Strengthening Political and cultural responses to globalisastion: Reshaping the Global Political Economy

a) The Future of Human Diversity and Specificity

"Diversity" like "globalisation" is a new term used to describe the complexity of the lived experiences of human beings on this planet. Like "biodiversity" we are coming to understand the critical importance of maintaining a healthy diversity of expression of human thought and behaviour.

The forces of globalisation, economic, technological, cultural and political, are working in paradoxical ways. Firstly, with the greater capacity for communication and exchange taking place, we are able to find out about each other, about our similarities and differences. Through global migration we settle in countries other than the one of our birth, we are still learning to manage our differences as we live together. Secondly, there exists a very real danger of cultural homogenisation as the result of contemporary "western" driven models of globalisation and the current supremacy of the market in our global society.

Economic globalisation in its current form has the potential to radically reorganise us as human beings. Land, water, sexual orientations, indigenous knowledge and cultural artifacts can now all be commodified. Different cultures need the opportunity to examine their own responses to globalisation in order to relocate themselves into this current reality. Among the most urgent needs are a reshaping of educational systems to foster knowledge and love of local ecological and cultural diversity, and the integration and development of mother tongues in basic education and local administration. There is also a need to develop more equitable and effective means of communication and cooperation across the differences, so that it is not always the voices of privileged groups that are heard. As yet, we do not really know the impact of globalisation on our human diversity and specificity. The delegates at this forum express deep concern about how to protect and support the value of human diversity in the face of the powerful negative potential that globalisation exerts.

b) Sustainable Human Development

We should pursue sustainable and equitable human development rather than place so much emphasis on economic growth and liberalization. The profit motive and pursuit of efficiency alone do not bring us equity and justice. We need to create a different paradigm that subordinates narrow efficiency to the values of equity, justice, sustainability and diversity. Values like equity, freedom, solidarity, tolerance, democratic adaptability, non-violence, respect for nature, and shared responsibility should be shared by all nations and all peoples.

c) Achieving Fair Trade and an Equitable Global Trading System

Free trade, understood as liberalised, privatised and deregulated trade, has been over-emphasised at the expense of fair trade. Fair trade implies regulation and includes, equitable terms of trade, respect of human rights, recognition of collective production and ownership, people centred development, humane labour conditions and environmental protection. All countries need to cooperate together in the development of a just economic order that understands communities, not corporations as the centre of economic life.

Wealthy countries, that currently dominant and benefit from the existing trading system have a responsibility to move from free to fair markets as a basic principle of operation. Developed countries should examine the social impact of their own subsidies and protectionisms and practices of enforcing liberalisation on their own people and people in other parts of the world. Application of these tools must be broadened so that these tools are used to achieve equitable trading systems. For example, it is necessary to promote better world market access for agricultural and textile products from developing countries.

Considering their influence on the lives of billions of people as well as on the national and international policy making, there is a need for global regulatory bodies to hold TNCs accountable to the public interest, internationally recognised human rights and environmental standards.

The principles of applying universally accepted standards contained in the Secretary Generals Global Compact with Corporations are laudable, but the initiative relies on voluntary observance and does not have monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. While there is a global move of corporations towards adopting triple bottom line reporting (economic, social and environmental costs of their company's activities) and corporate social responsibility programmes, these moves need to be seen in the context of broader principles of human rights and accountability.

We urge the Secretary General to use his good offices to engage in the process of entering into the Citizens Compact on the UN and Corporations that will safeguard the image, mission and credibility of the UN as it deals with the private sector. The Citizen's Compact includes provisions for creation of a legally binding framework for controlling global corporations on the world stage, assistance to civil society and governments in implementing national and local legislation to protect human rights and the environment from corporations, avoidance of any public association with companies engaged in widespread abuse of human rights or the environment and full transparency in all UN dealings with the private sector.