The Intersecting and interlocking challenges

In her introductory comments to the first plenary of the Civil Society Forum at the LDC5 Summit, Gita Sen, General Co-coordinator for Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) summarized civil society interventions at the opening session, noting that these “set the tone for the seriousness of the challenges LDCs face and the Global South more generally”. Of what we were told, she highlighted the following:

  • “Jane Nalunga, from SEATINI, about the extractivist model of development and global trade and financing rules that run counter to the human rights basis of the Doha Programme of Action.”
  • “Details about “how legal and institutional frameworks actually support that extractivism. How, for every one dollar received in LDCs, three dollars leave. The speaker called it “the minus two problem”. We heard about the challenges to food sovereignty and sustainability, which are increasingly being pushed to depend on big tech. But in fact, extractivist agriculture is not the answer. In fact, we need more agro-ecological production by millions of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, hunter-gatherers to be supported and promoted.”
  • “Reminders that States need to build not only productive capacity, which African countries are always being told to do, but also the trust of their people. And that depends on sustained support, consistent support for human rights, and such things as social protection. And workers’ rights, whether the workers are paid or not.
  • “Warnings from our speaker from Rwanda that the SDGs cannot be built on a house of sand. Carbon colonialism, as a product of ‘green capitalism’ is not the answer to the climate problem and the biodiversity crisis that we face today.”
  • And “how, thanks to the rapid transformations in digital technology, precariousness of work and the conditions of workers is being normalized. Data from poorer countries is being grabbed. And the dangers of the global technology compact that is being pushed by various powers that be.”

Sen identified the underlying basis of these challenges, which are “intersecting, interlocking and have a common basis: the huge power of private corporations and the support that governments provide to advance those corporate interests through global institutions and governance to the detriment of human rights, social justice and economic justice”.

For the most disadvantaged, multiple, and interlocking crises are the crises “of food, of debt, of collapsing economies, of biodiversity and climate, of health and a pandemic that has not really ended, and on the other hand, of conflicts of rising social and economic inequality, of the growing power of private corporations, unfettered by adequate accountability”.

See more about the LDC5 Civil Society Forum (Doha, Qatar, from 4 to 9 March 2023) here.

Note: This summary is based on notes and recordings. It has been edited for clarity and conciseness; subtitles emphasis and clarifications were added. Karen Judd contributed to the final editing.

Gita Sen, General Co-coordinator for Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)