From ‘open space’ to ‘space for action’: a call to the World Social Forum

We, Frei Betto, Atilio Borón, Bernard Cassen, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Federico Mayor,
Riccardo Petrella, Ignacio Ramonet, Emir Sader, Boaventura Santos, Roberto Savio, Aminata
Traoré, are the signatories of the Declaration of Porto Alegre, in the WSF of 2005. We have
lost since then wonderful friends (Samir Amin, Eduardo Galeano, Samuel Ruiz Garcia,
Francois Houtart, Josè Saramago, Immanuel Wallertsein). But we have shared a lot with them,
and we are convinced of what they would think today. Those we are still alive have decided to
send this message to the WSF, to provide one more element of stimulus and reflection. The
spirit of our initiative is well represented by the message of participation to the initiative,
written by the Peace Nobel Prize, Adolfo Perez Esquivel: “Thanks for the initiative to revive
the hope and the strength of the WSF. For some time, we have been thinking of something
similar, to find again paths that would identify us with the diversity in thinking and in actions,
to face the challenges of our time. Dear brothers, I join my signature, and I give you a warm
hug” Lees verder

Temporary Basic Income to Protect the World’s Poor

The immediate introduction of a Temporary Basic Income for the world’s poorest people could slow the current surge in COVID-19 cases by enabling nearly three billion people to stay at home, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released today.

The report, Temporary Basic Income: Protecting Poor and Vulnerable People in Developing Countries estimates that it would cost from $199 billion per month to provide a time-bound, guaranteed basic income to the 2.7 billion people living below or just above the poverty line in 132 developing countries.

The report concludes that the measure is feasible and urgently needed, with the pandemic now spreading at a rate of more than 1.5 million new cases per week, particularly in developing countries, where seven out of ten workers make a living through informal markets and cannot earn money if they are at home.

Read the UNDP Report

UN Secretary General’s Nelson Mandela Lecture

“COVID-19 has been likened to an x-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built.

It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all;

The fiction that unpaid care work is not work; The delusion that we live in a post-racist world;

The myth that we are all in the same boat.

Because while we are all floating on the same sea, it’s clear that some are in superyachts while others are clinging to drifting debris.”


Read the amazing full text here

An easy way to provide debt relief

Donor governments do not have to fund poor country debt relief from their fiscal budgets. They can tap long-unused reserve assets available at the IMF called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

Read the article by Barry Herman from the Globalist

The Right to Health in a post-COVID-19 context: the Hard Lessons

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on structural and longstanding problems that are undermining the right to health, including fragmentation and inequalities within the health system. Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and guaranteeing gender-sensitive health public services require a people-centred and feminist approach to development finance that takes account of hard lessons learned during the coronavirus crisis and beyond.

In the 1980s and 1990s, national health systems in developing countries were transformed by structural adjustments programmes provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. This resulted in the contraction and decentralisation of public healthcare services, as well as the opening of the health sector to private providers, the introduction of healthcare user fees and an increased precariousness of health professionals’ labour conditions. These policies aggravated the commodification and privatisation of healthcare, resulting in increased inequalities.

Read the article

by María José Romero from Eurodad

Health Care! What Health Care?

Building a New Welfare State

All of a sudden, the coronacrisis made it crystal clear: all people, all countries need a good system of health care! What has been obvious for some all the time, now becomes the new truth for all those who thought social protection was something of the past, or something only rich countries could afford thanks to their profits from colonisation …

The real truth is that all people, everywhere and in all times have exactly the same basic needs: health care, water, clean air, shelter, food and clothing, education… In what way this will be provided will differ from people to people and from country to country. But in all cases the systems that are put into place should be able to answer the real needs and demands of the people concerned. It also means that for psychological or spiritual needs, the local chaman, marabou, herbalist or other witch doctor can certainly help, but professional health care is needed to cure people from viruses and other illnesses.

It is therefore important to know just what is on offer. What different possibilities exist? What ideology to follow? These are not easy choices because much will depend on the government in place, on the available resources and on the strength of the social movements fighting for social justice.

I would like to briefly distinguish three possible options: Lees verder

UN Report on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

The Special Rapporteur’s Philippe Alston most recent and last report on extreme poverty and human rights deserves reading: ‘Rather than resolving to address the inadequacy of their public health and social protection systems in response to the pandemic, many governments have seen COVID-19 as a passing challenge to be endured, ignoring the indispensability of large-scale economic and social restructuring. Others have taken it as an opportunity to undermine or restrict human rights. And rather than acknowledging how badly efforts to “end poverty” have been faring, and how relentlessly the pandemic has exposed that fact, most actors are doubling down on existing approaches that are clearly failing.’

It criticizes the World Bank statistics, promotes universal social protection, demands to update the SDGs and to find solutions for the debt and tax problems…

Read the report

ITUC Survey: democratic rights and freedoms under threat

The response to the Covid-19 pandemic is the greatest act of global human solidarity the world has seen, as people give up civic rights and risked livelihoods to save lives. Yet, under the cover of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, many countries are advancing their anti-workers’-rights agenda.

Read the article

Due Diligence in Global Supply Chains

The Covid-19 pandemic has once again exposed the
fragility of global supply chains and the enormous risks
to human and labour rights in a highly interconnected
global economy that is not governed by the rule of
With the global drop in demand as a result of the
pandemic, many companies have resorted to abruptly
ending the procurement of goods and services and
even to defaulting on prior commitments made – with
the consequence of a disastrous impact for workers
in global supply chains. In Bangladesh, more than half
of the garment suppliers reported that they had their
in-process or completed production cancelled, which
has led to massive job losses and workers getting
furloughed. More than 98.1% of buyers refused to
contribute to the cost of paying the partial wages to
furloughed workers required under national law. 72.4%
of furloughed workers were sent home without pay.

Read this ITUC Report



Social Commons: the Social Protection we Want

We do not need a Universal Basic Income, but public services and guaranteed minimum incomes. If we can introduce these in a democratic and participatory way, we can work on social commons:

Read the article by Francine Mestrum

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