Galvanizing Civil Society’s Fight in Argentina on G20

27 April 2012

 By Maria Jose Romero

Romero is with LATINDADD, Peru. This article and a companion piece on the Mexican experience first appeared in the monthly newsletter on the G20 by the Heinrich Boell Foundation.

Over time, civil society organizations (CSOs) in Argentina have monitored the role of their national government in global processes, such as the G20. Taking advantage of the momentum created by the launch of the Mexican Coalition against the G20, two organizations – the Citizen Assembly for Justice and Human Rights (FOCO) and Fundación SES –recently coordinated CSO positions and proposals in order to enhance coordination at the national and regional level. With the support and participation of the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s Office in the Southern Cone,  they have launched a platform aimed at increasing the public debate about the G20 agenda, putting forward CSO policy proposals to their national government, contributing to a Latin American common position on the G20, and connecting regional CSOs with their Northern partners.

According to the Argentine platform, “the G20 remains largely a prisoner of the neoliberal logic of free trade and the dominance of deregulated global finance, encouraging the imposition of harmful structural adjustment, especially for developing countries and the weakest (Greece is the most pathetic example).” It also states that “the United Nations – which still needs radical reform – is the most democratic and representative space to debate, discuss and agree on macro policies and global problems. The G20 is, in contrast, a space originally promoted by the G8, rooted in neoliberalism and merely coordinating the current global crisis…” instead of resolving it. It asserts that the G20 should not assume roles that were not granted by the international community.

 Working principles of the platform

 The platform highlights the “principles on which we should work” in order to put the “topics of greatest interest of our peoples” on the G20 agenda. These include:

a)      Encouraging the adoption of a set of public policies leading to sustainable development and social equity.

b)      Breaking the paradigm of “labor flexibility” and searching full employment, access to credit by farmers and families and links between domestic and regional markets.

c)      Promoting financial regulation mechanisms, implementing a regional tax on international financial transactions, which will be regulated by regional organizations, such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

d)     Ensuring that South America is, in the shortest time possible, a “tax havens-free zone.”

e)      Addressing both the food and climate crises with a new agricultural model aimed at ensuring food security and sovereignty, with due care for natural resources and ensuring the rights of small farmers. Rejecting food speculation in future markets.

 Work plan of the platform

 The Argentine platform also sets out a work plan which seeks to:

 a)      Build a comprehensive process of dialogue about the causes of the current global crisis and the search for effective and lasting solutions to it.

b)      Organize open round-table seminars to suggest and discuss possible topics to be included in the agenda of the government, in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), UNASUR and the G20.

c)      Promote a productive interaction with civil society organizations from Brazil and Mexico as well as with colleagues from other Latin American countries that are not members of the G20 in order to build a Latin American agenda relating to the Group.

d)     Require the provision of access to relevant information on the country’s participation in the G20 and ensure the mechanisms and resources needed to enforce the full participation of CSOs in this process.

e)      Establish a direct and permanent dialogue with the national government in order to generate a substantive dialogue, both political and technical, to build common proposals for truly transformation of global policies.

 Currently, FOCO and Fundación SES are collecting signatures from national and regional organizations prior to delivering the platform document to the Finance and Foreign Affairs Ministers.

 

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