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20 october 2005

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CSOs statement on G20 meeting september 9-10 Pakistan

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the colombo declaration



CIVIL SOCIETY DECLARATION ON THE G-20 MINSITERIAL MEETING AT BHURBAN - PAKISTAN
September 9-10, 2005


We, the representatives of farming communities, social movements and the civil society organizations in Pakistan, are gathered here in Bhurban to demonstrate our solidarity with the G-20 and express our concerns and demands about WTO Agreement on Agriculture.

We welcome the honorable delegates of the G-20 Ministerial Meeting being held at Bhurban from September 8 to10, 2005. This meeting is taking place at a crucial point in time when only three months are left for the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting and there is no tangible movement in the Doha Round negotiations so far. We hereby adopt the following resolution and place it before the G-20 Ministerial Meeting for its record and consideration.

Aware that the G-20 has emerged as an influential group within the WTO and the emergence of the G-20 has raised the hopes for a better deal for the Third World;

Aware that since there was no first approximation in July 2005, the rich countries and forces within WTO would certainly rush to achieve the first approximation in October General Council and a successive agreement in Hong Kong;

Aware that there will be a new wave of informal, exclusive and non-transparent meetings in and outside the WTO.

Aware that such practices would undermine the capacity of poor countries to fully engage in the negotiation process;

Aware that consumers in the developing countries lose as a result of trade practices such as subsidized dumping by Northern producers which causes immense turbulence in Southern food markets and undermines local food production;

Aware that WTO policies also harm the non-farming indigenous communities which still depend on commons, pastures, forests and natural waters for their livelihoods and cultures. The WTO-backed extended agriculture in fact encroaches upon the livelihoods of these communities like Kihals (riverine community) and Musalis (desert community) in Pakistan;

We recognize that Agreement on the Agriculture (AoA) has two fundamental problems: First, it does not differentiate between the structural characteristics of the agriculture system of rich countries and that of the poor countries despite significant differences between the two. For instance, majority of population in poor countries (70%) is engaged in agriculture as against only 3% in rich countries. Majority of the poor countries have subsistence agriculture system compare to the commercial and market oriented agriculture system in rich countries. Second, it contains implementations related loopholes that enabled rich countries to increase the subsidies by 9 percent after 1995 instead of reduction in subsidies.

We therefore believe that poor countries should avail this opportunity of AoA Review to rectify and overcome these fundamental problems; We accordingly urge the G-20 to reject the aforementioned WTO negotiations package that contains, inter alia, the following anti-development elements:

a) The expansion of Blue Box
b) �Sensitive Products� for rich countries
c) The conditions for the elimination of export subsidies


We urge the G-20 to categorically reject the current anti-development package and to undertake necessary efforts to bring a TRUE DEVELOPMENT agenda on the negotiation table that must include the following:
  • Immediate end of trade distorting domestic subsidies
  • Immediate end of export subsidies and export credits in a way that the national reform programs in the rich countries do not impede the elimination of export subsidies
  • A substantial numbers of special products and special safeguard mechanisms to be treated according to the situation of the respective poor countries
  • Green box review to eliminate all trade distorting parts of subsidies
  • Elimination of blue box
  • Elimination of tariff peaks and tariff escalation

We further urge the G-20, as the leaders of developing countries, not to accept any agreement on agriculture that misses out the above-listed critical points;

We emphatically demand that the G-20 should strengthen its relationship with other groups such as G-90, G33 and the LDCs since the rich countries would certainly try to continue their strategy of divide and rule the poor countries in order to strike an unfair deal;

We specifically demand that India and Brazil should leave the FIPs (Five Interested Parties) and take side with the farmers of the poor countries. The July 2004 Framework transpires that the exclusive processes such as green rooms, mini-ministerial meetings and FIPs do not yield pro-development elements;

We strongly urge that G-20 should learn from past experiences and must not accept any deal that compromises the interests of poor communities. The EU and the US are likely to strike an informal or formal deal on agriculture (like Blair House in Uruguay Round and Joint Agriculture Statement before Cancun) to impose on other member of WTO before the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting;

We urge the G-20 that it should reject demands of rich countries to compromise on NAMA and GATS in response to reduction in subsidies and tariffs. In fact, poor countries had already agreed on TRIPs and Services during Uruguay Round in response to the promises of subsidies and tariff reduction in rich countries. Such hopes however never materialized;

We urge the G-20 to also realize their responsibility to represent the vulnerable communities of their countries, such as small farmers and farm workers, in the Doha Round negotiations rather than only taking care of interests of the agri-business;

Hence, we call upon the G-20 to build defensive as well as offensive strategies that seek to promote the interests of vulnerable communities of the poor countries and to further strengthen the unity and solidarity among the poor nations. The South Asian Parliamentarians also demanded this during the recently held South Asian Parliamentarians Forum on WTO in Islamabad � Pakistan;

We sincerely appreciate the openness of the G-20 to civil society organizations. Some of the organizations present here have had the opportunity of meeting the Ministers of G-20 in Sao Paulo (June 2004) and in Delhi (March 2005). We earnestly hope and expect the continuation of this positive and constructive practice in future as well.

Finally, we would like to avail this opportunity to convey our thanks to the G-20 for providing us the time and space to express our concerns and positions.

In Solidarity!

  1. WTO Watch Group – Pakistan
  2. Sustainable Agriculture Action Group – Pakistan
  3. ActionAid International
  4. Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) – Pakistan
  5. Sungi Development Foundation – Pakistan
  6. TheNetwork for Consumer Protection – Pakistan
  7. Oxfam GB – Pakistan
  8. Roots for Equity – Pakistan
  9. Shirkat Gah – Pakistan
  10. Green Circle Organization – Pakistan
  11. South Asia Partnership-Pak – Pakistan
  12. Labor Party of Pakistan
  13. Kissan Bachao Tahreek – Pakistan
  14. Caritas – Pakistan
  15. Lok Sanjh – Pakistan
  16. Society for Alternative Media and Research – Pakistan
  17. Pakistan Kissan Ittehad – Pakistan
  18. Damaan Development Organization – Pakistan
  19. Pattan Development Organizaton – Pakistan
  20. Farmer’s Vision Forum – Pakistan
  21. Soon Valley Development Program – Pakistan
  22. SCOPE – Pakistan
  23. Aurat Foundation – Pakistan
  24. Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research – Pakistan
  25. Khahori Sindh Rural Development Organization – Pakistan
  26. Roshan Khayal Zamindar Tanzeem – Pakistan
  27. Hari forum – Pakistan
  28. Azad Hari Union – Pakistan
  29. Hari Mazdoor Union – Pakistan
  30. Goth Singhar Foundation – Pakistan
  31. Hari Hamdard Sangat – Pakistan
  32. Sabzi Abadgar Welfare Association – Pakistan
  33. Tharparkar Hari Mazdoor Tanzeem – Pakistan
  34. Council for Social Development – Pakistan
  35. Sujag Welfare Society – Pakistan
  36. Ujala Development Forum – Pakistan
  37. Anjuman Behbood-e- Khawateen – Pakistan
  38. Sawera Foundation – Pakistan
  39. Sachi Sooch – Pakistan
  40. Ehsas – Pakistan
  41. Youth Welfare Council – Pakistan
  42. Anjuman Tarqi Huqooq-e- Niswan – Pakistan
  43. Anjuman Tahfuz-e- Khawateen – Pakistan
  44. Sanjhi Sooch – Pakistan
  45. Farmers community – Pakistan
  46. Ideal welfare society – Pakistan
  47. Thal Development Society – Pakistan
  48. Be-Was Kissan Committee – Pakistan
  49. Ameer Foundation – Pakistan
  50. Farmers Development Foundation – Pakistan
  51. Community Development Organization – Pakistan
  52. Ittehad Kashistkaran – Pakistan
  53. Kissan Development Forcum – Pakistan
  54. Hari Kissan Ittehad Mastung – Pakistan
  55. Green Society – Pakistan
  56. Health & Rural Development – Pakistan
  57. Village Shad Abad Welfare Organization – Pakistan
  58. Human Development Center – Pakistan
  59. Fisherfolk Forum – Pakistan
  60. Khwendo Kor – Pakistan
  61. Pakistan Welfare Society – Pakistan
  62. Human Resource Management & Development Center – Pakistan
  63. Badin Rural Development Society – Pakistan
  64. Information Resource Center – Pakistan
  65. Participatory Development Initiatives – Pakistan
  66. Information Resource Center – Pakistan
  67. Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights – Pakistan
  68. Participatory Development Initiatives – Pakistan
  69. Awaz CDS – Pakistan
  70. Village Friends Organization – Pakistan
  71. Akash Social Rural Development Program – Pakistan
  72. Centre for Sustainable Development – Bangladesh
  73. Pro Public – Nepal
  74. South Asian Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment – Nepal
  75. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development – Thailand
  76. ATTAC – Japan
  77. Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology – India
  78. National Working Group on Patent Laws – India
  79. Centre for Study of Global Trade System and Development – India
  80. PKMP - Congress of Workers' Unity , Philippines
  81. BPMP - National Alliance of Progressive Peasants in the Philippines , Philippines
  82. Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF) – France
  83. Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development ( APWLD)