal trade, and other
technical barriers like those imposed on articles processed to the
detriment of the textile trade, which characterizes most of the trade
in Latin America and the Caribbean.  All this, without counting all of
the legal tricks which the US government uses to create a de facto
trade barrier independent of any free trade agreement.

In regards to this last point, it is worth pointing out that between
1995 and 2001 the US litigated 255 anti-dumping cases, responding to
US industry's protests about "unfair competition."  Almost two thirds
of all the cases have had directly to do with exporters from
developing countries.  These cases imply costs that the Third World
cannot take on.

We can conclude that the one overwhelming us with "rhetoric" in the
free trade negotiations is actually the United States.  Now we must be
ready and alert, since the Colossal of the North is moving its battle
front toward bilateral and regional agreements, exactly as Zoellick
has indicated.  In the context of the FTAA, the language of
eliminating subsidies is much weaker than what has been discussed in
the WTO and more favorable to the United States.  Under the FTAA,
there is no contemplation of prohibiting either export credits or
investment insurance in agriculture, so the the U.S. strategy's scheme
of playing on both sides is much coarser than in the WTO.

It is clear that the rhetoric of the North will continue on its way,
but now along bilateral and regional paths.

Information service "Alai-amlatina"
Agencia Latinoamericana de Informacion (Latin American Information
Agency) - ALAIinfo at alainet.org
URL:http://alainet.org


______________________________

4- Poverty from the perspective of the Latin American woman
____________________________________________________________

By Jorge Coarasa. Mexican economist
Translation. Helga Heidrich. Coorditrad, volunteer translator (*)

The expectations and norms widely accepted in society about masculine
and feminine conduct, role and characteristics in general lead to a
minor access of women to the economical resources and to
decision-making authority, which in turn leads to an unequal balance
in favour of men in gender relationships. According to the report of
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under the title "The State
of World Population 2002" the number of women living in poverty is
worldwide higher  than that of men, and this disparity has increased
in the last decade, besides the further increase of disparity
regarding health and education amongst the poor.

In Latin America the situation isn't much different, but there are
some peculiarities worth to be analysed. On past August 25, the UN
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean presented its
annual report about the Social Panorama of the region, dedicating in
this edition a chapter to the relationship between Poverty and Gender.
The main revelation of this study is that Latin American women,
contrary to what happens in the rest of the developing world, have a
higher education level that men, but, in the same measure as in the
rest of the world, they are poorer.

According to this document, Latin American women have reached higher
educational levels than men, and women in the workforce average have
more years of education. Nonetheless they suffer more from severe
unemployment, from wage discrimination and from restricted working
hours than men. During the 1900s, the index of women's participation
in the workforce rose more quickly than men's. But while male
unemployment rates rose by 2.9 percentage points from  1990 to 1999,
female rates raised by 6.1%. This leads to the fact that more women
than men live in poverty and that the female household heads have less
monetary income than men, both in poor and in higher income
households. Besides this, single parent households, mostly headed by
women, also suffer from additional disadvantages associated with the
lack  of recognition to unremunerated domestic work, which is socially
ignored.

In households where women count on their own income, their
contribution stands for the basis of the familiar sustenance, and
according to the analysis, poverty would raise by 10 points in at
least 8 countries of the region if it were not for female monetary
contributions. In contrast to this fact the percentage of incomeless
women is twice as high in urban areas and three times as high in rural
areas compared to men in the same situation.

Furthermore, the report points out that in the majority of Latin
American  countries a "slow and uneven evolution of female
participation in both elected and political decision-making posts" can
be observed. Facing this situation, it gets clear that governments
have to take measures of positive action in order to grant  women the
exertion of their rights, their access to productive resources and to
eliminate every form of discrimination in the world of labour and
politics as an indispensable condition to overcome poverty. On the
other hand, policies against poverty should foster the harmonisation
between household and reproductive tasks with men  and women's labour
lives, including childcare and parent leave in favour of masculine
participation in familiar life.

Unfortunately, there are only few regional programmes that include
this kind of focus on their projects. To give an example, the
grandiloquent Plan Puebla - Panama, conceived as the "hinge" of
development in the south-southeast of Mexico and of the countries of
the  Central American isthmus, doesn't include any element to provide
gender equity and for its formulation didn't try any kind of approach
to women representing organizations. It is worth mentioning that the
committee members indicated by each country to participate in the
Plan's Executive Commission are all male.

Jorge Coarasa. Mexican economist, Agencia de Información Solidaria
(Agency for Solidary Information)
jorgecoarasa at hotmail.com


______________________________

(*) coorditrad at attac.org is the email address of an international
group of volunteers who coordinate 700 translators worldwide. You can
be part of this group and share your language expertise by helping us
publish articles and documents. Just contact them for further details.








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This weekly newsletter was put together by the « Sand in the Wheels »
team of volunteers. <newsletter at attac.org> <http://attac.org/indexen>

Disclaimer. The articles published are not representing the opinion of any
ATTAC in the world. Otherwise they are signed by a national ATTAC. They can
be written by individuals, groups or organizations and represent their
opinions. It is about building, together, another possible world and to get
back our future, by enriching ourselves with expertises and ideas.





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