SOCIAL WATCH E-NEWSLETTER - Issue 4 - June, 2009

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Issue 4
June, 2009



Social Watch >>

Social Watch E-Newsletter
Coordinator: Jana Silverman
Editor: Amir Hamed
Translation: Soledad Bervejillo, Emilie Jung

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This e-bulletin has been produced with the assistance of the European Union.  The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Social Watch and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.



June 2009

  • 15-17 June: Eurodad International Conference, Barcelona, Spain, website
  • 20 June: Peoples´ Voices on the Crisis, New York, website

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One step forward

by Roberto Bissio

The Paris Ministerial Meeting of the Leading Group on Innovative Finances for Development, has recently mandated a study group to determine the feasibility of creating a currency transaction levy. This is a step forward but much remains to be done: for this idea to become a reality, it is necessary that Finance ministers find the way to implement what the Foreign ministers agree upon. As presidents and Prime Ministers must intervene when cabinet officials cannot find agreement, it is crucial that all countries are represented at the highest level in the UN Conference on the crisis later this June.

The idea of creating a currency transaction levy to generate additional funding for development was given a major push last friday, May 29 in Paris, when the ministerial meeting of the Lleading Group on Innovative Finances for Development decided to mandate a study group to determine its feasibility. The idea was also mentioned for the first time as worth while studying by the high level task force on innovative financing of health systems, co-chaired by British prime minister Gordon Brown and World Bank president Robert Zoellick. The composition of the study group was left open and many countries will confirm their joining in the coming days, but it is certain that Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France and Norway will be part of it.”

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SPOTLIGHT ON….. SW National Coalition

Spotlight On…. Social Watch Benin

This month´s “Spotlight On…” column will profile Social Watch Benin, currently one of the most vibrant groups of Watchers in francophone Africa. As a signal of its success, the Beninese coalition was featured as one of the case studies in the new Social Watch publication “Learning from Successful Experiences”, and in addition will play host to the next meeting of the Social Watch Coordinating Committee, programmed for July 17-19 in Cotonou.



Social Watch Brings to the Fore “Peoples´ Voices on the Crisis”
In order to bridge the Conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impacts on Development to be held in New York this June with civil society leaders, Social Watch and a broad-based coalition of civil society organizations and networks is organizing “Peoples´ Voices on the Crisis”, an event to showcase the human and environmental impacts of the crisis and try to ensure that solutions to the crisis are built upon the principles of respect for human rights and the promotion of environmental sustainability.

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Rich countries, poor countries (and the W-8)
The agenda of this year’s G-8 meeting is expected to be topped by the global crisis. In order to dramatize the need for more aid in education and health in the developing countries, OXFAM has organized the W-8: eight women leaders from developing countries, including the Philippines, were chosen as OXFAM ambassadors. The W-8 will be linking the Social Watch Philippines’ campaign and the Alternative Budget Initiative to the global campaign for more resources for essential services.

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UN Framework on Businesses and Human Rights Aims to “Protect, Respect, and Remedy”
The double discourse of many companies with respect to human rights have led civil society organizations from around the world to demand a more clear-cut set of rules regarding the legal and ethical obligations of companies. Prof. John Ruggie, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, has elaborated a report which establishes a framework urging States to adopt more coherent policies with respect to rights. Social Watch will continue to monitor and collaborate in the initiatives of the Special Representative so that a rights-based approach to business can be transformed into a concrete reality.

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New  publication highlights best practices of Social Watch national coalitions
Learning from Successful Experiences – Summary of the Analysis of Four Case Studies from the Social Watch National Coalitions, a qualitative study of successful factors and best practices of four different Social Watch coalitions, is now available on the Social Watch website. This publication was developed as part of the European-Union funded project “Promoting Social Development – Building Capacities of Social Watch Coalitions”, and aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences, know-how transfer and capacity-building of national groups within the global Social Watch network. In particular, the study analyses the history, structure, and initiatives of the Social Watch coalitions in Benin, Brazil, Germany and the Philippines, taking into account five key aspects related to the relevance, efficiency and sustainability, effectiveness, strategy and impact, and coherence of these coalitions and their work. The report’s findings conclude that trust, flexibility, mutual respect, and a strong commitment to common objectives are important factors related to the success and sustainability of Social Watch national coalitions, and that these coalitions work best when they do not duplicate the work of the member organizations, but instead provide a broad-based platform for the shaping of new initiatives related to the promotion of public policy aimed at ending poverty and gender discrimination.
To download the report, click here:

First UNCTAD public symposium concluded with a call for a way out of the global economic downturn
The UNCTAD public symposium, “The global financial crisis and development: The way forward”, which took place from May 18-19 in Geneva, finalized with a call for an inclusive response to the crisis that will reform the international financial system, protect developing countries and the poor, and create decent jobs. UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi commented about the symposium and the participation of the poor countries on it,“These matters are so often discussed at the global level, by the powerful. The innocent bystanders should be heard from”.
The contributions of the symposium participants are available
More information and press material.

International campaign of the International Labour Organization towards gender equality
To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the ILO, and the 10th anniversary of its gender equality action plan, this international organization has launched an international campaign towards gender equality in the world of work.
Among other goals, the campaign intends to “promote the ratification and application of key ILO gender equality labour standards”as also to “highlight the specific linkages between gender equality and securing decent work for all women and men”.
This campaign has special relevance as it is being undertaken on the same year that the International Labour Conference, which will take place from June 3rd-19th in Geneva, will hold a general discussion on “Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent Work.”
For more information on the campaign