What’s happening in BRICSAM? March – May 2015 Newsletter
BRAZIL On May 13, REBRIP participated in the Forum on ‘BRICS in Africa – Redefining South-South Solidarity’ in Maputo, Mozambique. The discussion focused on the role of the natural resource economy, the drive for infrastructure and alternative development model based on the creation of more and better jobs rather than just GDP growth. It also explored the involvement of civil society and other mechanisms proposed for the next BRICS Summit. Working towards COP21, REBRIP has been part of meetings to coordinate social mobilizations prior to the next negotiations in Paris and the possibility of forming a Latin American Coalition to influence the process.
RUSSIA “HIV: Life of the Unequal” Exhibition: In April 2015, Oxfam Russia organized an exhibition by Victoria Lomasko. Her artwork focused on the social discrimination of the HIV positive people in Russia. With the support of Oxfam Russia’s partner organization ”EVA”, the exhibition was held in one of the Saint Petersburg’s most independent art spaces and attracted a wide audience. The project aimed to raise the awareness of the public about growing inequality in access to medical services and treatment for HIV positive patients both at the national and regional level. Russia enters BRICS 2015 Presidency: On April 1, Russia officially assumed the BRCIS presidency, which marks the beginning of the Civil BRICS processes. Since then, seven working groups were formed based on priorities of Russian presidency: http://civilbrics.ru/en/gr-brics/workgroup.php. Victoria Stetsko of Oxfam GB, enters the post of the co-chair at the Civil BRICS Working Group on Sustainable Development, representing GCAP Russia.
INDIA Regional Workshops on Inequality: CBGA, PBI and WNTA organized two workshops as part of a series of regional workshops on Inequality being held across the country. The objective of the series is to enhance the collective capacity of PBI and WNTA Networks to engage with multilateral forums and influence them on issues of Inequality from a pro-poor and rights-based perspective. BARC (Budget Analysis Rajasthan Centre) organized one of the workshops in collaboration with Oxfam India, CBGA, PBI and WNTA. Discussion included pertinent issues such as the recent changes in the Policy Regime in India, Inequality in Land Rights, Inequality in Access to Legal Justice, Inequality in Access to Essential Services, Gender Dimensions of Inequality, Tax Justice Issues, and Challenges and Opportunities for Advocacy in the Global Policymaking Platforms(such as the G20 and BRICS).
INDONESIA INFID organized a workshop on “Inequality and the Direction of National and International Development” in Jakarta on 3-4 March 2015. The workshop had two objectives: 1) to engage in dialogue with policy-makers and parliament regarding the government’s agenda on reducing inequalities in Indonesia’s medium-term development plan (2015-2019) and the international development agenda (particularly G20 and 3rd UN Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa); and 2) to coordinate and consolidate civil society for national and international advocacy. These dialogues show that inequality has become one of the main priorities in the national development agenda. In fact, the goal of Indonesia’s Government is to reduce inequality from 0,41 of gini ratio to 0,36 in 2019. Meanwhile, in regard to the international development agenda, Indonesia has called for more accommodative macroeconomic policies to reduce inequalities in the G20, and continued to push for the fulfillment of the pledge of devoting 0.7% of GNI for ODA, tax cooperation and the principle of common but differential responsibility (CBDR) in global dialogue on financing for development. http://bit.ly/1H3piC6 (Paper Presentation) Launching the Inequality Report and Social Barometer Survey Report: The Inequality Report was officially released on March 2015, while the Social Barometer Survey Report on 26 April 2015. The Survey provided insight into the many dimensions of inequality and its causes from a citizens’ perspective. Results revealed the presence of inequality in various sectors such education, health, assets and income. Most people see the need for the government to pay more serious attention to income inequality. A significant proportion of the people meanwhile consider government policies and corruption as the causes of inequality. The launching of both reports received extensive coverage from the media and public, yet the government has yet to officially use the report in its decision-making processes. For more on the reports, access http://bit.ly/1Enfw9T From 29-30 April 2015, INFID engaged in the UN Asia Pacific High Level Consultation on Financing for Development. INFID jointly with OXFAM Indonesia and OXFAM International lobbied the government of Indonesia on two key matters. First was making sure that INFID can present the results of a cross-country research on taxation, and secondly, pushing for the establishment of an intergovernmental body on tax under UN in which every country has the right to vote. To make sure that Addis Ababa outcome document takes this proposal into account, one of the official roundtables at Addis Ababa will be on tax matters. As a result of its intensive lobbying efforts, INFID managed to act as speaker at the session on domestic resource mobilization to present the preliminary result of its research on tax. INFID and OXFAM meanwhile continued to lobby the governments and civil society of Asia Pacific countries present at the meeting to incorporate recommendations on taxes. The outcome document from the consultation has not been released. From the chair’s summary however, the agenda on tax cooperation to address tax evasion and tax avoidance has been included as notes, although it has made no mention of the need to set up an intergovernmental body under UN. The chair’s summary however stated that it needs to establish a tax forum for the Asia Pacific region. INFID and Oxfam do not consider this enough, thus continual lobbying efforts are necessary, primarily in Asia Pacific countries, including in Indonesia. http://bit.ly/1Im00Cw (INFID’s Presentation and CSOs Concluding Statement)
CHINA Knowledge exchange and learning with the author, Stefano Liberti on on May 6: The author of Land Grabbing: Journeys in the New Colonialism, Stefano Liberti, visited SRI office and gave a brief introduction of this book and shared his opinions and observations of global food supply chain. In addition, researchers of SRI introduced the research of MNC’ impacts on local food system, and shared the example of how MNC’ purchasing in ketchup industry are influencing the livelihood of Chinese rural smallholders and further influencing food security in China. Joint research on Women Employment issues for jointly global advocacy: As discussed in India, there will be a jointly research on women employment issues with position paper launched on Turkey C20 summit and other global advocacy platforms. Three Chinese researchers on gender have been identified to be the candidates of literature review and research from China’s perspectives. Project advisor Zhang Lanying also worked with team on ToR drafting. A provisional steering committee (PSC) established for preparing China C20 (CC20) in 2016: The first Chinese NGO meeting on China C20 was held on May 6 and attended by 6 NGOs. At the meeting, it was agreed that a joint plan on CC20 will be developed and a provisional steering committee set up to oversee the plan Network developing of SRI SRI has explored their CSO network to broader fields including China overseas investment, climate change and new energy, gender inequality and development finance. Greenovation Hub, New media gender network, China Development Brief and Green Watershed with their networks were developed
GLOBAL NEWS th
Steering Committee Meeting in Agra: From April 20 – 22 colleagues from Oxfam country offices and CSO networks from Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico met in Agra, India for this year’s Steering Committee Meeting. The discussion focused on developing an advocacy agenda for the next year based on the Working Group’s thematic priorities and identified global influencing moments for joint action. The group also agreed on ways of working and assigned leaders from each of the networks to push forward the agenda and activities such as drafting position papers and intelligence gathering around key summits.
‘Towards a Southern Narrative on Inequality’ On April 23, Oxfam India in collaboration with CBGA, WNTA and PBI convened a one-day panel on inequality in the Global South. The event was envisioned as a platform for representatives from Indian civil society to meet with ECSN BRICSAM networks and discuss the different dimensions of inequality in their country contexts and start identifying commonalities that could serve as the foundation for a narrative on inequality from the Global South. From ECSN BRICSAM, panelists included Adhemar Mineiro from REBRIP, Victoria Stetsko from Oxfam in Russia, Carolina Maldonado from Oxfam Mexico, Malcolm Damon from Economic Justice Network, Lanying Zhang from GCAP China, Subrat Das from PBI and Darmawan Triwibowo from Oxfam in Indonesia.
From India, panelists included:
On Social Discrimination: Paul Divakar an activist, human rights defender and advocate for Dalit rights. On Gender Discrimination: Yamini Mishra a feminist economist and the Gender Responsive Budgeting Specialist for Asia Pacific in UN Women Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives & Sri Lanka. On Access to Essential Services: Deepak Xavier the Essential Services Lead Specialist with Oxfam India. On Taxation: Praveen Jha the Chairperson, Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The major outcomes of the meeting were: The social narrative on inequality should focus on changing governments’ development narrative from economic growth to profound reduction of wealth and income inequality. Also, the need to make sure that the 5 major dimensions of inequality are addressed: Wealth and Income inequality, Gender Inequality, Political Inequality, Social Inequality and Lack of progressive taxation Call for Action developing an ECSN global south campaign that has a holistic approach to inequality and Institution accountability linked to community-level work. ‘Role of Emerging Powers and the World’ On April 24, ECSN BRICSAM networks and Indian civil society met to discuss southern advocacy strategies and the importance of engaging in global decision making platforms. The focus was on BRICS as a bloc and its strategic importance, but each network had the opportunity to present on their influencing model, challenges and opportunities in advocacy work at the national and global levels.
PEER TO PEER Nathalie Beghin from INESC (Institute for Socioeconomic Studies) and member of the CSO network REBRIP (Rede Brasileira pela Integração dos Povos in Brazil visited Delhi, India on 13-15 April 2015 as part of the peer-to-peer exchange. During her visit, Nathalie met with experts from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who engage with multilateral forums to understand India’s position in the BRICS and the level of Indian CSOs' engagement with this forum to highlight issues of Inequality of the Global South. She also met with experts on food security and nutrition to understand India’s work around these issues and also on the right to food – such as The Right to Food Campaign. Nathalie shared success stories and best practices from Brazil and discussed how the civil society in India and Brazil could come together to forge a South led people’s process to advocate in global policy making fora.
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES GLOBAL CROSS COUNTRY RESEARCH: May 22 – 29 – comment on C20 WG recommendations in time for Third Sherpas meeting June 30 – Annual Narrative & Financial Reports submitted to the The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) will be European Commission contacting BRICSAM colleagues (Oxfam and June 23 – 25 (tentative) CIVIL BRICS Networks) as well as other key actors June 26 – 27 (tentative) Alternative Summit BRICS to map and advocacy Julystakeholders 8 – 10 BRICS Leaders’ Summitopportunities. in Ufa, Russia July 13 – 16 Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa BRAZIL May 8 World Economic Forum in Latin America 25 and 26 June: International seminar on Tax Justice in Sao Paulo, Brazil organized by REBRIP -SANI and INFID were invited Possibly in August: REBRIP plans to conduct a webinar on ¨Business and Human Rights¨. The training will be for all networks of the project. RUSSIA th May 19 – Workshop “Policy Impact of Civil Society in BRICS countries: Best Practices Influencing Policy-Making”, Higher School of Economics, Moscow INDONESIA In May: Finalization of cross-country research on tax Dialogue with the Government of Indonesia on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa MEXICO Tentative July - August Training on Feminist Economics in collaboration with Graciela Rodriguez from REBRIP Webinar on (shrinking) Civil Society Space
CROSS -COUNTRY RESEARCH Cross-Country Research ¨Corporate Capture as a Threat to Equal Access to Health in Brazil, India and Russia¨. Oleg Kucheryavenko of GCAP Russia will finish work on the Russian case of this research. The research will be used within BRICS, Civil 20 and possibly UNGA processes as the advocacy tool to promote equal access to medicines. Cross country research on Food security: Multi-national Companies’ (MNC) Impacts on local food system (SRI): This research contributes to the jointly case studies of the cross country research on food security which comprises of cases of South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and China. A position paper will be summarized and launched in Civil BRICS Summit for joint advocacy. REBRIP hired consultants to research on TNCs. The research will include Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and India. The investigation be released in December, during the Forum on Business and Human Rights of the UN.