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BRICS: The Club in the Club

The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – risk losing their international credibility if they don't behave as responsible donors, writes GCAP Russia co-chair Vitaliy Kartamyshev.

These five countries produce about 20% of the world's economic output and account for a growing percentage of official development assistance. But it's clear that the BRIC have “fewer scruples” about how this aid impacts human rights, democracy, women and ethnic minorities.

At a minimum, the BRICS should adopt a set of guiding principles to ensure that they do not uphold political regimes that impoverish communities, exploit natural resources and undermine the development prospects of recipient countries.

In an article originally published by the Heinrich Boell Foundation as part of a series of G20 updates, Kartamyshev also argues that decisions by the BRICS, G20, G8 and other such clubs are poorly understood by the country's citizens and even the media. Civil society networks and movements have a role to play here – through education and adding to the political discourse.

The Uruguayan Experience - A Letter to Civil Society and the UN

At a time when inequality is growing across the globe, Uruguay has managed to dramatically reduce poverty and inequality over the past decade.  It now has the most equal income distribution in Latin America.

The country is also working to generate 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.

Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio writes that the Uruguayan experience shows that "there are, indeed, viable alternatives to the classical neoliberal formulas" which can be models for the Post-2015 agenda.

Following the 2002 economic crisis, Uruguay chose not to follow the austerity path recommended by multilateral institutions and instead promoted decent work and a social safety net through

  • emergency cash transfers
  • active state participation in the economy to promote growth
  • collective bargaining that led to salary increases and
  • enforcing labour rights for rural and domestic workers.

Instead of repelling investors, Uruguay's Labour Minister told a recent global gathering of civil society activists in Montevideo that the policies boosted economic growth and coincided with a peak in foreign greenfield investment.

Building Post-2015 from the Grassroots

Despite lip service and some efforts to the contrary, international organisations and campaigners rarely manage to really build an agenda from the grassroots.

That's the conclusion of veteran activist Olivier Consolo, a GCAP supporter who served as the director of the European NGO confederation CONCORD from 2003 - 2013.

"We mainly encourage local movements and organisations to input our own international agenda or to join our global campaign . . . it is unlikely that we propose to local leaders and movements to support their processes or to co-build joint action."

Instead, as we work on the Post-2015 agenda, Consolo proposes an alternative course . . .

First, we must make explicit two important assumptions:

Remembering MLK: We Have A Dream . . . That We Will Make A Reality

Martin Luther King Jr., the heralded minister who was born 85 years ago today and led the United States's civil rights movement until he was assassinated in 1968, is most remembered for his non-violent fight against racism.
 
"I have a dream," MLK told over 250,000 supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, "that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character."
 
But Martin Luther King Jr. was also a powerful voice for peace and against poverty.
 
"Just as nonviolence exposed the ugliness of racial injustice," King said upon accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, "so must the infection and sickness of poverty be exposed and healed - not only its symptoms but its basic causes."
 
 
In a sermon entitled "Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution", given at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

GCAP Celebrates Sylvia Borren

A committed and passionate activist, GCAP celebrates the work and contributions of Sylvia Borren, who has stepped down as co-chair of the GCAP Global Council and chair of the GCAP Foundation.

While Sylvia no longer holds an official position with GCAP, we know that she will continue to accompany us, in all ways, always.

Watch Sylvia speak at the 2010 Stand Up Take Action rally in New York:

 

 

Open Working Group Side Event: "Implementing a Just, Inclusive, Equal and Sustainable Development Agenda"

Human development is not a contested idea. But how do we achieve it? What are the metrics and indicators? These key questions are once again being brought to the forefront as the UN General Assembly's 'Open Working Group' meets in New York to develop a set of “Sustainable Development Goals”.

GCAP – in collaboration with Wada na Todo Abhiyan and the Feminist Task Force – is working to ensure that southern voices and perspectives shape the SDGs and Post-2015 development agenda.

  

The SDGs and Post-2015 development agenda must go beyond 'mere necessities' and focus on justice, equality, freedom and participation.

The FTF, GCAP and WNTA are highlighting perspectives from the Global South at an Open Working Group side event entitled, Implementing a Just, Inclusive, Equal and Sustainable Development Agenda”.

Please also join the Inequalities e-conversation at www.worldwewant2015.org.

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GCAP's New Leadership!

Acclaimed rights activists from El Salvador, India and Uganda have been elected to serve as co-chairs of GCAP's Global Council and help lead the world's largest civil society network focused on inequality and poverty eradication.

Richard Ssewakiryanga - executive director of a large NGO forum, chairperson of the Uganda Land Alliance and president of the East Africa Civil Society Forum – was elected to his first term as co-chair by acclamation at the GCAP Global Assembly in Johannesburg.

Amitabh Behar, convenor of India's Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, and Marta Benavides, an outspoken advocate for people and planet, were re-elected at the assembly to serve second terms.

Mandela, The Loss of a Great Hero - Reflections by Marta Benavides

By Marta Benavides, GCAP co-chair

We know that Mandela – Madiba as he was called in his beloved country - is alive in all that we do, in the way we decide to live, lives dedicated to the well being of all and the care of Mother Earth.

His soft and tender smile, the peaceful semblance of his face, are here to stay, as we walk the paths we are called to walk, if we choose to live them in the way he did - in humbleness, in the magnificent magnanimity of caring deeply, intentionally and sincerely.