Choike Newsletter - 20 June 2008

A Portal on Southern Civil Societies - Fri Jun 20 2008


-> 1. Events
-> 2. In-depth reports
-> 3. Updates
-> 4. Latest additions: Southern NGOs and other resources
-> 5. News
-> 6. Campaigns
-> 7. IFIs Latin American Monitor


->Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: 2-4 September 2008,
Accra, Ghana
In September 2008, ministers from over 100 countries, heads of bilateral
and multilateral development agencies, donor organisations, and civil
society organisations from around the world will gather in Accra for the
Third High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (2-4 September).

->High-Level Conference on World Food Security – Rome, 3-5 June 2008
The UN Food and Agriculture Orgnization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome,
Italy, will host the High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the
Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy from 3 to 5 June 2008.

-> Events

The mineral extraction industry is extremely economically profitable but
also brings with it problems that are both extensive and profound.

All in-depth reports

The Paris Declaration and aid effectiveness
The Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness will be held this
September in Accra. But is aid effectiveness a mirage? Yash Tandon
dissects the Paris Declaration in relation to aid effectiveness and
reaches the conclusion that "under the pretext of making aid more
effective, the aid effectiveness project is a form of collective
colonialism by Northern donors of those Southern countries that, through
weakness, vulnerability or psychological dependency, allow themselves to
be subjected to it at the Accra conference in September." But all is not
lost and he also offers a way out.
Source: Pambazuka
More information in "Financing for Development":

Santa Marta statement
In the process towards Accra Caribbean and Latin American feminist
networks met to discuss the implementation of the Paris Declaration and
aid effectiveness. The regional development model is characterized by a
subordinate insertion in the context of globalization, which implies an
increase in inequality based on the exploitation of commodities, natural
resources and labour force, with high levels of concentration of wealth;
leaving populations, social groups and territories in extreme poverty
without access to the resources of international cooperation.
Source: Caribbean an Latin American Networks

United Nations Gender Equality Architecture, member states and women
In response to the request of Member States, the United Nations General
Assembly convened informal consultations on gender to hear the opinion
of state governments on Gender Equality Architecture within the United
The main gaps noted by the Member States were: the lack of resources,
responsibility, power, coherence and leadership.

Food crisis, climate change and the importance of sustainable agriculture
The current global crisis of high food prices, and of shortages in some
countries, has given prominence once again to food security concerns. In
recent years there was complacency about food security and national
self-sufficiency, as it was thought that cheaper imports would be always
or usually available, and local food production was not so necessary as
previously thought. Many developing countries reduced food production,
many of them under advice of the international financial institutions.
Source: Third World Network

Raw deal: The EU's unfair trade agreements with Mexico and South Africa
The EU-Mexico trade agreement has had little effect on agriculture in
comparison to the huge upheaval caused by NAFTA. The principal impacts
have been in the other sectors of the economy - industrial goods and
services. As with the EU’s trade pact with South Africa, the EU-Mexico
free trade agreement cuts Mexican tariffs well beyond the country’s WTO
Source: World Development Movement
More information in "Bilateral trade agreements":

US Supreme Court: Guantánamo detainees have constitutional right to
Habeas Corpus
In one of the most important human rights cases of the decade, the
Supreme Court of the United States held, in a 5-4 decision, that the men
imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay have the constitutional right to habeas
corpus. One of the oldest and most basic legal protections, habeas
corpus affords the incarcerated the right to stand before a judge and
confront the charges presented against him or her. The Center for
Constitutional Rights has been sending habeas counsel to represent the
prisoners at the base since winning the first Guantánamo case, Rasul v.
Bush, in 2004.
Source: Center for Constitutional Rights
More information in "The war on terror: a war on human rights":

An African reflection on an innovative ban of cluster munitions
On 30 May 2008, 111 governments participating in the Dublin Diplomatic
Conference formally adopted the text of a new Convention on Cluster
Munitions. The Convention is the culmination of what has become known as
the Oslo Process. Similar to the process that resulted in the 1997
Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, the Oslo Process involved
like-minded states in co-operation with global civil society negotiating
a new disarmament treaty outside of the United Nations’ usual structures
and processes.
Source: AfricaFiles
More information in "The landmine problem":

Because I am a girl: state of the world's girls 2008
One in five countries has used girls as child soldiers, and 100,000 are
currently fighting in conflicts around the world. And in many conflicts
girls can find themselves forced from their homes, caring for younger
brothers or sisters or at risk from rape, beatings and abduction. These
shocking revelations are included in Plan UK’s annual Because I Am Girl
report launched on Thursday May 15, which focuses this year on girls in
war and other forms of conflict.
Source: Plan UK
More information in "Children's rights":

Colombia: Indigenous self defense in times of war
The Cordillera Central is one of the prime regions torn by the war
between the Colombian military and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia). The rural population, which is mostly lower class and of
indigenous decent, and consequently the sector of the Colombian populous
most dramatically hit by the armed confrontations, defends itself
through the "Indigenous War."
Source: Americas Program
More information in "Indigenous peoples and globalization":

Dangers and opportunities posed by large search engines
Accordint to the Graz University of Technology research, Google as
search engine is dominating and that on its own is dangerous, "but could
possibly be accepted as 'there is no real wayout', although this is not
true, either. However, in conjunction with the fact that Google is
operating many other services, and probably silently cooperating with
still further players, this is unacceptable".
Source: Graz University of Technology
More information in "E-strategies":

Peace with sexual violence is still war
Terrible, unspeakable things have been done to the women of DR Congo.
The war being waged against women may well be the most savage display of
misogyny ever orchestrated in a conflict zone,It isn’t enough to stop
the shooting when the raping continues apace. The only worthwhile
armistice restores peace for the entire population, male and female.
There can be no satisfaction in claiming a truce or a peace treaty which
is soaked in the carnage of the women of the land.
Source: Pamabazuka News

Spotlight on sexual violence in conflict situations
In conflict and post-conflict situations members of local populations,
particularly girls and women, are at increased risk of sexual violence
perpetrated not only by combatants, but also by aid workers and United
Nations peacekeepers. There is no question that rape, sexual slavery,
torture, enforced pregnancy, and forced labor exacted upon women and
girls have profound physical and psychological repercussions.
Source: AWID

Global civil society statement on World Bank climate investment funds
"UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called on all nations to 'come
together in a global, collective, inclusive and low-carbon approach to
growth and development'. Public money could and should have a vital and
central role to play in encouraging and supporting a global shift to low
carbon technologies" says a new statement released by several civil
society organizations around the world opposing the World Bank’s
initiative to establish Climate Investment Funds (CIFs).
Source: BanglaPraxis
More information in "Climate change":

Public money, private gain: GoldCorp in the Americas
The nexus of mining companies, the mainstream media, the Canadian
government, International Finance Institutions and bought off NGOs work
hard to keep the reality of large-scale, open pit mines out of picture,
keep community resistance marginalized, and no matter what, to keep
talking about 'development'. A new report by Rights Action brings
together hard facts and community perspectives.
Source: Rights Action
More information in "Mining":

Press Freedom World Review, November 2007 - June 2008
Gangs and corrupt officials in Latin America. Tyrants in the Middle East
and Asia. Wars in Africa. Death threats and court cases in Europe and
Central Asia. These are the most serious threats to free expression,
says the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) in its half-year press
freedom review. The report is a grim picture of the attacks,
imprisonment and violence faced by journalists in many countries.
Source: World Association of Newspapers
More information in "The right to communicate":

FAO urges reconsidering on biofuel production
A study prepared for the High Level Conference on World Food Security,
3-5 June, 2008 in Rome by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
says that the liquid biofuel production has indeed contributed and is in
the near future likely to continue to weaken the access to adequate food
or to the resources by which vulnerable people can feed themselves, in
at least three ways.
Source: FAO
More information in "Agrofuels":

The IMF's regressive secret - Tax policy advice and its distributional
Taxation may not sound exciting, but it is central to the development of
a nation. For this reason, the failure of numerous developing countries
to collect taxes efficiently is a serious problem, as it renders them
unable to provide basic social services. Hence, over the past three
decades, the IMF has been heavily involved in tax reforms in developing
countries, in the form of both advice and conditions linked to the
Fund's loans. The tax package put forward by the IMF places great
emphasis on the value added tax (VAT), a consumption tax levied at each
stage of production and sale, and pushes countries to have few rates and
few exemptions.
Source: Bretton Woods Project
More information in "International Monetary Fund - IMF":

4. LATEST ADDITIONS: Southern NGOs and other resources

Center for Gender and Development Studies
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus (Barbados).

Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) works to defend free speech,
privacy, innovation, and consumer rights. Their work includes providing
legal support for individuals whose rights have been violated by the US
government or corporations, campaigning, advising policymakers and
information spreading.

Girl Child Network
GCN is a community based, activist, developmental organisation that
seeks to promote the rights and empowerment of the girl child in the
home, school and community in Zimbabwe.

Global Afro Latino & Caribbean Initiative - GALCI
It is the objective and mission of GALCI to provide a public forum to
educate, research, develop thematic programs on Afro Latino and
Caribbean issues highlighting the conditions of these communities.

Global Rights
It is a human rights advocacy group that partners with local activists
to challenge injustice and amplify new voices within the global
discourse. They work to promote racial and gender equality and help
people and communities feel empowered to change their societies.

International Women's Rights Action Watch - Asia Pacific - IWRAW
They promote the domestic implementation of international human rights
standards by building the capacity of women and human rights advocates
to claim and realise women's human rights.

NGO Forum on ADB
An Asian-led network of non-government and community-based organizations
that support each other to amplify their positions on Asian Development
Bank's policies, programs, and projects affecting life forms, resources,
constituents - the local communities.

Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO)
NNNGO is the first generic membership body for civil society
organizations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues
of poverty and other developmental issues.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
The work of the Centre is conducted through documentation and
investigation of human rights violations, provision of legal aid and
counseling for both individuals and groups, and preparation of research
articles relevant to such issues as the human rights situation and the
rule of law. The Centre also provides comments on Palestinian Draft Laws
and urges the adoption of legislation that incorporates international
human rights standards and basic democratic principles.

-> NGO directory

Human Rights

->Human rights situation in Palestinian territories 'remains grave'
The United Nations human rights chief said today that the situation in
the occupied Palestinian territories “remains grave,” with Israel, the
Palestinian Authority and Hamas all breaching international law.
Source: UN News Centre

Human Rights - Sexual diversity

->OAS adopts resolution to protect sexual rights
The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) has
unanimously adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations
based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Source: Human Rights Watch

Social Development

->La Via Campesina International Conference on Peasant's Rights
More than 50 farmers leaders, men and women from around the world will
join hundreds of Indonesian farmers to debate and promote the right of
small producers to farm, to eat and to feed their communities. Jakarta,
Indonesia, from June 19 to 25, 2008.
Source: La Via Campesina

->Weak declaration after lost fight on substance at Food Summit
The Food Security Summit held at the Food and Agriculture Organisation
ended with a Declaration after several days of wrangling over some
issues, that led to a bland document that said little or left out the
critical issues debated at the plenary and roundtables of the meeting.
Source: Third World Network

->Civil society groups demand respect for small-scale farmers
The Summit on soaring food prices, convened by the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO), concluded with the adoption by
acclamation of a declaration calling on the international community to
increase assistance for developing countries, in particular the least
developed countries and those that are most negatively affected by high
food prices.
Source: NGLS

Trade and Regional Integration

->Civil society declaration of the Terra Preta forum
Small farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples, pastoralists and
Non-governmental Organisations have been holding their own Civil Society
Forum “Terra Preta” on the Food Crisis, Climate Change, Agrofuels and
Food Sovereignty. Here is their declaration at the end of the official
Source: Via Campesina


->Africa: new environmental Atlas shows changing environment
The Atlas features more than 300 satellite images, 300 ground
photographs and 150 maps, along with informative graphs and charts that
give a vivid visual portrayal of Africa and its changing environment.
Source: UNEP

->GM foods the problem, not the solution
The food crisis has prompted some looks towards genetically modified
food production as a solution. That in turn has led to stronger warnings
over the consequences of such food for health and the environment.
Source: IPS

Sustainable Development

->South presses for funds and technology at climate talks
Developing countries are now pushing the rich nations to come up with
funds and technology under a democratic structure in order to break the
impasse in global talks to tackle the crisis of climate change.
Source: Third World Network


->UN CBD fails to protect forests from genetically engineered trees
Under heavy pressure from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, New Zealand and
Australia, the Convention on Biological Diversity's 9th Conference of
the Parties failed to pass a moratorium on the release of genetically
engineered trees into the environment.
Source: Global Justice Ecology Project

->Green standards proposed for biofuel production
The adoption of international standards for the sustainable production
of biofuels emerged as a controversial approach at the recent United
Nations conference on biodiversity here.
Source: IPS

Economy and Financial Affairs

->World Bank watchdog thrashes 'Doing Business' Index
The World Bank's flagship effort to promote business-led economic growth
is ideologically stilted and of little practical use, says the bank's
Internal Evaluation Group (IEG).
Source: IPS

->UN consultation emphasises unfinished debt agenda
Civil Society Organizations from all continents were in New York on 29
and 30 May to attend a consultation on debt organised by UNDP. CSOs
emphasised that debt continues to be a very pressing issue for human
development and its resolution a vital precondition for the achievement
of social justice.
Source: Eurodad and Latindadd

->IMF governance in the eye of the internal storm
The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), an internal assessment body, released a report on the
governance of the financial institution, pointing some criticism in
terms of representativeness and accountability.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor


->Deputy Secretary-General notes need to improve U.N. system-wide
coherence on gender issues
The Deputy Secretary-General says that gender equality and women’s
empowerment are core elements of fostering peace, achieving development,
protecting the environment, promoting human rights and reaching so many
of the UN’s goals.
Source: U,N,

->Woman murdered by relatives to "mantain family honor"
The Palestinian Centre for Human (PCHR) condemns in the strongest
possible terms the murder of a woman in Rafah on Tuesday 3 June,
allegedly to maintain “the honor” of her family.
Source: Palestinian Centre for Human (PCHR)

->Women-media: Stuck at the starting gate
It seems that women's access to universities and newsrooms is more or
less equal, but at some point, their progress stops. Do women "opt out"
or are they "pushed out"?
Source: IPS News

Indigenous Peoples

->Mexico: Murder of indigenous reporters fuels hatred, division
No one has been brought to justice for the murders of two young
indigenous reporters in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca in April, a
case that has mobilised social activists and drawn condemnation from UNESCO.
Source: IPS News

Media - Information and Communication Technologies

->China's all-seeing eye
Naomi Klein explores China's booming surveillance and security industry,
its appeal to Chinese authorities and its significance to the growing
culture of surveillance around the world.
Source: Rolling Stone

-> All news

->Zimbabwe alert: secretary General of MDC has been arrested
Secretary General of MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), has been
arrested. He has worked tirelessly as an advocate for homeless persons.
Source: Huairou Commission

->Sign the petition against Vedanta
British company Vendanta Resources has applied for permission to blast
the Niyamgiri Mountain in India in order to extract the raw material for
aluminium despite the environmental and human rights violations this
would involve.

->Don't undermine Bangladesh
More than 40,000 people face resettlement as UK company Global Coal
Management (GCM) is planning an open-cast mining project in north-west

->The Yanomami threathened by gold mining
Over 1,000 gold-miners are now working illegally on Yanomami land,
transmitting deadly diseases like malaria and polluting the rivers and
forest with mercury.

->No Dirty Gold
Since 2004, Oxfam and EARTHWORKS have partnered in the 'No Dirty Gold'
campaign, which has sought to raise the human rights and environmental
standards of the global mining industry.

-> All campaigns

7. IFIs Latin American Monitor

-> This initiative aims at contributing to the Latin American and global
IFI campaigns for reform of the Bretton Woods institutions by
translating key information, producing and disseminating news and
analysis, thus promoting dialogue and collaboration between key actors.
This project is possible thanks to the support of Mott Foundation.

*** IFIs Monitor is an active member of IFIwatchnet. See

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