Richard Melson

February 2006-02-28

South Bulletin 119

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South Centre Workshop on Trade in Services,
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South Bulletin 119

28 February 2006

Forthcoming issues of the South Bulletin

will be dated the 1st and 15th of any given month

Last website update: 24 February 2006

In this Issue:

Ensuring Regional Energy Security – Prince Hassan

The politics of energy security must place people over pipelines, says HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. Speaking at the Governing Council of UNEP in Dubai, Prince Hassan, who is also a member of the South Centre Board, called for a body of trans-regional charters from around the world which must be welded together to form an international body that regulates investment in, as well as trade and transit of energy.

Globalisation Will Increase Inequality in Developing Countries

A fundamental challenge posed by globalization is that global markets are inherently disequalizing, making rising inequality in developing countries more rather than less likely. That was the view expressed by Nancy Birdsall, the founding President of the Center for Global Development.

Chávez Receives UNESCO’s International ‘Jose Marti’ Award (Part II)

The following is the second and concluding part of the article that began in the previous issue of the South Bulletin (no.118). It contains extracts from a statement by Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, when President Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela received UNESCO’s International ‘Jose Marti’ Award on 3 February 2006.

Green Intellectual Property – A Novel Finance for Development (Part II)

In this second and concluding article on, it is argued that a concerted attempt to harness solar power across all nations, particularly the developing world, can catalyse not just economic development but also prove to be instrumental in removing poverty.

Human Rights Can Support WIPO Development Agenda

As discussions continue within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to elaborate a Development Agenda, an NGO – 3D (Trade-Human Rights-Equitable Economy) – has come out with a policy brief outlining how human rights can support proposals for a WIPO Development Agenda. Specifically, it looks at how human rights can reinforce a development approach to intellectual property policy.

More in this Issue

Food Sovereignty Key to Agrarian Reform & Rural Development

Internet Governance Forum.

Global Poultry to Blame for Bird Flu Crisis.

South Centre News

Editorial

Ensuring Regional Energy Security – Prince Hassan

The politics of energy security must place people over pipelines, says HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. Speaking at the 9th special session of the Governing Council of UNEP in Dubai, 7-9 February 2006, Prince Hassan, who is also a member of the South Centre Board, called for a body of trans-regional charters from around the world which must be welded together to form an international body that regulates investment in, as well as trade and transit of energy. Following are extracts from his address at the Global Ministerial Environment Forum on "Consultations on Energy and Environment for development, Chemicals Management, Tourism and the Environment"

"The environment of our region, West Asia and North Africa, or WANA to give it its appropriate acronym, has suffered the neglect of all victims of conflict and distrust. Political discord and social instability have allowed our leaders to overlook their responsibility to nurture hope of a better life for present and future generations. But the imagined notion of limitless resources and a patient and subservient environment is showing itself to be the chimera it always was. Time is running out and contingent planning by arbitrary decree has no place in a schema of environmental deterioration.

We must rise above partisan politics and look beyond our neighbourhood as merely a troubled patchwork of states and ethnicities. The future happiness and well-being of our peoples depends on good management of the human environment, and to that end, I would ask this gathering to take away with it the seed of an idea that has awaited planting in fertile soil for many years.

We in WANA and greater Asia are in dire need of a supra-national resource cooperative to balance human and physical resources and needs. Only a regional water and energy community freed from unilateral state interests can serve the needs, present and future, of our inter-dependent communities.

The achievement of such an ambition seems daunting in an increasingly troubled political climate, yet it has its precedents. Existing energy partnerships include the Energy Charter Treaty, an international agreement originally based on integrating the energy sectors of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War into the broader European and world markets.

The European Energy Charter, which was originally signed in December 1991, contains a declaration of principles for international energy including trade, transit and investment, together with the intention to negotiate a binding treaty. This agreement was signed in Lisbon in December 1994 and came into effect in April 1998.

The substance of this treaty provides a useful template for innovators in our region. The document focuses on five broad areas: (i) the protection and promotion of foreign energy investments; (ii) free trade in energy materials, products and energy-related equipment, based on WTO rules; (iii) freedom of energy transit through pipelines and grids; (iv) reducing the negative environmental impact of the energy cycle through improving energy efficiency; and (v) mechanisms for the resolution of State-to-State and/or Investor-to-State disputes.

If Europe, the last century’s most turbulent battleground, can lay down its weapons and share a table to agree comprehensive resource management, then surely even our troubled region can stave off a looming catastrophe in a similar fashion.

I have sometimes been accused of offering pipedreams to the operatives of real politique. But can you blame me for seeking an alternative to a pipeline nightmare? Producers, consumers and those who live around energy production facilities and pipelines all have a stake in the current energy network.

This is a call that has gone unheeded in the past. In 1946 Pandit Nehru convened in Delhi an Asian relations conference to examine and explore the intra-independence between the nations of our West Asian region and of South Asia. Now, some 60 years after that initiative was inspired by one of the last century’s great statesmen, we should all be statesmanlike in dealing with the dire crises affecting us.

We need more than ad hoc policies which narrowly focus on the exchange of oil and manpower, to ensure enduring growth in the quality of our citizens’ lives. Indeed, moving beyond a short-sighted fixation on supply and demand of these dual ‘commodities’ is long overdue.

In 1988, a statement of deputies of the Japanese Diet recognised what Nehru and others had perceived some four decades earlier – the security and contentment of our continent rests on a common resource-focussed community of oil producers and the hinterland states. Today, the need for human resource development programmes to satisfy a hunger for opportunity and for hope in the region has never been greater.

The 2005 World Bank Report on Economic Developments and Prospects in the MENA region states that close to 100 million new jobs will be needed over the next 20 years to keep pace with the new labour force entrants and absorb those currently unemployed. Such employment growth would require real economic growth rates averaging 6%-7% a year for a sustained period of time. But the benefits of this growth must be shared throughout society or the gains will lead to nought.

Hard economics must be motivated by the scientific requirements of all humanity, and the politics of energy security must place people over pipelines. We might refer to this approach as ‘anthropolicy’, an approach that combines the human and physical needs of all humanity. Perhaps only such a sea-change in policy-making can avert the impending tragedy threatening a region without a commons and without adequate governance.

I believe a gathering like this is an appropriate forum to ask how we can expect the peoples of our region to cooperate in local communities when our prime ministers and their cabinet colleagues neglect to meet and form lasting institutions to deal with regional needs.

In this valuable UNEP meeting, I believe, discussion will focus on the three major challenges facing our human and physical environment; energy security, climate change, and providing ease of access to energy in the developing world to enhance economic growth and quality of life.

I would like to mention here the "Limits to Growth Report" which was presented to the Club of Rome in 1972, and was updated some 30 years later. The earlier report predicted social, economic and environmental decline; and three decades later confirmed that humanity has dangerously overshot the limits of our planet’s carrying capacity. Another important report is "The Feedback on Climate Change" by David Wasdell. These reports and numerous other studies must be taken seriously, considered thoroughly, and acted upon immediately by governments and NGOs alike.

It is no secret that our entire planet is in crisis. A bird’s eye view would put Sub-Saharan Africa at its epicentre, with continuing food insecurity, a rise of extreme poverty, stunningly high child and maternal mortality, and large numbers of people living in slums.

Our own continent, Asia, appears the most dynamic on paper, in terms of the Millennium development Goals, but in the shadow of high-rise development, hundreds of millions of people populate the slums of extreme poverty.

Pessimists assert that even if the UN millennium development Goals were met, in 2015 the world would still have 900 million people who have to walk more than a mile a day to get drinking water, 1.6 billion people with no sanitation facilities; and in 2020, more than 2 billion people would still live in urban slums.

Yet, in the face of this vista, the world’s producers of prosperity remain its only consumers. How can we accept a situation where 20% of the world’s population produces 80% of its environmental degradation? With the diminishing capacity of the natural world to neutralize the generated carbon dioxide; the problems created by growing energy use can only increase exponentially.

Indeed, we have no choice but to concentrate our abilities on alleviating the suffering of man and the environment. Total worldwide energy used today is 8 billion tons of oil equivalent per year, which will increase to 40 billion tons by the year 2060. Thereafter, the known deposits would only be adequate for the next 80-100 years depending upon the speed at which consumerist development steams ahead.

The Global Marshall Plan Initiative of 2004 provides a possible solution to rapid and unbalanced globalisation, and provides a workable alternative to growing social inequality and environmental degradation. If properly funded, this integrative approach could rapidly provide a broad and fast-growing network of stakeholders from politics, business and civil society.

Environmental proposals and regulations by affluent countries should not permit the purchase of other people’s right to the use of fossil fuel, as a license to contribute additional carbon to the atmosphere. This while depriving large sections of the human family of their right to the minimum basic needs.

Many research initiatives show that the technology to change course already exists. The outcome of two scientific studies for the German Government, conducted by a think tank at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and supported by the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation, TREC, concluded that all energy demands for power generation and sea water desalination, for MENA and EU regions, can be solved by:

· Deserts as sources of solar energy

· Available solar thermal power technologies.

When will the Earth Charter, the declaration of international values and principles that is necessary for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful future, be endorsed by the United Nations? This potentially visionary document was drafted from early 1997 to March 2000, through an international, open process, yet has received no official endorsement so far.

If the United Nations cannot take the lead in environmental management, then we must initiate progress at a regional level. The first step is dialogue with a determined timescale for real progress.

In March, I will host a conference in Amman entitled: "Voices from Asia: Promoting Dialogue and Mutual Effort". The meeting is part of a continuing joint project with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation which aims to encourage partnership within the West-Asian and East-Asian region, which culturally includes Africa.

I believe that such an initiative is needed to marshal the political will for a Common Humanitarian Agenda, including the vital component of environmental responsibility. The fears of many in our region that the struggle for energy security is damning the poorest of the world’s inhabitants to political and economic torpor drives this belief in the need for increased communication on many levels.

I believe a broad base of interaction is needed not only between governments, but among think tanks, NGOs and civil society. We hope to see West Asia/Africa getting closer to South and East Asia through a process of joint effort so that relations develop not only on the basis of oil, but also the rich cultural heritage - the federation of cultures – in our regions. This approach should expand the ‘space’ for resolving urgent issues like environmental security, the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and the reconstruction of Iraq.

How else can we Asians avoid the dire consequences of an ever-increasing drive for energy, particularly in the United States, Europe and China? This seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy continues to dictate obdurate policies that hold no hope of a better future for a silenced majority in Asia.

The future security of the human environment is dependent upon the intimate involvement of our people. Only by making citizens into stakeholders in their built and natural environment can we successfully promote civil society and that harmonious democratising process that sometimes seems so elusive. Good governance within states, between states and within regions provides the key to unlocking human and environmental development potential."

Globalisation Will Increase Inequality in Developing Countries

A fundamental challenge posed by globalization is that global markets are inherently disequalizing, making rising inequality in developing countries more rather than less likely. That was the view expressed by Nancy Birdsall, the founding President of the Center for Global Development. At the most recent annual lecture of the World institute for Development Economic Research (WIDER) of the United Nations University, she outlined three reasons in her lecture ‘Rising Inequality in the New Global Economy.’ A major challenge of the 21st century, she argues, will be to strengthen and reform the institutions, rules and customs by which nations and peoples manage the fundamentally political challenge of complementing the benefits of the global market with collective management of the problems, including persistent and unjust inequality that global markets alone will not resolve. Following are extracts from the lecture delivered in Helsinki, Finland.

The world is becoming ‘flat’ says Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, in his new bestseller The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty first Century. A globophile (an enthusiast of globalization), Friedman is urging the US to take note of China and India’s ability to compete on a new, Web-enabled global playing field. The US needs to adjust to the new, flat world, one in which its longstanding technological and economic dominance is ending.

True: In the new global economy, the US may no longer easily dominate. But the world is not, in fact, flat. Some entire countries and many people in many countries are stuck in deep craters that mar the global landscape. Those of us on the top, with the right education and in the right countries, can easily overlook the injustice and the frustrations they endure, and the problems they pose for the endurance and prosperity of the ‘flat’ world.

The craters are real and deep. Global inequality across countries is high and rising. The US, Europe and Japan are now 100 times richer on average than Ethiopia, Haiti and Nepal, basically because the former have been growing for the last 100 years and the latter have not. That difference across countries was about 9 to 1 at the dawn of the 20th century. Rapid growth in India and China, two of the world’s biggest and poorest countries, means inequality across the world’s people is beginning to decline. But the decline is from astonishingly high levels. Differences in personal income (comparing the richest 10 per cent of Americans to the poorest 10 per cent of Ethiopians for example) are well above 10,000 to 1, not 100 to 1.

Why Inequality Matters

Consider why high inequality matters, both within and across countries. It matters especially within developing countries, where people are more likely (and justifiably) to see in it signs of injustice, insider privilege, and unequal opportunity. They are often right. In developing countries inequality is usually economically destructive; it interacts with underdeveloped markets and ineffective government programs to slow growth – which in turn slows progress in reducing poverty. Economic theory suggests why: weak credit markets and inadequate public education mean only the rich can exploit investment opportunities. Middle income and poor households cannot borrow and miss out on potentially high returns on their own farms and small business ventures for example – often higher returns than the rich are getting on their capital. The most able children of the less rich miss out on the education and skills that would maximize their own economic prospects and their countries’ own growth.

Latin America is an unfortunate example – where historic high concentration of land and the concentration of income associated with exploiting mineral wealth have left a legacy of limited educational opportunities, a small and state-dependent middle class and a large majority of poor and near-poor households. East Asia, in comparison, had the good luck to inherit after the Second World War an equal distribution of land and the political impulse (for lack of natural resources, perhaps, and for fear of Communist movements in neighbouring countries) to invest heavily in education and health – producing a growing middle class based on increasing productivity in smallholder agriculture and technology-savvy job-intensive manufacturing.

In settings where inequality has taken hold (much of sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and China in the last decade), there is also the risk that the institutions of government will, in a vicious circle, fail to respond to citizens’ basic needs. It is the middle class in Western democracies that demands and commands accountable government. Most developing countries have very few households that could be called middle class – and the more unequal their income distributions the smaller their middle class. (In Brazil the 20 per cent of households in the middle of the income distribution capture less than 10 per cent of Brazil’s total income, and at about $1700 per capita per year are well short of ‘middle class’.

In Sweden their comfortably well-off counterparts are about 15 times richer and capture 18 per cent of total income.) Without a solid middle class, even the most responsible government leaders are caught between the temptations of populism and protectionism on the one hand – using inflationary financing to quell the insecurities and frustrations of the insecure majority – and the reluctance of the rich to finance the tax burden associated with long-term productive investments in education and infrastructure. One result: In countries where inequality is high – Brazil and Nigeria – recent progress in increasing educational opportunities still leaves the children of the poor with just three to five years of education, while their rich counterparts have 10 and more years. Income and wealth inequality in one generation can too easily undermine the best governments’ political capacity to guarantee more equal opportunity in the next.

Globalization and Inequality

A fundamental challenge posed by the increasing reach of global markets (‘globalization’) is that global markets are inherently dis-equalizing, making rising inequality in developing countries more rather than less likely. There are at least three reasons. First, the tremendous economic gains associated with deeper and more efficient global markets are not equally shared. Markets, after all, reward those who have the right assets – financial capital, human capital, entrepreneurial skills. In fact in the global economy, it turns out that the ‘right’ asset for individuals is higher education. The returns to higher education have been rising all over the world, especially since the early 1990s – increasing rapidly the salary premium enjoyed by university graduates.

More integrated trade markets, capital flows, and global technology, including the internet, are increasing the worldwide demand for skills more rapidly than the supply (despite increasing enrollments). That increases inequality within countries – China and India are good examples. It can also increase inequality across countries by encouraging emigration of highly skilled citizens, who naturally are most likely to leave the poorest countries where they are least able to deploy their skills productively.

As with individuals, some countries too entered the era of globalization with the wrong asset. Countries such as Mali, Uganda and Venezuela are highly dependent on primary commodity exports – whether oil, coffee, or cotton. They have not resisted globalization – indeed their trade ratios (exports plus imports over their GDP) were higher two decades ago than those of the today’s most successful ‘globalizer’, China, and remain comparable or higher than those of China and India today. They have also reduced their tariffs against imports to rates comparable to their developing country counterparts. But the world price of their exports has declined dramatically relative to manufacturing prices, and they have lost out, failing to grow. Without the political and economic institutions (nor the middle class) necessary to generate stable and credible policy, they have been unable to attract private investment that would have enabled them to diversify. As education is the ‘right’ asset for individuals in the global economy, sound and stable institutions can be said to be the right asset for countries.

A second reason why globalization is dis-equalizing is that global markets are far from perfect. They fail in many domains. The classic example of a market failure is that of pollution, where the polluter captures the benefits of polluting without paying the full costs. At the global level, high greenhouse gas emissions of the US are imposing costs on poor countries. Similarly with global financial crises; the financial crises of the 1990s that affected Mexico, Thailand, Korea, Russian, Brazil and Argentina were in part due to policy errors in those countries. But a healthy portion can be blamed on the panic that periodically plagues all financial markets. The result tends to be dis-equalizing over the long run within countries. In Korea, Mexico and Thailand, financial crises reduced the income shares of the bottom 80 per cent of households compared to the top 20 per cent. In Mexico, the accompanying recession in 1995 led the poor to take their children out of school – and many never returned. In developing countries, the bank bailouts that follow crises generate high public debt (amounting to 10 to 40 per cent of annual GDP compared to 2-3 per cent on average in advanced economies). High public debt keeps domestic interest rates high, stifling investment, growth and job creation – all bad for the poor – and increases the pressure on emerging market economies to generate primary fiscal surpluses, in the long run reducing their ability to finance sound broadbased investments in health and education – and their ability to spend more on the unemployment and other safety net programs that protect the poor in bad times.

Finally, global markets tend to be dis-equalizing because trade, migration, and intellectual property regimes at the global level naturally reflect the greater market power of the rich. Today’s battle to reduce rich country agricultural subsidies and tariffs that discriminate against poor countries is a good example. The problem arises not because of any conspiracy but because domestic politics in Europe, the US and Japan, as perverse as they are, matter more at the negotiating table than unequal market opportunities for cotton farmers in West Africa. What is true of the design of multilateral rules is also true of implementation. Developing countries recently won the right to issue compulsory licenses to produce locally cheap medicines. But some have hesitated to invoke their right because of implicit pressure from the US to limit their access to the US market in other ways.

A Global Polity

What can be done about the resulting challenge to global security, stability, shared prosperity, and most fundamentally to global social justice? Because global markets work better for the already rich (be it with education or for countries with stable and sound institutions), we need something closer to a global social contract to address unequal endowments – to increase educational opportunities for the poor and vulnerable, and to help countries build sound institutions. That is what the Millennium Development Goals are of course about. Because global markets are imperfect, we need global regulatory arrangements and rules to manage the global environment (Kyoto and beyond), help emerging markets cope with global financial risks (the IMF and beyond), and ways to discourage corruption and other anti-competitive processes (a global anti-trust agency for example). And because global rules tend to reflect the interests of the rich, we need to strengthen the disciplines that multilateralism brings, and be more creative about increasing the representation of poor countries and poor people in global fora – the IMF, the World Bank, the UN Security Council, the Basel Committee on Banking Regulation, the G-8, and so on.

We need renewed efforts to complete the Doha multilateral trade round as indeed a ‘development’ round and a willingness to contemplate new global institutions to manage new global challenges – for example a UN-based International Migration Authority.

We need, in short, creative thinking about the reality that we have a vibrant and potentially powerful instrument to increase wealth and welfare: the global economy. But to complement and support that economy we have an inadequate and fragile global polity. A major challenge of the 21st century will be to strengthen and reform the institutions, rules and customs by which nations and peoples manage the fundamentally political challenge of complementing the benefits of the global market with collective management of the problems, including persistent and unjust inequality that global markets alone will not resolve.

Chavez Receives UNESCO’s International ‘Jose Marti’ Award (Part II)

The following is the second and concluding part of the article that began in the previous issue of the South Bulletin (no.118). It contains extracts from a statement by Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, when President Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela received UNESCO’s International ‘Jose Marti’ Award on 3 rd February, 2006. The award honours an individual or institution that has contributed to the unity and integration of Latin American and the Caribbean countries and to the preservation of their identities, cultural traditions and historical values. Created in 1994 by UNESCO´s Executive Board on Cuba’s initiative, the award ceremony was held this year in Havana’s Revolution Square.

"…How many have died!  How many lost their lives, since the days of Bolivar and Sucre until today!  Including many of our comrades, like him, that figure which is over there, Ernesto Che Guevara, an Argentinian, a Cuban, a Bolivian, a Venezuelan, a martyr of Latin America and the world (Applause).   Those who are struggling today for their country and for this continent, are struggling for the world. And so we can say about that extraordinary thinker whose portrait stands over there on the façade of the National Library – there is no better place for it - Jose Marti.  How much that man struggled, and how many like him died, without even having the privilege of seeing what Chavez, Evo, many others and myself are seeing here today. But you are even more privileged than we are, you are so young, with so many future possibilities, that you will be flooding this continent with graduates from higher education, because Venezuela and Cuba together are training the doctors of this hemisphere, with no intention of ignoring or replacing anyone. We are training the doctors who are ready to go to Barrio Adentro, to the places hit by natural disasters, without thinking it over, whose destiny will be to practice one of the noblest of professions, like being a doctor or a teacher, among many others, acting in favor of the human species.

You will not come to study here so that you will go into private medical practice.  I am sure that you are not thinking of that; you are studying so that you may go out and serve your people, like those young Venezuelan medical graduates from ELAM, who were sent by president Chavez to Delta Amacuro, to the Amazon, and he has been talking of sending a few of them to Bolivia now to help that people cope with the disaster.  The day will come when you will go out in the thousands, in the tens of thousands.

Not too long ago we were talking about the 100,000 doctors that Venezuela and Cuba would train.  Today, I can tell you right here that Venezuela and Cuba intend to train 150,000 doctors in 10 years time (Applause), and they will be not only from Cuba but from all of Latin America.  We shall include Cubans who are ready to set off for any part of the world.

Here tonight, we are honored to have among us 300 or more medical students from Timor Leste (Cheers).  Look at them over there; what enthusiasm, what a heroic nation, which used to be a colony for 500 years – 500 years! - and its independence was paid for with blood at a high price. We are proud to have them here.  This year, we will have around 1000 students from Timor Leste, most of them to study at our medical sciences schools; and over there as well, serving in that country, there are 180 Cuban doctors, whom we shall remember also today.  Timor Leste used to be a colony of an Iberian nation, and as usual, the powerful ones sent soldiers to those countries.  They never sent doctors or teachers, they never taught the inhabitants to read and write, they never educated those peoples.

Forgive me for having put aside my written speech.  I shall try not to do that any more because we are impatient to hear President Hugo Chavez on a day like today (Cheers).

Now, this statement made by the Pentagon chief was immediately followed by another serious statement made by the chief of the super-agency which is made up by 15 services, including the CIA and the FBI, the sadly well-known John Negroponte, a close friend of that terrorist they intend to protect, and who bears the repugnant name of Posada Carriles, for all that it represents, who is the man they were supposed to return to Venezuela to stand trial.

Just imagine! Bringing up the pretext of torture to say they are not sending him to Venezuela, a country whose president was at the verge of being assassinated, where there was a military coup d’etat, an oil coup, and where there is a president who, in his immense generosity, even pardoned those who betrayed Venezuela.

We did it too here, at some point in time, after exacting compensation from the empire. We pardoned and released more than a thousand mercenaries to the service of a foreign power, who came to Cuba dressed in their uniforms, on US planes bearing Cuban markings on the fuselage, which attacked us by surprise, treacherously. They invaded our nation escorted by the US naval units and troops, which did not have time to land because hardly 48 hours after the landing there was no one they could give support to.

I was not going to mention any of this, but some things remind you of others.  When you hear what others say or when you speak about Negroponte while you are sitting in your office, it is quite possible that your reaction is not very deep. But after listening to professor Bonasso, who reminded us very well about his infamous role –and we have referred to that gentleman quite a few times, being, as he was, one of Posada Carriles’ partners in the dirty war against Nicaragua-- we should remember that this is the man who said today what was published by the cable:  "The chief of the US intelligence services –‘the super agency’, according to the cable-- expressed his fears on Thursday that an electoral victory by President Hugo Chavez in December would strengthen what he called a foreign policy aimed at interfering in the internal affairs of neighboring countries, thus drawing him closer to Cuba, Iran and North Korea", two countries they call terrorists. Moreover, they threaten to use tactical nuclear weapons against them if they develop –as do dozens of other countries in the world-- nuclear fuel for the production of electricity, so that their gas and oil will not be depleted in a few more years. To threaten with a nuclear strike is truly something crazy.  But then, how many other insanities can we expect from some people?  It is not my wish to offend, but it is impossible not to point out that television exists, speeches and messages exist, and some of these people have truly insane faces, to put it nicely.

In whose hands does the fate of the world lie? Or, we should rather ask, in whose hands does the security of the peoples of this planet lie? They can do nothing for a better world, but they can bring the world to the brink of destruction, even create situations that are impossible to control later on; they could unleash wars whose extension and expansion no one could contain.

These are the risks facing humankind. They are quite new, they belong to the last 100 years, and they are not even confined to the last 60 years, both the danger of extermination by weapons of mass destruction and the all-out aggression on natural environments which are indispensable to the lives of human beings.

"John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence, said that President Chavez was ready to continue being particularly hostile against the opposition and curtail freedom of the press."

Did you hear that, Venezuelan youths, that President Chavez was ready to be particularly hostile against the opposition and curtail freedom of the press?  Well, we are publicizing here what the illustrious Negroponte said, with no restriction whatsoever, and I haven’t the slightest doubt that it will be to his own disgrace, if there is any sense of shame among those who uttered such crass and deceitful statements.

"Negroponte, in his first statement after his appointment…" His first statement was not directed against Posada Carriles, against terrorism, against torture, against extra-judicial executions committed by the US government, or against universal espionage in a society like that of the US where so much has been said about each citizen’s undeniable rights, or against freedom, security and life.  In his first testimony he said nothing about all that; he spoke of Venezuela and Chavez…both he and the Pentagon chief.  Let’s see if he can count on having enough soldiers to continue with these adventures.  Every day they have less troops, less Americans are willing to enlist.

Just a few hours ago we heard the news, released on the same day of the famous message to the Congress, that Mrs. Sheehan had been arrested.  So far I have not heard anything else about this mother, a sweet person indeed, whose words, gentleness, and serenity impressed everybody at the Venezuelan forum. That mother lost her son, and her face shows not a single sign of hatred, but a deep conviction about the fairness of her claims, her demands and her plea that the war should end. She was sent to prison in the same country where Posada Carriles remained a free man for at least 70 days, even though the US government and the super-intelligence agency knew full well where he was, what he was doing and how he entered the country. And he was not arrested for being a privileged accessory to serious crimes, an accessory to an atrocious act of terrorism, promoted by the US intelligence services in Barbados, which took a toll on so many lives. This man killed Venezuelans – more than one-, tortured Venezuelans, and participated in Operation Condor; he committed crimes beyond borders and overseas, in Europe. But he even did so in the US, where Orlando Letelier, the foreign minister in the Salvador Allende government, was killed after a bomb was planted in his car, which also killed a US citizen who was with him.

Thinking or knowing that Mrs. Sheehan has been arrested causes indignation for she was in Congress at the invitation of a legislator. She was sent to prison, and at this very moment I don’t know whether she is still under arrest.

This Mr. Negroponte appeared before the Select Senate Intelligence Committee together with the CIA chief, Porter Goss; FBI director, Robert Mueller, and other intelligence chiefs from the Pentagon and the State Department.

Hitler had his SS and the Gestapo, but he never had so many agencies and super-agencies, or so many intelligence services. Never!  He had enough to commit terrible genocides and he was not any more dangerous than those who possess tens of thousands of nuclear tactical and strategic weapons.

"He indicated that radical populist figures were coming up in certain countries, that they were advocating state economic policies…"  Have they ever listened to an "Alo Presidente" program and to what is being promoted in Venezuela, particularly through the missions, which are an expression of true citizen participation in all activities related to the nation and people’s life?  "…and they show very little respect" -- very little respect, listen to that, youngsters!-- "for democratic institutions.

"Negroponte said that, in Bolivia, Evo Morales’ victory reflected the public’s loss of faith in traditional political parties and institutions."

Sure, how are they going to continue believing in the stupidity and garbage that they are being told everyday? And they are forcing the people to believe in them with the use of highly developed techniques which transform human beings into persons who act by reflex action, like trained animals in a circus.  This is done with the billions of dollars spent each year on advertising instead of on education, as is being done, for example, in our country. Here there are more and more media, more and more television stations, and more than 60% of broadcast time is spent on education without commercials.  That is the reason why it is very bad for the empire to talk to Cuba, with the Cubans.

Well, once again, I beg your indulgence for having strayed from the written speech. I have failed to live up to my word of being brief.

This important award bestowed on Hugo Chavez today was established in 1994 by the Executive Council of UNESCO following a proposal by its Director General, distinguished scientist and intellectual, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, in response to a request made by Cuba, at a time when nobody in our country knew about Chavez.

Who would have imagined –only a soothsayer with a crystal ball could have predicted it-- that some day this award, for the glory of those who proposed and supported it, would be presented to Hugo Chavez?.

Such an exalted recognition would be bestowed, according to the terms of the agreement, in the name of the "eminent thinker and man of action who was the principal instrument in the liberation of Cuba and a key figure in the Spanish-American literature", Marti, "as a way of promoting and recognizing especially meritorious acts by persons and institutions that, following the ideas and spirit of Jose Marti and embodying a vocation for the sovereignty  and liberating struggles of a nation, have contributed significantly, in any part of the world, to the unity and integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, to their social progress and the preservation of their identity, of their cultural traditions and historical values".

Obviously, this award will never go to a Pinochet, or to any of those who committed thousands of crimes and tortures against the people in Argentina, Guatemala or Paraguay; or waged dirty wars such as that in Nicaragua, which cost the lives of thousands of Nicaraguans, or elsewhere in this hemisphere, with the help of henchmen and torturers who were trained in those schools through which imperialism propped up and maintained governments that resorted to the use of force and experts in torture, who had been trained in the US in the practice of the atrocious acts committed against the people of Vietnam, where 4 million persons died in an unjust war, and millions more were maimed.

There will never be any award for those criminals, those traitors who have betrayed millions of people, hundreds of millions of people in this hemisphere, where there are not enough doctors, schools, jobs, teachers…and where millions, for example, loose their sight; they go semi-blind, and then sooner or later they go completely blind.

How are they going to support the plans of people like Hugo Chavez, who made medical care a reality for 17 million Venezuelans, Mr. Negroponte, who never before had access to medical care or to a pharmacy? Today, these 17 million receive free medical care and free medicines supplied by the Bolivarian government.

It is thanks to a truly revolutionary process that eye exams have been promoted and free eyeglasses have been delivered, that there is free dental care. This revolutionary process is quickly developing the most complete social program ever, not only in the area of education, but also in the health sector. By mid-2006 there will be 600 comprehensive diagnostic centers, top quality polyclinics, 600 centers for physical therapy and rehabilitation using the best electromagnetic equipment from the most prestigious companies in the world, and 35 high tech diagnostic centers which are now being outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment.  The chieftains of the empire do not speak of these things, since very few private clinics in the US possess such an impressive quantity of cutting edge equipment, as the ones these centers will have.

Services will be extended to all sectors of the Venezuelan society.  That was President Chavez’ request more than a year ago.  For this reason, the total number of centers requested from Cuba grew in number from 824 to 1 235.

I am not exaggerating. I know very well that in the US everything is ruled by the principle of profits, and that the most expensive equipment is only used on a few privileged.  I know for a fact that in Venezuela this equipment will be used on 30, 40 and 50 people per day.

I have no doubt that in the country of Bolivar, just like in Cuba, and much more rapidly than in Cuba, excellent services will be available. Here we are still struggling to have those, and we are getting close, because we have more than 70,000 doctors, among them approximately 60,000 specialists who are working on their Master or PhD degrees in science. This is the human capital which Chavez is also willing to train: professors, doctors, and engineers, university graduates who will attain their Master or PhD degrees in science. It is about creating human capital that will not run out such as nickel or aluminum or hydrocarbons, but which will multiply.

These youngsters from Venezuela and Bolivia who begin their studies today so full of life, hope and goodwill at these high quality centers, will become much wiser and will have grown in numbers by the time they graduate, they will grow in numbers again by the time they perfect their specialty, they will grow in numbers after they have accomplished one, two, or as many internationalist missions as there might be necessary, they will have multiplied by the time they attain their Master or PhD degrees, just as in a not too distant future our own doctors will be doing en masse.

Nothing compares to human capital, and one day future generations will be thankful to the Bolivarian process for two things: the first and most important is the development of Venezuelan human capital, its multiplication, knowing that it will never run out; the defense of the country’s natural resources, the proclamation of integration and cooperation within a united America, so that fuel may be ensured for more than 100 or 200 years provided it is properly saved, and at the same time, the development of all the technology needed to create substitutes for our present fuel, substitutes for hydrocarbons, which will certainly make their appearance, but given the pace at which the world is moving, they could be monopolized by the richest and most developed nations to exploit the Third World even more, just if it were likely that we will not rebel and be ready to give our lives to prevent it. Then we would be struggling not only for material improvements, we would be struggling for survival!  I am sure that that is how it will be!

This International "Jose Marti" Award is being presented to President Hugo Chavez Frias at the behest of six Latin American countries: Panama, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.  It was a unanimous vote –I repeat, a unanimous vote, Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Negroponte-- by a jury composed of prestigious world personalities who agreed upon the merit of his redeeming struggle on behalf of the peoples of Our America.

President Chavez wished to receive the award in Havana, the city where Jose Marti was born on January 28th, 1853, exactly 153 years and six days ago.  His birth date is still very fresh in our minds.

We are accompanied today in this extraordinary ceremony by 38 distinguished world intellectuals who have come just for the occasion; among them are five of the seven members of the prestigious jury which granted the International "Jose Marti" Award. They do not regret having decided to bestow this award on someone who so highly deserves it, someone like President Hugo Chavez.

Present here as well are more than a hundred important artists, writers, publishers and professionals from the many nations participating in the XV International Book Fair which this year is dedicated appropriately to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a country where education, health and culture flourish.

Who exactly are here with us tonight?

As a categorical and irrefutable reply to the ignominy by those who would rather see a world full of illiteracy, ignorance, hunger, illness and poverty, so that they could perpetrate even more shameful pillage, here at this glorious Square are:

3 421 Venezuelan students, members of the new project to train Latin American doctors (Applause and cheers).

Raise your flags high so that they can be seen in the United States, so that they may see what Chavez is doing to support the young people.

Which makes a big total of 7 133 students already here in Cuba. Present here today as well are:

A few days ago, a natural disaster struck with great severity at the suffering population of Bolivia, which was liberated by Bolivar and Sucre.  Venezuela and Cuba have offered assistance to that sister nation.

As soon as we learned of the news, following Evo’s call for assistance to the international community, an IL-62 aircraft left Cuba with 15.7 tons of medicine, and a few hours later, another plane took off from Rancho Boyeros Airport carrying 140 medical specialists to combat the consequences suffered by humans as the result of such natural disasters (Applause and cheers). It was an entire brigade of the "Henry Reeve" Contingent.  As many doctors as Evo needs will depart to assist that sister nation!

Venezuela and Cuba are also gearing up to commence the literacy campaign in Bolivia as soon as Evo gives us the go-ahead.  This literacy campaign will be better than the previous ones, since people will be taught to read and write in Spanish as well as in Aymara or Quechua simultaneously, depending on the place they come from.  It is a brand new form of mass literacy; a tremendous experiment that I think will set an example for other countries to follow in the future.  Both of our countries, Venezuela and Cuba, are united in our cooperation with Bolivia – as well as in several other issues- but not to drop bombs on any country, not to use terrorist methods, not to use force or violence. Quite to the contrary, we do so to carry out absolutely fraternal and humanitarian activities, as writer Bonasso explained.  We do not regret doing any of this, our people do not regret it, and we feel very proud of it. Venezuelans will never regret doing this, and in the midst of enormous obstacles, difficulties and risks that we do not underestimate, we will sincerely long for peace and the happiness of struggling for a truly better world.

I do not wish to go on any further – that is what was written in my draft, even though I think I have gone on far too long, and so I once again ask for your forgiveness. I would just like to add that nothing and no one could ever darken the bright future that is awaiting the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ever Onwards to Victory! "

Green Intellectual Property – A Novel Finance for Development (Part II)

In this second and concluding article on, it is argued that a concerted attempt to harness solar power across all nations, particularly the developing world, can catalyse not just economic development but also prove to be instrumental in removing poverty. "Intellectual Properties and Photovoltaics: Light from the Green Intellectual Property Rights, " a new paper by Itaru Nitta, proposes a novel financial mechanism, the Green Intellectual Property (GIP) system. From the Fund, the GIP system would provide sufficient financial assistance, including subsidies and royalty assumptions for introducing a variety of photovoltaic installations.

Prevalence of Photovoltaics

By employing the GIP Trust Fund, the GIP system would contribute to the wider prevalence of photovoltaics. To assess this possibility, we classify the photovoltaic installations in six categories according to their scale. Table 3 shows that the first category is the off-grid installations that have the smallest capacity, ranging from several tens to several hundreds of W. This category typically includes stand-alone and small-solar-home applications in developing countries. These applications are often a cost-effective energy-supply solution for impoverished nations to improve their standard of living because the installations of category one are affordable and compatible with a local society and environment in developing countries.

The second category is the off-grid installations that generate several hundreds W to several kW. This second smallest category contains, for example, village power stations, which also have a high feasibility for poverty alleviation in developing countries. Since the introduction of categories one and two to developing countries hinges on the technological transfer from developed countries, these small-scale off-grid installations would be facilitated by the international phase of the GIP Trust Fund.

In contrast to the international phase, the national phase of the GIP Trust Fund would accommodate middle-scale on-grid applications, which encompass the third and fourth categories in developed countries. The third category is the on-grid installations with a capacity of several kW, typically including dwelling-mounted applications. These applications have been rapidly growing in developed countries since the late 1990s. In addition, institution-mounted applications, for instance, commercial, public and industrial buildings, have also increased rapidly in developed countries. The institution-mounted applications represent the fourth category, i.e., on-grid applications with a capacity from several tens to hundreds of kW. Since each developed country already possesses the technologies of categories three and four, the national phase of the GIP Trust Fund would promote the installations of these categories in individual developed countries. These middle-scale on-grid distributed installations would play a key roll to reduce the fossil-fuel consumption in developed countries.

Table 3. A classification of photovoltaic installations

 

Cat.

Typical Capacity

Example of
Installations

Scale

Grid

Countries

Phase of GIP

Trust Fund

I

20 W
- 100 W

Small Solar
Home (SSH)

Small
(Distributed)

Off

Developing (LDC/ADC)*

International

II

500 W
- 2.5 kW

Village Power
Station (VPS)

Small
(Distributed)

Off

Developing (LDC/ADC)*

International

III

1kW
- 5 kW

Dwelling
Mountings

Middle
(Distributed)

On

Developed

National

IV

10 kW
- 100 kW

Institution
Mountings

Middle
(Distributed)

On

Developed

National

V

500 kW
- 10 MW

Large-Scale
Photovoltaics
(LS-PV)

Large
(Centralized)

On

Developed
/Developing (ADC)

National/Int’l

VI

100 MW
- 5 GW

Very-Large-Scale
Photovoltaics
(VLS-PV)

Large
(Centralized)

On

Developed
/Developing (ADC)

National/Int’l

* LDC: Least Developed Country; ADC: Advanced Developing Country

In addition to categories three and four, centralized photovoltaic power plants, including categories five and six, have been proposed and investigated as a solution to the world’s energy supply in the future. The fifth and sixth categories are large-scale (LS, several hundreds of kW to tens MW) and very-large-scale (VLS, several hundreds MW to more than a GW) installations, respectively. These installations would be connected with utility grids for electricity transmission to a remote electricity-consuming site, and they would be a potential alternative to conventional fuel-burning power plants.

The installations of categories five and six would be facilitated by the national and international phase of the GIP Trust Fund. For example, the power plants of category five in each developed country would be promoted by the national phase of the GIP Trust Fund in individual developed countries. By contrast, in emerging-industrial developing countries, the international phase of the Fund would assist the introduction of category five. The international phase would also support the reality of the international VLS photovoltaic power plant in a huge place such as a desert and space.

To further evaluate these categories one through six in the next sections, we will first argue the national phase of the GIP Trust Fund for middle-scale (categories three and four) and LS (category five) installations in photovoltaic-leading countries: the US, Germany and Japan. Subsequently, we will focus on the international phase of the Fund for small-scale (categories one and two) and VLS (category six) installations.

National Phase

Among various photovoltaic applications, the best target of the GIP Trust Fund at the national phase in each developed country, especially the US, Germany and Japan, would be on-grid distributed installations with a middle scale (categories three and four) and on-grid centralized installations (category five). In these countries, the national scale of the GIP Trust Fund would sufficiently cover the capital costs for a umber of installations in these categories.

- The US

In the US, the current contribution of photovoltaics to the total electric generation is extremely small. In 2004, the US total peak capacity of electricity was 968.5 GW (EIA, 2005a), most of which was accommodated by the traditional electricity generation: coal burning (32.3%), natural gas burning (23.0%), dual fired with oil and natural gas (18.1%), nuclear reactions (10.3%) and large-scale hydro power (10.2%). In the total of national electric capacity, renewable energy sources, mainly including wind and geothermal, accounted for only 0.8%, and the contribution of photovoltaics was less than 0.05%.

During this decade, however, the total US photovoltaic installations rose more than six-fold: from 58 MW in 1994 to 365 MW in 2004 (Maycock, 2005a). Especially, the most rapid growth has been made in categories three and four, which increased by 30 and 27 MW in 2004, respectively (Maycock, 2005b). As a result, their cumulative capacities for both categories reached 154 MW in 2004 (Maycock, 2005a). This increased volume of photovoltaics has caused the continuous reduction in their installation costs mainly due to expansion of the scale for manufacturing of photovoltaic modules and arrays. For example, the average prices of these categories dropped from $12/W in 1994 to $6 - $9/W in 2004 (Maycock, 2005c). Specifically, the turnkey price in 2004 of categories three and four ranged from $7 to $10/W and $6 to $9/W, respectively.

These still-small but steep incentives for photovoltaics created in 2004 the business values of $210 and $162 million through newly installed applications of categories three and four, respectively (Maycock, 2005b). These values are equivalent to several times the total amount of the GIP Reserve and Premium in the US (see Table 3). In other words, the GIP Trust Fund at the US national phase, even without the GIP Tax, would be enough to substantially encourage the domestic prevalence of photovoltaics. If, for example, the GIP system diverted nearly half ($50 million) of the GIP Reserve and Premium in the US, the system would provide financial aid in the amount of almost 20% of the whole business values for categories three and four. The form of such financial aid includes subsidies for purchasing photovoltaic installations or royalty assumptions for patent-protecting photovoltaic products. If, in addition, the GIP system successfully imposed the GIP Tax as a levy of more than several tens of billions of dollars, the system would be able to more sufficiently offer financial supports.

Due to its large amount, the GIP Tax would provide considerable financial aid to propel photovoltaic installations for every household in the US. For household consumptions of electricity, the installations of categories three and four are the best option because they generate electricity at where it is used. Since household electrical usages accounted for 35% (1.2 PWh) of the total US consumption (3.7 PWh) in 2004 (EIA, 2005b), these usages roughly need a peak capacity of 330 GW, one third of the US total capacity (968.5 GW, EIA, 2005a). This capacity for the all of household usages throughout the US would be supplied by categories three and four of photovoltaics with the financial assistance from the GIP Tax. To support the capacity of 330 GW, the total photovoltaic installations to be newly built would cost around $2.5 trillion (installation cost: $8/W, Maycock, 2005c). Given this installation cost was divided by $125 billion per year for two decades, the GIP Tax would annually offset around 30% of that cost as a long-term subsidy. This subsidy would effectively promote new installations of categories three and four for household electricity, which would result in an indispensable contribution of these categories to household electricity in the US.

As a subsidy or financial assistance, the GIP Trust Fund would function for photovoltaic installations. In 2004, nearly 60% of the states, including California, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and North Carolina, provided tax credits for approximately 70% of the installations in category three (Maycock, 2005d). Consequently, the total amount of state tax credits throughout the US reached $150 million, which have strongly stimulated categories three and four. This amount of $150 million is 1.5 times the US national phase of the GIP Premium. This situation means that the GIP Trust Fund, even without the GIP Tax, would rival two thirds of the present tax credits all over the US and that the Fund would make a considerable contribution in promoting photovoltaic installations.

In addition to the State and regional budgets, which have primarily attempted to increase market incentives, the federal budget for photovoltaics has been spent entirely on research and development. In the fiscal year of 2004, the federal photovoltaic expenditure totaled $76 million for fundamental research and field tests (Maycock, 2005d). This federal spending is less than the GIP Premium, meaning that the GIP Trust Fund would have a larger scale than that of the current federal budget for encouraging the research and development of photovoltaic technologies.

These public budgets also aim at promoting category five, i.e. on-grid centralized installations with large-scale ranging from several hundreds of kW to tens of MW in capacity. In 2002, for example, Alameda County, California completed the construction of the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, which is equipped with the fourth largest rooftop photovoltaic installation in the world (PowerLight and CMS Viron, 2002a). This photovoltaic installation is the largest US application and it has 1.2 MW in capacity. The total construction costs for the photovoltaic installations were approximately $9 million, which was mainly financed by State loans from the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utility Commission (PowerLight and CMS Viron, 2002b). This State funding was nearly equivalent to only one tenth of the GIP Premium at the US national phase. That is to say, the GIP Premium would sufficiently contribute to many installations of the same capacity to that of the Santa Rita Jail.

- Germany

As of 2004, Germany possessed the world’s second largest cumulative capacity of photovoltaics (794 MW) after Japan (1,131 MW) and before the US (365 MW, IEA-PVPS, 2005a). In the single year of 2004, however, Germany introduced the largest volume of photovoltaic installations (363 MW), which consists almost entirely of categories three and four (360 MW). This large increase in the capacity, especially for category three, results in the low turnkey price of that category, $6.5/W in 2004 (IEA-PVPS, 2005b), which is 20% lower than the US average price, $8/W (Maycock, 2005c).

In Germany, the installation costs of category three are lower than those in the US. Moreover, the scale of the GIP Reserve and Premium at the German national phase, without the GIP Tax, is virtually equal to that of the US. These figures suggest a higher possibility of the GIP Trust Fund in Germany than the US to encourage photovoltaic installations. If the German national phase of the GIP Trust Fund was created in an amount comparable to that of the US, the Fund would promote the distribution of photovoltaic at the same or higher rate than in the US due to lower costs of photovoltaic installations. Actually, as shown in Table 3, the EU national phase of the GIP Reserve and Premium has the almost same scale as that of the US, and Germany shares a major contribution to the EU’s whole activity in intellectual properties. These facts mean that the German scale of the GIP Trust Fund can be regarded as the same as that of the US. Due to the same scale of the Fund in Germany and the US, Germany would provide subsidies and royalty assumptions to German industry in a similar fashion as the US.

Like in the US, German public budgets have strongly induced the incentive for photovoltaic installations. In particular, the Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) Promotional Bank completed the 100,000 Roofs Solar Power Programme at the end of 2002. Subsequently, Germany has implemented several programs including soft loans aiming at categories three (Stubenrauch, 2003). In 2004, the total amount of their public budgets for photovoltaic installations was $339 million, which is almost the same scale as that of the US’s budgets, $277 million (IEA-PVPS, 2005c). These figures again suggest a similarity between Germany and the US. Since the scales of German public budgets and their GIP Trust Fund without the Tax would compare with those in the US, the German national phase of the GIP trust Fund would function as an additional public budget for photovoltaics by a similar scheme which we argued for the US.

- Japan

Japanese government has stimulated their photovoltaic market over the past decade by the subsidies of around 50% of the capital costs of category three with the total amount of $212 million in 2004 (IEA-PVPS, 2005c). As a result, Japanese cumulative photovoltaic installation is now the world’s largest, 1.1 GW in capacity (IEA-PVPS, 2005a), and it is still growing rapidly. These public budgets and installations for photovoltaics in Japan have a high similarity to those of Germany in both scale and configuration. For example, more than 90% of the total photovoltaic installations in both these countries is in category three (IEA-PVPS, 2005a). Furthermore, the Japanese GIP Trust Fund at the national phase is similar to that of Germany. For instance, these countries’ GIP Premium is predicted to be the same scale, almost $100 million (see Table 3). These similarities in photovoltaic activities and the GIP Trust Fund suggest that Japanese GIP Trust Fund would also have a high potential to accelerate photovoltaic installations, especially category three, through the same mechanism as that of Germany as we argued.

International Phase For Developing Countries

Photovoltaics would be of benefit to not only developed countries but also developing countries, including advanced developing countries (ADCs) and least developed countries (LDCs). The potential contribution of photovoltaics to these countries falls into two scenarios according to its objective. The first scenario is to curb the consumption of fossil fuels in urbanized and industrialized areas of ADCs in a similar setting to developed countries. This scenario would typically coincide with category five. The second scenario is to alleviate poverty through installations of categories one and two in LDCs and rural areas of ADCs. These categories of photovoltaic installations for developing countries would be substantially driven by the GIP Trust Fund at the international phase.

- The first scenario

For example, the first scenario would accommodate China. They are a major player of ADCs and the world’s second-largest consumer of primary energy (10.8% of the world’s total in 2003) after the US (23.4%) (EIA, 2005c). One of the main reasons for China’s large amount of energy consumption is their rapid economic growth, which is supported by rushed industrialization with heavy coal burning. Actually, coal burning supplies around 70% of China’s primary energy demands. In its electricity sector, especially, coal accounts for almost 90% of all fuels they use (IEA, 2002a). These figures mean that China’s trend of energy consumption holds the key to the global reduction of fuel burning and associated carbon dioxide emission.

At the end of 2000, China’s electricity capacity was around 300 GW. In order to meet the rapid growth of their electricity demand, China will have to build 800 GW of new capacity by 2030, including the replacements of plants that are to be retired. For this new generation capacity, China will need more than $800 billion investment (IEA, 2002b). If China installed several applications of category five with this 800 GW capacity instead of the traditional fossil-fueled/nuclear-powered generators, they would minimize the consumption of fossil fuels and emission of carbon dioxide. However, a simple calculation shows that the total capital cost of such installations would be immense, almost $6 trillion (IEA-PVPS, 2005d), which is 8 times the capital cost for conventional power plants.

In spite of this enormous cost for photovoltaic installations, the GIP Trust Fund at the international phase would make a small but considerable contribution to China’s power generation. Although the cost of $6 trillion is a vast amount, it would be invested annually at $200 billion until 2030. If the GIP system allocated several tens of billions of dollars from the international phase of the GIP Trust Fund every year (see Table 3), the system would offset 10 - 20% of the installation cost of photovoltaic power generation in China. This calculation means that the GIP system would enable China to establish a considerable share of photovoltaics in increased electric capacity even if it is not the entirety. In addition, this installation would induce the mass-production of photovoltaic arrays and associated price decline of the arrays due to the potential vast market of photovoltaics in China.

- The second scenario

In addition to the reduction of fuel consumption in industrial areas of ADCs through the first scenario, photovoltaics in the second scenario would propel poverty reduction in LDCs and rural areas of ADCs. This scenario would be reasonable for two reasons. First, the second scenario would be easy to implement because this scenario would be mainly concerned with categories one and two, which need smaller capital investments for construction than other categories. Second, there is not conventional electricity in most areas of LDCs. Even if it is available, photovoltaic energy would be a strong competitor against conventional electricity because it is much expensive due to rudimentary power plants and electricity grids. In addition, many LDCs are located at low latitudes, and these nearer-equinoctial countries have high insolation, which would favor photovoltaics.

Actually, the installations of categories one and two have already a larger contribution to domestic power generation in some LDCs than developed countries. For example, Nepal has more than 3 MW capacity of off-grid photovoltaics (IEA-PVPS, 2005e), which corresponds to almost 1% of the peak capacity for their national electricity demand, 350 MW (USAID, 2001). This share is 20-fold of the total for all kinds of photovoltaics in the US, less than 0.05% (EIA, 2005a). The major applications of photovoltaics in Nepal are small solar home systems and village power stations (IEA-PVPS, 2005e).

If the GIP system subsidized LDCs to install photovoltaics of categories one and two in an amount of less than 1% of the international phase of the GIP Trust Fund (see Table 3), the system would provide at least $100 million every year, which corresponds to 6 MW of photovoltaic capacity of those categories (IEA-PVPS, 2005f). With assistance from this fund, LDCs would be able to annually introduce more than 60,000 solar home systems or 2,400 village power stations. If, specifically, the GIP system continued this subsidy for 10 years in Nepal, the accumulated capacity of photovoltaics would reach 60 MW, which would account for almost 20% of the total national requirement of electricity in Nepal. This simple calculation explicitly shows that the GIP system has a strong feasibility of introducing a considerable amount of photovoltaic installations into LDCs, which would eventually reduce their poverty.

Since installations of categories one and two have strong competitiveness as well as low environmental and social impacts on local regions in LDCs and rural areas of ADCs, such installations are more suitable for poverty alleviation in these countries than large-scale power plants with fossil fuels and hydropower. These advantages of photovoltaics have been widely recognized since the late 1990s. For example, the European Union released "Plan for Takeoff for Renewable Energy" in 1997, which proposed an export initiative to install 500,000 village power stations into LDCs by the end of 2010 (Boyle, 2004c). This proposal has been reviewed in more recent reports, including "Power to Tackle Poverty" adopted by the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development at Johannesburg in 2002. This report recommended the installation of 4.5 GW of photovoltaic generators into developing countries by 2020, which would create tens of thousands of new jobs in these countries (Boyle, 2004c). The GIP Trust Fund at the international phase would achieve the goal of these proposals through subsidies for the purchase of photovoltaic arrays and assumptions of patent royalties.

International Phase for Developed Countries

The installations of category six, including very-large-scale photovoltaics (VLS-PV), would generate electricity ranging from several hundreds of MW to more than a GW in a vast expanse such as a desert, lake, sea or space. The capacity of the VLS-PV rivals that of a currently operating power plant equipped with several fossil-fueled/nuclear-powered steam-turbine generators (normally 1 MW to 1 GW per generator). The VLS-PV would provide a solution for the global electricity supply in the future, and this installation would be realized with the assistance of the GIP Trust Fund at the international phase.

- Satellite Solar Power System

The Satellite Solar Power System (SSPS) is one of the earliest ideas among those which a wide variety of trailblazing studies has proposed as a form of the VLS-PV concept. The SSPS was first proposed more than three decades ago (Glaser, 1968), yet it was considered impractical for the lack of the method to transmit the electricity generated by a satellite to the earth. However, the innovation of power transmission using microwave beam resulted in an interest of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the SSPS (Glaser, 1973). In the 1990s, NASA reviewed the SSPS and proposed two new models: the "Sun Tower" and the "Solar Disc" (e.g., Mankins, 1997). These models are potentially capable of generating several hundreds of MW and several tens of GW, respectively. However, their construction costs would be enormous because of the immense costs for space launches. The construction of the Sun Tower and Solar Disc would cost $50 - 60 billion and $200 billion respectively.

Although these construction costs are absolutely enormous, the GIP Trust Fund at the international phase would make a considerable contribution to build the SSPS. In the case of the Sun Tower, the total cost of $60 billion would be annually divided by around $6 billion for the construction period of a decade. If the GIP Trust Fund yearly provided financial aid in an amount of several billions dollars, which corresponds to 10 - 20% of the GIP Trust Fund at the international phase (see Table 3), such aid would cover a major part of the construction costs.

- A terrestrial power plant in desert areas

One of the latest forms of the VLS-PV concepts is the terrestrial power plant in desert areas. This form has been proposed by the International Energy Agency, the Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS) since 1999 (IEA-PVPS, 2003a and 2005g). According to their calculation, approximately 4% of the total desert area on the earth is enough for regular photovoltaic arrays (efficiency: 14%) to supply the global demand of electricity (IEA-PVPS, 2003b). Specifically, the IEA-PVPS selected six desert areas for their case studies. If, for example, a 1.5 GW plant was constructed by assembling 300 installations of 5 MW (0.1 km2 each) in the Sahara Desert, the total construction would cost around $15 million (IEA-PVPS, 2003c). This construction cost would be substantially covered by the GIP Trust Fund at the international phase (see Table 3). Namely, one-third of the capital cost for the VLS-PV in the Sahara Desert would be covered by the GIP Reserve of $10 million even if the GIP system failed to establish the GIP Tax and Premium.

In this case study of the Sahara Desert, each installation would disperse along a grid in the coastal strip of North African countries. This grid would connect these installations through 1 - 10 km medium-voltage lines (IEA-PVPS, 2003c). This model demonstrates the feasibility of not only the VLS-PV in the Sahara Desert but also long-distance transmission of electricity, which would induce new industries and the resultant 2,570 jobs in the coastal area. The GIP Trust Fund would provide a firm financial resource to this project.

In terms of the global needs of electricity, however, the development of much longer-distance power transmission, say intercontinental transmission, is indispensable to the VLS-PV in a desert area because of large geographical distance between most desert areas and world power-consuming sites. For such power transmission, the VLS-PV proposes superconducting cables, flexible AC transmission system and hydrogen transport in which a volume of hydrogen would be produced by the VLS-PV, and be transported, stored and converted back to electricity in a consuming site by using fuel cells (IEA-PVPS, 2003d). Although the technological challenges in developing very long-distance power transmission and the associated capital costs would be enormous, the GIP system would support the research and development of such power transmission by providing research grants, for example. These grants would be derived from the GIP Trust Fund at the international phase.

As we saw, photovoltaics has ample potential for long-term electricity supply in both developed and developing countries. Recognizing this potentiality, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association and Greenpeace released a report in 2001 entitled "Solar generation: Solar electricity for over 1 billion people and 2 million jobs by 2020." In this report, they proposed the total installation of 200 GW of photovoltaic capacity throughout the world by 2020, which would supply 1 billion off-grid and 82 million on-grid customers. At that time, more than half of all photovoltaic arrays would be manufactured by developing countries, especially south Asia and Africa (Boyle, 2004c). The national and international phase of the GIP system would make a financial contribution to strong progress in this ambitious scenario.

Concluding Remarks

In association with the future need of photovoltaics, a wide variety of studies have predicted various long-term future of global energy consumption (e.g., IEA, 2005; Shell International, 2001; Lazarus, 1993). Despite of a wide variation in their conclusions, most of them envision a common prediction: the Hubbert’s-type (Hubber, 1956) bubble-like decrease in traditional fuel consumption and an increasingly important role for renewable energy. Among these predictions, one of the most dreamy prospects is a "fossil-free energy scenario," which was proposed by the Stockholm Environment Institute in the early 1990s (Lazarus, 1993). In this scenario, all traditional fuels are assumed to be entirely phased out and replaced with renewable energy by the end of this century. At the period, photovoltaics will play a crucial role in electrical generation in association with other renewable resources, including wind and next-generation biomass. The GIP system will provide a powerful financing tool for this dream.

References:

& ABI Research, 2004. "Global photovoltaic markets: On-grid and off-grid analysis of residential and industrial opportunities," NY, USA.

& Boyle, G., 2004a. "Renewable energy, second edition," Oxford University Press USA, New York, USA, p. 66.

& Boyle, G., 2004b. Id., p. 7, the author calculated from the data in figures 1.1 and 1.2.

& Boyle, G., 2004c. Id., p. 85.

& Chesbrough, H.W., 2003, "Open innovation: the new imperative for creating and profiting from technology." Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Boston, MA, Chapter 8.

& Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2005a. "Annual Energy Review 2004 (DOE/EIA-0384(2004))," Washington, D.C., USA, p. 260.

& Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2005b. Id., p. 224.

& Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2005c. Id., p. 303.

& Glaser, P.E., 1968. "Power from the Sun; Its future," Science, 162(3856), 857-861.

& Glaser, P.E., 1973. "Method and apparatus for converting solar radiation to electrical power," USP 3,781,647.

& Hubber, M.K., 1956. "Nuclear energy and the fossil fuels," Shell Development Company, Houston, TX.

& International Energy Agency (IEA), 2002a. "World Energy Outlook 2002: Middle East and North Africa Insights," Paris, France, p. 239.

& International Energy Agency (IEA), 2002b. Id., p. 262.

& International Energy Agency (IEA), 2005. "World Energy Outlook 2005," Paris, France.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2003a. "Summary, Energy from the desert: Feasibility of very large scale photovoltaic power Generation (LVS-PV) Systems," James & James Science Publisher, London, UK.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2003b. Id., pp. 8-9.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2003c. Id., pp. 18-19.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2003d. Id., pp. 10-11.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2005a. "Trends in photovoltaic applications: Survey report of selected IEA countries between 1992 and 2004 (IEA-PVPS T1-14: 2005)," Switzerland, p. 4.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2005b. Id, p. 18.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2005c. Id, p. 13.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2005d. Id., p. 18, assuming the price (per W) of on-grid systems larger than 10 kW is $7.5 as the global average.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2005e. Id., p. 6.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2005f. Id., p. 18, assuming the price (per W) of off-grid systems is $15 as the global average.

& International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS), 2005g. "Annual report 2004: Implementing agreement on photovoltaic power systems," Imprimerite St-Paul, Fribourg, Switzerland.

& Lazarus, M., 1993. "Towards a fossil free energy future: The next energy transition," Stockholm Environment Institute, Boston, MA, pp. 39-50.

& Mankins, J.C., 1997. «A fresh look at space solar power: New architectures, concepts and technologies,» 38th International Astronautical Federation, IAF-97-R.2.03.

& Maycock, P.D., Bower, W. and Pedigo, S., 2005a. "International Energy Agency co-operative programme on photovoltaic power systems: National survey report of pv power applications in the United States 2004," p. 10.

& Maycock, P.D., Bower, W. and Pedigo, S., 2005b. Id., p. 8.

& Maycock, P.D., Bower, W. and Pedigo, S., 2005c. Id., pp. 20-21.

& Maycock, P.D., Bower, W. and Pedigo, S., 2005d. Id., pp. 7-8.

& Nikkei, 2002. Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Japanese economic newspaper), May 31, 2002, news source: QED

& Intellectual Property, London, UK. The amount of the each national phase is calculated based on the author’s experiences.

& Nitta, I., 2005a. "Proposal for a green patent system: implications for sustainable development and climate

& change." Sustainable Development Law and Policy, 5. American University, Washington College of Law,

& Washington, D.C., pp. 61-65.

& Nitta, I., 2005b. "Green Intellectual Property: A tool for greening a society." Ecological Economics, submitted.

& Nitta, I., 2005c. "Patents and essential medicines: An application of the green intellectual property project," on the Submission site of the Commission of Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health, WHO, September 29, 2005.

& PowerLight and CMS Viron, 2002a. "County of Alameda Santa Rita Jail case study: Smart energy strategies, Integrating solar electric generation and energy efficiency," CA, USA.

& PowerLight and CMS Viron, 2002b. Id., p. 9.

& Shell International, 2001. "Energy, needs, choices and possibilities: Scenarios to 2050," London, UK, p.39.

& Stubenrauch, F., 2003. "International Energy Agency co-operative programme on photovoltaic power systems: National survey report of pv power applications in Germany 2003," p. 6.

& United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 2001. "Nepal: Increased private sector

& participation and investment in environmentally and socially sound hydropower, 367-004," Washington, D.C., USA.

& United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), 2004a. "United States Patent and Trademark Office

& performance and accountability report, Fiscal year 2003," Alexandria, VA, pp. 54-57.

& USPTO, 2004b. Id., p. 56, the third paragraph. This paragraph reports that USPTO’s non-operation costs account for approximately one-third of the total expenditure. Based on this fact, the amount in the table was calculated by the author.

Human Rights Can Support WIPO Development Agenda

As discussions continue within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to elaborate a Development Agenda, an NGO – 3D (Trade-Human Rights-Equitable Economy) – has come out with a policy brief outlining how human rights can support proposals for a WIPO Development Agenda. Specifically, it looks at how human rights can reinforce a development approach to intellectual property policy. It also examines the main proposals submitted on the WIPO Development Agenda to see how human rights can support a pro-development outcome. Following are extracts from the brief just published.

In an increasingly technology-driven world, the standard of protection provided by intellectual property (IP) rules is affecting development policies, human rights and other public-interest goals more than ever. Strict IP rules have had an adverse impact on the ability of many governments to fulfil their human rights obligations, of which obligations to ensure access to affordable medicines, educational goods and adequate food. This trend towards higher IP protection has been stimulated by the adoption of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) in the 1990s, and the harmonization initiatives at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). At WIPO, concerns about this trend prompted developing countries to put forward since 2004 a series of proposals in support of a WIPO Development Agenda. The proposals aim to ensure that international IP policy within WIPO takes into account development goals and is coherent with the international obligations of States, including obligations under human rights treaties. Human rights law and mechanisms can support this push for greater development coherence of the international IP regime, and accountability in IP decision-making.

The TRIPS Agreement, which came into force in 1995, set minimum standards of IP protection which all members of the WTO have to implement. Despite international concerns about the impact of the TRIPS Agreement on development, IP standards worldwide continue to increase. These strict IP standards, known as "TRIPS-plus" standards, have emerged in investment agreements, trade agreements and in WIPO treaties. Moreover, the WIPO Secretariat has also been criticized for promoting TRIPS plus standards at the expense of development concerns in its technical assistance and norm-setting activities. There have been particular concerns that WIPO’s technical assistance has too often failed to properly take into account the range of public policy goals relevant to IP policymaking in developing countries and tailor advice to respond to their particular economic, social and cultural development needs and circumstances.

If this race to the top at WIPO and in other fora continues, the scope for developing and least developed countries to adopt IP policies that respond to their development needs will be further compromised. In so doing, the push for ever-stronger IP standards also stands to undermine the promises in a series of international political commitments such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, and the Sao Paulo Consensus at UNCTAD XI (which promotes the use of "policy space" for development). Furthermore, if countries are required to implement the high IP standards sought through new multilateral agreements or inappropriate technical assistance, they risk violating their legal obligations under international human rights law, including the right to life, the right to health, the right to education, the right to food, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to access information, the right to take part in cultural life and to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

Mounting concern and criticism of WIPO’s activities by civil society, academics and developing countries provided impetus to a group of fourteen developing countries known as the "Group of Friends of Development" (Friends of Development)4 to submit a proposal to the WIPO General Assembly requesting the establishment of a new Development Agenda for WIPO. In October 2004 the Thirty-First WIPO General Assembly decided to convene inter-sessional intergovernmental meetings (IIMs) to examine proposals for a WIPO Development Agenda. Three such meetings were held in 2005. At the Thirty- Second Session of the WIPO General Assembly in October 2005 WIPO’s Member States agreed to "accelerate and complete" the IIM discussions by convening two meetings of a Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda (PCDA) in 2006.

I. Human rights and development

Development can be seen as a process which involves fairness of opportunity between countries, and non-discrimination between people within countries. Human rights can support development goals in three general ways. First, by identifying which obligations States and other actors have in relation to members of society, including the most vulnerable and marginalized groups. Second, by helping to identify which strategies and measures are needed by States and other actors in order to realize human rights and support development. Third, by providing mechanisms capable of holding public and private actors accountable. A rights-based approach to development therefore supports more transparent policy-making and greater assessment of the impact of policies on the poorest members of society.

All of the 182 Member States of WIPO are parties to at least one of the international human rights treaties, which include the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Human rights law requires States to implement policies that respect, protect and fulfil human rights and avoid measures that would go back on their human rights commitments. Human rights law also requires States to ensure that policies do not undermine the ability of other countries to comply with their human rights obligations.

Implementation of international human rights treaties is monitored by treaty bodies composed of independent experts. All State parties have to submit periodic reports to these bodies on the measures taken to comply with their human rights obligations. Treaty bodies, such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child, review measures taken by the State and make concluding observations. For example, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended to El Salvador in 2004 to "systematically consider the best interests of the child when negotiating trade-related intellectual property rights and implementing them into national law." Therefore, human rights rules and accountability mechanisms – such as treaty bodies – emerge as valuable tools to support the ongoing efforts of advocates and policy-makers in achieving a pro-development outcome in IP policy-making.

II. Human rights and the WIPO Development Agenda proposals

The WIPO Development Agenda discussions have stimulated the submission of a number of written proposals and suggestions to the WIPO process (first in the IIM and now in the PCDA). In addition to the Friends of Development proposal (and an elaboration on the original version of this), the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Mexico, Bahrain, the African Group, and most recently Chile have also made submissions. In the IIM discussions in 2005, the written proposals were supplemented by a series of proposals and suggestions from the floor. This Policy Brief focuses primarily on those proposals submitted in writing to WIPO. It divides the issues covered in those proposals into the following four categories: mandate and governance; norm-setting activities; technical assistance; and access to knowledge.

A. WIPO Mandate and Governance

According to the WIPO Convention, the mandate of the organization is to "promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among States, and, where appropriate, in collaboration with any other international organization." Moreover, when WIPO became a UN specialized agency in 1974, WIPO agreed to take "appropriate action in accordance with basic instruments, treaties and agreements administered by it, inter alia, for promoting creative intellectual activity and for facilitating the transfer of technology-related industrial property to developing countries in order to accelerate economic, social and cultural development, subject to the competence and responsibilities of the United Nations and its organs." Also, the UN-WIPO Agreement requires WIPO to cooperate and coordinate its activities with other UN agencies.

Academics and analysts have argued that the UN-WIPO Agreement widens the mandate of WIPO to incorporate a development dimension. Detractors, on the other hand, argue that the Agreement bears less weight than the WIPO Convention which binds all 182 Member States of WIPO. This debate aside, it cannot be disputed that WIPO is a UN institution. As part of the UN family, WIPO’s actions should be consistent with the existing international obligations of its Member States. In addition, principles of public international law call on WIPO’s Member States to act in ‘good faith’ and in a ‘policy-coherent’ manner.

Mandate

The Friends of Development proposal suggests the inclusion of explicit language on the development dimension of WIPO objectives in the WIPO Convention.20 In proposing this amendment, the Friends of Development aim to ensure that the WIPO Secretariat adopts a wider interpretation of WIPO’s mandate. The African Group proposal supports the Friends of Development proposal by encouraging WIPO to broaden its perspective as far as development is concerned and intensify its cooperation with other UN agencies and international organizations. In contrast to these efforts to mainstream a development dimension in WIPO activities, other proposals, such as the US proposal, call for delegating development concerns to a specific committee.

Human rights law requires States to take steps "individually and through international assistance and cooperation, especially economic and technical" to fulfil their human rights obligations. One aspect of this obligation is to ensure greater coherence between different aspects of UN activities. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, for instance, has recommended that a State "as a member of international organizations, including international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, must do all it can to ensure that the policies and decisions of those organizations are in conformity with the obligations of States parties under the Covenant, in particular the obligations […] concerning international assistance and cooperation." Therefore, human rights rules and mechanisms support the need to ensure greater coherence between the policies of UN organs. This could be achieved in WIPO via an amendment to the WIPO Convention or a wider interpretation of the WIPO mandate.

Independent evaluation of WIPO activities

Another proposal tabled by the Friends of Development advocates the establishment of an independent WIPO Evaluation and Research Office (WERO) capable of evaluating the development impact of WIPO activities, especially with regard to innovation, creativity, access and dissemination of knowledge and technology. The purpose of this mechanism would be to ensure greater transparency and objective evaluation of WIPO’s activities. One of the proposed functions of WERO would be to carry out "development impact assessments" with regard to WIPO norm-setting activities and the implementation of existing WIPO treaties. The African Group proposal supports an "effective" evaluation mechanism and independent impact assessment. The UK proposal also supports evaluation and assessment of WIPO’s work – particularly technical assistance to developing countries – although it advocates granting this role to existing WIPO Committees.

The Chilean proposal supports a more general assessment of IP systems undertaken by an independent body, selected by means of an international public bidding process. The US, Mexican and Bahrain proposals do not mention the need for independent evaluation.

Human rights law requires assessment of the development impacts of State activities, including State activities as part of international organizations such as WIPO. The obligation for State parties to human rights treaties to report on their policies is enshrined in article 16 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Reporting by State parties has a twofold objective; first to ensure comprehensive review of legislation, rules, and procedures; and second, to ensure that State parties monitor the situation with respect to the rights in their countries.

The reporting and assessment dimensions of international human rights law clearly support the idea of an independent evaluating body that would provide greater transparency and access to information about WIPO activities. Such an evaluation body could also provide an opportunity to assess the impact of WIPO activities and proposed IP norms on the ability of Member States to comply with their human rights obligations – including the obligations to ensure access to affordable medicines for all, access to educational goods, access to adequate food, protection of cultural life of indigenous peoples and local communities, access to scientific knowledge and the enjoyment of the right to the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.

Participation and consultation

The Friends of Development proposal calls for wider civil society participation and consultation in WIPO’s activities and processes. The proposal suggests that publicinterest groups should be able to participate in WIPO decision-making processes on the same basis as right holder’s organizations and private-interest groups. The impetus for this proposal is the fact that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participating in WIPO processes have historically represented industrial and private interests. Individuals coming from these interest groups have been granted special advisory roles through, for example, WIPO’s Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and its Industry Advisory Committee (IAC). The proposal therefore aims to further open WIPO discussions to more participation from public-interest groups capable of providing input on the concerns of the public at large, including indigenous peoples, patients, consumers, librarians, and vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Participation of individuals and groups in decision-making is a human rights concern and is also crucial to ensuring greater human rights-consistency of WIPO’s activities. The right to participate in public affairs is enshrined in human rights law, of which article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Human Rights Committee, the treaty body monitoring the implementation of the ICCPR, has interpreted the right to participate as including participation in "all aspects of public administration, and the formulation and implementation of policy at the international, national, regional and local levels." Furthermore, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the treaty body monitoring the ICERD, has noted that conditions need to be established in order to ensure that indigenous peoples enjoy "equal rights in respect of effective participation in public life and that no decisions directly relating to their rights and interests are taken without their informed consent." Human rights law expressly requires that participation and consultation be conducted without discrimination.

In sum, human rights law requires WIPO Member States to implement a system of meaningful public consultation and effective participation and ensure that this system addresses potential barriers to participation by the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as indigenous peoples.

B. Norm-setting activities

WIPO’s norm-setting activities have principally focused on promoting and harmonizing international IP protection standards. These norm-setting activities, such as the treaties that fall under the WIPO Patent Agenda and the WIPO Digital Agenda, have been criticized for promoting TRIPS-plus standards that do not take into account the level of development of WIPO Member States. The Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT), for example, aims to harmonize legal definitions in patent law, potentially curtailing the capacity of developing countries to define patent law standards according to their own needs. There are also concerns that the SPLT may curtail the ability of developing countries to use the flexibilities currently open to them to ensure that patent rules do not limit access to affordable medicines, an inherent part of the right to health and the right to life. In addition, the WIPO Digital Agenda has been criticized for undermining a number of human rights. In particular, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), which grants strict copyright protection for works published on the internet, has been criticised by public interest groups for constraining the right to access information and the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

Principles and guidelines for norm-setting activities

The Friends of Development proposal calls for the establishment of Principles and Guidelines for norm-setting in WIPO. The proposal suggests five principles and guidelines to ensure that norm-setting activities are transparent and support public-interest and development objectives. These include a member-driven and transparent work plan; a proper assessment and justification for IP protection standards based on sustainable development; recognition of the need for standards that take into account different levels of development; recognition of the rights of different stakeholder groups and the need to balance private and public interests; and the need to ensure coherence and compatibility with international

norms and instruments, including human rights obligations.

These principles are also accompanied by a request for "public hearings" prior to norm-setting activities. The African Group generally supports these principles, the idea that IP rules should be compatible with international human rights norms and standards, and that civil society and relevant stakeholders should participate more in norm-setting activities. The Chilean proposal does not echo these proposals as such, but encourages WIPO to assess complementary systems to promote creative activity, innovation and technology transfer and a participatory approach to assessing IP systems. The proposals from Bahrain, Mexico, the UK and US do not set out any principles for norm-setting activities nor do they take up the far broader and deeper proposals for WIPO reform offered by the Friends of Development and African Group.

Human rights law encourages a more transparent and human rights-consistent approach to norm-setting activities. Indeed, human rights law requires a participatory approach to policy-making and norm-setting as outlined in section II A of this Policy Brief. In order for participatory rights to be respected and participatory processes to be fully transparent, it is essential to ensure access to information and the right to seek, receive and impart information. These rights are part of the right to freedom of expression which is enshrined in human rights law in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The right to access information is also inherent in the principle of the best interests of the child, according to article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and is part and parcel of economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to health or the right to education.

It should however be noted that some aspects of the Friends of Development proposal may need further clarification. For example, it is not clear which "rights" the proposal is referring to when it talks about "recognition of the rights of a wide range of stakeholders, all of which constitute the true "users" of the intellectual property system." In order to avoid confusion between IP "rights" (legal rights that can be sold and are limited in time) and human rights (inherent rights that cannot be derogated from, waived or sold), the proposal could be framed in such a way as to explicitly refer to the need to ensure that WIPO norm-setting activities fully respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of the public at large, in particular vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Development impact assessments

As outlined above, the Friends of Development suggest that WIPO norm-setting activities be evaluated by an independent WIPO Evaluation and Research Office (WERO) capable of undertaking "development impact assessments" of WIPO activities. These impact assessments would weigh the cost and benefits of IP rules against sustainable development indicators including innovation, access to public knowledge and products, job creation, poverty alleviation, equity, respect for cultural diversity, protection of biological diversity, health, and education. Moreover, the proposal suggests that impact assessments would involve cost and benefit evaluations from other UN specialized agencies and international organizations such as UNCTAD, FAO, WHO and UN human rights organs. The African Group proposal also supports the idea of independent impact assessments and extends the coverage of these assessments to WIPO technical assistance, technology transfer and new treaties. The Chilean proposal supports the preparation of an assessment of the "appropriate levels of intellectual property" considering the situation of each country. The US, Mexican and Bahrain proposals do not mention development impact assessments and statements made during the WIPO Development Agenda discussions demonstrate strong disagreement with the idea of development impact assessments.

As stated above, human rights law requires States to monitor public policies and ensure that they contribute towards the full realization of human rights. Moreover, human rights mechanisms have recommended that States undertake human rights impact assessments of intellectual property policies. For example, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended that a "State party should conduct an assessment of the impact of international intellectual property rights agreements on the accessibility of affordable generic medicines, with a view to ensuring children’s enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health." Similarly, the Working Group on the Right to Development has recommended that "States be encouraged to undertake independent impact assessments of trade agreements on the right to development, as a potentially useful instrument at the national and international levels."

Therefore, human rights law supports the principle of impact assessments. Moreover, it supports the idea that such impact assessments must be independent and consultative. In 2005, for example, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in its report to the 61st Commission on Human Rights recommended that human rights impact assessments "should be public and participatory, focus in particular on disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and highlight the differing impacts of projects and policies on men and women." Human rights principles regarding access to information are clearly also relevant to the process of public consultation during impact assessments. It is important to note that existing human rights mechanisms not only recommend that governments undertake human rights impact assessments of intellectual property policies, but are also developing methodologies for these assessments.

C. Technical assistance

The WIPO Secretariat has an agreement with the WTO to provide technical assistance to developing countries on the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement. WIPO also provides a number of other technical assistance services relating to IP policy. This technical assistance has been heavily criticized, including by the UK Commission on IP Rights, for promoting TRIPS-plus rules. For instance, Musungu and Dutfield have criticized the WIPO Secretariat for not promoting the use of the flexibilities reiterated by the WTO Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. The proposals put forward by WIPO Member States regarding technical assistance illustrate the different approaches to the WIPO Development Agenda. On the one hand the Friends of Development and African Group argue that technical assistance is of vital importance, but that WIPO’s efforts in this respect are problematic and should be reformed to address properly the needs of developing countries. Moreover, they insist that the call for a development agenda extends far beyond the realm of technical assistance. On the other hand, the US proposal describes WIPO’s technical assistance as a positive development tool and the key component of a development agenda; it cites no problem with the conception or delivery of technical assistance and calls only for greater coordination, information-sharing and efficiency. This general view is also reflected in the Mexican and Bahrain proposals.

The Friends of Development Proposal requires that WIPO technical assistance be non-discriminatory, neutral, and based on actual and expressed needs. It also proposes that WIPO adopt a series of tools, such as Principles and Guidelines for Technical Assistance and a Code of Ethics for technical assistance providers. This approach is supported by human rights law, which requires that all policies be non-discriminatory and respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and groups. The implementation of a Code of Ethics for technical assistance providers could also help ensure that countries do not adopt rules or policies that undermine their ability to comply with their human rights obligations.

D. Access to knowledge

The Friends of Development proposal also covers a number of additional development issues, of which a Treaty on Access to Knowledge and Technology (A2K). The proposed A2K Treaty aims to respond to concerns that current trends in IP laws, particularly in relation to copyright, patents and databases, are limiting access to knowledge for public goods and thereby constraining innovation. Its objectives include increasing technology transfer to developing countries and promoting access by developing countries to the results of publicly funded research that might aid development. The principle of such a treaty is supported by the African Group proposal. The Chilean proposal does not make explicit mention of the A2K Treaty, but supports the idea of stronger protection for the public domain, in order to increase the availability and dissemination of knowledge.

A number of human rights rules and mechanisms promote these objectives and could be harnessed as a supporting framework for the drafting of such a treaty. For example, human rights law calls for measures that respect, protect and fulfil the right to education, the right to seek, receive and impart information which is part of the right to freedom of expression, and the right to the enjoyment of the benefits of scientific progress and its applications. These human rights all have access to information as a core element. Therefore, they can be supportive of a treaty aimed at ensuring that IP rules and policies do not stifle access to public goods such as educational materials, public libraries, archives, commons databases, public broadcasts or publicly funded scientific research.

Conclusion

The WIPO Development Agenda process is an opportunity for WIPO Member States to mainstream development concerns into WIPO’s activities and ensure that international IP systems take into account development goals and human rights obligations. Moreover, the WIPO Development Agenda discussions provide an invaluable opportunity for WIPO to embrace fully its UN specialized agency status and develop policies that are coherent with the development objectives of the UN as a whole. Human rights law supports more development friendly IP policies. Development advocates and decision-makers can draw on human rights rules and mechanisms to ensure that IP policies are adapted to development goals and consistent with the human rights obligations of States.

Finally, it must not be forgotten that beyond WIPO are many additional fora where TRIPS-plus rules are being advanced. Most prominent in this respect are TRIPS-plus rules in bilateral and regional trade agreements which threaten realization of development goals and the fulfilment of human rights obligations. Beyond WIPO, bilateral technical assistance is also a source of concern. States which pursue TRIPS-plus policies, whether through WIPO, bilateral trade agreements or technical assistance are often acting inconsistently with their human rights obligations and those concerned with pro-development IP policies should use all available mechanisms to hold them accountable to their human rights obligations.

Food Sovereignty Key to Agrarian Reform & Rural Development

Food sovereignty essentially defines the policy package that would be needed so that policies of agrarian reform and rural development might truly reduce poverty, protect the environment, and enhance broad-based, inclusive economic development. That is the highlight of a paper just brought out by civil society groups at a conference in Porto Alegre (7-10 March, 2006) on „New Challenges and Options for Revitalizing Rural Communities." Entitled ‘Agrarian Reform in the Context of Food Sovereignty, the Right to Food and Cultural Diversity: „Land, Territory and Dignity",’ the paper has been authored by La Via Campesina; Sofia Monsalve, FIAN International; Peter Rosset, LRAN; Saúl Vicente Vázquez, International Indian Treaty Council; Jill K. Carino, Cordillera Women’s Education and Resource Center (CWERC), Philippines; and West African Network of Peasant and Agricultural Producers‘ Organizations (ROPPA). Following are extracts of the overview and the recommendations from the paper.

In this paper, which provides a civil society perspective on agrarian reform and rural development, we develop the concept of food sovereignty as an overarching framework or paradigm. Food sovereignty essentially defines the policy package that would be needed so that policies of agrarian reform and rural development might truly reduce poverty, protect the environment, and enhance broad-based, inclusive economic development. The most fundamental pillars of food sovereignty include the recognition and enforcement of the right to food and the right to land; the right of each nation or people to define their own agricultural and food policies, respecting the right of indigenous peoples to their territories, the rights of traditional fisherfolk to fishing areas, etc.; a retreat from free trade policies, with a concurrent greater prioritization of production of food for local and national markets, and an end to dumping; genuine agrarian reform; and peasant-based sustainable, or agroecological, agricultural practices.

We develop the human rights aspects of food sovereignty - and how food sovereignty implies agrarian reform—through an analysis of the right to adequate food, and of the right to land that rural social movements claim. We then analyze different agrarian reform polices in the light of food sovereignty, calling for a new redistributive land reform that defends and/or restores indigenous territories and respects and balances the needs of diverse rural peoples.

We highlight the issues raised by diversity by examining the perspective of indigenous peoples with regard to territory as a more inclusive and important concept than mere land, and the right to self-determination of peoples in their territories, and by looking at the situation in West Africa, where conflicting traditional practices and State-led agrarian polices can pit local, endogenous communities against colonists, colonists against the State, and farmers against cattlemen and nomadic pastoralists. In other words, while civil society organizations and social movements call for genuine redistributive agrarian reform in the context of food sovereignty policies, such programs must be designed through processes in which local communities take leadership, and which address the needs and demands of diverse constituencies, including but not limited to indigenous peoples, traditional fisherfolk, nomadic pastoralists, migrants, peasant and family farm cultivators, forest peoples, rural workers, and others. We end with a set of guidelines or recommendations to orient future agrarian reform policies in the context of food sovereignty. The task is urgent, as the situation is only getting worse in rural areas worldwide.

A Rural World in Crisis

At the start of the new millennium we find the rural world everywhere to be in a state of crisis. The historical origins of this crisis, in the nations of the South, can be found in colonial land grabs and the displacement of farming peoples from fertile lands with adequate rainfall, toward steep, rocky slopes, desert margins, and infertile rainforest soils, and the progressive incorporation of these displaced peoples into poorly paid seasonal labor forces for export agriculture. As a result of this legacy, only slightly modified in the post-colonial period, the landless and near-landless have long made up the poorest of the poor. In recent decades, neoliberal economic policies have typically made the conditions in rural areas even worse, as national governments, often with urging from international financial institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organization (WTO), have:

· Presided over a set of trade, macroeconomic and sectoral policies which have conspired to undercut the economic viability of peasant, small-scale and family farmers, and cooperative/collective agriculture. These policies have included trade liberalization, and the subsequent flooding of local markets with dumped, cheap food imports, against which local farmers can scarcely compete; cutting of price supports and subsidies for food producers; privatization of credit, commercialization and technical assistance; excessive export promotion; patenting of crop genetic resources; and a bias in agricultural research toward expensive technologies like genetic engineering. Increasingly, smaller and poorer farmers find that credit is inadequate or too expensive to cover rising production costs, buyers are more scarce and monopsonist than ever, and prices are too low to cover credit and production costs. The net result has been a significant and continued deterioration in the access of the poor to land, as they are forced to sell off land they own, cannot afford land rentals or similar arrangements, or lose land by defaulting on credit.

· Dragged their feet in implementing already existing land reform and land re-distribution policies, and have by and large resisted - sometimes using force - efforts by civil society organizations, such as movements of the landless, to push the implementation of these policies.

· Stood by as land and other resources (water, seeds, forests, oceans, etc.) have increasingly been commercialized and privatized, and watched passively as business interests - both agricultural (i.e. plantations) and non-agricultural (i.e. petroleum, tourism and mining) - and large infrastructure projects (i.e. hydroelectric dams) have encroached on communal and public lands, and territories of indigenous peoples and local communities.

· Done nothing as agricultural commodity chains - on both the input (i.e. seeds) and output (i.e. grain trading) sides - have become increasingly concentrated in the hands of very few transnational corporations, who by virtue of their near-monopoly status are increasingly setting costs and prices unfavorable to farmers, putting all, especially the poorest, in an untenable cost-price squeeze, thus further encouraging the abandonment of agriculture.

In fact, governments and multilateral institutions have essentially taken up only one policy initiative on a more or less global scale, which they have presented as a ‚positive‘ step to redress land access issues. This initiative, or series of initiatives, consists of accelerating, building upon, and ‚featuring‘ World Bank -designed and supported policies to title lands, facilitate land markets, and increasingly, promote ‚land bank‘ credit for land purchases by the poor. This is so-called ‚market-assisted‘ or ‚negotiated‘ land reform. Unfortunately, there is mounting evidence that these policies are unlikely to significantly improve access by the poor to land, or give them more secure tenure. In fact there is good reason to believe they will actually worsen the situation in many places.

Thus it should come as no surprise that it is in rural areas where the worst poverty and hunger are still to be found. The expansion of agricultural production for export, controlled by wealthier producers, who own the best lands, continually displaces the poor to ever more marginal areas for farming. They are forced to fell forests located on poor soils, to farm thin, easily eroded soils on steep slopes, and to try to eke out a living on desert margins and in rainforests.

But the situation is often worse on the most favorable lands. The better soils of most countries have been concentrated into large holdings used for mechanized, pesticide, and chemical fertilizer-intensive monocultural production for export. Many of our planet‘s best soils - which had earlier been sustainably managed for millennia by pre-colonial traditional agriculturalists - are today being rapidly degraded, and in some cases abandoned completely, in the short term pursuit of export profits and competition. The productive capacity of these soils is dropping rapidly due to soil compaction, erosion, waterlogging, and fertility loss, together with growing resistance of pests to pesticides and the loss of biodiversity.

The products harvested from these more fertile lands flow overwhelmingly toward consumers in wealthy countries. Impoverished local majorities cannot afford to buy what is grown, and because they are not a significant market, national elites essentially see local people as a labor source - a cost of production to be minimized by keeping wages down and busting unions. The overall result is a downward spiral of land degradation and deepening poverty in rural areas. Even urban problems have rural origins, as the poor must abandon the countryside in massive numbers, migrating to cities where only a lucky few make a living wage, while the majority languish in slums and shanty towns.

If present trends toward greater land concentration and the accompanying industrialization and export orientation of agriculture continue unabated, it will be impossible to achieve social or ecological sustainability. On the other hand, research shows the much greater positive potential that could be achieved by redistribution of land through genuine agrarian reform. Smaller-scale farmers are more productive, more efficient, and contribute more to broad-based regional development than do the larger corporate farmers who hold the best land. Peasant farmers with secure tenure can also be much better stewards of natural resources, protecting the long term productivity of their soils and conserving functional biodiversity on and around their farms.

However necessary it is, though, redistribution of land is not enough. We are witnessing a clash between two models of agriculture on a global scale. The dominant, agroindustrial model, is based on large-scale monocultural production for export, and depends on massive government subsidies to the private sector and on environmentally-destructive technologies, and generates increasing poverty and hunger through exclusion and dispossession of rural majorities. This model is currently favored by government policies and by trade negotiations. Social movements and civil society organizations worldwide advocate for policies that are supportive of the peasant and small farm model of agriculture, which is potentially more productive, more environmentally sound, and is a key proven ingredient in the kind of broad-based and inclusive economic development that can truly attack the root cause of poverty and hunger. A different overall policy package - food sovereignty - would be needed to favor this second model of agriculture and food production.

Conclusions and Guidelines for the Future

Rather than following the World Bank‘s market-based approach, policy makers and social movements should learn from the successes and failures of the post-WW II period, from on-going agrarian reforms, from the deteriorating situation that business-as-usual is generating in Africa and around the world, and from the demands and experiences of indigenous people and women.

We need an original and genuine, new agrarian reform, firmly backed by the right to adequate food, and based on the paradigm of food sovereignty - with the supporting polices that implies.

A set of useful guideline for doing so might include the following (Rosset, 2001b):

· Severe inequality in landholdings - like the latifundia/minifundia pattern in many parts of Latin America - is inefficient, environmentally and socially destructive, immoral, and impedes broad-based development. A range of perspectives and concerns - from economic and social human rights, to economic growth - all lead to the conclusion that we must once and for all eliminate the latifundia (Rosset, 2001a; Repartir a Terra, 2001; Ziegler, 2002).

· Internationally recognized legal instruments support calls for genuine agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and the rights to territory and self-determination (Monsalve, 2006; Vicente, 2006, Carino, 2006).

· When families receive land they must not be saddled with heavy debt burdens. This can be accomplished by government expropriation of idle lands, with or without compensation for former owners (Sobhan, 1993; Borras, 2003b).

· Secure tenure and/or access rights are critical to ensuring long term food security for families and communities. Without such security and/or rights it is also difficult for families and communities to invest in land improvement, means of production, and/or conservation measures (Lastarria-Cornhiel et al., 1998).

· Women must have the right to hold title to land. When titles are vested exclusively in male heads-of-household, domestic disputes or the premature death of a spouse inevitably lead to the destitution of women and children (Deere and Leon, 2001; Monsalve, forthcoming).

· The land distributed must be of good quality, rather than ecologically fragile soils which should never be farmed, and it must be free of disputed claims by other poor people (Rosset, 2001a).

· The rights of indigenous and other peoples to land, territory, forests, water and other common property resources must be guaranteed and protected, as must their right to manage them using customary law and tradition. Provision must be made for individual and/or collective rights, depending on each socio-cultural situation. No one recipe can be applied everywhere (Vicente, 2006; Carino, 2006; Hall, 1998; Stavenhagen, 2004). More generally, the needs, demands and rights of diverse rural peoples - women, men, youth, peasants, pastoralists, forest dwellers, fisherfolk, migrants, rural workers, and others - must be balanced through creative new agrarian reform policies (ROPPA, 2006).

· People need more than land if they are to be successful. There must also be a supportive policy environment and essential services like credit on reasonable terms, infrastructure, support for ecologically sound technologies, and access to markets and fair prices (Sobhan, 1993; Sachs, 1987; Adams, 2000; IFAD, 2001). Perhaps most critical is a step back from damaging free trade policies and dumping - which drive down farm prices and undercut the economic viability of farming - to be replaced by a food sovereignty perspective which places the highest priority on national production for national markets (World Forum on Food Sovereignty, 2001; Rosset, 2003).

· Truly transformative reforms will also require investment in rural areas to assure such basic services as schools, health clinics, potable water, and basic infrastructure (Sobhan, 1993).

· The power of rural elites to distort and capture policies, subsidies, and windfall profits in their favor must be effectively broken by the reforms (Sobhan, 1993).

· The vast majority of the rural poor must be beneficiaries of the reform process (Sobhan, 1993).

· Successful reforms are distinguished from failed ones by a motivation and perception that the new small family farms which are created are to be the centerpiece of economic development, as was the case in Japan, Taiwan, China, and Cuba. When land reform is seen as ‚welfare‘ or as a charitable policy for the indigent, failure has been the inevitable result (Sobhan, 1993; Sachs, 1987; Rosset, 2001a).

· In today‘s conservative, neoliberal political environment, strong grassroots poor people‘s movements are critical to pushing the reform process, stopping government foot-dragging and, when necessary, taking matters into their own hands. Land occupations are one of the most effective, proven methods of pressuring governments to act (Wolford, 2001; Langevin and Rosset, 1997; Barraclough, 1999; Wright and Wolford, 2003).

Internet Governance Forum

17 Feb, Geneva -- At the end of a two-day meeting, there was a general agreement that the management of the Internet Governance Forum would be done jointly by all stakeholders which included governments, civil society, business organizations and the Internet community, according to Nitin Desai, the Chairman of the Working Group on Internet Governance and Special Adviser to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

Born out of the Tunis phase of WSIS, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) would be convened by the Secretary-General based upon the views and proposals expressed at the consultations convened by the Working Group.

The Forum was designed as an "open door" meeting which could include anybody who had competence, relevance and had something to contribute to the debate on Internet Governance issues, Mr. Desai added. It was expected that the inaugural meeting of the Forum, which will convene in Athens in October or November this year, would attract well over 500 participants.

Among the different views expressed as to how the Forum will proceed in its work, Mr. Desai said one proposal was to have the IGF address specific management issues such as SPAM and cybercrime. The other point of view expressed was to have the Forum focus on issues of transparency and capacity building.

There was a strong desire on part of developing countries to make the Forum something relevant for development, Mr. Desai asserted. The development dimension of Internet governance included the issues of interconnection costs, Internet access, and the terms by which software could be acquired by Internet users in developing countries.

At the end of the Geneva discussions, Mr. Desai said he would present a report to the Secretary-General presenting the range of views and proposals laid out at the two days of consultations from which he would make his own recommendations on the Forum.

Mr. Desai also drew attention to the creation of a secretariat to address all issues pertaining to the Forum and to which contributions have been made. Additionally, resources were needed to guarantee full country participation so as to ensure that the Forum had a well-balanced representation incorporating representatives of government, civil society organizations, businesses and Internet providers in developing countries.

Responding to a question, while noting that many of the current Internet standards were set by the manufacturers and in certain cases government bodies, Mr. Desai said it was envisaged that a new Internet regulatory body would most likely incorporate government, civil society and business entities. The purpose of the IGF was to open the system up to greater transparency although it had no decision-making power.

In response to another question, Mr. Desai said it was foreseen that there would be a second round of dialogue to determine the specific agenda for the Athens meeting.

Asked to define cybercrime, Mr. Desai said the term applied to any illegal act as per national laws or a malicious act which took place over cyberspace. There were instances where an act may be deemed a crime in one country and not in another; pornography was one such example. The IGF was an opportunity to handle these pressing issues, he added.

Global Poultry to Blame for Bird Flu Crisis

27 Feb, Barcelona, Spain -- Small-scale poultry farming and wild birds are being unfairly blamed for the bird flu crisis now affecting large parts of the world, according to a new report from GRAIN.

The report "Fowl play: The poultry industry’s central role in the bird flu crisis", shows how the transnational poultry industry is the root of the problem and must be the focus of efforts to control the virus.

The spread of industrial poultry production and trade networks has created ideal conditions for the emergence and transmission of lethal viruses like the H5N1 strain of bird flu. Once inside densely populated factory farms, viruses can rapidly become lethal and amplify.

Air thick with viral load from infected farms is carried for kilometres, while integrated trade networks spread the disease through many carriers: live birds, day-old-chicks, meat, feathers, hatching eggs, eggs, chicken manure and animal feed. Chicken faeces and bedding from poultry factory floors are common ingredients in animal feed.

"Everyone is focused on migratory birds and backyard chickens as the problem," says Devlin Kuyek of GRAIN. "But they are not effective vectors of highly pathogenic bird flu. The virus kills them, but is unlikely to be spread by them."

For example, in Malaysia, the mortality rate from H5N1 among village chicken is only 5%, indicating that the virus has a hard time spreading among small scale chicken flocks. H5N1 outbreaks in Laos, which is surrounded by infected countries, have only occurred in the nation’s few factory farms, which are supplied by Thai hatcheries. The only cases of bird flu in backyard poultry, which account for over 90% of Laos’ production, occurred next to the factory farms.

"The evidence we see over and over again, from the Netherlands in 2003 to Japan in 2004 to Egypt in 2006, is that lethal bird flu breaks out in large scale industrial chicken farms and then spreads," Kuyek explains.

The Nigerian outbreak earlier this year began at a single factory farm, owned by a Cabinet minister, distant from hotspots for migratory birds but known for importing unregulated hatchable eggs. In India, local authorities say that H5N1 emerged and spread from a factory farm owned by the country’s largest poultry company, Venkateshwara Hatcheries.

A burning question is why governments and international agencies, like the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, are doing nothing to investigate how the factory farms and their byproducts, such as animal feed and manure, spread the virus. Instead, they are using the crisis as an opportunity to further industrialise the poultry sector. Initiatives are multiplying to ban outdoor poultry, squeeze out small producers and restock farms with genetically-modified chickens. The web of complicity with an industry engaged in a string of denials and cover-ups seems complete.

"Farmers are losing their livelihoods, native chickens are being wiped out and some experts say that we’re on the verge of a human pandemic that could kill millions of people," Kuyek concludes. "When will governments realise that to protect poultry and people from bird flu, we need to protect them from the global poultry industry?"

Rethinking the Role of Services for Development

As has been tradition for the last five years, the South Centre is organizing its annual workshop on Trade in Services. This year the workshop will be held from Monday 20 through Friday 24 March at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The Workshop is divided into two parts. The first part of the workshop is devoted to addressing LDC services related issues. The remaining three days are open to all Geneva based developing country trade negotiators.

The main objective of the workshop is to consider the role of services in achieving development and assessing to what extent the outcomes of WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference has contributed towards addressing this challenge. With the aftermath of the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, the rational behind this year’s workshop is to facilitate some soul searching based on the following themes in which the workshop is organized:

Specific issues to be covered include implementation of the LDC Modalities; rules; domestic regulation and asserting the right to regulate; pre-conditions for successful liberalization in services; Mode 4 and development; assessment, sector specific challenges and interests for development; and development benchmarks in GATS. An interactive session on Services and Development will be held where LDC participants will have the opportunity to share country specific experiences.

The workshop takes place at a critical time in negotiations: after the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference; after the first cluster of services negotiations at the WTO and just proceeding the second cluster of services negotiations at the WTO. Therefore it is anticipated that the workshop will also provide an ideal opportunity for information exchange and coordination amongst participants.

The workshop will bring together presenters from various backgrounds including academic, government officials and delegates, NGOs, IGOs and regulators which will hopefully contribute to a week’s worth of stimulating discussion, debate and interaction amongst participants.

For this reason, the South Centre Project on Trade in Services, funded by SIDA (Swedish International Development Agency), financially supports the participation of capital officials from LDCs to attend the annual workshop. The goal is to foster a dialogue between capital based officials and their Geneva counterparts and well as other colleagues and experts in Geneva, in order to increase understanding of issues related to trade in services and to provide exposure to the context of the Geneva negotiating process.

South Centre News

South Centre Board Meeting At the 16th regular meeting of the South Centre Board, held in Geneva 26-27 February 2006, two important developments took place with respect to the management of the Secretariat:

* The term of appointment of the Executive Director, Prof. Yash Tandon, has been extended until 28 February, 2009.

* Mr. Branislav Gosovic, a senior staff member of the South Centre, leaves after a long period of association with the history of the South Centre, having joined the South Commission Secretariat in 1987. The Chairman of the South Centre Board, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, complimented Mr. Gosovic for serving the Centre with dedication and commitment ever since its inception.

Trade & Development Programme

The staff of South Centre’s Trade and Development Programme had:

· Been assisting delegates on domestic regulation issues within the context of WTO Services negotiations

· Convened a meeting at the request of a developing country to share and exchange information with other delegations on the plurilateral approach in services negotiations on 16 February

· A meeting with some LDCs to discuss implementation of the LDC Modalities in services on 21 February and South Centre was requested to provide additional assistance

· Made a presentation at an LDCs’ meeting on the implementation of the Duty-Free and Quota-Free Market Access Decision on 27 February.

The Services Team met with OXFAM and ActionAid (separately) to discuss their work on services, provide update on negotiations and identify specific areas of work on 15 and 16 February

Editorial

Choosing the Right Model of Agriculture

Only last week, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Jean Ziegler, expressed deep concern at the current situation in the Horn of Africa. According to information received in January 2006, approximately 11 million people are currently threatened by starvation in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania. Severe droughts coupled with the effects of past and ongoing conflicts have led to acute shortages of water and food, decimation of grazing lands and cereal production, and killing of large numbers of cattle affecting the pastoral and agro-pastoral sources of livelihood.

For the international community of nations, perhaps it is more urgent to immediately honour their legal human rights obligations and ensure the realization of the right to food of the suffering populations, than the political squabbling that is going on with respect to agreeing to a compromise text for the creation of the new Human Rights Council, even if it involves more than just cosmetic change and is for the better. But over the long-term, there is need to embark on a path that ensures food sovereignty of nations as a deliberate policy choice (see related article in this issue of the South Bulletin). And that means grappling head-on with the directions in which powerful institutions like the WTO and the World Bank are sending poor farmers. Emergency aid and hand-outs can hardly provide acceptable, sustainable and dignified solutions.

Today people of the world are confronted with two models of agriculture, rural development and food production. The dominant one is an agro-export model based on the neo-liberal logic of free trade, privatization and commodification of land, water, forests, fisheries, seeds, knowledge and life itself. It is guided by a drive for corporate profits and the boosting of production for export, and is responsible for the increasing concentration of landholdings, resources, and chains of production and distribution of food and other agricultural products in the hands of a few corporations. The prices of food crops and agricultural goods received by producers are constantly declining because of dumping and other factors, as are wages for farmers and workers. Consumer prices, however, continue to increase. The model is chemical-intensive and is causing incalculable damage to the environment and the health of producers, workers and consumers alike.

The peasant and family farm-based food sovereignty model, on the other hand, prioritizes local production of food for local, national and regional markets, negates dumping, and uses sustainable production practices based primarily on local knowledge. Evidence shows that this model is potentially more productive per unit of investment, more environmentally sound, and far more capable of providing rural families with a decent life with dignity, while providing rural and urban consumers with healthy, affordable and locally-produced food. However, the dominant, neo-liberal agro-export model is pushing peasant and family farm agriculture towards extinction.

The agro-export model is entrenched by the structural adjustment programs of the World Bank and the IMF, and the free trade regime imposed by the WTO. The promotion of individual private property through land cadastres and alienable titles has hastened the commercialization of land. Market based policies of access to land promoted by the World Bank and bilateral donors have led to heavy indebtedness among poor, small scale producers and resulted in the re-concentration of land in the hands of traditional and modern elites. At the same time, the state has stepped back from the redistribution of land and has abdicated its obligation to deliver essential services such as health, education, social security, protection for workers, public food distribution systems and marketing support for small-scale producers. Instead, governments have chosen to implement the neo-liberal policies demanded by international financial institutions, bilateral donors and private investors, and have often used violent means –including armed forces and militias—to quell the resistance of peasants, workers and indigenous communities to the expropriation of their natural resources and territories.

Faced with the disaster that the dominant model is generating, a number of civil society groups have proposed an alternative model of peoples’ food sovereignty based on the rights of women and men farmers, rural workers and fisher-folk to produce food for their own local and national markets, with access to and control over their own territories--including land and natural resources, and on peasant-based agroecological farming and artisanal fishing practices for a sustainable, people-based food and farming system. Food sovereignty assures the right of every person to affordable, safe, healthy, culturally appropriate, nutritious and locally produced food, and to a life with dignity.

Latest issue of the South Bulletin no. 119

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006