Make Trade Serve the People!
Stop Neoliberal Trade Liberalization!
Representatives of Indonesian and international civil society organizations and grassroots organizations gathered in Jakarta to launch the Indonesian People’s Alliance (Aliansi Rakyat Indonesia) against the WTO and neoliberal trade liberalization. The launch took place at the Wisma YTKI on January 21, 2013.
IPA is organized as a broad campaign platform where initiatives could be facilitated and coordinated in order to respond Indonesia’s 2013 Global Agenda. Representatives of various grassroots organizations and movements (trade unions, peasant organizations, youth and student organizations, women’s organization, migrant workers, research groups, indigenous peoples and environmental organizations) deliberated on the challenges of upholding the people’s aspirations in the midst of these alarming trends.
Indonesia will be at the world’s center of attention as host of three major international meeting in 2013: the UN High Level Meeting on Post-2015 Development Agenda on March, the conference of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on October, and most importantly, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting on December.
According to Ario Adityo, managing director of the Institute for National and Democratic Studies (INDIES), “the success of these meetings is very crucial for the current regime under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyuno (SBY). Indonesia wants projects itself as country with stable economic growth amidst the global crisis to attract more foreign investments. Indonesia’s economic growth is currently pegged at 6.4% and projected to increase in the following years. However, this “growth” is not felt by the peoples of Indonesia. Historical impacts of the liberalization, deregulation, and privatization in Indonesia resulted in massive poverty, displacement and joblessness, violation of labor rights, and expropriation of land and natural resources. Because of these, Indonesians must unite to stop the neoliberal agenda of the major meetings that will take place in the country.”
“These meetings will not be able to provide a solution to the global crisis and pull people out of multidimensional poverty, since they always recommend the same solutions which in fact has brought the world into the abyss of the current crisis. In the case of Indonesia, neoliberal trade agreements allowed foreign companies to exploit the natural resources of the country. While the companies raked in large profits, local populations and indigenous peoples suffered from land grabbing and devastating impacts of environmental brought by oil drilling, mining operations, and plantations for commercial trees, palm, and tea. ” said Ahmad SH of Walhi.
IBON International, which is among the international civil society organizations that attended the launch called for a new trade regime that will respond to people’s needs. “We need an alternative trade regime,” said Paul Quintos of IBON International and lead coordinator of the Campaign for People’s Sustainable Development Goals. Quintos further pointed out that “poor countries are consistently at the losing end of trade agreements that promote neoliberalization. They have been coerced to adopt policies which favour foreign investors and companies over local ones. Developing countries are suffering the brunt of the crisis brought by the failing trade and financial systems. The international trade, financial and monetary architecture must be restructured to create enabling conditions for poor countries to develop.”
IPA will embark in a year-long campaign in the run-up to WTO Ministerial Conference on December 2013 that would focus on the whole trade and development discourse. A series of research-education-information, consolidation and mobilizations will be conducted and coordinated by IPA. Various initiatives will be concluded in a ‘Peoples Global Camps’ that will be the space for civil society and grassroots organizations from all over the world to campaigning around the WTO and neoliberal trade liberalizaton.
For more information please contact Ahmad SH, Walhi (Indonesian Environmental Forum), ahmad.walhi @ gmail.com , +6281337374038.