JUSTICE PLATFORM FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT
U.S. PROGRESSIVE ORGANIZATIONS OUTLINE STANCE ON GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT ISSUES IN SPOTLIGHT FOR 2005
As people of conscience, we are called to stand with and seek justice for those who are vulnerable or living in poverty. This call to justice is nearly universal among religious traditions, sacred texts, and teachings. In an age of unprecedented prosperity, only a lucky few are able to take advantage of the world’s increasing wealth, while nearly half of our people lack life’s basic necessities: adequate nutrition, health care, sanitation, and education. We believe all human beings deserve a life filled with dignity, with freedom from want of basic needs and freedom to pursue their dreams and realize their potential.
In the United Nations’ Millennium Declaration, every nation of the world has affirmed that as a global community, “we will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected. We are committed to making the right to sustainable development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.” As members of diverse communities of conscience, we believe that moral and spiritual principles can provide guidance in the search for practical measures to address the profound ethical issues raised by these growing global inequalities.
2005 is a pivotal year in the long struggle for justice and development in the Global South. We come together as U.S.-based progressive organizations at this hopeful moment to articulate a progressive agenda for action in support of our brothers and sisters in the Global South and throughout the world.
JUSTICE PLATFORM FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
At the September 2000 Millennium Summit, 191 United Nations member governments pledged to meet eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Governments pledged to develop a global partnership for development, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; and ensure environmental sustainability. The MDGs also included benchmarks for progress in the fight against global poverty, including: ensuring universal primary education, reducing by 50% the number of people living on less than $1 a day and the number without access to clean water, reducing maternal mortality by 75% and child mortality by 66%, and reversing the spread of AIDS and malaria. In September of this year, the world will reconvene to assess the progress made toward achieving these goals, but there is already wide acknowledgement that many countries, especially on the African continent, are not on track to achieve them.
The MDGs were designed to catalyze global attention around issues of poverty and development in the Global South. Achieving the MDG targets would represent significant progress toward a world free from want, but will require a serious commitment to changing the global economic system. None of the MDGs can be achieved by continuing to follow the same policies that have been pursued over the last 25 years. We are therefore concerned that the methods, as distinct from the targets, outlined in the MDG documents, represent little change from previous policies. Increased aid funding alone will not be enough to accomplish our goals. While the last of the Millennium Development Goals calls for the world to “develop a global partnership for development,” it frames that partnership in terms of the existing relations between impoverished countries and international trade and financial institutions. Its recommendation on debt, for instance, relies on the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, an IMF/World Bank program, which has failed to achieve its stated goal of providing a “robust exit” from the debt crisis. The existing MDG blueprint puts its faith in IMF/World Bank policies, which prioritize “free trade,” export production, budget cuts, privatization, and corporate rights and privileges. These policies, deeply unpopular in the Global South, have exacerbated poverty and increased the gap between rich and poor in many of the countries where they have been imposed, most dramatically in sub-Saharan Africa. To make progress toward the MDGs will require acceptance of a broader picture of the possibilities in the Global South, including the restoration of self-determination in policy-making.
Nations in the global South continue to suffer under a crushing burden of international debt, much of it illegitimately accumulated by undemocratic and corrupt governments and lenders who served as willing accomplices. Sub-Saharan Africa alone pays $13 billion to wealthy creditors including the IMF and World Bank, each year—roughly the amount the U.N. estimates is needed to effectively combat HIV/AIDS in that region. Meanwhile, dozens of African nations still spend more of their budget on debt service than on health care in the midst of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Movements for debt cancellation have forced the issue onto the global agenda and won small commitments of relief, but now is the time for definitive debt cancellation.
We call on the G7 to agree to a plan for 100% multilateral debt cancellation for all impoverished nations. It will not be sufficient to provide relief of debt service payments. Cancellation should
JUSTICE PLATFORM FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT not be dependent on harmful economic restructuring and it must be implemented immediately, outside the constraints of the IMF/World Bank HIPC Initiative. The cancellation could be financed via the responsible sale of IMF gold, the use of accumulated and future profits at the World Bank (IBRD), drawing down the IMF’s problematic Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), or through voluntary contributions from rich country governments.
If such action were taken by the G7, it would be an important first step towards fulfilling the Jubilee Platform, which envisions a world in which external debt no longer diverts resources from impoverished people or constrains policy choices. Anti-debt campaigns will continue to work for debt cancellation for countries not included in this year’s initiative (such as middle income countries with large impoverished populations and those with odious/illegitimate debts) in the years ahead.
Current international trade policies and export-led growth models have failed to reduce poverty in developing countries. Supporters of these policies like to point out that countries such as China and South Korea reduced poverty while experiencing strong export growth. However, their countries’ economies took off at a time when they were imposing extensive restrictions on imports and foreign investment—the opposite of the policies advocated by today’s trade agreements. By contrast, countries in Latin America, which has gone further than any other region to follow the orthodoxy by lifting “barriers” to trade and investment, have seen poverty rise.
Current trade rules are rigged in favor of the most powerful countries and their businesses, costing the developing world $700 billion a year, according to the U.N. Farmers in impoverished countries have been particularly hard hit. Trade rules limit governments’ power to impose import controls, pitting small producers against large-scale, often heavily-subsidized rich-country agribusiness. World Bank and IMF pressure to slash supports for small farmers has exacerbated the problem. Efforts are underway in the WTO and other trade negotiations that would further limit governments’ powers to ensure that foreign investment, government procurement, and basic services support social goals.
We note that bilateral and regional trade treaties have become more common in recent years. These treaties provoke special concern because wealthy countries can exploit power imbalances to extract concessions from other countries that go beyond commitments or negotiations taking place at the WTO.
Trade policy must not be used to restrict the right to health, and negotiations that promote or expand drug company monopolies must be set aside to promote public health and access to affordable medication. Furthermore, existing and pending bilateral and regional trade agreements should no longer be used to circumvent WTO safeguards allowing for availability of generic medications in impoverished nations.
The G7 countries should renounce efforts to expand the mandate of the WTO to cover new issues such as investment, competition, government procurement, biotechnology or accelerated
JUSTICE PLATFORM FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT tariff liberalization. In addition, basic social services such as water provision and healthcare, should be clearly exempted from the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The G7 countries must put an end to policies such as subsidies that contribute to export dumping and ensure that all countries have the right to achieve food sovereignty and protect indigenous knowledge by developing their own domestic farm and food policies. Most importantly, the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and regional developments banks must grant developing country governments the authority to develop their own national economic strategies and place controls on trade and investment in ways that support sustainable development.
We support efforts to provide more development financing to impoverished countries. But such aid must not be accompanied by conditions on market reform like those currently required by the IMF, the World Bank, and recent trade treaties, or aid risks causing more harm than good. The “structural adjustment” policies that have been imposed on the Global South as conditions of loans and grants over the past 25 years must be abandoned.
We believe that the quantity and quality of aid must be dramatically transformed. For four decades wealthy nations have ignored their obligation to increase foreign aid to the internationally-agreed target of 0.7% of their GNP. When this target was announced in the 1960s, the U.S. gave 0.58% of its GNP. In 2002, the Bush administration announced with much fanfare, the creation of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which would, it was claimed, double U.S. foreign assistance. The U.S. remains the least generous of all donors, giving only 0.13% of its wealth.
Aid is a critical resource which, when complemented by trade justice and debt cancellation, will help build a more equitable and secure world. We demand that the U.S. create a clear timetable for allocating 0.7% of GNP to development assistance.
We are concerned that programs like the U.S.’s Millennium Challenge Account require countries to compete against each other on the basis of U.S.-designed criteria. Such conditions may undermine countries’ democratic structures and accountability mechanisms. The U.S. must immediately untie the strings of its aid machinery that, according to the OECD, funnel 71 cents out of every aid dollar to U.S. goods and services. The other G7 countries should take the same step.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic is the most devastating public health crisis in human history and the greatest contemporary global threat to human security. AIDS has exacerbated poverty and the spread of AIDS is, in turn, further fueled by poverty and gender inequality in a vicious and widening circle.
Rich countries must increase funding to fight global AIDS by paying their fair share of the amount needed—estimated by UNAIDS to be $12 billion in 2005 and $20 billion annually by 2007—to finance AIDS care, treatment and prevention. Full and annualized contributions to the
JUSTICE PLATFORM FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is crucial. The Global Fund should serve as the principal vehicle to support anti-AIDS efforts in the most affected countries. Governments have the right to create and implement their own programs/strategies to combat AIDS, and they should not be limited by market or aid program restrictions on the access to affordable quality generic medicines.
The G7 must commit to achieving universal free HIV treatment access for all in clinical need. As a first step they must ensure that the World Health Organization’s “3X5” initiative to treat 3 million people with HIV/AIDS by 2005 is fully realized. This goal represents approximately half of those who currently require treatment but lack access.
The G7 must also agree to change existing and pending bilateral and regional trade agreements to comply with the Doha Declaration’s agreement on intellectual property rights and ensure that such agreements protect public health and promote access to medicines for all.
The G7 must support comprehensive HIV prevention programs that are driven by scientific evidence, not ideology, and best practices that respect women’s rights. The G7 should support long-term investments in the education and support of current and future health workers in poor countries, including an end to the imposition of macroeconomic policies that restrict funding for recruitment, training and retention of public health workers
JUSTICE PLATFORM FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT In 2000, all 191 members of the United Nations issued a prophetic call: the Millennium Development Goals. Now, in 2005, we must turn this call into action to make good on the promise of a world filled with justice and prosperity for all. This Justice Platform outlines a position on how those goals can best be advanced. For the sake of our shared humanity, we cannot afford to fail. We hope you will sign-on to this platform.
Action Aid International 1112 16th St NW Suite 540 Washington, DC 20036 Tel: 202-835-1240
Africa Action 1634 Eye Street, NW, #810 Washington, DC 20006 Tel: 202-546-7961 www.africaaction.org
American Jewish World Service 2027 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington, DC 20036 Phone (202) 387-2800 Fax (202) 667-9070 www.ajws.org
50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice 3628 12th St NE Washington, DC 20017
Tel: 202-IMF-BANK (202-463-2265)
Global Exchange 2017 Mission Street, #303 San Francisco, CA, 94110 Tel: 415-255-7296
Jubilee USA Network 222 East Capitol St., NE Washington, DC 20003 Tel: 202-783-3566
2401 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
TransAfrica Forum 1426 21st Street, NW Second Floor Washington, DC 20036 Tel: 202.223.1960
www.transafricaforum.org United Methodist Church / General Board of Church and Society 100 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002 Tel: 202-488-5600
Women’s Environment and Development Organization
355 Lexington Ave
NY, NY 10017
For more information, and to sign on to this document visit http://www.fpif.org/form_justice.sign-on.html