CHOIKE - http://www.choike.org
A Portal on Southern Civil Societies - Fri May 30 2008
IN THIS EDITION:
-> 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
->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.
->9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
The 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the
Convention on Biological Diversity is held in Bonn, Germany, from 19 to
30 May 2008.
-> All events
2. IN-DEPTH REPORTS
-> Durban +5 - Durban Review Conference 2009
Conference to review progress and assess implementation of the Durban
Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national,
regional and international levels, including assessing contemporary
manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
All in-depth reports
Paris Declaration undermines policy space through aid
Two recent studies have highlighted the propensity of new modalities of
aid and aid harmonisation processes under the Paris Declaration
framework to increase rather than reduce donor interventions in aid
recipient countries and exacerbating the imbalances of power between
donor and recipient countries. Under the Paris Declaration framework,
donors and recipients are not peers, as recipient countries are
penalised if they do not implement conditions for assessing financing
under the framework but they do not have a corresponding mechanism for
penalising the donors and/or creditors, the report argues.
Source: Third World Network
More information in "Financing for Development":
How to manufacture a global food crisis: lessons from the World Bank,
IMF, and WTO
When tens of thousands of people staged demonstrations in Mexico last
year to protest a 60 percent increase in the price of tortillas, many
analysts pointed to biofuel as the culprit. Because of US government
subsidies, American farmers were devoting more and more acreage to corn
for ethanol than for food, which sparked a steep rise in corn prices.
The diversion of corn from tortillas to biofuel was certainly one cause
of skyrocketing prices, though speculation on biofuel demand by
transnational middlemen may have played a bigger role. However, an
intriguing question escaped many observers: how on earth did Mexicans,
who live in the land where corn was domesticated, become dependent on US
imports in the first place?
Source: Focus on the Global South
More information in "Agriculture and food sovereignty":
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. Two recently published reports highlight this
problem. <i>"No One to Turn To"</i> is the report of a study carried out
by Save the Children, UK in Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti and Southern Sudan.
"<i>Forced Marriage within the Lord's Resistance Army, Uganda"</i> is
published by the Feinstein International Center. May 2008.
Human Rights Watch's Position Paper on the Durban Preparatory Committee
Human Rights Watch urges governments involved in the Durban review
process to press for progress on key issues highlighted at the Durban
Conference of 2001 and to address recent or new manifestations of racism
and related intolerance. In particular, it is urged action on four
issues, all of which provide the Review Conference with an opportunity
to make a measurable contribution to the fight against racism and
related intolerance. Some of these issues were discussed in 2001, while
others reflect new and emerging trends.
Source: Human Rights Watch
More information in "Durban +5 - Durban Review Conference 2009":
"We need a law for liberation": Gender, sexuality, and human rights in a
Turkey should urgently change law and policy to protect lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from extensive harassment and
brutality on the streets, in homes, and in state-run institutions, Human
Rights Watch said in a new report. Human Rights Watch also called on the
European Union to make Turkey’s membership aspirations contingent on
ending endemic abuses and guaranteeing equal rights and protection for
Source: Human Rights Watch
More information in "Sexual diversity and the law":
IGLHRC condemns statements by Gambian president; calls for
decriminalization of homosexuality
In a strongly worded letter to Gambian President Yahyeh Jammeh, Paula
Ettelbrick, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian
Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) condemned statements by the West
African leader ordering homosexuals out of the country, threatening
hotel owners who rented rooms to gay and lesbian people, and threatening
summary executions. Ettelbrick also called for the repeal of Gambia’s
antiquated sodomy law, inherited from its days as British colony.
Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
More information in "Homophobia":
U.N. to focus on treaty protecting the disabled
The United Nations is planning to set up a 10-member monitoring
committee as the next step towards the implementation of the Convention
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The treaty is expecting to
help protecting the rights of over 650 million disabled people
worldwide. It is a unique Convention in the sense that it includes both
rights and development dimensions.
Source: IPS News
Child Soldiers Global Report 2008
Despite progress, efforts to end the recruitment and use of child
soldiers are too little and too late for many children. The Child
Soldiers Global Report 2008 details how a near global consensus that
children should not be used as soldiers and strenuous international
efforts have failed to protect tens of thousands of children from war.
When armed conflict exists, children will almost inevitably become
involved as soldiers.
Source: Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
More information in "Child soldiers":
Sixty years of Nakba: Israel’s continued policy of forcible displacement
15 May 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian “Nakba,” the
“catastrophe” that led to the forcible displacement of more than half of
the population of Historic Palestine. For 60 years, the Palestinian
refugees have been denied their internationally guaranteed right to
return to their homes. While the State of Israel is celebrating its
independence, the fate of the Palestinian refugees and those
subsequently expelled over the course of Israel’s 40 years of occupation
of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, remains
More information in "Israeli-Palestinian conflict":
Arab civil society statement in support of ICC
The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC) held its second
Regional Strategy Meeting for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in
Cairo, Egypt from 29-30th March 2008. Representatives from 9 Arab
countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria,
Tunisia, and Yemen) deliberated on strategies to successfully push for
more ratifications of the Rome Statute in the Arab region. The
participants issued a thorough Arab civil society statement calling on
Arab States to join the ICC without delay by ratifying and implementing
the Rome Statute, and notes that the region is missing an historic
opportunity to shape the ICC by increasing its participation in the
international criminal justice system.
Source: Coalition for the International Criminal Court
Resetting priorities: What kind of IMF does Africa need?
The landscape in which the international financial system is s ituated
has entered into a remarkable period of transition, relative to two
years ago. Numerous countries have repaid their debts to the IMF ahead
of schedule, and many of these same countries have indicated that they
will not return to the IMF because of the burdensome conditions that it
imposes on debtors. The roles of the IMF in a fast globalizing world
have become the subject of controversy. Its sympathizers believe that
it’s a question of getting it back to its mandate; the moderates suggest
modifying or reforming the IMF or merging it with the World Bank while
the extremists urge that it be shut down.
More information in "International Monetary Fund - IMF":
Argentina versus the World Bank: Fair play or fixed fight?
On Feb. 4, 2008, news came over the wires from Rome that the World Bank
had appointed Robert Briner to head up an arbitration tribunal to decide
yet another claim against the Argentine government, this time by Italian
corporate lawyers. The arbitration will take place in the Washington,
DC-based "International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes"
(ICSID), an obscure World Bank arbitration forum. Obscure that is,
outside of Latin America. While mention of the ICSID in London or New
York will likely elicit confused stares, in La Paz or Buenos Aires it
could well provoke a string of expletives.
Source: IRC Americas Program
More information in "World Bank":
The Bank of the South initiative: Some initial stumbling to get on the
After several postponements over the year 2007, the Bank of the South
was formally created in Buenos Aires on December 9, 2007, when the
presidents of the seven countries signed its founding charter. At that
time, a 60-day deadline was established for the member countries to
define the Bank's Articles of Incorporation. However, it was only
recently, on April 25, 2008, in a meeting held in Montevideo that the
matter was taken up again by the members. These suspensions and delays
may be justified by some important differences that exist among the
countries involved in the bank’s founding process and which constitute
key factors in this sense.
More information in "Southern Bank: A road towards a new financial
European banks financing damaging agrofuels in Latin America
Many major European banks are funding the rapid expansion of agrofuel
production in Latin America, leading to large scale deforestation,
increasing human rights abuses and threatening food sovereignty,
according to a new report released by Friends of the Earth
International. Amid global worries about the increasing impacts of
rising food prices, the report calls for an end to investments by
European banks in harmful agrofuel projects.
Source: Friends of the Earth Europe
More information in "Agrofuels":
Social housing financing policies in Santiago de Chile
In the middle of July 2006, the Chilean government announced important
changes to its housing policies. The government expressed a concern with
the physical and architectural characteristics of its new housing, its
location within urban areas, the integration of its resident with the
city, and improvements needed to the existing housing stock. Chilean
housing policy for the past 30 years has been defined and established by
the state and by the producers, only incidentally including beneficiaries.
Source: Habitat International Coalition
More information in "The right to adequate housing":
Progress report on the 9th Conference to the Convention on Biological
With one week of negotiating down, civil society organizations have
presented a report card tracking progress on key issues. ‘Grades’ were
determined in relation to CSO demands issued on the first day of the
COP, with contributions from many civil society organizations gathered
in Bonn. The report also draws attention to Parties ‘helping’ make
progress on the issues, and those ‘blocking’ advances. These and other
stories can be found in the latest ECO briefing produced by the CBD
Alliance, a loose network of activists and representatives from NGOs and
social movements advocating for improved and informed participation in
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) processes.
Source: CBD Alliance / ECO
More information in "Biotechnology and biosafety":
The slippery slope of negotiations on public health, innovation and
As the negotiations wound down to a close at the Intergovernmental
Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, a
familiar pattern unfolded. To the dismay of all those who saw in the
IGWG an opportunity to make a real difference in a starkly iniquitous
situation - a situation where medicines required the most for the
world's poorest and most vulnerable populations are rarely researched or
made accessible and affordable - the conclusions arrived at, may well
make little or no dent in the present situation.
Source: People's Health Movement
More information in "Patents and medicines":
Biotech companies exposed as climate change profiteers
A report released today by ETC Group, reveals that the world's largest
seed and agrochemical corporations are stockpiling hundreds of monopoly
patents on genes in plants that the companies will market as crops
genetically engineered to withstand environmental stresses associated
with climate change - including drought, heat, cold, floods, saline
soils, and more.
Source: ETC Group
More information in "GM food":
4. LATEST ADDITIONS: Southern NGOs and other resources
Betteraid.org is a campaign website that aims to provide information and
updates on aid effectiveness issues, especially related to the CSO
parallel process towards the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness
in Accra September 2008 reviewing the Paris Declaration.
Disha's vision is to establish an equitable society where there is no
discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion and caste and
which provides equal social, economic and political opportunities. India.
GL is committed with media, governance and gender justice. Working with
partners at local, national, regional and international level to promote
gender equality in and through the media and effective campaigns for
ending gender violence, HIV and AIDS.
Girls' Power Initiative Nigeria
Youth development organisation that equips girls between the ages of 10
and 18 years with human rights, comprehensive sexuality education (from
a gender perspective).
Global coalition of networks, institutions and individual professionals
that links grassroots women’s community development organizations to
partners. Currently, the network focuses its joint efforts on five
campaigns: Governance, AIDS, Disaster, Land and Housing and Peace Building.
Social Enterprise Development Foundation - SEND
The organization promotes that development is multi-dimensional
involving economic, political and social issues. Therefore it pursues
strongly an integrated programming approach that emphasizes
community-driven development initiatives, economic literacy and policy
advocacy. Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
The Reality of Aid
The Reality of Aidproject aims to contribute to more effective
international aid and development cooperation strategies to eliminate
poverty, based on principles of North/South solidarity and equity.
-> NGO directory
The difference between black Brazil and black U.S.
The most significant aspect to distinguish Brazilian and American
racism, in its most generalized form, is the concrete nature of American
racism, in contrast with the subjective character, the fluid state, the
invisibility of Brazil's. The difference is that, in the US, nobody
would dare to deny its existence, but in Brazil, racism is the essence
of a substantive very...abstract.
Source: The Zeleza Post
->Durban +5: Regional Conference for Latin America and Caribbean
Brazil will host the GRULAC Regional Conference in preparation for the
Durban Review Conference from 17 to 19 June, 2008.
Regional Consultative Meeting on Aid Effectiveness and Gender Equality:
Road to Accra. May 26-28
->Colombia: Therapeutic abortion - A right in name only?
"When a woman is unable to gain access to an abortion to which she has a
right, it is not just something that happened, but a violation of the
woman’s rights," said Constitutional Court magistrate Fernando José Cepeda.
Source: IPS News
->Gender and Media Summit
The summit will bring together media practitioners; trainers; gender
activists and all those who subscribe to the slogan "making every voice
count, and counting that it does" to share best practices in creating a
more responsive media.
Source: Gender Links
->Sexual Diversity in Cuba: the Rainbow Revolution
Nearly 50 years after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, sexual
minorities are at last beginning to feel that their voice is being heard
and that they can finally take their place in the movement towards a
more just and inclusive society.
Source: Inter Press Service (IPS)
->Gambia: no room for gays
President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh gave an ultimatum to homosexuals, drug
dealers, thieves and "other criminals", to leave The Gambia or face
serious consequences if caught.
->US: California marriage ruling a victory for human rights
The California Supreme Court’s ruling today striking down state law that
limits marriage to opposite-sex couples is a victory for equality that
should set a national and international example.
Source: Human Rigths Watch
Economy and Financial Affairs
->Does Aid Work? Can it work better? Crucial questions on the road to
Accra and Doha
This conference will focus on development cooperation and financing
issues in the lead up to the Accra High Level Forum on the "Paris
Declaration on Aid Effectiveness"; and the Doha meeting on Financing for
Development. June 17-18, 2008.
Source: North-South Institute
->IMF "cure" for food crisis also a cause
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is responding to the
global food crisis by doling out new emergency loans to 15 of the
world's poorest nations, mostly in Africa.
Source: Inter Press Service (IPS)
->Donors take step forwards to untie aid
Donor governments agreed that they would untie their aid to more
countries in order to include all HIPC countries. This effectively adds
8 more countries to the list of 31 countries. They are Bolivia,
Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, and
Republic of Congo.
->Report from Maputo: Mozambican Civil Society Meets to Debate Statement
About 35 people representing a range of Mozambican civil society groups
met at a Maputo hotel to draft a statement on the African Development
Bank. The meeting took place as the AfDB held the formal opening
ceremony for its 43rd annual meeting a couple miles away at the
beach-front Chissano Convention Center.
Source: IFIwatchnet blog
Trade and Regional Integration
->'June or bust' for WTO talks
Another attempt to rouse countries to finish the main elements of a deal
at the World Trade Organisation may elicit cries of déjà vu. But this
time the deadlines may be for real.
Source: Third World Network
->A global moratorium on ocean fertilization?
Stalled at the eleventh hour by three isolated countries that are
attempting to block consensus, most of the world’s environment
ministries and others are on the brink of reaching agreement on a
worldwide moratorium on commercial ocean fertilization – controversial
proposals to dump nutrients in the ocean to artificially alter the climate.
Source: ETC Group
->International day of biodiversity: no more failures-as-usual!
Marking the International Day of Biodiversity on 22 March 2008, civil
society organizations and social movements have launched an
international Call to action on the World Food Emergency and the
underlying loss of biodiversity.
Source: Undercover COP
->CBD agreements on forests not being implemented
A research that includes an independent surveillance in 22 countries on
the implementation of the Work Program of Forestry Biological Diversity,
agreed by the parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, was
submitted by the Global Forest Coalition in Bonn, Germany.
World Peace and Security
->Cluster bomb ban treaty approved
More than 100 nations have reached an agreement on a treaty which would
ban current designs of cluster bombs.
Source: BBC News
->Amnesty International report 2008
World leaders owe an apology for failing to deliver on the promise of
justice and equality in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(UDHR), adopted 60 years ago says the new report by Amnesty
International on the state of world's human rights.
->NGOs welcome UN special session on the world food crisis
In a joint declaration developed by a broad group of civil society
organisations, CSOs welcome the decision of the UN Human Rights Council,
upon request of the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, to
hold a 7th special session on the negative impact of the world food
crisis on the realization of the right to food.
Source: Habitat International Coalition
->Colombia: extradition of paramilitary chiefs - a blow to truth
Fourteen former paramilitary chiefs were quietly extradited from
Colombia to the United States on drug trafficking charges, in a move
that drew criticism from human rights experts.
Source: Inter Press Service (IPS)
->NGOs seek information on human rights appointment
Seven non-governmental organizations working on human rights and
international democracy issues sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon on the appointment of a new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Source: UN Elections
->Africans ashamed at Zimbabwe decline and call for greater action
Members of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) alliance
throughout Africa have come out strongly against the lack of democracy
and rampant abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe since the undeclared
elections on March 29th.
->61st World Health Assembly opens
The 61st session of the World Health Assembly is taking place in Geneva
during 19-24 May 2008. At this session, the Health Assembly is
discussing a number of public health issues including climate change and
health, female genital mutialtion or intellectual property rights.
->UN sees major successes in child survival
The developing world is making significant progress in child survival
despite the fact that nearly 2.2 billion children worldwide continue to
battle poverty, sexual abuse, forced military conscription, labour
exploitation and HIV/AIDS, says the United Nations.
->Virtual seminar in preparation for CONFINTEA VI ends
With more than 697 participants from all regions around the world, the
virtual seminar in preparation for 6th International Conference on Adult
Education (CONFINTEA VI) aimed to provide input to the elaboration of
regional and global agendas towards the meeting. All documents available
-> All news
->Civil Society statement on the World Food Emergency
National governments that will meet at the FAO Food Crisis Summit in
Rome must begin by accepting their responsibility for today’s food
->Sign-on letter: The WTO’s Doha Round will not solve the global food crisis
A request to all organizations concerned about the Food crisis and which
reject the hypocritical hijacking of the crisis to attempt to push
through a Doha Round of WTO expansion, to endorse this letter.
->Stand up for Zimbabwe!
The campaign is intended to reach out to and involve people from all
over Africa and the world, starting on 25 May 2008, a day commemorated
annually as Africa Day.
->Global AIDS week of action May 18-24
Join a groundswell of civil society voices from across the world during
the week of 18-24 May to demand urgency, accountability and more
resources in the fight agains HIV and AIDS.
->Stop the food crisis: urgent call to action on June 1
GCAP is calling for a global day of action on or around June 1, to
demand that governments Act Now to End Poverty and Inequality and Stop
the Food Crisis.
->Urgent appeal for solidarity by Zimbabwean Women
Urgent appeal for solidarity by Zimbabwean women to African women and
women all over the world.
Source: Huairou Commission
->Iran: More women's rights defenders sentenced
Four women's rights activists, Nasrin Afzali, Nahid Jafari, Zeinab
Peighambar-zadeh, and Minou Mortazi, have been given suspended sentences
of whipping (10 lashes) and six months imprisonment.
-> 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.
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