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ESCR-Net International Strategy Meeting and Nairobi Declaration on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights
By Nikhil Aziz
April 10th, 2009
Last December, I had the good fortune to be able to attend and participate in the 2nd international strategy meeting of the Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights Network - ESCR-Net, which is a global coalition of movements and NGOs that are struggling for or working on economic, social and cultural rights. The four day meeting took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in conjunction with a special gathering of social movements and grassroots groups.
The Right to Food like many other human rights has been under threat from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its rules that often prevent countries from designing and implementing domestic policies that aim to realize those rights. Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food recently presented the conclusions from his mission to the WTO to the UN Human Rights Council.
The G20 meetings in London are drawing a lot of attention in the media and around the world. Typically, much of the mainstream media attention is focused either on the pomp sideshow (the Queen and Michelle Obama's hug) or the small portion of the protestors that broke windows and equipment in the RBS offices (which bolsters mainstream media's emphasis on sensationalism and their ability to dismiss genuine global protest against the destructive policies of governments and multilateral institutions).
By Marie Kennedy
March 27th, 2009
Gaza: War on civilians in the world's largest open-air prison
Not for the world's people for sure. And especially not for the increasingly thirsty billions who lack acess to clean and safe water for drinking, cooking, and growing food; or for those that have been displaced by huge mega dam projects or suffered from water diversions for agribusinesses and bottled water corporations. This was amply evident when the World Water Forum (WWF) denied permission to the United Nations General Assembly President, Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann (from Nicaragua) to speak at its 5th gathering in Istanbul, Turkey this past week.
Local is Global – Defenders of water rights and justice in your municipalities, your cities, your parliaments
By Nikhil Aziz.
Nikhil is reporting from the World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey.
One of the events organized by civil society during the corporate-driven World Water Forum in Istanbul was "International Day" on March 19th. Various members of the anti-privatization sector of the global water justice movement organized this in collaboration with Turkish civil society representatives. For example, Our Water Commons, the Trans National Institute, Food & Water Watch, and regional networks like Red Vida (Latin America) and the African Water Network.
The opening day of the World Water Forum (WWF) in Istanbul was emblematic of the undemocratic and unaccountable nature of the WWF. The WWF, like the World Economic Forum, is a virtual country club. Dominated by multinational corporations like Veolia and Suez, international financial institutions like the World Bank, and governments, it is run by an unelected body, the World Water Council (WWC), which charges exorbitant entry fees and goes further to silence opposition by nefarious means.
As the economic crisis spreads deeper and wider, so too do calls for various bailouts. The federal government has provided billions of dollars to rescue banks, car producers, insurance companies and other industries. Why not, then, bail out developing countries as well? So asks Kevin Gallagher of our colleague the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts university in an article from the Guardian. After all, if being "too big to fail" is the litmus test, then surely the Global South passes. He writes, "If the world's developing countries aren't part of a comprehensive global response to the crisis we will all be worse off.
I believe peasants from Northeast Brazil have a few important things to tell us about climate justice. For starters, the majority of the Northeastern region is dry. And it has been dry since the last glacial period. Also, the Northeast region where I come from is the largest and most populated semi-arid region on the planet, home to 20.5 million people mostly of indigenous and Afro-Brazilian descent.
Because of droughts and lack of water in the past, masses of hungry peasants were forced to migrate to other regions in Brazil.
March 2nd, 2009
Funded in part by Grassroots International, the Oakland Institute announces a new report: Voices from Africa: African Farmers & Environmentalists Speak Out Against a New Green Revolution in Africa. This report issues a direct challenge to Western-led plans for a genetically engineered revolution in African agriculture, and presents African perspectives and solutions rooted in first-hand knowledge of what Africans need.