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globe logo     Caravan: Newsletter of the Alliance for a Responsible and United World
Number 6 August 2000

bulletFrom Readers
bulletMohawk people
bulletASSEMBLY 2000-2001
bulletAlliance in Motion
 · Millenium Forum
 · Demanding human rights
 · Inner force
 · New York
 · Planet at stake
 · North American partners
 · Alternatives for NA
 · Allies' Dream
bulletViews on the Alliance
bulletThe Artist
bulletReturn to ALLIANCE LIBRARY

The vision of the Millenium Forum

"Our vision is of a world that is human-centered and genuinely democratic, where all human being are full participants and determine their own destinies. In our vision we are one human family, in all our diversity, living on one common homeland and sharing a just, sustainable and peaceful world, guided by universal principal of democracy, equality, inclusion, compassion, voluntarism, non-discrimination and participation by all persons, men and women, young and old, regardless of race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or nationality. It is a world where peace and human security, as envisioned in the principles of the United Nations Charter, replace armaments, violent conflict and wars. It is a world where everyone lives in a clean environment with a fair distribution of the earth's resources. Our vision includes a special role for the dynamism of young people and the experience of the elderly and reaffirms the universality, indivisibility and interdepen-dence of all human rights -- civil, political, economic, social and cultural."

Extracts of 'We the Peoples Millenium Forum Declaration and Agenda for Action - Strengthening the United nations for the 21st Century'

The Alliance in Motion
Opinions on the Millennium Forum -- (New York, 22-26 May 2000)

Inability to rethink about the foundation of neo-liberalism under the UN sky

Initiated by Kofi Annan, General Secretary of the United Nations in order to gather ideas of NGOs and members of civil society on major current issues and on the UN's mission for the 21st century, the Millennium Forum, organised by a collective of NGOs, convened about 1350 committed people from a hundred countries. Yet this "large mass" of international civil society that met for the first time in the General Assembly hall of the UNO is far from having any real impact that one was expecting. The event failed to create any echo in the media during this period, and the final declaration was limited to -- encouraging respect for human rights, protection of environment, democratisation of international institutions, and transfer of the "profits" of globalisation to all...

Many factors can explain the limited scope of this forum and the disappointment felt by many of us present as observers for Caravan and the Alliance : first of all there is a persistent scepticism regarding the genuine will of the UNO to associate civil society in its mission - absence of important means relegated to this objective and an attentive hearing; there are also doubts on the representation to the forum in-spite of its declaration taken from the first few words of the UN Charter ("We the Peoples..."), -- absence of a list of participants which would have undoubtedly revealed an over-representation of North America, and the thin presence of representatives of social movements, indigenous communities, trade unions, farmers, fisherfolk etc.; then there is an uneasiness about the way the deliberations were handled -- exclusively in English (with the exception of plenary sessions where interpretation towards French, Spanish and Japanese was offered. Nothing towards Arabic, Russian and Chinese) -- and the speed imposed in order to arrive at a consensus at the risk of lessening the diversity of views and the strength of arguments; finally there was the feeling that this forum was not very different from other meetings of the kind held in the 90s showing itself powerless to reformulate the present crisis in new and different terms and to send a strong signal to governments and other institutions.

This forum could not question the foundation of neo-liberalism, give body to this "will to live differently" which is spreading among people, valorise alternative forms of organisation of material life because it limited itself to demanding that signals be imposed to counter the destructive effects of capitalist ways of thinking and acting in an essentially defensive position says Claire Sabourin (Quebec). Can we be satisfied in being "cornered to demand the right to live"? the simple question is ruthless and right; it challenges us deeply.

"What can rock this fearful reality of economic and financial power concentrated among an increasingly fewer people with all the perverse effects that we know of?" Edith Sizoo (Netherlands) says it is a work at the level of inner resources in a lively text inspired by her weeklong stay in New York.


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© 2000 Alliance for a Responsible and United World. All rights reserved. Last updated October 21, 2000.