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.
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:
Speaking at the The World We Want People's Voices Series in New York on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, GCAP co-chair Marta Benavides called on all members of society to “work together to create the community of peoples and nations that we need.”
But first, she argued, the peoples of the North and South must recognise that modern poverty is rooted in the history of colonialism and exploitation.
“We need to decolonise the processes . . . I don't want a better world,” Benavides argues, “I want a different world order, but that can only happen if we have the Economic, Social and Cultural rights of people. People have dignity. We are not asking for handouts.”
World leaders must address "the current context of obscene inequality" if we are to truly eliminate poverty and create a life of dignity for all, as promised in recent reports by the UN Secretary-General and his High-Level Panel on Post-2015.
This was the key message of GCAP co-chair Amitabh Behar as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly during a 'special event' on the Millennium Development Goals organised by UNGA President John Ashe.
"We have enough for everybody's need, but not for everybody's greed," Behar told UN leaders, while making a reference to a famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi.
This is a video of the entire UN Roundtable session.
To watch Amitabh Behar's presentation, go to 2hr 39min 45sec into the stream.
Sona Devi has been to school. But she is an exception, one of the few 'matriculates' in her three million strong Musahar community. Sona Devi , who lives in a village in the Nawada district of Bihar, India, wanted to continue her education, but odds and barriers did not allow her to continue.
Acute malnutrition is common in Musahar communities and literacy rates are among the lowest in India (less than 10% for women, just 15% for men). The ground water in some villages is contaminated, crippling the inhabitants' bones. Mushahars are socially-excluded Dalits, who live primarily in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
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