German Social Watch report 2005 launched

Endorsed by 28 organizations, the German Social Watch Report 2005 was launched in Bonn last October 21.

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Social Watch Deutschland Report 2005 / NR. 5 - Handeln statt Versprechen - Soziale Gerechtigkeit und Armutsbekämpfung

Press Release:

5th German Social Watch Report released

„Actions, not Promises”

(Handeln statt Versprechen)

Greater efforts demanded to realise global social justice and to fight poverty

10 years after the Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen and 5 years after the United Nations Millennium Summit, the world is still a long way from reaching the goals agreed at the two world conferences. Although poverty has been somewhat reduced in a few countries and regions, it has grown in many others. At a global level the gap between rich and poor has grown. Social Watch Germany addresses these themes in its 5th report on global social development, which will be presented to the public in Bonn on 21 October 2005.

“The huge promises to fight poverty have so far been insufficiently translated into concrete actions. So the international Social Watch Network is challenging governments to reinforce their efforts to fight social injustice within their own countries and worldwide” explained Klaus Heidel, a spokesperson from Social Watch Germany. “Especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the situation has deteriorated. Today, there are 140 million more people living in absolute poverty there than there were in 1980” continued Heidel, who also pointed out that even in Germany, not all of the World Social Summit decisions had been carried out, with the situation of tolerated refugees in the country having worsened.

Given this global situation, human rights should take priority in foreign and development policy, said Prof. Jürgen Reichel of the Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (EED).
This year’s Social Watch report, he said, draws urgent attention to what happens “when international organisations like the WTO show no sign of any understanding of social or human rights, with the WTO, for example, pushing through rules that for example, pushes through rules that protect patents so successfully that today not a single country is in a position to import generic drugs for the millions of people suffering from HIV-AIDS. Because the IMF caps national budgets in order to avoid inflation, countries heavily affected by AIDS are forced to fight to be allowed to apply for additional resources from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria” Reichel explained.

Social Watch does recognise Germany’s efforts so far to contribute towards fighting poverty.
But the overall evaluation remains negative, as Germany has “missed a unique opportunity to give a convincing and timely answer to the question of how German policies will contribute to resolving the future global challenges of poverty, sustainable debt relief, fair trade policies and a new world order guided by the UN” said Reichel.

Gender equality is also a long way from being established 10 years on from the World Social Summit and 4 years after the World Women’s Conference. And it has not even happened yet in the European Union and Germany, said Sabine Gürtner of NRO-Frauenforum. “Despite increased participation of women in education and the job market, women are still not equal when it comes to social and economic power. Despite women’s increased success in gaining jobs, there are still marked structures of inequality between men and women in the European job market” she continued.

Social Watch/World Social Forum is a network of 28 development and social political organisations. It was founded in the run-up to the World Social Forum for social development. Its goal is to monitor critically the implementation of social and development policies and decisions made at the major world conferences.