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Webinar on Healthcare: The concept of “Common”, towards a social, economic and ecological democracy

22. Mai 2020 - 17:39
Body: The common goods' point of view seems to be a particularly useful and profitable one for understanding the crisis of the pandemic, both on the health and on the economic and social aspect. It would also, and above all, enable the definition of the answers to get out of this crisis, identifying the forms of a new economic and social model. The first element that appears decisive is undoubtedly the health system. The role of the public in addressing the crisis is a fact acquired for both the general public opinion and for the economic and political elites themselves. However, only through the role of democratic control of health as a common good, it is possible to prevent a return of the logic of market and privatization process which have demonstrated weakness in dealing with the situation After decades of cuts in healthcare spending and of TINA (There Is Not Alternative) in which the collective interest was denied, the pandemic offers us the opportunity to question this mantra and impose political choices in favor of the well-being of citizens and communities. Starting from the point of view of common goods also means including the terrain of social conflict, without which no result is possible. Every social conquest is the result of the mobilization and fight, the conception of common goods must be able to include and promote this aspect, in order to advance the change in the current economic paradigm. Another dimension that the webinar intends to focus on is the dimension of the crisis of globalism that the pandemic highlights. The only antidote to xenophobic and reactionary nationalism that this crisis could be promoted in each country, is an international response of solidarity and satisfaction of the needs and interests of people at the expense of the interests of multinationals and finance, reinforcing the democratic participation and "using" the solidarity experience we have seen during the crisis. List of Speakers: - Marisa Matias, Member of European Parliament, GUE/NGL - Nicoletta Dentico, Society for International Development, Geneva Global Health Hub - Sangeeta Shashikant, ThirdWorldnetwork, Expert on Big Pharma, London Coord. Birgit Daiber   Link for registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Ll5hxQCoT16raWUwHBCJCg     After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar Image: Promoted: Introduction: On Monday 25 May at 3pm (CET) Transform Europe is launching its 2nd Webinar on Healthcare as a Commons to bring in a multidimensional analysis of crisis exposed by the pandemic. The session will focus on the health system as a common good and the fight against big Pharma with special regard to Europe.

Feminist Response to COVID-19: an online repository to strengthen solidarity

8. Mai 2020 - 10:15
Body:  Feminist organizations and activists have been very dynamic reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic and providing their own analysis through gender and intersectional perspectives, as well as shedding light on the inequalities impacting women and LGBTQA+ people during the on-going health crisis.  COVID-19 has exacerbated the gendered aspect of inequalities, placing women at the front line of healthcare systems maintenance, while being less able to participate in decision-making processes concerning their own needs and situation. In fact, women often represents the great majority of health workers. In countries heavily impacted by the current pandemic, such as China or France, women represents 90% of nurses in hospitals. Furthermore, while unfair division of labor inside households increases women’s care work and tend to make them more exposed to the virus, policy responses to guaranteeing the continuity and security of sexual and reproductive rights or to prevent domestic violence continue to be largely disregarded.  In late February, the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW),  working towards the achievement of gender equality in the realization of the 2030 Agenda, was cancelled. In their blog, the activists Emilia Reyes and Bridget Burns points out that « for these groups of feminists, in addition to local and national concerns, a void in multilateral efforts to address the crisis posed a clear risk for the effectiveness of the responses ». They called for a collective response from the feminists movements to tackle the challenge of bringing a comprehensive, intersectional response to the COVID-19 at global level.  As part of this effort, feminist organizations and activists, working across global movements centered on human rights, sustainable development, and economic and social justice have come together in a moment of collective organizing to outline key principles for a just and resilient recovery from the ongoing global pandemic, as well as to track responses and uplift collective action of feminists around the world.  In this sense, the « Feminist response to COVID-19 » website was launched to gather inputs facilitating the coordination among feminist groups and activists that are directly facing the crisis on the ground, but also as a starting point to map out possible scenarios and strategies for the long-term response from policy decision-makers. The dynamic team of 25 volunteer that is fueling the website on a weekly basis by having identified a set of principles that emerged from the movements and cross-cutting human right’s aspects. Moreover, the website was provided with a Response Tracker section gathering several exemples of policy-response to the COVID-19 affecting women and LGBTQA+ people; as well as both Online Dialogue and Resource sections that aims to relay diverse informations such as feminist fundings, calls to actions, resourcing, political analysis… In the coming weeks, a public facing form will allow for individuals to upload information and analysis which, so far,  have been omitted. The website brings a real platform for scaling up the feminist perspective into COVID-19 policy responses, bringing a reflection on the sense of care, its place in society and the redefinition of ‘essential work’, at the intersection of political, economic and gender inequalities.    Image: Promoted: Introduction: Feminists across organizations and movements centered on human rights, sustainable development, economic and social justice came together to launch http://www.feministcovidresponse.com/, a volunteer online data repository of information on feminist principles and actions, as well as policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis. 

COVID-19 response and the climate crisis: people and planet first!  

4. Mai 2020 - 9:58
Body: As the health crisis ask extraordinary measures from States and international institutions, the financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic will also require exceptional measures to mitigate the impacts of the shutdown of our economies. While the pandemic crisis and the series of responses taken exacerbate the already existing inequalities within countries, affecting disproportionately the most marginalized by the system, the post-Covid economic recovery must not be climate-blind. For this reason,45 NGOs and think-tanks have sent a letter to ECB President Christine Lagarde on April 30 to call for remembering that the health and economic crisis came at a time of climate crisis too, « and we cannot address one crisis while ignoring the other». Indeed, as the Covid-19 crisis unfolds, the ECB’s financial strategy is being changed to the detriment of green investments. In the letter, the organizations makes recommendations to the ECB to initiate a coordinated structural response to both the COVID-19 and climate crisis. These , includes:   - Align its asset purchasing programmes and collateral frameworks with the Paris Climate Agreement, to support the low carbon transition.   - Align its refinancing operations to the banking sector with the Paris Agreement to encourage more sustainable bank lending and fill the green investment gap. - Support asset markets for sustainable investment and coordinate operations with the European Investment Bank (or other equivalent European institutions) to ramp up green investment and lock-in a low carbon future.   - Implement prudential measures to increase the resilience of the European banking sector to climate risks and reduce brown financial flows (e.g. financing fossil fuels).   - Lead by example on climat disclosures and transparency by assessing and regularly communicating to elected officials the alignment of its operations with the Paris Agreement and that of the European banking sector.   You can access  the letter here.   A briefing paper providing more informations is also available here.       Image: Promoted: Introduction: The monetary policy decisions taken on April 30 by the European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council are not on the way to meet a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Forty-five NGOs and think tanks have written to ECB President Christine Lagarde demanding action.   

COVID-19 and Global Inequality: Register now for tomorrow’s webinar!

27. April 2020 - 15:51
Body: A webinar series ‘Global Pandemics in an Unequal World’ seeks to ask what is needed at local, national, and global level to combat inequalities and promote a more egalitarian and sustainable pandemic response. Nicoletta Dentico will be presenting in tomorrow’s online livestream “COVID-19 and Global Inequality”. In a series of articles published last month, SID’s Health Programme Lead, Nicoletta Dentico has already warned on “the health divide existing between the North and the South of the world. It has produced different and diverging approaches, multiplying inefficiencies and opportunities for corruption (in line with the global empirical evidence), and ultimately increasing costs.” Tomorrow there will be an opportunity to deepen the debate on how COVID-19’s unfolding is reinforcing inequality in a discussion moderated by Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, professor and director of the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs.  The event will take place tomorrow, Tuesday 28 April at 5pm (Rome time). It is free and open to everyone, but registration is required. You can do by accessing here.     Image: Promoted: 

Statement to the Extraordinary Meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers - Call for urgent action to safeguard global food security and nutrition!

21. April 2020 - 9:52
Body:  The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed an emergency situation affecting people’s health, incomes and food security. The world will be soon facing social and economic consequences of dramatic dimensions, amplifying like never before the already existing inequalities within and among countries. Many actors have already agreed that global coordination will be key in building response measures. While the Food and Land Coalition has called upon global leaders for urgent action, and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have also released a joint statement, much of the messages transmitted focus on the need of maintaining open trade as key to “mitigate impacts of COVID-19 on food trade and markets”.  With already 820 million women and men malnourished well before COVID-19, is this the message that is needed to ensure that the foundations of our food systems can be reshaped towards social, economic, environmental and health resilience?    Trade unions, peasants’ organizations and civil society organizations endorsing the statement, and many of them active in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), urge that existing human rights instruments “provide a foundation for concrete action to secure the right to food”. Furthermore, they warn that the crisis “panorama” should not distract from the urgent necessity to re-root our diets into local food systems which restore biodiversity, mitigate climate collapse and can be independent from external inputs and long supply chains.   In one of the conclusions, they state: “The world can lurch from crisis to crisis, or we can begin now to start building the resilient, sustainable food system the world desperately needs.”    The statement was supported by:  Kirtana Chandrasekaran, International programme coordinator - Food Sovereignty, Friends of the Earth International   Mauro Conti, President, Centro Internazionale Crocevia   Prof. Olivier De Schutter, former Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008-2014), Co-chair, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems   Fiona Dove, Director, The Transnational Institute   Paula Gioia, International Coordination Committee, La Via Campesina   Shalmali Guttal, Executive Director, Focus on the Global South   Judith Hitchman, President, Urgenci   Sue Longley, General Secretary, IUF   Sofia Monsalve, Secretary General, FIAN International   Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Services International   Tammi Jonas, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance   Stefano Prato, Managing Director, Society for International Development   Jim Thomas, Co-Executive director, ETC group    You can access the full statement here  For more information please contact mackermann@sidint.org Image: Promoted: Introduction:  Trade unions, peasants’ organizations and civil society organizations deliver a letter recalling that the universal right to food, inseparable from rights for food producers, must be at the center of the G20 agenda, and not simply as a temporary crisis measure.  

 

Stop all trade and investment treaty negotiations during the COVID-19 outbreak

20. April 2020 - 12:42
Body: (Geneva) On April 17, 258 civil society organizations – including global union federations, development advocates, women’s groups, consumer and small business organizations, and environmental groups – from more than 150 countries delivered a letter to members of the WTO. In it, they urge Members of the WTO to: “Stop all trade and investment treaty negotiations during the COVID-19 outbreak and refocus on access to medical supplies and saving lives.” WTO Members meet today on whether to continue negotiations amid the pandemic. The letter was coordinated by the Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) global network.  Despite the overwhelming need for governments around the world to focus their full efforts on saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic, some governments are still pushing forward negotiations in the WTO as well as in bilateral and other trade negotiations.  “The first and only priority for trade negotiators at this time should be to remove all obstacles, including intellectual property rules, in existing agreements that hinder timely and affordable access to medical supplies, such as lifesaving medicines, devices, diagnostics and vaccines, and the ability of governments to take whatever steps are necessary to address this crisis,” notes the letter.  The groups also demand that “Unilateral sanctions that prevent countries from obtaining essential medical supplies must end.” Unilateral sanctions are increasing deaths from Covid-19.  The letter also calls on “WTO Members to ensure that all countries have the flexibilities to set aside trade rules that constrain their ability to resolve the pandemic crisis, without fear of repercussions, and to cease other negotiations and activities that divert their energy and resources from that goal.” Finally, the letter notes that the WTO should not return to “business as usual” after the crisis, as governments must recognize “that the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates a fundamental re-think of the types of rules that are negotiated in trade agreements, including those that can encourage monopolies and reduce affordable access to all forms of medical supplies, and put at risk the lives of people in every country of the world.” Endorsers include large international networks such as: Action Aid International; Friends of the Earth International; Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ); Greenpeace; Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign; Oxfam International; Social Watch; the Society for International Development (SID); and the Third World Network (TWN); as well as large regional economic justice networks including the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND); the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development (APWLD); the Confederación Sindical de trabajadores/as de las Américas (CSA); the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG); and the Third World Network-Africa, among others.  It was also supported by global union federations Education International; the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF); the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF); Public Services International (PSI); and UNI Global Union; as well as the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).  Many major national networks also endorsed, such as the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET); the Citizens Trade Campaign in the United States; the Council of Canadians/Conseil des Canadiens; the Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME); Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ); the Kenya Human Rights Commission; the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions; the Norwegian Trade Campaign; the Rede Brasileira Pela Integração dos Povos (REBRIP) of Brazil; and the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute SEATINI-Uganda; among many others.  You can access the Open Letter to Trade Ministries and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in: English | Spanish | French | Italian   For more information, please contact pooja@sidint.org Image: Promoted: Introduction: 

258 Civil Society Groups Call on World Trade Organization (WTO) Members to: Stop all trade and investment treaty negotiations during the COVID-19 outbreak and refocus on access to medical supplies and saving live.

Crushing local solutions: will the COVID19 crisis continue to feed into hyper globalization and consumption?

17. April 2020 - 13:28
Body:  We are constantly being told that “we are all on the same boat”, and while we might be experiencing a change in our social relations and perceiving ourselves as part of a greater entity, the reality is that we are navigating the same turbulent tide, but with different sorts of boats.   A recent communiqué by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), which has taken stock of the past 100 days amid the global pandemic, stated that “In health systems and food systems, critical weaknesses, inequalities, and inequities have come to light […] COVID-19 is a wake-up call for food systems that must be heeded.”  In fact, today’s global food system has only contributed to the marginalization of millions of people in the name of “economic stability” while trespassing people’s food sovereignty. Today, the health crisis is a symptom of the dysfunctionalities of this system – a system that has led to 820 million human beings suffering from malnutrition and with worrying increasing trends in 2018.  These numbers are far from being reduced, and even more so now with the pandemic affecting people’s accessibility to sufficient and nutritious food due to the loss of incomes, closure of certain infrastructure such as popular canteens or schools (where a great number of children receive their only daily meal), discrimination and marginalization. The Food and Agriculture Organization has indicated in one of its COVID’s related policy briefs that food security could be rapidly and dramatically affected.   To answer to such a ‘wake-up call’, the public interest must be at the heart of our future food systems, protecting the right to adequate food, with all its interdependent human rights, for everyone, while also ensuring planetary health. However, immediate answers to the crisis are placing once again ‘solutions’ that only contribute even further to the marginalization of large groups of people such as women, small-scale food producers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and workers along the current ‘food chain’ - from agricultural activities, often involving unprotected migrants, until food processing and distribution with an incrementation of the so-called informal work. FIAN has identified through its recent Preliminary Monitoring Report  on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Human Right to Food and Nutrition, a number of the already existing drivers of this dysfunctional system, and that now are being pushed for by countries as narrative to overcome the emergent food crisis. These include the undermining of small-scale and agroecological food production by prioritizing agro-industrial food production and globalized food chains, but also, the threat to the distribution of such production through farmer’s markets due to the concentration of food retail in the hands of supermarkets and their massification of online platforms’ use.    The International Day of Peasant Struggle contributes to this ‘wake-up call’ and reminds us that how we address a crisis matters. This day should allow us to project a different path for our futures, one in which governments ensure that communities can have access to healthy, diverse, local, sustainable and equitable diets. Measures providing support to agroecological production and prioritizing short local circuits of food distribution through farmers’ markets and grocery stores will be key in strengthening the access to such diets.   Those who have, are and will always ensure the resilience of food systems in all its aspects (sufficiency, adequacy, fairness and ecological well-being) must be protected and valued to achieve the necessary transformation of our food systems.    For more information please contact mackermann@sidint.org  Image: Promoted: Introduction: 

On the International Day of Peasants Struggles, April 17, the call for supporting small-scale food producers and agricultural workers becomes more relevant than ever. Local, diverse, equitable and ecological food consumption has proven to be the pathway to ensure both human and planetary health. However, even in times of crisis such as the one we are currently facing, resilience can only be guaranteed if food systems are able to address the structural inequalities that have been nurtured by production models creating mirages of a “wide range and never-ending” choice of foods. 

 

Trump’s blame game against the WHO: the wrong move in the global endeavour to manage the Covid19 pandemic

10. April 2020 - 16:46
Body: It is classical syndrome of hate-mongering governments to nervously seek and blame “others” for responsibilities and failures that have endogenous roots. Since the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 in the US, Donald Trump’s administration has hunted for scapegoats in his relentless attempt to shift blame for the increasing number of American deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) is only the last scapegoat in this sequence – after the Obama administration, China and the US media. The blame-game is a well-known trick, but it’s not really credible. Trump’s tirade against the Geneva-based UN health organization is totally ruthless and counterproductive, in the midst the viral storm.   While Trump’s downplaying the Covid19 alarm and his early inaction in managing the Covid19 disease have come under scrutiny by the science community, for months now the WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been frantically calling for a global mobilization in tackling the virus. Likewise, the WHO teams have worked tirelessly to keep track of the epidemics and promote international cooperation, as well as guide countries on how to best respond (https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19--8-april-2020). Health experts from all over the world have generally praised the WHO work in these unprecedented circumstances, both in terms of transparency and quality of the decisions. On the other hand, the global response to the virus so far has been contradictory and divided, with a few governments showing at times solidarity – through sharing of medical equipment and expertise – but with many political missteps and backbiting, including initial secrecy from China at the start of the outbreak. Overall, the obligations enshrined in the WHO International Health Regulations (adopted in 2005 to improve global capacity to control disease outbreaks and health emergencies, in the wake of the SARS epidemic), have been overruled by WHO member states. Instead, a viral form of inefficient health sovranism has taken over the international community since the pandemic contagion. Covid19 is one of the most complex human crises ever, with immense economic and social consequences. Its management is a continuous learning process, at all levels. Bashing the WHO while it is engaged in a steady stream of reliable information, with the entire planet anxiously hanging on every word said by its General Director, appears a very confused and unfair way of dealing with the problem at home. This is not the time, as explicated mentioned by Un Secretary General (https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2020-04-08/statement-the-secretary-general-covid-19). The WHO remains the key global player in the fight against the spread of the contagion. Over the years, the US has financially supported the WHO much more than China has. This is a fact. Yet, the US also has up to USD 200 million arrears with the WHO, and the vast majority of the US contributions to the WHO are voluntary donations directed to priorities set by the US administration itself. The history of the WHO shows only too well how the US governments, with the complicity of most Western countries, have contrasted the full implementation of the WHO constitutional mandate, its independence and credibility as the only public international organization working to enhance and promote the right to health. Member states continue today to jeopardize the WHO capacity to act, by freezing and containing the agency’s budget to a mere USD 2.5 billion per year. Only 20% of the WHO budget is actually managed by the organization for its core mandate. The remaining 80% is tied to providing services and implementing activities set by individual donor countries. This is the perfect recipe for the progressive erosion of the WHO role and operational structure.  The unprecedented outbreak of the new coronavirus clearly places the WHO at the centre of global public action for health, again. It is the only entity which  encompasses the technical and scientific competence, as well as the outreach and logistic capacity, in the effort needed to contrast the virus spread globally, and in low and middle-income countries in particular. Pinning the blame for the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 on the WHO at the height of the pandemic belongs to the dystopia of anger that the world needs to heal itself from. The Covid19 may represent humanity’s unexpected opportunity, in this regard.  The WHO is not perfect and needs to be  strengthened in its scientific, normative and policy-orientation function. It is high time all the WHO Members States understood the immense value of the organization in comprehensively tackling the health challenges ahead of us, also in relation to climate change, and support it adequately (http://g2h2.org/posts/time-to-rally).  WHO will become ever more necessary in the future. Using governments’ frustrations as an excuse to bully the WHO’s leading role is, yet again, a historic mistake. Image: Promoted: 

Webinar of the Financial Justice Dialogue series: Health and Food

7. April 2020 - 12:12

The current global health (COVID-19) and climate emergencies are deepening the inequalities existent within of our global economic system and affecting our most basic rights, including health and food. Through this webinar we want to reflect about how the vulnerabilities of our global health and food systems, made more visible by the pandemic, are actually the result of decades of neoliberal policy choices and the expansion of global finance into many spheres of our lives. We also hope to highlight some potential ways forward.

Event Location: Online Event Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 15:00 to 16:30Contact Details: 

Join & discuss with us! Please use this link to register: https://forms.gle/XVGnxg9kRm4TrfAv7

Image: 

The COVID-19 Crisis in Health Systems and Global Governance

6. April 2020 - 18:03
Body: Never before has a virus blocked the planet’s gear the way COVID-19 did.  Three months after the first outbreak, it is dominating our lives and immagination: but instead of acting as a leveler, this time the virus is acting as an amplifier of the long-existing economic and social inequalities that cross societies, multiplying the danger of the virus and triggering a vicious circle with potentially devastating consequences. In a series of articles, SID’s Health Programme Lead, Nicoletta Dentico, analyzes how the virus exhalted the world's imbalances, the result of erroneus global policy prescriptions that have defined globalization so far. Using the inside view from the Italian microcosm, still one of the epicentres of the pandemic, she projects lines of coordinated work for the production and delivery of global goods in health, through better governance and social investments.  While exploring the links between the right to health and other social and economic rights and how they are in a constant tension with economic rules and financial profits, Dentico projects: “The renewed awareness of the key role played by a universal free public health setup, present in the hardest hit countries now – Spain has put all private hospitals under state control indefinitely – should spread like the virus and become a strong global demand. It takes a rights-based vision, beyond the financial resources, and I consider it the political point-of-no-return of the current viral crisis. In fact, the coronavirtue we must hold onto if we are serious about sustainable development for all.” Below is the list of the recently published articles: “The COVID-19 Crisis In Health Systems & Prospects For Recovery – The View From Italy” – Health Policy Watch “Chronicle of a pandemic foretold” – OpenDemocracy “We were warned again and again – we did nothing” – il manifesto (Global Edition) Articles in Italian: “Cronaca di una pandemia annunciata” – Sbilanciamoci! “Covid 19, Il virus delle disuguaglianze in azione e il "gioco" di scommettere sulla morte dell'altro” – la Repubblica “È la pandemia più annunciata della storia” – Famiglia Cristiana.it “Coronavirus, dietro al vaccino una grande partita geopolitica” - valori  For more information, please contact Nicoletta Dentico: ndentico@sidint.org     Image: Promoted: Introduction: 

PHOTO BY FABIO FEDELI

Nicoletta Dentico analyzes how the virus exalted the world's imbalances by triggering vicious circles with devastating consequences and shares the inside view from Italy. 

 

WTO plans to do “business as usual”, despite the COVID 19 Crisis the global community is facing

2. April 2020 - 14:19
Body: Despite the ongoing pandemic of COVID 19 that is ravaging the world today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is continuing to negotiate an outcome on fisheries subsidies. While Geneva, where WTO’s headquarters are located, is under lockdown and putting on hold all face-to-face meetings, WTO is willing to proceed with negotiations in the most non-transparent, non-inclusive and ad-hoc manner.    In a letter to Roberto Azevedo, WTO’s Director-General, and to all Geneva-based missions, 150 groups supporting fishers, farmers and workers call to immediately halt this process, due to the lack of adequate consultation. “This rush to conclude the negotiations in spite of the inability to hold direct discussions, when the Nur-Sultan June Ministerial Conference has been indefinitely postponed and all our countries and their people are battling the immense challenge of COVID 19, is baffling. Moreover, since the next Ministerial is most likely to be postponed to the middle or end of 2021 there is simply no rationale for continuing with the negotiations in such a haphazard and hasty manner.” Fisheries subsidies is a critical livelihood issue for millions especially in developing countries. An online negotiations process would further reveal the inequalities that exist not only inside countries but also among countries. The imbalances between the countries’ digital infrastructure, availability to join in and the possible miscommunication between missions and capitals under the current circumstances would expose the un-democratic manner and lack of inclusivity of this process. It would once again marginalize the concerns of the majority of WTO’s developing and least developed country members.   “Our countries would be much better served if delegates focused on domestic and global needs in fighting the COVID19 battle. In fact the WTO can actually help, for example, by easing intellectual property rules imposed through the WTO’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement and easing access to treatment for COVID19 affected patients”, concluded the undersigning groups   The letter is available in English, French and Spanish For media enquiries, please contact mackermann@sidint.org    Image: Promoted: Introduction: 

150 Civil Society groups urge WTO’s DG and Member States to halt the fisheries subsidies negotiations during COVID19 and calls for WTO’s engagement in the efforts to address this crisis.