Last 15 and 16 of November, we came to together in Mexico City as a broad spectrum of Mexican and international civil society organizations and held a strategy session to discuss our approaches to the upcoming 5th Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will be held in Cancun, Mexico from September 10 to 14, 2003.
We were 240 people in all, from 89 Mexican and 53 foreign organizations, from 16 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. We agreed to send, to Mexican and international civil society, this CALL to organize and coordinate actions and information exchanges with the goal of derailing the WTO in its attempt to use Cancun to wrap up the consolidation of the current phase of the global neo-liberal model and launch a new round of negotiations on new themes.
We make this CALL considering that:
* The WTO is turning into a new "corporate" world constitution
* It is the over-arching keystone of the neo-liberal global economic architecture, which also includes regional initiatives like NAFTA, FTAA, Plan Puebla Panama, Plan Colombia, G7, CAP, APEC, etc
* The "free" trade system being imposed via the WTO is undercutting the livelihoods of peasant and family farmers, workers, indigenous peoples and those of African ancestry, women, the landless, urban dwellers, fisherfolk and the poor and middle classes worldwide
* The Cancun Ministerial will be the most important meeting to date for the WTO, because of the fundamental topics to be addressed (agriculture, intellectual property, services, investment) and the new issues being proposed, which amount to a neo-liberal and free trade vision for those sectors which are of vital importance for our economies and our sovereignties
* The worldwide movement against neo-liberal globalization has been building through meetings and protests at key points from Seattle to Prague, Gottenburg, Bangkok, Genoa, Quebec, Quito, Porto Alegre and so many others, and that in this context the upcoming WTO meeting in Cancun acquires historic proportions.
The Mexican and international organizations who participated in the November 15-16 meeting believe that the upcoming meeting of the WTO in 2003 in Cancun, Mexico, represents a key crossroads which may determine the future of the neo-liberal model, of globalization itself, and of our peoples. Therefore we CALL for the organization and coordination of information exchanges, massive public education, mobilization, and actions of protest, pressure, lobbying and repudiation, in Cancun itself, in the rest of Mexico, throughout the Americas, and around the world. Although these activities should reach a crescendo in the week of September 10-14, 2003, they should begin now, and if possible should continue after. We do not suggest a new and separate campaign on the WTO, isolated from the work that each of our organizations is already doing on related topics (NAFTA, FTAA, GMOs, Plan Puebla Panama, Plan Colombia, the war, indigenous rights, the environment, privatization, etc.). Rather, we should ADD the topic of the WTO in a very visible manner to all of the other campaigns already underway, and in each and all of our on-going struggles, in such a way that it becomes very evident to all what the relationships each other issue has with the WTO, as the over-arching keystone of the neoliberal global economic architecture.
In this process, we propose the following principles and methodologies:
* Social movements should have a central, lead role in this process
* There should be space for participation by the diverse sectors critical of, and impacted by, the WTO, including farmers and rural peoples, indigenous peoples and those of African ancestry, unions, environmentalists, anti-privatization groups, women, youth, fisherfolk, urban movements, and many others
* We see this process as part of a broad, inclusive, diverse and flexible movement, tending toward the strengthening of mechanisms of coordination between movements and other civil society groups who are critical of the WTO and the neoliberal model
* Any coordination should be operative and in the nature of exchanges on the elements mentioned above, more than a coordination to establish or impose common positions or the signing of general agreements. In no way do we propose the centralization of, or control over, the participation of organizations with respect to Cancun in 2003. Of course, this should in no way impede those who already have or wish to develop, common positions or joint activities, from moving ahead among themselves.
With this CALL we launch the open and bilingual (Spanish/English) electronic list-serve [email protected] You may sign up for this list at:
We ask those who understand only one of the two languages for their patience and forbearance with messages in the other language. We ask all who can, to put their contributions in both languages.