A Director of Third World Network (TWN) International, Geneva, Mr Martin Khor, has predicted global turbulence in the economic and financial structures of developing countries if the right response is not found to the current financial crisis in the United States (US).
He charged civil society organisations to find the right response to the global financial crunch or risk the little development gained so far.
Mr Khor was speaking at a civil society forum opened in Accra yesterday, prior to the 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to be held in Accra from April 20 to 25, 2008.
The forum is to forge a common agenda for trade and development sensitive to the development challenges of developing countries.
Convened by the Third World Network (TWN), Ghana, it drew participation from local and international advocacy and civil society organisations.
Mr Khor stressed that currently, for most people, the most important thing was to have a livelihood in a clean environment with enough natural resources, such as water and land.
That, he said, had been eroded by the global economic interventions pushed by the Bretton Woods Institutions.
He, therefore, urged civil society organisations and other advocacy groups to lead a democratisation process that did away with the global inequalities and injustices.
A member of the local organising committee of the civil society forum and Co-ordinator of TWN, Ghana, Dr Yao Graham, in an overview of the issues to be discussed, mentioned the scale and effect of the financial crisis in the US on developing countries, the sustained high prices of some primary commodities that had led to tremendous growth in the oils and minerals sector and corporate organisations but none in the countries where these commodities were extracted, and the erosions of the influence of UNCTAD in research and alternatives to mainstream development agenda.
He listed the effects of global liberalisation policy, advocated for by the Bretton Woods Institutions, as the spiralling food prices, urban under employment and unemployment as well as the erosion to countries capacities to follow a development plan well adapted to their peculiar situation.
He pointed out that while there had been tremendous growth in export of some primary commodities over the years, attention had not been paid to the expansion of the food crops sector of most developing countries, hence their current detriment.
Dr Graham said UNCTAD had since its inception given the opportunity for interventions that had been of concern to various development advocacy groups, but that opportunity was a target of assault by international corporate organisations, governments and the Bretton Woods Institutions, who profit from the current global arrangement.
He expressed the hope that the discussions would be fruitful and present a cogent front for policies that would correct the global injustices negatively impacting developing countries.
The General Secretary of the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Mr Kingsley Ofei Nkansah, said the civilised world today stood accused, as in the face of massive growth, there was deepening poverty and squalor.
He said the growth being experienced currently through information technologies and technological innovations was just enjoyed by a few while the majority of the world’s population was deprived.
Mr Nkansah challenged advocacy groups to lead the campaign to redress that situation.
Other representatives from Action Aid, OXFAM and an advocacy group, REBRIP from Brazil, as well as participants, were unanimous in their submissions for a common front to fight the negative impact of globalisation.
DAILY GRAPHIC, FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008, PG 31