|Report from the WORLD
As the World Social
Forum in Mumbai (Bombay) drew to a close earlier this week,
the parliamentarians present adopted the following statement.
Final Declaration of the Fourth World Parliamentary Forum,
Mumbai, India, January 19, 2004
1. During the past three years, the regular meetings of the
World Parliamentary Forum (WPF) took place in Porto Alegre,
Brazil. This January 2004, together with the World Social
Forum (WSF), for the first time it meets in Asia, in Mumbai,
India, and at a time of a deepening international crisis,
the Fourth World Parliamentary Forum here takes on a special
2. In the context of globalization, the powers of Parliamentarians
and Legislators to call executive governments to account and
to legislate freely have been deliberately undermined. We
reassert our legitimate authority to hold accountable national
and global authorities. We will work to reverse this erosion
of our sovereign law making powers.
3. Four years after the Seattle fiasco, the collapse of the
fifth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) in Cancun has shown that the present trade system is
not only in a legitimacy crisis, but that it is breaking apart.
Since the gap between the rich and the poor is widening dramatically
under the current trade system and the WTO rule, the myth
that unfettered free trade is the key to global prosperity
is utterly discredited. It is high time now to re-shape international
trade rules and promote fare, equitable and sustainable trade,
which is beneficial to all nations and all people, so that
it serves, rather than obstructs, the cause of social and
sustainable development. The emergence of new international
alliances such as the G20 and the G90 indicate that the need
for change is now felt more broadly than ever.
We disapprove of the invitation made by the Swiss to host
a mini-ministerial of the WTO alongside the Davos World Economic
Forum of January 2005.
We, the participants of the WPF, are deeply committed to the
idea that another economic and trade paradigm, which benefits
the majority of the populations all over the world, is possible
and necessary. We call Parliamentarians and Legislators to
initiate and support a broad debate in the respective Parliaments
on self-reliant development, the remaking of the global trade
system, respecting and including views and demands of the
social movements and civil society in general, and giving
the UN the democratic control of the multilateral financial
and economic institutions.
4. The existing and projected free trade areas between very
unequal economies as FTAA has not produced a fair redistribution
of wealth, more and better jobs, increase of salaries and
sustainable social and environmental development. On the contrary,
together with irresponsible government policy making, they
have led to a concentration of production structures in the
hands of multinational companies, violation of human and workers'
rights, tax deficit and privatization of common goods such
as water and energy.
Lifting all trade barriers and eroding trade preferences between
unequal partners does not automatically lead to more welfare
for the whole of the populations. Focus must be given to the
diversification of economy, strengthening of ecologically
sound infrastructures, and to education, health, transport
system without which the country cannot take benefits from
international trade openings.
Each country must have the right to develop its own economic
and political potential. We are in favor of a priority for
regional integration based upon popular consultation and consensus,
democratic decision-making and control, respect for human
and social rights as defined by international pacts and covenants,
sustainable development, and cultural diversity.
We, as Parliamentarians and Legislators, are determined to
take up these demands and translate them into legislative
proposals for a peaceful regional integration with respect
for social rights, rural development, protection and diversification
of local economies, food sovereignty and cultural diversity.
We shall, as well, demand the implementation of a world taxation
system (like a "Tobin Tax" on international financial
transactions, and on corporate benefits ...) that will contribute
to finance third world countries' development.
5. The GATS negotiations inside the WTO present a threat
to public services in many countries. Requests, mainly coming
from the major industrialized countries, to open up markets
for the commercialization of education, public health, culture
and access to water and energy, reflect strongly the economic
interests of corporations. Privatization and lack of regulation
leads to private monopoly and does not serve the interests
of the poor, but undermines their basic needs even more. Primary
education itself, so essential for social and gender equality,
is threatened by present policies.
We shall take initiatives in our respective Parliaments and
Legislative Assemblies to demand from our governments to review
and reverse the GATS negotiations, so that provisions maybe
introduced to protect public services and guaranty the right
of public authorities to regulate. We support the initiatives
of city councils and local self-government throughout the
world to declare themselves GATS-free.
6. The issue of water is presently taking a special importance
on the international scene. It is thus necessary to clearly
state that access to water is a fundamental right, which cannot
be touched for profit-making reasons. Water is not a commodity
... it is an essential and unsubstitutable natural element
for food production, daily life needs and many other activities.
As has been underlined in Rome Declaration of December 2003,
it is urgent to formally recognize water as a common, public
good, according to the non-market-economy, and to exclude
it from the category of "market goods and services".
Poverty and lack of access to water resources are the cause
of millions of death in developing countries. Today, while
70 % of the world's water is used for productive activities,
so many people still have no access to safe drinking water.
Health is a major issue, but neo-liberal economic globalization
and structural adjustment plans increase sanitary emergencies
and decrease access to drugs and primary health care, so they
lead to the dismantling of public health structures. Moreover,
access to drugs is limited by high prices and the patents
of pharmaceutical companies.
We, as Parliamentarians and Legislators, will support the
international campaigns launched by social movements and civil
society organizations to protect the right of access of all
to water, and for the recognition of health as a fundamental
7. We shall fight in our respective Parliaments and legislative
bodies for land reforms and for land to be given to the tillers
in whichever country this task remains incomplete.
8. External debt under the regime of the IMF and the World
Bank has been an efficient tool to prevent any local social
economic development. While James Baker has insisted since
the end of the 1980s that Argentina has to pay its debt contracted
under a dictatorship, he is now asking the Club of Paris to
cancel the debt of Iraq ... because it was contracted under
a dictatorship. Not only is this double-standard unacceptable,
it also shows that the system of the debt is a key for economic
and political dominance. The "odious debt" question
(legacy of apartheid and dictatorial regimes) is but the tip
of the iceberg of the whole issue. We, as Parliamentarians
and Legislators, commit ourselves to the cancellation of foreign
debt of developing countries, striving at the same time for
the establishment of "fair and transparent arbitration
processes (FTAP), which enable the concerned citizens to participate
in the allocation of funds free from the debt circuit.
9. The war led by the Bush administration in Iraq represents
one of the most ominous developments in the international
political situation in the past year. It shows the full implications
of the Bush doctrine of "pre-emptive war", and of
United States unilateralism. It has worsened the dynamics
of war threatening today's world, creating new obstacles to
reaching necessary political settlements in many regions,
like in the case of Palestine and Israel, of Mindanao in the
Philippines or of the Korean peninsula. A new impulse has
been given to the arms race and nuclear proliferation.
It is evident that we did not support the Saddam Hussein regime;
we support democracy everywhere. We strongly oppose the unilateralist
military and political intervention of the US in Iraq and
other countries. We reject the attempts of the US to undermine
legitimate international political processes, specifically
the United Nations.
In the name of anti-terrorism, basic Human Rights are denied,
and populations like migrants and asylum seekers find themselves
in a more vulnerable situation than ever before. The US government
is freeing itself from international laws and conventions,
as is especially shown in the scandalous development at Guantanamo.
Many of the violent conflicts in Africa are to a large extent
are due to the role of few Western Multinational Corporations
eager to confiscate the resources of this continent. There
have been attempts by the business sector to establish codes
of conduct that address social, environmental and human rights
issues. These issues (UN "Global Compact", International
Business Council for Sustainable Development) have been used
for "greenwashing". "Corporate social responsibility"
therefore urgently needs independent monitoring an shall not
weaken national legislations.
Anti-drug anti-terrorist legislations are too often used against
social movements, as dramatically shown in the case of Bolivia
and Colombia. In Colombia, up to three millions peasants have
been displaced in favor of corporations, trade-unionists are
being assassinated, Indian communities are being exterminated,
and there is impunity against human rights violations, while
the US intervention and extension of the war threaten civil
society and neighboring countries like Ecuador, Venezuela
One major international duty for Parliamentarians and Legislators
is today to fight the Bush doctrine of "pre-emptive war",
to extend solidarity with peoples in zones of conflicts, to
defend Human Rights, to defend the Right of the peoples to
decide their own future through peaceful and democratic means
and put an end to arms race, including a universal ban on
nuclear weapons. We, Parliamentarians and Legislators, have
the duty to act as peacemakers and to look for the end of
violence. We commit ourselves to strive for a new world order
based on respect of the UN Charter principles and international
conventions. We support a reform of the UN system, to begin
with a restructuring and enlargement of the UN Security Council
in order to increase the representation of developing countries
and reinforce the legitimacy and effectiveness of the UN system.
10. We, as Parliamentarians and Legislators, commit ourselves
to strive for a worldwide ratification campaign of the International
Criminal Court (ICC) Statute, and urge national Parliamentarians
not to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs) with the
US despite the loss of US aid.
11. The combined impact of the worldwide implementation of
neo-liberal economic policies and of the dynamics of war is
very deep. There is a constant erosion of democratic rule
and social rights, with processes of remilitarization in a
number of countries. This favors the rise of religious fundamentalisms
and sectarianisms, as well as the danger of terrorism, which
seeks to disrupt the unity of people. It contributes to multiply
obstacles to the assertion of gender equality and of minorities'
rights. We oppose all dictatorships.
We, Parliamentarians and Legislators, recognise the specific
importance in such a context of the present rise of the movements
against corporate and military globalization, of the workers
struggles to defend social rights and public services, of
the worldwide anti-war mobilizations and, within them, of
the social forum processes. New solidarities are being tied,
international convergences for common actions are being built,
alternatives to the dominant economic and military world order
are here being collectivized.
12. In South Asia especially, where the Fourth WPF meets,
we, Parliamentarians and Legislators, recognise the paramount
importance of forging and broadening the unity of the people
against the current corporate project of globalization spearheaded
by the IMF-WB-WTO triumvirate. In order to achieve this project,
such forces, in obnoxious attempts, play up differences based
on ethnicity, race, religion and historical feudal legacies
like the caste.
-- We recognize the strivings of the people in South Asia
to end regional conflicts and establish peace through a process
of constructive dialogue to resolve disputes and strengthen
-- We recognize the increasing assertion of the women's movement
in opposing gender discrimination and in establishing gender
justice, which, again, faces challenges not just from neo-liberal
economic policies but also from forces of fundamentalism and
-- We extend support to the assertion of hitherto indisposed
and socially oppressed groups to achieve social justice;
-- We note and extend our support to the concerns of ethnic
and religious minorities for a just and equal social order,
which will enable their participation as partners and not
-- In this, we recognize the need for opposition to not just
the governments but also forces of fundamentalism, obscurantism
and sectarianism, which disrupt the unity of the people. We
condemn all forms of terrorism, including individual and state
The respect of cultural identities (including the right to
speak one's own language) is an integral part of human sustainable
development. We, Parliamentarians and Legislators from all
countries, engage to protect the world against a single and
homogeneous culture and prevent xenophobia. WPF shall mobilize
against discrimination of all kinds -- be it racial, gender,
religious, caste, economical, political, social or territorial.
Every citizen of the world must be treated with dignity.
13. The World Parliamentary Forum and the International Parliamentary
Network (IPN), constituted after the First WPF at Porto Alegre
in 2001, has already initiated several campaigns on issues
like the taxation of financial transactions, the GATS and
the defense of public services, on sustainable development
at the occasion of the Johannesburg Conference (Rio + 10)
and on the WTO at the occasion of the Cancun conference. These
campaigns remain. For 2004, it will mobilize in particular
on the following issues:
14. March 20 will be an international day of mobilization
against war and the Bush doctrine. It is an essential occasion
to fight for a world of peace, to extend our solidarity toward
peoples in struggle (like in Palestine) and to address the
political issue of zones of conflicts (as Iraq, Palestine-Israel,
Pakistan-India, Mindanao and the Korean peninsula), and to
integrate better the demand for a universal, general ban on
nuclear weapons in the overall peace movement.
15. The issue of social and environmental development will
be concretely raised at the occasion of the June 2004 UNCTAD
meeting in Sao Paulo, at which time an attempt to revive the
WTO rule will be made. We shall follow closely any future
negotiations concerning the WTO to express the need for a
fair trade for all people.
16. We express firmly our support to the social transformation
process in Venezula, and reject any kind of foreign intervention.
17. The first meeting of the Latin American Branch of the
International Parliamentary Network in Caracas, in November
2003, has adopted a clear statement against the present FTAA
negotiations, which took place without any participation of
Parliaments of the concerned countries, which violated Constitutions
and exclude the sovereign participation of the people. We
fully support this assessment and call for a stop of the negotiations.
We share the demand of the Latin American branch to bring
cases of violations of human rights of migrants before the
international bodies and to start to work in order to ensure
the free movements of persons all over the continent.
We support legislative initiatives to recognize all human,
social, civic and labor rights of immigrant workers, especially
in the USA and the European Union (EU). Since decades, Colombia
is a country with a worldwide negative record of human rights
violations. Since the beginning of the presidential term of
Alvaro Uribe Velez, the situation has even worsened. We urge
the government to immediately implement the recommendation
of the United Nations, and particularly dismantle paramilitary
groups, return to the constitutional democratic rights revoking
the presidential decrees, unconditionally protect social activists,
human rights defenders and Parliamentarians of the political
opposition, at present under constant death threat. We also
urge the Colombian government to negotiate a humanitarian
agreement, in order to effectively protect the civil population
from war violence and to re-initiate peace negotiations. This
agreement would be the first step for the release of Ingrid
Betancourt, a presidential candidate kidnapped almost two
years ago, and all the other victims of kidnappings in the
18. The European Parliamentary Forum met for the first time
in November 2003, at the occasion of the Second European Social
Forum. The European pole of the IPN will support the trade
union days of mobilization, April 2 and 3, and the day of
action for a social Europe on May 9, called by the coordination
of social movements.
19. The WPF welcomes the proposal of creating a South Asian
Parliamentary Forum to carry forward the Parliamentary movement
for the ideals laid down in the final declaration adopted
at WPF 2004, in the region.
20. The WPF and the IPN will mobilize itself in defence of
Parliamentarians facing repression and death threats because
of their progressive engagements.
21. The WPF and the IPN will defend as well progressive social
movements and civil society organizations, and their members,
facing repression. We shall campaign for the abolition of
death penalty everywhere.
22. The WPF, the IPN and its members will continue to support
the world social forum process and the campaigns of social
and citizen movements. They will strengthen their links with
them, and pursue a dialog on the elaboration of alternatives
to the present world order. We shall work closely with the
next WSF organizers in order to have a more active interaction
with social movements.
23. The Fifth regular meeting of the WPF will be held at
the occasion of the next World Social Forum (January 2005,
in Porto Alegre).
This report appears on: www.spectrezine.org/global/wsf.htm
For more information on the WEPF go to www.forumparlamentarmundial.rs.gov.br/