New Global Human Order Articles by President Jagan
Introduction - A New Global Human Order
This book is intended to fill a void in a world situation of great confusion and convulsions.
After the Gulf War, President George Bush announced a New World Order, but within a short time, what emerged was a New World Disorder. And, as in the post-Depression period (1930s) and the pre-World War II period, all kinds of “saviours” are descending on the people with quack remedies - the fundamentalists, the Religious Right, the Far Right, the Ultranationalists, xenophobists and neo-fascists. Demagogues like Hitler and Mussolini glibly bandied national socialism (Nazism) and practiced intense nationalism linked to racism (the master race) in their quest for political power in the service of vested interests.
Today, in a period of intense crisis of modernized monopoly capitalism, the demagogues are once again rearing their ugly heads. They must not be allowed to succeed.
Our times call for clear thinking: to diagnose the ills of our globe, to ascertain the root cause of society’s growing problems and to formulate what must be done - a set of guiding principles
and a program of action.
Certain concepts of democracy, human rights, regional integration, free trade, sustainable development, among others - are being discussed. These need to be examined fully - form as
well as content.
Democracy is a vital ingredient of development. It must be representative, consultative and participatory. The people, especially women, must be fully empowered. The goal of democracy must be, as the American Declaration of Independence stipulated: “life, liberty and the pursuit of
Human rights must embrace civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Human needs and human security must be the object of development.
The economic basis is inter-related and must interact with the political, ideological, institutional and cultural superstructure. Economic growth is necessary for the satisfaction of basic needs and human development, as much as human development is necessary for economic growth. There is
a nexus between poverty, hunger, famine, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, disease, population explosion, environmental degradation, migration, narcotics production, usage and trafficking, and crime.
Human development and the protection of the environment are closely linked. There will be no protection of the environment if the boundaries of poverty continue to expand.
Change is necessary. The “trickle-down” process under monopoly capitalism is not working. Instead, the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor, and the gap between the developed and developing countries is ever-widening.
However, change will not come about unless a coalition of the left, democratic and progressive forces - the working class and the progressive sections of the middle class (petitbourgeoisie)
and the patriotic section of the capitalist class (bourgeoisie) - exercise state power.
My memorandum to Jacques Delors, President of the European Union, my Paper to the UN Hearing on Development and my Appeal to Heads-of-Government and others make the
case for urgent radical reforms for a New Global Human Order - an Order providing for genuine North/South and East/West partnership and cooperation based on interdependence for mutual benefits.
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 1999
This speech is published in Cheddi Jagan -A New Global Human Order. See more about this book under Books for Sale
Letter Sent to World Leaders from President Cheddi Jagan, May 1, 1994
This post-Cold War period has stimulated our hopes that a new world order can be established on the basis of mutual respect, equal opportunity for all peoples, the consolidation of democracy and human development.
A renewed opportunity is now afforded to place the welfare of our peoples at the centre of national and international efforts. Our peoples have the right not only to political freedom but also to the full development of their attributes. To this end we should strive again, as expressed in Article 1, paragraph 3 of the Charter of the United Nations: "To achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character." Only then can sturdy and lasting foundations for international peace and security be established.
We must resolve to reverse the gap which has been developing between the richest and the poorest countries. The divisions between the rich and the poor in the industrialized societies in the North and in the developing and underprivileged societies in the South, as well as the distance in attainment between the North and the South have been widening considerably since the early 1980s.
In the North, the consequences of these disparities have been unemployment, homelessness, urban disorder, increase in crime especially among the youths, the rise of ultra-right movements, strident nationalism and fragmentation accompanied by racism and ethnic tensions.
In the South, the consequences of these divisions have been the increase in crime and disease, hopelessness, emigration, environmental degradation, and the illegal traffic and use of narcotic drugs.
Taken together, there is a situation of despair, alienation and indifference.
More alarming, however, is the incidence of increasing poverty across the globe. Poverty atrophies the vigor and initiative of the individual and deprives the society of incalculable human resources at a critical time. Its elimination will enrich our community and release a harvest of energy and skills. If left unattended, the expansion of poverty, with hunger, will undermine the fabric and security of the democratic state.
In December 1992, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled "New International Humanitarian Order." That resolution urges Governments, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations, to provide comments and expertise for the Secretary-General regarding the humanitarian order, and to develop international cooperation in the humanitarian field.
In October 1993, the Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in Cyprus considered a memorandum on: The Emergence of a New Global Humanitarian Order. That memorandum comprised a set of principles to govern the behaviour of states to underpin the new humanitarian order and to prevent conflicts. Accordingly, Commonwealth Heads agreed to establish a high-level inter-governmental group to examine specific ways in which the Commonwealth can make a contribution to the work of the international community.
With this in mind, I introduced in March 1994, at the Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an item: "The Emergence of a Global Humanitarian Order." Caricom Heads discussed the item and agreed to work together at the regional level and in concert with a Commonwealth high-level group to advance the concept globally.
At the same meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we also supported a proposal by Dr. Carlos Saul Menem, President of the Argentine Republic, to establish an International Volunteer Corps for the Fight Against Hunger. The main objectives of this Corps of Volunteers, as you are aware, are to eradicate hunger and eliminate extreme poverty. Earlier in November 1993, Dr. Menem had transmitted the proposal to the United National Secretary-General with the intention that the Corps will operate within the framework of the United Nations.
These several efforts acknowledge a concern for the expanse of hunger and poverty. All societies, nationalities and systems of government are prey to their debilitating effects. However, individual states or societies cannot deal adequately with this problem. The evolving globalized system necessitates a global response.
As I stated in November 1993, a development strategy for the eradication of poverty must be global and positive, not the South against the North and the North against the South, but the North and South in interdependence, cooperation and partnership. It would be disastrous for humankind if the East/West conflict of the Cold War era were to be transformed into a North/South conflict.
Among other pertinent responses to the crisis is the Human Development Report 1992 published for the United Nations Developmental Program. The Report calls for a new global compact on human development: in essence, an agreement to put people first in national policies and in international development cooperation. The UNDP Report lists a number of objectives to inform international effort.
These include institutional changes leading to:
(i) The establishment of global institutions to respond to the global dimension of the existing human society. Global governance today is weak and is dispersed over a number of institutions, many of which are the exclusive preserve of the industrialized and wealthy states that exert tremendous power and influence on international activity;
(ii) The United Nations system itself also has to play a more central role in global economic management and should have access to larger financial resources. Important global issues like debt, monetary stability and international resource transfers have not been dealt with extensively in the UN system;
(iii) The Bretton Woods Institutions - the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - have moved away from their original mandate and need now to concentrate on human development, as distinct from the means of development, positing human beings at the centre of their deliberations;
(iv) Democracy has been making promising gains in the nation states. This development is also imperative for the international institutions. Reforms are necessary within the context of the evolving global system where the general welfare of the peoples of our globe is central. Thus, the UN should assume greater responsibility for the formulation of development policy;
(v) The IMF can then be adjusted to serve as a global central bank, its original raison d’etre: to create a common currency, maintain price and exchange rate stability, channel global surpluses and deposits, rationalize access to credits, and provide the liquidity and credits which the poor countries need separately;
(vi) The World Bank would then return to its original mandate to mediate between the capital markets and the developing countries by assuming the role of an international investment trust, creating a new loan window - an Intermediate Assistance Facility - that would help countries to graduate from the concessional International Development Association terms but not yet sturdy enough to meet the tougher terms of the World Bank;
(vii) A new Official Development Assistance (ODA), which can channel to the poorest countries two-thirds of ODA, instead of the present one-quarter, is also a priority;
(viii) Additionally, a system of progressive income tax should be collected from the rich nations according to their income and development needs;
(ix) The UN Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED) offers an opportunity for both rich and poor countries to accept sustainable human development as an achievable goal. UNCED also seeks to ensure that the poor countries have access to technology to promote human development in a sustainable way. In this regard, the Global Environment Facility is a valuable mechanism and we would need to expand its resource base, enlarge the participation of the developing countries, expand its mandate to cover national capacity building and the environmental priorities of developing countries: water; desertification, urban degradation and acid rain;
(x) A greater role for non-governmental organizations in the reformed institutions without diminishing the vital interests and representation of the poorer South;
(xi) Urgent action to utilize the gains at the end of Cold War confrontation by further reducing military expenditure which had reached a peak of US$838 billion in 1987. The UNDP Report proposed that all countries should agree to reduce military expenditures in the 1980s by at least 3% a year. This would yield by the year 2000 a "peace dividend" of US$1.5 trillion. This "peace dividend" will give the wealthy countries a chance to direct more resources to a social agenda and to assist poor countries through debt relief. A new debt bargain can be reached to halt the current debt related transfer of $50 billion a year from the developing countries to developed countries;
(xii) Providing for equitable international trade both in goods and services so as to accelerate global growth and allow a more equitable distribution of its benefits;
(xiii) Creating sufficient job opportunities to absorb the annual increase in the labour force and to contain immigration pressures. To this end, I had suggested increased employment through reducing the number of days or the number of hours worked per week without loss of pay; and reducing the pensionable age without loss of benefits.
(xiv) A Works Program for physical and social infrastructure similar to that of President F.D. Roosevelt’s New Deal;
(xv) Tax and other incentives for more research and the use of science and technology to create jobs instead of eliminating them;
(xvi) Greater emphasis on increasing and improving basic services in health, education, housing and nutrition.
I have outlined some proposals for a fresh consideration; some countenance major institutional changes and sustained mutual understanding. I am assured that there exists the political goodwill to construct a new order where the primacy of human development is the guiding principle. Preparing a peaceful and orderly transition to the twenty-first century is compelling.
These proposals are not exhaustive; they are merely indicative of the challenging options available. I am convinced that with coordinated international effort, poverty and hunger can be eradicated in our lifetime. What is required is the international collaboration to define a framework for action buttressed by the resources from the "peace dividend."
To this noble end I seek your support.
Dr. Cheddi Jagan
President, Republic of Guyana
May 1, 1994
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 1999
This speech is published in Cheddi Jagan -A New Global Human Order. See more about this book under Books for Sale
Guyana’s leader, President Cheddi Jagan was among 200 Heads of State who addressed the special commemorative meeting of the United Nation’s General Assembly to mark the 50th anniversary of the world body. In his presentation on October 24, 1995, President Jagan paid tribute to the work of the United Nations over the years, outlined the new tensions that threaten world peace and thwart development, and offered his own formula for a New Global Human Order.
As the United Nations proudly celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, I wish to join the other members of our international family in paying tribute to this organization which has served us so well over these many years.
As so many others before me have testified, the accomplishments of the United Nations during its fifty years of existence have been many and significant. With the ending of the Cold War, there is now a promise of even greater achievements. Yet although now free from the tensions of East-West rivalry, we are still hostage to many threats to our peace and security.
This crucial time is characterized by:
• Globalization and liberalization with the dominance of transnational corporations (TNCs) and one overpowering ideology.
• Unacceptably high unemployment and underemployment, even in the period of economic growth, referred to as “jobless growth” and “jobless recovery.”
• Increasing poverty and widening gaps in developed and developing countries, between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” the “included” and the “excluded” and between the rich North and the poor South.
• Chronic budget and balance-of-payments deficit problems of many of the OECD countries are leading to the dismantling of the welfare state and cuts in welfare benefits in the North, and cuts in aid to the South - the phenomenon now deemed “donor fatigue” or “aid fatigue.”
• Social, including family, disintegration.
• Strife and convulsions based on race, ethnicity, tribe, culture and religion leading to a marked increase in refugees.
• Demagogy and confusion, leading politically to the dangerous rise of the extreme right, the religious right, national chauvinists, xenophobists and neo-fascists, and socially to racism and racist attacks.
Cumulatively, these factors pose a grave threat to international and individual peace and security. Consequently, there is an urgent necessity for a New Global Human Order, as an adjunct to the UN Agenda for Development. A New Global Human Order must have as its goal human development: meeting the basic needs of the people, cultural upliftment, and a clean and safe environment.
To attain a New Global Human Order, it is necessary to establish a sound and just system of global governance based on:
• a genuine North/South partnership and interdependence for mutual benefit;
• a democratic culture of representative, consultative and participatory democracy and a lean and clean administration;
• a development of strategy free from external domination and diktat;
• application of science and technology for increased production and productivity;
• a global development facility, funded by pollution taxes, cuts in military expenditure - the peace dividend, which, with only a three per cent reduction can realize US$460 billion in a five-year period and a tax of 0.5 percent on speculative capital exchange movements, which can yield US$1500 billion annually;
• administration of a Development Fund by a democratized and reformed United Nations for allocation without undue conditions to the developed and developing countries. With such assistance, more job opportunities can be created by a works program, as under the Roosevelt New Deal Administration during the depression of the 1930s, a shorter workweek and a lower pensionable age. For the developing countries, aid can be given in the form of debt cancellation, long-term rescheduling of debt, soft loans and grants.
Third World debt is strangling our reconstruction and human development efforts. Although we paid more than US$1.3 trillion between 1982 and 1990, yet our countries were 61 percent more in debt in 1990 than they were in 1982. During the same period, there was a net South to North outflow of US$418 billion (not including outflows such as royalties, dividends, repatriated profits, underpaid raw materials, etc) - a sum equal to six Marshall Plans - the plan which provided aid to
Europe at the end of World War II.
At the same time, our Third World countries lose annually, about US$500 billion in unfair, non-equivalent international trade, a sum equal to ten times ODA assistance from the developed countries.
This unjust economic order must be replaced by a just New Global Human Order for international and individual security and peace.
The human development paradigm must be established on the basis of empowerment of our peoples, accountability, productivity and sustainability.
Economic growth must be linked to equity, with social justice and ecological preservation.
Let us together resolve, on this historic occasion, to strengthen the United Nations which was created not only to preserve us from the scourge of war but also to allow our peoples to live in larger freedom.
I thank you.
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 1999
This speech is published in Cheddi Jagan -A New Global Human Order. See more about this book under Books for Sale
DR. CHEDDI JAGAN
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (GDI)
Advisory Group Meeting
The Carter Centre, Atlanta, Georgia, June 6, 1996
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of my Government and the people of Guyana, I wish to thank you for attending this very important meeting. I believe it will prove to be very worthwhile for us to have this opportunity to converse about Guyana’s vision of its development and our new social and economic policies that will be guiding it.
I wish especially to thank President Jimmy Carter for organising this event and for his valuable assistance on our National Development Strategy over the past year. He is a steadfast friend of Guyana who always is motivated by the noblest aims.
We also acknowledge this support of the international community, manifested in the recent decision of the Paris Club to write off one-fourth of our debt. All Guyana is grateful for this gesture and filled with hope over the prospects that it raises. We know the road ahead still is difficult, and that careful debt management will be required. But now some of the heavy burden of the past that have been blocking our path is at last being removed. However, debt servicing will continue to impose severe constraints in the medium-term because debts that were previously not being honoured would have to be serviced now.
I hope that in our inter-dependent world, North/South partnership and co-operation for mutual benefit would lead to the conclusion of third world debt payments not exceeding annually 10 percent of income from exports, as advocated by noble Prize winner and former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, former President of Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the British Labour Party and others.
2. Overview of the National Development Strategy
The agenda for today is our National Development Strategy: how it has been developed, the policy orientations it puts forth and, above all, what it means for Guyana and the donor community.
I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the context out of which the National Development Strategy arose and the broad vision that it paints of our economy and society.
In broad terms, this is a unique , forward-looking, creative vision. It is development with a human face. It addresses frankly our most basic social problems, including health, education, housing, poverty concerns, the role of women, and the role of Amerindians. It is committed to honour fully the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to foster unity in diversity and to provide for accelerated development of our indigenous Amerindian people.
The strategy defines both new responsibilities as well as opportunities. It places great expectations on the private sector business. At the same time it fosters wider citizen participation in basic decisions by enabling local governments, citizens associations, labour unions, farmers’ groups, co-operatives and NGOs to play enhanced roles. It seeks to devolve responsibility to its most appropriate level.
Central Government will achieve greater effectiveness by concentrating its role more in guidance and oversight in establishing basic policies and monitoring their implementation. And the Government, as amply demonstrated in the Development Strategy, considers the private sector as the engine of economic growth. Public perception that privatisation of state entities was conducted in a less that transparent manner dictated that we move cautiously. In the past, however, I am advised by the Minister of Finance that our privatisation Programme had exceeded what we has agreed with the International Community and I expect him to deal with this later.
We believe that the Government of a developing economy must exercise strong leadership. The State must constantly be alert to represent the interests of the population at large, and it must be an effective steward of our rich endowment of natural resources. This is a powerful role. But it is best exercised through instruments of policy, and specialised programmes to complement the efforts of the private sector.
The National development Strategy, which is still in draft but will be released shortly, is an exceptional document in respect of both the process of formulating it and the nature of the document. The process has been unusually participatory, in the first stage, more than 200 national experts have contributed considerable amounts of time to developing technical diagnosis of issues and preliminary sets of policy options in each area. Subsequent stages will involve consultations with a wide gamut of groups and institutions in our society before the document is finalised. Few countries can claim to have developed a national socio-economic strategy through a participatory process.
The Strategy is distinguished by being both broad and deep. The various chapters cover all sectors and all key topics of economic policy and social programmes, and the policies established in preliminary form in each chapter are firmly buttressed by thorough technical analyses.
The Strategy takes a long-term view of our country’s growth prospects and requirements, and the special needs of less favoured groups in society, and on that basis it establishes firm foundations for continuing improvements in the standard of living of all Guyanese.
3. The Social and Historical Context of the Strategy
I believe this National Development Strategy will come to be regarded as an historic document for our country, and for that reason it needs to be viewed in light of our history. Guyana’s first decades of Independence have been its crucible of nationhood in political, social and economic respects. They have been intense and difficult years in many respects, yet out of the struggles and self-examination a sense of self-identity and a modern nation are emerging, in measured steps but assuredly.
The nation’s polity had to be defined against the backdrop of a population brought to our shores in disenfranchised conditions and cleavages wrought in the society by colonial rule. Global geopolitical tensions also left their imprint on the nascent body politic. Throughout these lacerating historical experiences, the spirit of nationhood has deepened, although at times it has appeared to fray under the pressures, it has shown resilience.
The elections of the year 1992 marked a political watershed in consolidating the spirit and confirming the country’s commitment to the path of democracy. We are still a very young nation and our fundamental political and social values are still being forged, and we therefore look to the future with more confidence than at any time in our brief history.
Permit me to thank President Carter, President Bush, the US Congress, the NDI, Brian Atwood and others for the tremendous assistance they rendered in restoring democracy to Guyana.
For me, democracy is the life-blood of human development: a democracy which is representative, consultative and participatory and embraces the political, economic, industrial, social and cultural spheres.
The progress of the economy largely mirrored that of the polity. Until recently, real per capita incomes declined, poverty was on the increase and health and educational standards fell while the nation’s infrastructure deteriorated. Many of Guyana’s brightest talents chose to emigrate rather than continue to suffer the straitened circumstances of the domestic economy. Developing human resource and social capital will be one of our principal tasks.
Lack of democracy, falling external terms of trade and inappropriate domestic economic policies played their role in the economic decline, including a willingness to incur a crushing burden of external debt that has reached unserviceable levels.
The benefits of the new policies have begun to become apparent. In the last four years, Guyana has experienced a turn-around in its economic performance that is remarkable by any standard. After a decade in which real growth rates were on average negative, the economy has registered real growth averaging about seven percent per year for the past years. These positive developments have led to a diminution of unemployment rates and a lessening of poverty, although both those issues remain matters of considerable national concern.
Our strategy is geared to attaining high sustainable economic growth with equity -- growth with social justice and ecological preservation.
At the same time that the economy was taking off, the government budget deficit and the balance of payments deficit were reduced, inflation was brought down sharply, and the arrears on external accounts were diminished very substantially.
Although many daunting problems still confront Guyana, these economic changes have begun to lay the basis for sustained growth and balanced urban-rural development. They also have generated a more optimistic spirit, and the beginnings of a renewal of faith in the country’s future can be perceived. Hope and confidence are indisputable for social progress, as are a sound development strategy and plan, international co-operation, and good governance ----- democratic, lean and clean.
As encouraging as recent developments have been, the obstacles that remain in the path of development are large, and redoubled efforts are required to overcome them. The difference from a decade ago is that now we know they can be solved with wise policies, persistence, and a national democratic state of all classes and strata, with the working class not dominating but not being dominated to ensure economic growth with equality.
Those obstacles include not only hindrances to the expansion of production but also deteriorated social services and a governmental structure that is weakened in its ability to set and enforce the basic rules of the economy. They include both decayed physical infrastructure and institutions that still do not function up to expectation. We are worried about external market conditions for our basic agricultural products, fully aware that they may change for the worse, providing lower returns to our workers and farmers by the beginning of the new century. Our bauxite communities are experiencing difficulties as a result of the external environment, and especially the unfavourable conditions in the global bauxite/aluminium market-place. The challenges are many and diverse.
The manifold nature of the problems that lie ahead, and the increasing complexity of our economy, have dictated that we undertake to formulate a multi-faceted strategy for overcoming the problems. Macro-economic policy sets the overall framework, but policy also has a sectoral expression, and it must not be forgotten that the economy responds at the micro level, which is the human level.
For these reasons the Strategy has very specific content, including detailed recommendations for reforms in the existing legislative framework that would be needed to facilitate the implementation of the policies.
While no policy planning document achieves all its aims, this Strategy and its policies are strong and sure enough to carry forward our rapid economic expansion for another ten years, if not more, and make our citizens measurably better off whilst assuring that our priceless heritage of natural resources has proper stewardship.
4. Basic Themes of the Strategy
To achieve our ultimate goal of people-cantered development, we need to pursue rapid growth - the main source of employment creation - at the same time that we intensify our endeavours to alleviate poverty. We need to improve our population’s access to basic social and economic services, and we need to encourage participation by all segments and sectors of society.
We are committed to economic growth, as the only way to realise the most basic aspirations of our population, but we are also committed to equitable growth. There are two basic approaches to poverty alleviation. One is temporary subsidies to enable the lower income groups to have access to sufficient amounts of food and other basic necessities, and the other is creation of an economic environment that will enable them to secure those necessities through exertion of their own abilities. The latter is the course we have chosen to emphasise, although the former approach is a necessary complement in the interim, until the income-earning capacities of the poor are expanded sufficiently.
In the long-run the aim is clear, as I have expressed on earlier occasions we are ultimately more concerned with the strengthening of self-reliance, the eradication of poverty as its roots, rather than with handouts to relieve poverty. Our development path also must be characterised by the three kinds of sustainability: fiscal, institutional and environmental. Quick fixes in these areas are doomed to failure, with damaging consequences.
We are an economy rich in natural resources, and those sectors can be expected to continue to expand, but a narrowly-based growth path is risky, and the desired level of social and economic development cannot be attained on the basis of a few primary products alone. We need to diversify our economy and to develop our own new specialization’s that will be internationally competitive and enduring. It is essential that we continuously improve productivity in all sectors.
Above all, we need to strengthen our base of human resources and mesh human resource development with Guyana’s vast natural resources. Among other measures this means improving social infrastructure, providing higher public sector wages, and giving more emphasis to training programmes for the labour force.
During the past three years, my government has doubled expenditure in the social sector, and at the UN Social Summit at Copenhagen, I pledged to increase expenditure to 20 percent in keeping with the 20/20 UNDP Compact. I hope the international community will respond appropriately.
The strategic orientations of keys to rapid growth for Guyana are three-fold: export growth, savings mobilisation, education and training. Expressed in the terminology of economics, this is expansion of markets for our products, mobilisation of the necessary financial capital, and improvement of our base of human capital. All three orientations are indispensable elements of our growth strategy.
5. A Basis for International Co-operation
For Guyanese, we believe this Strategy will come to signify faith in the future, and in our ability to work together as a multi-ethnic society to achieve betterment for all. It marks the first time that Guyanese of all races, religions and political persuasions have come together to draft a blueprint for our future.
For the international community, this Strategy initiates a fruitful dialogue and marks the beginning of a new era in co-operation. We believe this Strategy should be the point of departure for programming international assistance. It establishes the policy framework that we would like to see supported and the areas of priority actions.
We do not ask or expect agreement on every aspect. That would be unrealistic to ask of anyone, Guyanese of foreigner. But we do ask that the document be taken into serious consideration in the planning of international technical and financial support. In this regard, we ask for respect for a poor country’s right to play a major role in charting its own future course, and a collaborative spirit in moving the country along that course. Detailed implementation plans will be drawn up in each area of action and we invite collaboration in that effort as well.
I would like at this point to crave your indulgence to share with you my vision of how I see Guyana within the wider perspective of global development. It is well known that I have been calling, like many world leaders, for radical changes in the present world disorder and for a New Global Human Order.
This advocacy is premised on the fact that in this era of globalisation and liberalisation, we cannot be an "island unto ourselves". Whether we like it or not, the world impinges on us in the South and more often than not adversely, especially small island and small economy states as in the Caribbean Community.
With Free Trade mooted for 2005, these countries face marginalisation unless the proposals I made at the Miami Summit of the Americas in December 1994 for a Regional Development Fund, debt relief, and a Corps of Development Specialists, are seriously considered. Regrettably, signals thus far indicated that they would not be realised. Also, not being realised is the expectation of the Report of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government presented at the workshop here in December 1992, that with the level of scientific and technological advances, it was possible to reduce hunger by 50 percent by the year 2000. Regrettably, the opposite is taking place. The poverty curtain is widening the gap in living standards between the rich and the poor in the South as well as the North, and between the North and South, is ever widening. The spectre of unemployment, poverty and social disorder is haunting the world. And at the political level, there is the dangerous and growing ascendancy of the far Right, ultra-nationalists, fundamentalists, xenophobists and the neo-facists, reminiscent of Hitlerism. Regrettably, no lasting solutions are forthcoming while the world is clamouring for stability, peace and security. I think these are solutions. We must show the will and the courage to adopt them and make the world a better place. While we focus on our individual countries we have to make the world environment more responsive to the needs of those countries which are now on the road to progress. As we say in Guyana. Think Globally! Act Locally!
In former times of crises, new initiatives were taken ... the Keynes formula of pump priming the economy during the down-turn of the business cycle (depression/recession) as adumbrated in the Roosevelt New Deal Work Programme, the Marshall Aid Plan to devastated Europe at the end of the Second World War, the Alliance for Progress for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Lome Convention for the African/Caribbean/Pacific (ACP) countries.
The present critical time, calls for the setting up of an agency like the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) headed by New Dealer Fiorello La Guardia, to cope with the wartime ravages and the problems of reconstruction.
This would mean also the creation of a separate Development Fund, especially in this period of "jobless growth" and "jobless recovery" in the North, and aid cuts (aid fatigue) to the South. This D-Fund should be disbursed to both the states of the North and the South in the North for a New Deal type of works Programme, for a reduction of the work week without loss of take home pay and the reduction of the pensionable age without loss of benefits, in the south, for debt relief and enhanced Alliance for Progress and Lome Convention programmes.
The D-Fund can be created from cuts in global military expenditures, pollution taxes, the Tobin tax on speculative capital movements and a small airline ticket tax on long distant flights.
Perhaps, this Global Development Initiative Meeting should consider establishing a separate top level Commission on Sustainable Development and Environment to formulate a global strategy and Plan of Action.
In closing, I would like to mention two particular areas in which a unique form of international co-operation could be very beneficial to Guyana, and perhaps also to other countries with similar kinds of resource endowments.
First, the Strategy lays out a very vigorous Programme of strengthening our sustainable management of natural resources. This is the only way to guarantee to future generations of Guyanese the opportunities that are being offered to the present generation. We are concerned to establish ways to make economic development compatible with sound management of natural resources. In this regards, we would like to call your attention to the proposal to establish a Guyana Rainforest Foundation. Such a foundation would play a major role in promoting sustainable management of our unique heritage of extensive rainforest. It would finance and manage non-timber concessions in the forest, developing activities such as research, eco-tourism and protection for bio-diversity on those lands Exclusive rights to manage concessions in that way would be granted upon agreement to remit royalties per acre just as a timber concession would.
We feel this is a most promising avenue to pursue, for other countries as well, because it combines the need for development finance with the environmental aims for tropical forests. A proposal for the Foundation is now being drafted, and we hope to interest donors, including bilateral official donors, international NGO’s and corporations. The second special opportunity that the National Development Strategy identified for international co-operation is the development of centres of excellence at the University of Guyana. Only one or two such centres would be created each decade, starting with fields such as geology and mining, or tropical forestry and wood products industries.
We feel it is vital to develop the best scientific expertise infields like these, to support our sustainable development path. The Centres would emphasise research and teaching, and would maintain close links to NGO’s and industries in their respective fields. Again, we would like to solicit the interest of donors, from official entities to corporations, and enlist the co-operation of leading universities abroad in this pioneering effort.
Ladies and gentlemen, I look forward to a fuller discussion of our National Development Strategy when it is finalised, and I thank you for your attention today.
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 1999
(Presented by President Cheddi Jagan on November 13-17, 1996)
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Secretary-General of the World Food Summit, Distinguished Delegates.
The 1974 World Food Conference proclaimed that "every man, woman and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop their physical and mental faculties." This was to have been achieved "within a decade," but we have failed, despite improvements in science and technology. Today, hunger, poverty and social disintegration stalk the globe, not just in the South but also in the North, and the gap in living standards between the North and the South continues to widen.
As we approach a new century, the South is faced with aid cuts and the North with "jobless recovery" and "jobless growth." Consequently, we need a new global partnership for sustainable human development, good governance and a development strategy, which will provide the world with sufficient food to have such food resources equitably distributed. Poverty is the root cause of food insecurity and only its rapid and permanent elimination will produce improved economic and social relations for a more equitable world order.
In an increasingly globalized environment of disorder and confusion, there is little room for concepts of development which place prime emphasis on the promotion of narrow national interests above the common good of humanity. A stop must be put to an unjust global economic order; an order which robs the South of about US$500 billion annually in unjust, non-equivalent international trade; an order where the poor South finances the North with South to North capital outflows of US$418 billion in the 1982-90 period as debt payments - a sum equal to six Marshall Plans which provided aid for the rehabilitation of Europe after World War II. Those payments did not even include outflows from royalties, dividends, repatriated profits and underpaid raw material.
In this decade, for the eradication of poverty, we need an Agenda for Development, with the right of nations to development, and, as His Holiness the Pope said, the right of the individual to food. Democracy must mean not just civil and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights. We must eliminate under-development, which threatens to undermine the very foundations of the global economy and society.
A new North/South partnership must be fashioned in the search for more positive and innovative ways to cope with the effects of globalisation and liberalization, which are marginalizing millions of people and even many nations.
Many are of the opinion that these economic strategies constitute a panacea for development, but I stand here to say that the facts do not support such a view. The distinguished Gustave Speth, Head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), exposed the myth that privatisation, free markets and foreign direct investment will obviate the need for development aid. If the real decline in aid to poor countries is allowed to continue, he says, the world will pay dearly through the tragic consequences of joblessness, environmental decay, conflict and violence.
During the 1980-1993 period, total official development assistance to agriculture fell by 55%. But there was also a reduction in the share of such assistance to such key areas as land and water development, research, rural development initiatives and agricultural extension. In this regard, I applaud the new emphasis by the World Bank on more development aid to the agricultural sector.
To stave off the danger of marginalisation and to prevent being submerged by the rising tide of free trade, my Government at the 1994 Miami Summit, which approved a Free Trade Area of the Americas by the year 2005, proposed the establishment of a Regional Development (Integration) Fund, debt relief and a corps of development specialists/volunteers. Regrettably, the view is generally expressed that these realistic proposals would not materialize.
Poor Third World countries, such as Guyana, recognize the symbiotic links between the environment, economic development, food security and human existence. We cannot therefore expect to eliminate starvation and food insecurity while so many countries continue to be ensnared in debt and thus lack the means to provide the basic services, which underpin economic development. For example, the attraction of foreign direct investment is dependent on civil peace, a basic productive infrastructure and a healthy and educated population. Yet my country has spent a total of US$308 million on foreign debt servicing over the last three years - an amount which was greater than all our capital inflows, a sum which was US$200 million greater than if debt payments did not exceed 10% of export income. As is the case in so many other debt-distressed countries, this situation has prevented my Government from channelling much-needed resources into such critical areas as poverty alleviation, rural development, agriculture, health, education and law enforcement. The Pope’s call for a solution on moral and ethical grounds to Third World debt must be heeded.
My friends, we need a scientific, realistic and people-centred development strategy. This is why I have advocated the need for the development of a New Global Human Order, premised on sustainable economic development, equity, social and ecological justice, and based on the creation of a separate Global Development Fund for assistance to both the North and the South. We must put in place a system whose objectives will be to invest directly in the poor, to seek out opportunities for entrepreneurship among the marginalized, and to provide the social and infrastructural services which would enable the poor to become self-reliant and productive members of the global community. Specifically, I wish to advocate the following:
1. a limit on debt repayment equivalent to not more than 10% of export earnings;
2. the creation of regional integration funds to enable small economies to withstand the effects of globalisation, liberalization and the formation of regional trading blocs. These funds would be used to invest in physical and social infrastructure, research and development initiatives designed to yield productivity gains among the poor, and to improve the competitiveness of under-developed
3. the time span for the realization of a Free Trade Area of the Americas to be the same as in the Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APC) - the year 2010 for the more developed countries and 2020 for the less developed countries;
4. a new and enhanced Lome Convention for the Third World;
5. a refashioned Alliance for Progress for Latin America and the Caribbean;
6. a democratic, lean and clean government; and
7. the earmarking of 20% of budgets by developing countries, and aid donors providing an equivalent 20% under the UNDP 20/20 Social Compact, for priority human development concerns.
Why should 40% of farm households in Guyana have five acres and less - with 58% of them being below the poverty line - in the context of a small population in a relatively large country with an abundance of water resources and arable land mainly in the state sector? Each farmer should and can have at least 100 acres, if not more, but the land must be drained and irrigated and protected from rising sea levels. Our farmers have demonstrated, during the past four years of my government, their capacity to increase agricultural production, but being so poor, they cannot be expected, under cost-recovery programs, to meet the huge expenditures on drainage and irrigation and sea and river defences. Guyana needs debt relief, grants and soft loans, not only to become food self-sufficient but also to feed the food-deficient Latin American and Caribbean regions and the world.
This Summit affords us the opportunity to accelerate the process of addressing the situation of the poor and the powerless. As we leave Rome, we should be buoyed in the confidence that we have really charted the course towards greater food security. As I had cause to state at the G-7 Sectoral Meeting on Agriculture in Guyana early this year, if the rich and poor countries do not act together to overcome the problems of poverty, and the attendant maladies of hunger and environmental degradation, there will be no secure peace.
If, therefore, there is cause to meet again in another twenty years, it should be to celebrate the achievements of this Summit and the full implementation of its Plan of Action.
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 1999