MODULE 26 (continued)

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New Forms of Social Action

Taking international human rights instruments as their point of departure, several interna­tional NGOs have mobilized at local, national, and international levels to promote ESC rights in the context of economic globalization.20 Recent years have also witnessed some remark­able CSO initiatives, surmounting cultural, thematic and language barriers, building solidar­ity and successfully taking on powerful global institutions in the process.  These include:

The coalition in opposition to the MAI

This is the global coalition that developed to counter the MAI.  Over 650 CSOs and NGOs from 70 countries joined to steer a global campaign, using a variety of instruments, media, advocacy, alternative investment policies and treaties, and a range of collectively agreed upon strategies.  The "anti-MAI” coalition consists of environmental, development, human rights and church-based CSOs and NGOs, as well as local governments and parliamentari­ans.  While the MAI was being debated at the OECD, the coalition also sponsored national anti-MAI campaigns from more than half the OECD member countries and from a number of de­veloping nations. 

The coalition’s strength was acknowledged in the report (the Lalumière Report) prepared for the French government that led to its decision to withdraw from the MAI negotiations.21  The report refers to the surprise felt by the OECD member governments at the "scale, strength and the speed with which the opposition appeared and developed” and goes on to say:

The MAI thus marks a stage in international negotiations.  For the first time, one is seeing the emergence of a "global civil society” represented by NGOs that are often based in several states and communicate beyond their frontiers.  This evolution is doubtless irreversible.

The Lalumière report points to the Internet as a major source of power for the MAI opposi­tion.  The coalition’s members used e-mail to its maximum effect from the beginning of their campaign.  They used e-mail listserves and websites, created and maintained by NGOs, to maintain contact and share strategies, and to inform millions of people worldwide about the MAI negotiations.  Drafts of the text were circulated via the Internet, enabling large numbers of diverse groups to engage in critiques and analyses, which were then redistributed. 

The coalition is still vigilant, as the main provisions pushing financial liberalization are emerging at regional and international economic forums and treaty-making processes such as the IMF, FTAA, and WTO.

People’s Global Action

Another example of spirited global opposition to economic globalization is that of the Peo­ple’s Global Action (PGA).22  Over 300 representatives of people’s movements from 70 coun­tries met in February 1998 in Geneva to initiate an international popular movement against various aspects of globalization.  Uniquely, the PGA is primarily composed of social move­ments and people’s organizations such as the National Alliance of People’s Movements (In­dia), the National Zapatista Liberation Front (Mexico), the Landless Peasant Movement (Brazil), the Peasant Movement of the Philippines, and the Canadian Postal Union. 

This meeting resulted in a people’s manifesto against global "corporate rule” which argues that

the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and other institutions that promote globalization and liberalization want us to believe in the beneficial effects of global competition.  Their agreements and policies constitute direct violations of basic human rights (in­cluding civil, political, economic, social, labor and cultural rights) which are codi­fied in international law and many national constitutions, and ingrained in people’s under­standings of human dignity.23

During the second ministerial meeting of the WTO in May 1998, the PGA launched a series of coordinated protest actions across the world, including demonstrations in Geneva.  The resulting negative publicity has caused much concern within the WTO.  In May 1999 the PGA organized an InterContinental Caravan, which brought 500 Indian peasant farmers to Europe to protest before national parliaments, as well as before the WTO and multinational compa­nies and banks that are pushing for global free-market policies.  The PGA planned protest actions across the globe to coincide with the WTO Ministerial Conference held in Se­attle, Wash­ington, in the United States in November/December 1999.

International NGO Committee on Human Rights in Trade and Investment

Also worthy of mention is an alliance of development and human rights NGOs that formed the International NGO Committee on Human Rights in Trade and Investment (INCHRITI) in May 1998,24 with the express goal of ensuring that human rights are no longer ignored in in­ternational economic policy and practice.

Excerpts from INCHRITI’s policy statement were quoted above.  That statement also stresses the need for

alternative international investment and trade agreements and processes that would genuinely seek to ensure that international investment and trade regimes are fully consistent with international obligations arising from standards relating to human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development . . . 

and goes on to observe that

such alternative measures, promoting the establishment of an integrated international agenda, would serve to strengthen democratic control of capital flows and to stimulate investments and commerce that would benefit disadvantaged groups, especially women, children and vulnerable communities.

INCHRITI was instrumental in convincing the UN Sub-Commission to adopt the resolution on trade, investment and financial policy alluded to earlier.  In a press release on 21 October 1998, the NGO Committee stated:

We are convinced that if international economic policy initiatives (including the WTO agreements and rulings, the policy prescriptions and structural adjustment provisions of the IMF and the World Bank, and the MAI under negotiation at the OECD) were genuinely tested against existing international legal human rights and environmental obligations, the international economic policy environment would be dramatically different, as would the institutional architecture of the system. 

In August 1999 INCHRITI successfully advocated for the adoption of a path-breaking resolution on trade and human rights by the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.25

During the WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle, INCHRITI organized a day-long teach-in and a panel debate on the WTO and human rights.  It also released a book on human rights directions for the WTO.26

The Seattle event was a watershed for civil society actions build­ing upon the alliances that were forged in the campaign against the MAI.  Seattle saw a broad spectrum of civil society groups accept and adopt the lan­guage and principles of human rights as a counterbalance to neoliberal economics.  It marked the emergence of a coordinated NGO effort to use human rights principles and instruments both to assess the impact of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and as a framework to guide efforts to reform the global trading regime.27

The principal message of such groups is that a reformed international economic architecture must necessarily be built upon the foundation of explicit recognition of obligations stemming from the key human rights principles relating to self-determination, participation, non-discrimination, an adequate standard of living, food, housing, work and education as well as the specific rights of women, indigenous people and children.28 

Challenges Ahead

Although human rights offer a frame­work of principles on which to base opposition to the challenges posed by economic globalization, significant obstacles remain. 

Recasting the role of the state

Advocates of globalization, pushing for increased privatization and com­modification of all spheres of life, have maintained that the welfare state is not economically viable and that states need to "harmo­nize” their economic priorities with their "dependency-creating” social responsibilities.  Such visions have contributed significantly to states’ desperate search for better "economic indi­cators” that are divorced from better "social indicators.”   In addition, the proponents of eco­nomic globalization also argue that the state can no longer (in fact, need no longer) play a proactive role in terms of guaranteeing the ESC rights of its citizens; the private sector (na­tional and international) along with a vibrant NGO sector (primarily devel­opment and hu­manitarian agencies) can well handle these tasks. 

However, with the onset of economic globalization, much concern has been expressed by CSOs and NGOs about the withering away of the state.  Advocates of a strong state fear the bargaining away of state sovereignty under multilateral trade, investment, finance and intel­lectual-property agreements, and under the regimes of structural adjustment and debt repay­ment.  There are also cases of politicians and right-wing ideologues (often belonging to CSOs) using economic globalization as a scapegoat for all ills, or whipping up anti-imperial­ist sentiments and appealing to religious or ethnic identities to create a base for nationalistic policies on the economy, immigration and other matters.

It is critical to keep in mind that the struggle around globalization is not limited to blunting or reforming the forces of economic globalization, but also pertains to the recognition of exist­ing violations of ESC rights and the need to improve the conditions in which a significant part of humanity lives.29 The fundamental priority is to halt the worsening conditions that are directly linked to the growing disparity of wealth, whether due to the forces of economic globalization or to socially unjust policies at national levels.

Recently, the very voices that have in the past ardently advocated a "reduced” role for the state are now, in a dramatic overturn, calling urgently for it to recast its critical "regulatory” role.  These voices now want the state to be the arbiter, the protecting guardian for the social sectors against the ravages that are being wrought by an increasingly unbridled global eco­nomic system.  They include well-known economists like Jagdish Bhagwati and Joseph Sti­glitz, prominent businesspeople such as George Soros, and influential media or­gans includ­ing The Financial Times and The Economist.  What is needed, then, is to strengthen the state to stand up to the forces of globalization by reasserting its transformative role: not only to regulate but also to guarantee conditions for the sustenance and development of conditions that allow for the realization of human rights for all its residents. 

What should the role of the state be? And how should CSOs respond to state violations of human rights? Once again, existing human rights instruments offer the most precise and sen­sitive framework, obliging the state "first and foremost” to promote the human rights of the vulnerable sections of society and not to take any retrogressive steps (through policies, pro­grams and laws) that would further dispossess these groups or marginalize other sectors.  States have legal obligations to respect, promote, and protect human rights.  If they were to fulfill these obligations, then much of what passes as the global economic regime would be in violation of human rights.  While the state’s transformative role is being reasserted by CSOs and within parts of the UN system, it is also important to find ways and means to sustain and increase the space for human rights and development groups to collaborate with its more progressive elements.  This is perhaps the most promising means by which to strengthen the state, both to stand up to the deleterious forces of globalization, and to take advantage of the positive social benefits that can accrue from interacting with global institutions, legitimized by reference to international treaties, norms and standards. 

The need for a revitalized United Nations

If the international economic institutions are to be more accountable, then the United Nations has to play a central role and devise ways to create democratic structures (that include the participation of CSOs and NGOs) which will lead to the development of new multilateral treaties on trade, investment and finance.  This role is crucial, because all these issues have an impact on the social sphere. 

The perspective and specific duties required to perform this role are already contained in numerous international human rights instruments that, in the rush to push the "market” solution, have been cast aside.  Valuable provisions and guidance are offered not only in the international Covenants and Conventions, but also, for example, in the Declaration of Social Progress and Development, the Declaration and Programme of Action of a New International Economic Order, and the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States.

Various efforts were made in the 1980s to promote social justice in the process of economic liberalization and the growth of transnational corporations by agencies such as the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations (UNCTC) and the UN Fund for Economic Development (UNFED), and such initiatives as the New International Information Order (NIIO) and the New International Economic Order (NIEO).  However, these valuable efforts were systematically undermined by the proponents of wholesale liberalization. 

Subsequently, the UN has taken the lead in cautioning against unbridled liberalization and in highlighting the need to define the obligations of states and equip them to meet their commitments.  For instance, the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (PoA) confirmed that the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms is the first responsibility of governments, and that the human person is the central subject of development.  Similarly, the 1995 Copenhagen Declaration and PoA recommended that states should intervene in markets to prevent or counteract market failure, promote stability and long-term investment, ensure fair competition and ethical conduct, and harmonize economic and social development.

The development of a principled leadership within the UN is vital to counter three obstacles to the implementation human rights within the present context:

  • Currently, the effectiveness of the enforcement mechanisms of institutions such as the WTO and NAFTA is in stark contrast to the lack of attention given to developing similar mechanisms for the international human rights instruments. 
  • Secondly, a major obstacle to the development of human rights, particularly ESC rights, is the United States.  For example, in the 1998 UN General Assembly, the United States reneged on its endorsement of the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Pro­gramme of Action, and was the sole member state to vote against a resolution recog­nizing the right to development.  Ways need to be found to rein in US power. 
  • There is a need to restrain the UN Secretary-General’s enthusiastic embrace of the global business community, represented by groups such as the International Chamber of Commerce, which is composed of many of the most powerful TNCs and is hardly the partner that the UN needs if it is seeking to "promote and encourage re­spect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” as its Charter obliges it to do.30

To regain this leadership role it is imperative that the UN be part of the evolution of collabo­rative efforts with coalition of CSOs.  Such an initiative in one main area has already been taken by an alliance of CSOs including INCHRITI and the Transnational Resource and Ac­tion Center (TRAC).  This has led to the drafting of a Citizens Compact on the UN and Cor­porations that calls upon the UN not to subordinate its mission and values to commercial trade, investment and finance.31

Women and economic globalization

Perhaps the most neglected aspect of the social dimensions of trade, investment, and finan­cial policies and programs is their impact on women.

The principal and lasting impacts of a liberalized economy include ever fewer controls pro­tecting job security (for men as well as women), routine reductions in social expenditures, uncontrolled food prices due to the emphasis on agricultural export and the lack of protection for local food production and food security regimes, the absence of safety nets to prevent people from having to take up casual labor and carry out multiple jobs, and the failure to protect access to land and credit.  All these trends have an adverse impact on women.  For example, a recent study of women workers in the electronics industry in India reveals their gradual displacement from secure jobs:

There is a two-step process of restructuring.  The first step is casualisation of the workforce.  The next step is redundancy of the existing workforce and relocation of units to lower wage areas with a temporary workforce.  In fact, apart from transfer of jobs from permanent to temporary categories, companies also resorted to direct re­duction of workers.32

Lacking opportunities for education and training, women are less well equipped than men to deal with the challenges and complexities of international trade.  Their traditional reproduc­tive and child-rearing responsibilities reduce the time they can devote to earning a living.  The result is a reduction in household spending on education and health care.  The stress on "cash crops” for an export economy confines their access to land to marginal areas, which in turn curtails women’s capacity to carry out subsistence agriculture and crop production for local markets.  Combined with the fact that credit and extension services favor men, all these factors present obstacles to the productive role that women can play. 

A study from Ghana presented at the parallel NGO Forum to the 1998 WTO Ministerial Con­ference concluded:

Given women’s disadvantaged situation and family responsibilities, trade and WTO rules do not provide women with as much income generating opportunities as men; or worse, they undermine women’s trading activities and food production.  Less income for women means less expenditure on education and health care, less purchasing power and productivity, and more reproductive work in the households.  This moves the country away from raising standards of living and improving its production ca­pacity.33

Economic globalization has certainly brought about opportunities in the form of greater labor mobility.  This has allowed some women to choose between agriculture labor and paid em­ployment, and some studies suggest that women may sometimes prefer independent wage employment to the oppressive social structures and isolation in which they live as well as the arduous, often erratic agricultural labor on which they depend.  Of course, the objective working conditions are exploitative, as the jobs are gener­ally insecure, badly paid, and part-time, denying employ­ees their trade union rights, and exposing women to sex­ual harassment and other threats. 

Given the global economic sce­nario, without changes that are sensitive to women’s needs, the long-term prospects are bleak, because capital always seeks to reduce labor costs and to avoid stringent environmental and hu­man rights stan­dards.  This ap­proach is all too evident, for example, in the proliferating export processing zones (EPZs) that characterize economic globalization world­wide, and whose principal work force are young women.             

A major reason for the fail­ure of the global financial archi­tecture in achieving even a modi­cum of social progress for vulnerable so­cial sectors has been its fail­ure to take into account or even acknowledge the role that women play in every­day development activities.  It is critical, therefore, that all attempts to blunt the impact of economic globalization and to offer alterna­tive economic or legal frame­works recognize and develop bench­marks to assess to what ex­tent women’s role is being taken into account in "designing devel­opment.”  The few groups that have taken on the task of dis­aggregating the impact of eco­nomic globaliza­tion and its associated processes have of­fered a number of rec­ommen­dations that are useful starting points for further advocacy work to ensure gender-sensi­tive policymaking within the global trade, investment, and finance bodies (see below).

Opportunities and challenges facing CSOs

Only recently has it become clear that economic globalization offers opportunities to CSOs.  International campaigns for limits to economic globalization, such as the anti-MAI and Jubi­lee 2000 debt campaigns, have opened up the possibility for creating alliances across national boundaries.  These alliances are based on common values and objectives as well as a com­mon perception of the power of solidarity to halt, or at least gain time through delaying, po­tentially harmful international economic initiatives stemming from the economic institu­tions that drive globalization. 

One clear advantage of such collectivities is that they are informally linked and nonhierar­chical, and are organized around multiple focal points, each with its own program, structured around national campaigns, yet all coalescing into a formidable whole.  The transnational solidarity created by the collective opposition to economic globalization is bringing multiple benefits.  Formerly diffused initiatives have joined together to promote common causes, and local struggles have gained the confidence that comes from the knowledge of support from other CSO and NGO sources.  Activists should now look to develop strategies to counter lo­cal violations of ESC rights.  The horizontal and vertical solidarity that has been built from these transnational initiatives needs now to be harnessed to promote local change.

This creation of new political spaces, carved out by cross-border, transnational initiatives, nevertheless raises a number of questions that need deep reflection and action.  What is needed to sustain these collective transnational actions, campaigns and movements (proc­esses)?  What are the limits of such initiatives?  The human rights regime provides a suffi­cient approach and a set of organizing and intertwined principles to gain and sustain social justice, equality and democracy.  What steps are necessary to move towards a wider adop­tion of this approach and to enhance its effectiveness?  Can these forces continue to show positive results in the face of the simultaneous phenomena of fragmentation (often at the local levels) and integration inherent in globalizing processes?  Can these collectivities, which work from a basis of a multicentric world, constructively rival the traditional state-centric global sys­tem? What are the preconditions for these processes to reinforce local soli­darities to counter local violations of ESC rights stemming from exclusion, discrimina­tion and dispossession?

A cursory overview of the national and international actions taken to date by CSOs in con­fronting globalization, and a review of the opportunities and challenges in terms of existing and potential multilateral instruments within the economic globalization mold, reveal ac­tions and directions that must be pursued by CSOs if they are to remain relevant and true to the task of both countering and offering alternatives to the forces of economic globalization:


CSOs and NGOs need to know about and deal with the processes and institutions that are driving economic globalization-for example, the forces of financial liberalization-and seek relevant information from and collaborate with CSOs that are dealing with hitherto low-profile institutions such as the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the Inter­national Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO).34

North-South barriers need to be broken down.  The consequences of economic globaliza­tion show clearly that everyone is in the same boat and that transnational alliances are of benefit to all CSOs.  If anything, there is a need for far greater knowledge in the Third World coun­tries of the scale of poverty, material and cultural, existing and growing in the First and Sec­ond worlds.

Case study and analysis

Given the paucity of case studies which examine the impact of economic globalization on human rights and on the environment, there is an urgent need to develop appropriate meth­odology and research plans; search for available data, case studies and legal materi­als; ana­lyze and compile data into succinct case studies on the specific, verifiable effects of trade and investment treaties; and prepare and disseminate materials in plain language as well as tech­nical publications.  Such work needs to focus in particular on hitherto neglected issues such as the impact of economic globalization on women as well as on children, indigenous peo­ples and poor peasant farmers.  There is a need for disaggre­gated data from reviews of trade policy and rules, without which it is difficult fully to assess the different impacts of economic globalization on women and men. 

It is also important to collaborate, for instance in joint research activities, with "progres­sive” UN institutions that are seeking to counter economic globalization-United Nations Confer­ence on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), International Labour Organization (ILO)-and to suggest how the UN could play a more ac­tive role on economic issues, including through the formation of demo­cratic and representa­tive bodies to examine issues and draft instruments likely to have an impact on millions of impoverished people around the world.

Join alliances in solidarity work

One useful lesson from work done thus far is that it is important to keep breaking down the North-South barriers. This is critical to the formation of a global civil society.  Essen­tially, CSOs, particularly those working at the local level, must break loose from the iso­lationism that can mar local efforts and join national and transnational efforts to hold economic global­ization accountable to people’s processes.  Joining active global coali­tions, such as the anti-MAI coalition or the International NGO Committee on Trade and Investment, will bolster their strength and contribute to the growth of a movement towards the creation of a global civil society.

Social activists also need platforms where "horizontal” exchange can take place.  For exam­ple, it is far easier to get information on what struggles are being waged against the WTO in industrialized countries than to get this information from countries in the South.  This illus­trates the need within the South for more information-exchange, strategy sharing, and soli­darity building. 

Developing alternatives

Workers for human rights need to learn from, test and develop further alternatives.  It is im­portant, for exam­ple, to learn about, publicize and develop campaigns premised on valuable ideas such as the Tobin tax35 and the alternative agreement on investment proposed by some of the groups that are part of the global anti-MAI campaign.       

Some groups are also proposing alternative means of judging the human rights and envi­ron­mental impact of economic globalization forces such as TNCs. (See Module 25 for more in­formation on TNCs and ESC rights.)  Joining these forces and participating in efforts such as people’s tribunals like the Permanent People’s Tribunal, and the tri­bunal on TNCs and hu­man rights currently being planned, is a way to increase the accountability of the propo­nents of globalization.

In some countries, such as India, groups like Social Watch are proposing alternative eco­nomic surveys and alternative indicators and benchmarks to assess the state of the world’s people.  Social activists need to learn from, contribute to, and attempt similar exercises, par­ticularly at national levels.  (See Module 19 for more information on human rights bench­marks.)

Advocacy, intelligence and gaining new allies

Advocacy work aimed at global economic institutions, such as the WTO, NAFTA, and IMF, is critical to making these institutions democratic and sensitive to human rights, development and environmental concerns.  Use should be made of the space available for CSO participa­tion within the new mandate of the UN Sub-Commission for the Pro­motion and Protection of Human Rights. 

It is also important to call for the development of in-house capacity in gender analysis and to stress the need to mainstream gender analysis in all sectors within the purview of the IMF, WTO and NAFTA.  In the case of the latter two, it is equally vital to call for women’s par­ticipation in all negotiations and dispute resolution mechanisms, and more generally, to assist in tracking MAI-like provisions in emerging multilateral and regional economic instruments.

All advocacy work needs to push organizations such as the WTO to adopt human rights and environmental instruments as the basis of their work, and to respect the obligations placed upon states by these regimes.

It is also necessary for CSOs to make alliances with the new converts, such as the economists and media cited earlier, which until recently were in favor of reducing the role of the state and are now calling for it to play a regulatory role.

The role of the state

In addition to the points made on this earlier, there is a need to push states to act in accor­dance with their human rights obligations.  Specifically, governments should be called on to explain the adoption of any new obligations, such as many instruments that drive economic globaliza­tion, if they conflict with their existing ones.

At the national level, governments and multilateral institutions should be called on to en­sure that technical assistance is gender-sensitive and that it promotes the upgrading of technology and skills, including opportunities to acquire new skills, for women as well as for men.  Gov­ernments must also ensure the adequate flow of information and techno­logical transfer be­tween the North and the South, and between men and women, and must ensure that women have access to land and credit.36  To this can be added the need for women to have access and inheritance rights to housing and land.


The developing global economy urgently needs to be informed and guided by the principles and the imperatives inherent in the international human rights regime.  Conditions need to be created for the harmonization of international trade, investment and financial regimes with existing human rights obligations.  This would ultimately lead to the establishment of an in­tegrated international agenda, which would cover not merely agreements, policies and prac­tices in international trade and investment, but also (more importantly) international obliga­tions and standards relating to human rights, environmental protection and sustainable de­vel­opment.  Focusing merely on the former will only undermine the far more basic obliga­tions underscored by the latter. 

In order for this to happen, it is again the task of CSOs to hold international and regional economic actors accountable for respecting human rights as the primary basis for global eco­nomic policies and programs.  By establishing such an overarching framework, national gov­ernments can also be pushed in the same direction.  Engagement in social action for achiev­ing just and humane development involves such an all-encompassing approach, par­ticularly keeping in mind the well-being of the deprived and the oppressed. 

The struggle in which the marginalized and oppressed people and communities across the world are engaged is for the sovereignty (self-determination) of people and communities, beyond national borders, against the forces of economic globalization, using as their principal basis international instruments concerning human rights, the environment and development.  If economic globalization signifies a breaking down of national borders and controls, then the answer that is being given by civil society is also transnational, and inspired by fundamental human values based on the belief in solidarity and comradeship that is missing in the technology-driven, hierarchy-based system of economic globalization. 

The overriding challenge is to find ways of getting people to mobilize politically so that the ownership of the existing instruments and of the process of refining and developing them is democratized, and the states and the international economic agents and forums are held accountable for our human rights and our fundamental freedoms. 

Author: The author of this module is Miloon Kothari.



19. UN Doc. E/C.12/1999/9 (26 November 1999).

20. Two examples will serve as illustration:

Habitat International Coalition (HIC): Basing its work on the right to housing and land, HIC works through its three committees: housing and land rights, women and shelter, and housing and environment.  The coalition’s work proceeds from a holistic perspective, which seeks, through alliance building, training, use of the UN system, research and fact-finding, to coun­ter the negative effects of economic globalization through stressing the inviolability of the gaining and retaining of housing and land rights as essential to the realization of all human rights.
FoodFirst International Action Network (FIAN): A global coalition promoting the human right to feed oneself, FIAN works through national chapters and urgent actions against viola­tions of the right to food and land.  FIAN has been the principal force, in collaboration with CSOs and NGOs around the world, behind the drafting of a Code of Conduct on the Right to Food, following successful advocacy at the 1997 Rome Food Summit to get the right to food into the formal Declaration.  The Code contains particular provisions on the accountability of nonstate actors.

21. Lalumière Report, October 1998.  Report commissioned by the French government and pre­pared, after consultation with negotiators of the MAI and civil society representatives, by Member of the European Parliament Catherine Lalumière, Inspector General for Finance Jean-Pierre Landua, and Advisor at the Court of Auditors Emmanuel Glimet.

22.  Contact information for the People’s Global Action is as follows:
People’s Global Action, c/o Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), 377 Bank Street, Ot­tawa, Ontario, Canada; Website:; E-mail:

23. People’s Global Action Manifesto, People’s Global Action (PGA), February 1998.

24. The NGO Committee includes Habitat International Coalition, the People’s Decade on Human Rights Education, Lutheran World Federation, the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defence of Women’s Rights, Youth for Unity of Voluntary Action, the Centre for Equality in Rights and Accommodation, and the Mazingira Institute.  Contact information for INCHRITI is: c/o HIC, Secretariat, B-28 Nizamuddin East, New Delhi-110 013, India; E-mail:

25.  Note 18 above.

26. See M. Mehra, ed. Human Rights and Economic Globalisation: Directions for the WTO (London: Global Publications Foundation and International NGO Committee on Human Rights in Trade and Investment, November 1999).

27. For a discussion on the benefits from the Seattle event for CSOs, see Miloon Kothari and Peter Prove, "The WTO’s 3rd Ministerial Conference: Negative Impressions Mask Positive Develop­ments in Seattle,” Human Rights Tribune, 6, no. 4 (December 1999).

28. Space does not permit a summary of other initiatives against economic globalization. Over the past two years, however, it is clear that at national, regional, and international levels numerous initiatives have been taken which point towards a nascent movement of counterglobalization led by CSOs and NGOs.  See, for example, the work of the Third World Network (Malaysia), Public Citizens Centre (USA), Polaris Institute (Canada), Focus on the Global South (Thailand), Infor­mal Working Group on Gender and Trade (Sweden), National Alliance of People’s Movements (India), ATAC (France), and the Jubilee 2000 Debt Campaign (UK), among many others.

29. See, for example, HDR 1997, note 3 above, which calculates a series of measures, comprising the Human Poverty Index, against which countries are annually ranked. They include the prevalence of illiteracy, life expectancy, degree of malnourishment, and access to health services and safe water. In 1996 over one billion people fell below this index, a figure reflecting a deteriorating po­sition in thirty countries.  

30. For an up-to-date survey of the emerging partnerships between the UN and TNCs, see Miloon Kothari and Peter Prove, "The UN and Big Business: In Whose Interest?” in Human Rights Trib­une 6, no. 3 (September 1999).

31. For the text of the Citizens Compact and for supporting endorsement and campaigning material, see the website of TRAC:

32. Amrita Chachchi, "The New Labour Market,” quoted in Bharat Dogra, "Women Are Shouldering the Burden of Liberalisation in India,” InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS), 7 December 1998.

33. Informal Working Group on Gender and Trade, "The Need for a Gender Analysis of the WTO: Ghana Case Study,” leaflet distributed during the WTO Ministerial Conference, Geneva 1998.

34. For a useful discussion on this issue and other ideas for action from CSOs, see Kavaljit Singh, "New Challenges for People’s Movement,” Mainstream, 12 December 1998.

35. The Tobin tax is named after the economist and Nobel Prize laureate, James Tobin.  He proposed a low-rate uniform tax on transboundary financial transactions.  This tax on short-term specula­tive investment flows could, if applied, raise several hundred billion dollars a year that could be used for development purposes.

36. Trade Myths and Gender Reality: Trade Liberalisation and Women’s Lives, ed. Angela Hale.  (Uppsala: Global Publications Foundation and International Coalition for Development Action, 1998)

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