Thursday, 27 November 2008

Civil Society Forum at Doha: The US a failed state?

“Is the United States a ‘failed state’? Its financial mismanagement has triggered a worldwide crisis.” Thus, Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio challenged some 300 civil society delegates, who are meeting since yesterday at the Ramada Plaza Hotel. The Civil Society Forum leading to the Financing for Development Review Conference is addressing the international crises that threaten our climate, development and social justice, developing recommendations for change to carry into the official Conference. The Draft Declaration to be considered by the Forum states:

“The world is consumed by an urgent triple crisis of energy, food and finance that not only threatens the realization of the MDGs, but also the stability of the world’s economies. The Northern governments and financial system are responsible for the current financial crisis, but the costs and the impacts are paid for by the entire world and by the poorest countries in particular. Moreover, climate change is threatening the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, in the North and the South.”

Barbara Adams, a former UN official and Senior Fellow with the Global Policy Forum introduced delegates to the state of the negotiations, which continue in New York and will be finalized in Doha before 2 December. The final agreement must address decent work, growing inequality and continuing imbalances in the global economy and polity, she noted. Perhaps the most significant major issue remaining is the nature and organizing body for a “Bretton Woods II” international conference for a new global economic architecture, she pointed out. Many civil society delegates stress that such a follow-up event should be organized by the universally-based United Nations and not by the existing Bretton Woods Institutions.

The Forum is the penultimate step leading to the UN Financing for Development follow-up Conference convening at the Sheraton Hotel November 29. The Forum was opened by H. E Mohammed Abdullah Mutib Al Rumaihi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Qatar and Dr. Ali Ben Samiekh El Marri, General Secretary of the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar. The Civil Society Forum continues through Thursday, November 27, when a final declaration for delivery to the official Conference will be agreed.

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