Civil society organisations from the region have published a document in which the Bank is demanded to adopt a Freedom of Information Policy.

The seminar was an evening of encounters, which included a panel of three speakers, specialized in the issue. Firstly, Adriana Spila, Journalist and Director of the Ñu Porá newspaper, Ex-president of the Commission on Gender and Human Rights of the Provincial Council of Women, President of the Center for In line with the work done to achieve transparency in the activities of the BNDES, a Spanish-language document has recently been published by FUNDEPS in collaboration with a group of organisations and networks from different Latin American countries, entitled Directives for the Debate: Implementation of a Freedom of Information Policy for the National Bank for Economic and Social Development of Brazil (BNDES).

This publication was presented in November 2013 at an international civil society forum on transparency in the BNDES which took place in the city of Brasilia. The investigation was carried out with the objective of acting as a building block for future advocacy and joint work between Latin American civil society and the Bank, at a time when the Institution has started to make incipient but promising steps with regard to transparency and social participation.

The document is divided into two sections: The first one presents the arguments (and possible benefits) as to why it’s necessary for the Bank to adopt a specific Freedom of Information Policy, and it offers a series of explanations for the reasons that it often uses to restrict the flow of information, such as Bank Secrecy and State Sovereignty, for example. The second section contains a specific Freedom of Information Policy Model for the Bank, establishing principles, guarantees and mechanisms to ensure transparency in the Institution.

Juan Carballo, Executive Director of FUNDEPS, stressed the importance of this type of document and stated that, “the adoption of a Freedom of Information Policy with the characteristics reflected in this publication constitutes a necessary and fundamental requirement, not only to guarantee that the BNDES provides thorough information in due time and manner regarding the projects that it finances in the region, but also so that it adopts a robust and effective programme of social and environmental safeguarding. Complaints are currently being raised about many of the projects that the Bank is involved in, due to its heavy impacts, both socially and environmentally. Once that’s in place, it’s necessary to ensure that these projects can effectively promote development and that they do so within a transparent framework”.

The publication comes as the result of work carried out collectively by the following organisations: Environment and Society Association – AAS (Colombia); Centre for Economic and Social Rights – CDES (Ecuador); Centre for the Study of Industrial and Agricultural Development – CEDLA (Bolivia); Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia – CIDOB (Bolivia); Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin – COICA (pan-regional); Rights, Environment and Natural Resources – DAR (Peru); Citizen Forum for Justice and Human Rights – FOCO (Argentina); Forum Solidaridad Peru (Peru); Environment and Natural Resources Foundation – FARN (Argentina); FUNDAR Centre for Analysis and Investigation (Mexico); Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies – FUNDEPS (Argentina); Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses – IBASE (Brazil); Institute of Socio-Economic Studies – INESC (Brazil); and The Amazonian Legal Network – RAMA (pan-regional).

Contact:

Gonzalo Roza – Coordinator for the Global Governance Programme

gon.roza@fundeps.org

Translated by: Thomas McGuinn

The civil society delegation held meetings in various European cities with government officials and delegates from the World Bank as part of the revision process of the Institution’s safeguards.

From 10th to 18th March, FUNDEPS took its place on a civil society delegation which was made up of representatives from South American, Central American and African organisations and supported by the Bank Information Centre, or BIC. The delegation travelled to various European cities (London, Brussels, The Hague and Paris) to participate in a series of work and advocacy meetings as part of therevision process of the social and environmental safeguards which is currently being carried out by the World Bank. These safeguards consist of a series of regulations and procedures which both the Bank and borrowing country must comply with when applying for funding from the Institution and which aim to guarantee that the operations financed by the Bank don’t have social and/or environmental impacts on the places where they’re carried out. (See World Bank Safeguard Policies).

There are two opposing perspectives in the revision process of the social and environmental safeguards. On the one hand, civil society organisations are looking to raise these standards to ensure that operations carried out by the World Bank respect human rights and guarantee environmental protection. And on the other hand, the Bank is looking to improve its competitiveness against other financial institutions which are supporting increasingly larger projects.

As well as holding private meetings with government officials, European representatives and executive directors of the World Bank, the delegation took part in meetings and forums within civil society, such as the international meeting, EuroIFInet, which was held on 12th and 13th March in the city of Brussels. The emphasis in those meetings was placed, amongst other things, on the need for the safeguards to adopt the highest international regulations and standards and to cover all of the Bank’s operations in a comprehensive manner.

Gonzalo Roza, the Coordinator for FUNDEPS’ Global Governance Programme, stated that, “The main objective behind FUNDEPS’ involvement on this delegation was to communicate to the Bank’s representatives and European officials the concerns and perspectives that exist in Latin America regarding the revision process of the Institution’s safeguards. Amongst these concerns, what stands out above all is the potential for the World Bank’s safeguarding framework to become diluted or weakened to facilitate the approval of funding given to projects and, in doing so, to recover part of the land that the World Bank is losing as a result of the increase in the number of investments from new development banks which have less stringent safeguarding regulations (or which have none at all), such as, for example, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and the China Development Bank (CDB). Let’s not forget that a large amount of the projects financed by this kind of institution have strong social and environmental impacts on the countries in which they’re undertaken. Hence the importance acquired by a safeguarding framework which is robust and effective enough to be able to ensure that human rights are respected and the environment is protected”.

It’s worth pointing out that a potential dilution of the World Bank’s safeguards would have a negative impact on Latin American civil society, not only concerning the projects financed by the World Bank in the region, but also with respect to the funding from other institutions like those mentioned above, because the World Bank is generally seen as a role model by other financial institutions.

In this sense, it’s important that civil society makes its voice heard loud and clear in this revision process by demanding that the World Bank adopt safeguards that are even more robust and comprehensive than the existing ones, including issues which aren’t considered by the current safeguards, such as human rights and climate change, to name a few.

For more information:

BIC Coordinates Series of Safeguards Meetings in Europe with Southern Civil Society Partners (31-03-2014) BIC

World Bank Safeguards ReviewBIC

Contact:

Gonzalo Roza – Coordinator for the Global Governance Programme

gon.roza@fundeps.org

Translated by: Thomas McGuinn

Without the participation of civil society, the Board of Governors of the IBD decided to approve an historic institutional restructuring with the intention of consolidating its private sector activities.

As part of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) held on March 27 and 30 in the city of Bahía, Brazil, the governors of the Bank (finance ministers, central bank presidents, and high-level public officials of the member countries) decided to approve a major internal restructuring that aims to expand and improve its focus on the private sector.

With the restructuring approved in Bahía, “the Bank’s relationship to the private sector will be assumed by the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), which we are calling ‘New Corp’ or ‘New Corporation,’ that will assume the four windows of the IBD that currently serve the private sector,” explained Brazil’s Planning, Budget and Management Minister, Miriam Belchior. “Although the main role of the IDB has been and will be to work with the public sector of its borrowing countries, the time has come to take a fundamental step in regard to the IBD’s work with the private sector,” she added. In this manner, this “New Corporation” will have a role and relevance similar to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the institution of the World Bank Group responsible for directing funding to the private sector.

In turn, the governors decided to capitalize on this “New Corporation” and provide it with a structure to increase its efficiency. In addition, they considered that its main area of activity should be infrastructure investment, a current regional context where private investment has been gaining strength in recent decades. With these considerations, it will be an area that will have to be closely monitored in order to ensure transparent mechanisms of decision-making and respect for human rights and environmental protection standards.

Important Decisions without the Participation of Civil Society

One extremely disturbing aspect is that the approval of this historic restructuring took place in a context where civil society was excluded from the possibility of participating in the Annual Meeting for the first time since 2006, which led to serious questioning on behalf of a group of Civil Society Organizations, including FUNDEPS.

According to Patricia Miranda (Latindadd) y María José Romero (Eurodad): “Controversially, the IDB decided to instead organise a forum two weeks before  in the same city, just for civil society organisations, thus denying CSOs access to decision-makers, finance ministers and even the media. This is despite the fact that CSOs have participated in previous IDB annual meetings when key decisions were made, including on IDB replenishment and debt relief.”  Miranda and Romero added that “no matter what issues are on this year’s agenda, the IDB is a regional development bank whose processes are expected to follow the highest standards in terms of democratic participation and accountability. The lack of proper implementation of such standards by suddenly excluding civil society undermines the credibility of the Bank and poses an important reputational risk. This also brings up concerns about how the bank will address its future actions considering its goal is the implementation of an inclusive and sustainable development model, which is extremely worrying. CSOs will continue to advocate for an open and accountable process.”

For more information, see the following:

Contact:

Gonzalo Roza / Global Governance Program Coordinator
gon.roza@fundeps.org

Translated by: Jeremy Orloski

Last Friday, March 21st the FUNDEPS Human Rights team visited the courts and the legal counsel of the city of Alta Gracia, to continue the follow-up of the case that discusses the constitutionality of the “Protected Environmental Zones” established by Municipal ordinance No. 9375.

The Municipal Legal Counselor, Dr. Daniel Villar, who was informed about the court filing carried out by FUNDEPS and the neighbors of the city, received our team. The claim is related to the legal case initiated by the VERDOL SA. Company, which has attacked the constitutionality of the ordinance that prohibits fumigation in the created “Protected Environmental Zones”. Said zone consists of an area that extends for 1500 meters and that was created for the purpose of guaranteeing the human right to life, health and a healthy environment.

The municipal legal counselor, after finding out about our legal action along with the local neighbors, declared that from the municipality “the participation of the neighbors in this cause is celebrated because this way the authenticity of their claim is guaranteed”, by stating this he maintained the constitutionality of the questioned municipal ordinance.

During the visit to Alta Gracia, the FUNDEPS team met with the neighbors in the name of the claimants to update them on the case and to discuss the next steps to be completed, always with the objective of defending the constitutionality of ordinance 9375. To continue with the follow-up of the case, our team will send out the pertinent court notifications to the involved parties, among them the VERDOL SA company, regarding the court filing carried out for the neighbors of the place.

Translated by: Elizabeth Griffin

FUNDEPS appeared together with residents of Alta Gracia in a legal case to discuss the constitutionality of the ‘Zone of Environmental Protection’, in which the use of chemical spraying is prohibited. The regulations, which are disputed by farmers, have led to an important advance in the protection of the human right to health for the citizens of Alta Gracia, and the end of environmental pollution that should be guaranteed by law.

The by-law in question today is the result of the work of social movements that have managed to protect the outer suburbs of the city of Alta Gracia from repeated exposure to agrochemicals resulting from chemical spraying. The by-law clearly states that ‘all agrochemicals are potentially toxic’ and that ‘chronic and repeated exposure over long periods of time to even low levels of agrochemicals could be responsible for illnesses.’

These extreme effects have been confirmed in the inquiry by a medical report carried out by the Department of Allergies and Immunology at the National Clinical Hospital (UNC, National University of Córdoba), in which levels of disease much higher than average were detected in one of the affected neighbourhoods. According to the study that was carried out, ‘51% of those polled were affected by some type of illness, with a higher incidence amongst children,’ with asthma being the most recurrent condition. This finding indicates ‘a percentage that greatly exceeds the results of other studies of the prevalence of asthma carried out in the city of Córdoba.’ A year and a half since the introduction of the by-law, the Municipality of Alta Gracia states that it has seen a fall in the number of cases of skin and respiratory system conditions. Likewise, the medical report presented in the court papers explains that ‘…since then and to date, there is an overall perception by the residents that corresponds with a decrease in the appearance of new illnesses in the area.’

It should be noted that since mid-2013 FUNDEPS has held meetings with the inhabitants of Alta Gracia, who have made their voices heard through a legal process which has a direct impact on their quality of life. Through this work they are becoming participants in the legal process, hoping to maintain the appropriate public policy necessary to protect the right to good health and environment for the residents of Alta Gracia. FUNDEPS’ Programme of Human Rights will follow up the case, urging the courts to adequately recognise and value the constitutional responsibility to protect health and the environment.

Through the intense internal work done by the Latin American Civil Society in 2013, 2014 appears to be a key year for encouraging transparency and access to information within BNDES and thus aiming to strengthen the regime of socio-environmental safeguards of the Institution.

The Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) constitutes, nowadays, one of the main financial sources of infrastructural work in the Latin American region, Argentina being one of its principal clients. However, the strong growth that the Bank has experienced in its number of activities throughout the recent decades and that it has been allowed to cross the national borders of Brazil with its operations has not come accompanied by the corresponding adjustment in its operational policies and rules of operation to the high standards currently in the Latin American countries, including in International Financial Institutions or multilateral bodies that operate in the region, such as the World Bank, the IADB or the Inter-American Development Bank, among others. At least in terms of socio-environmental safeguards, public participation and transparency; which is an important concern for the Civil Society of Latin America, since a large part of the projects financed by BNDES result in enormous socio-environmental impacts in the territories in which they develop, and the possibilities of participation and of access to information of such projects is extremely limited.

In this context, during 2013 FUNDEPS has worked, alongside a group of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), as many being Brazilian ones, as ones from the rest of the South American countries, in the effort to clarify the actions and financings of this Institution in the region. Thus, for example, through having participated in various workshops about the operation of BNDES created in the months of June and October 2013 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, FUNDEPS took active participation in the International Workshop of the Civil Society “BNDES’s Agenda: dialogues, convergences and incidence” carried out on the 26th and 27th of November, in the city of Brasilia (Brazil). In this event FUNDEPS presented, alongside other organizations of the region, the document “Guidelines for the Discussion on the Implementation of a Policy of Access to Information for BNDES”, which contains a Model Policy of Access to Information for the Bank and a series of counter-arguments against the reasons alleged by the institution to restrict the information. Both resources have the aim to serve as basic and essential tools for the future incident actions regarding the Organization.

In that regard, 2014 seems to be a key year, since the Bank has decided to open the gateway for dialogue with the Civil Society and to set up an institutionalized space for discussion with the SCOs, where different subject matters concerning the operation and functioning of the Organization are addressed. The first of these meetings, agreed on for February of 2014, will approach the subject of Transparency and Access to Information within BNDES fairly, which with a doubt forms a unique opportunity to work alongside the Bank with a view to perfect its regime of transparency and access to information. The bad news is that this space will be restricted, at least for the moment, to Brazilian organizations only, without participation of the rest of the organizations in the region. Despite this impediment, FUNDEPS will continue working throughout 2014 in the effort to make the actions of BNDES clear and ensure that the Bank adopts an appropriate Policy of Access to Information, a prerequisite to be able to effectively influence the strengthening of the socio-environmental safeguards applied to the projects financed by the Institution.

Resource:

Document of Work – Transparencia en el BNDES. Una agenda de desarrollo. (Transparency in BNDES. A Development Agenda)

Contact:

Gonzalo Roza – Coordinator of the Global Governability Programme

gon.roza@fundeps.org

Translated by: Max Jeremiah

An urgent environmental information report has been requested asking for further information in light of the increasing stream contamination in Chicamtoltina, Alta Gracia.

The authorities have given no responses as the Chicamtoltina streams have been declared an environmental emergency, compromising both the health and environment of the inhabitants of Alta Gracia and Anisacate. FUNDEPS supported residents in requesting an urgent report to find out more information.

The present state of the Alta Gracia lagoons is alarming. Although initially, the sanitary works project envisaged for the city treatment centre proposed constructing six basins, only four have been built to date. Furthermore, six basins are considered suitable to meet the needs of 15 thousand inhabitants, however, the population of the area currently reaches a total of 50 thousand.

According to information that FUNDEPS has, constructing this group of basins was tendered for, even though at least four more basins are needed for the sewage treatment systems to function effectively. In this context, 40 percent of the population does not have adequate sanitary facilities.Residents of the area have toured the sanitary lagoons facilities to establish the present situation. Firstly, incoming sewage pipes were found covered with cement and soil. Similarly, the filter screens were blocked.

Also, large quantities of waste were seen stuck around the basin edges due to saturation. What’s more, the saturated funnel did not allow the waste to separate and there were no signs of excavation in the area where one of the tendered basins is supposed to be built. The reed beds, in the treatment centre, were also found to be damaged and in a complete state of abandonment. The site shows evidence of significant deterioration: there were abundant mounds of mud contaminated with bacteria, to the extent where lime has had to be thrown on the sewage waste in some areas. The situation gets worse, considering that the main destination for the sewage waste is the streams of Alta Gracia, Chicamtoltina.

Salida de líquidos cloacales al arroyo ChicamtoltinaEven though the town of Anisacate has been declared an environmental emergency since the 22nd August and the city of Alta Gracia is in the process of being declared, the high levels of faecal coliforms, the accumulation of waste on the stream banks and the concentration of polluting liquids (such as detergents) are worrying.

This is a situation that compromises the health of the inhabitants and the environment of the area. Sewage liquid flowing into the Chicamtoltina Stream In spite of the insistence of the Alta Gracia and Anisacate residents, who have protested and submitted an environmental information request to the authorities for a report on the existence of a project improving the sanitary lagoons, the authorities have made no kind of response nor resolution in this regard. For this reason, FUNDEPS has helped the residents submit an urgent environmental information report to obtain information relating to an eventual improvement, which will end this situation of health and environmental degradation.

Likewise, other legal options are being explored to stop the activities of the sewage treatment company Establecimiento de Depuración de Líquidos Cloacales C.O.S.A.G. LTDA and to repair the environmental damage already caused.

For further information:

please contact: info@fundeps.org

Translated by Clare Sharman

The creation of this open space received a warm welcome from civil society organizations and movements. Additionally, it underlined the importance of ensuring mechanisms of transparency, accountability and community participation, as UNASUR is a space from which large projects with a significant impact can be initiated.

With a number of important national and regional organisations and social movements in attendance, the Preparatory Meeting of UNASUR’s first Citizen’s Participation Forum took place on 19th and 20th September in Buenos Aires. Organised by the Argentine Ministry of  Foreign Affairs and Worship, the main purpose of the meeting was to agree with South American citizens the Forum’s Operating Guidelines which were approved by the Heads of Council and Heads of State of UNASUR’s Governing body in August 2013; and to discuss its internal structure and workings, in light of the first Citizens Participation Forum (CPF) due to take place in November in the city of Cochabamba in Bolivia.

The meeting’s dynamics were based on the organisation of work groups made up of representatives from South American social groups and various representatives and civil servants of UNASUR’s member States. Each group discussed all three of the main topics on the agenda: the Internal Workings of the Forum; regional topics for discussion by the Forum; and the “Route Map” leading up to the first Forum in Cochabamba.

The creation of a citizen participation space, as part of  the integration process at a regional and national level which UNASUR is taking forward is welcome and long anticipated, and is the result of what is stipulated in Article 18 of their Founding Treaty. For this reason, the majority of the social groups which took part in the meeting asked that the political decision of member States to pursue the creation of the Citizen Participation Forum be highlighted and congratulated.

At any rate, during the conference the work groups reflected their intention to validate and strengthen this initiative, as well as strongly emphasising the need to work exhaustively and continually on the internal workings of the Forum in order to reach an effective level of operation. As a result, amongst other things, it underlined the importance of:

  •  The need for UNASUR, and the CPF generally, to support the principle of Transparency and Free Access to Information in their operation, which means providing citizens with information (such as topics for discussion, documents, agreements, work schedules etc.) in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • Implementing clear, simple and practical mechanisms for guaranteeing broad and inclusive participation in the CPF, placing special emphasis on the participation of grassroots communities, indigenous people and other stakeholders.
  • Guaranteeing civil participation in the Sectoral Councils of UNASUR and other forums and institutional mechanisms which have been, or will be, created in the future. This is due to the heterogenous nature of work agendas and the interests of different social groups which makes up the CPF and the need to be able to take part in specific area topics associated with the South American integration process.
  • Member countries committing to provide the CPF with sufficient budget so that it can be properly implemented, paying specific attention to issues of participation and communication in relation to the Forum, internally and externally.
  • An action plan with targets for the realisation of the first Citizen’s Participation Forum in the city of Cochabamba in Bolivia.

It should be noted that participation in the CPF is open to any South American organisation, social movement, community or individual, for which it brings together and encourages everyone interested in participating in a process destined to play an important role in the integration of the South American people. For this reason, time and again throughout the meeting, the representative of the Argentinian Foreign Ministry, Marcela Bordenave, Focal Point for Citizen Participation in Argentina in respect of UNASUR emphasised that: “South American integration is not an issue for governments. It is a matter for the people”.

See the minutes of the Meeting of South America Social Groups to prepare for the first Citizen Participation Forum of UNASUR.

For more information:

Página Web de UNASUR

Página web de Cancillería Argentina – Sección de la Subsecretaría de Política Latinoamericana

Tratado Constitutivo de UNASUR

Directrices para el Funcionamiento del Foro de Participación Ciudadana de UNASUR

Declaración de Paramaribo – Agosto de 2013

Decisión N°2/2013 de UNASUR – Aprobación de las Directrices del Foro de Participación Ciudadana

Decisión N°7/2012 de UNASUR – Creación del Foro de Participación Ciudadana

Contact:

Lic. Gonzalo Roza / Programme Coordinator of Global Governance
gon.roza@fundeps.org

Translated by: Stephen Routledge

The field of Human Rights of FUNDEPS presents amicus curiae demanding the effective application of the ban on fumigating in areas of protected environmental area in Alta Gracia to adequately protect the right to health and a healthy environment for the people.

The field of Human Rights of the Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policy (FUNDEPS) filed an amicus curiae before the chamber No. 8 of the Civil and Commercial Court of the City of Córdoba, which has to decide on an appeal given by the agro-industrial company Verdol S.A. to obtain, through a preventative measure, permission to use agrochemicals in the area established by the town of Alta Gracia as “Protected Environmental Area.”

In October 2012, the City Council of the city of Alta Gracia passed ordinance 9375 that, among other things, establishes a “Protected Environmental Area,” of 1500 meters from urban areas or permanent settlements.
This ordinance was the achieved through the work of social movements that sought to protect outlying districts of Alta Gracia from chronic exposure to agrochemicals.
The reasons justifying the ordinance are clearly stated, for example, “that all agrochemicals are potentially toxic” and “that the chronic and repeated exposure over long periods of time, and not necessarily elevated amounts of agrochemicals, could cause medical conditions”.
Such chronic exposure appears to have affected the San Juan Park District, adjacent to the grounds of Verdol S.A., where the Department of Allergy and Immunology of the National Clinical Hospital, part of the National University of Córdoba, detected levels of disease far above the average.
According to a study in this community, “51% of the surveyed population is afflicted with an illness,” particularly children.
In this context, ordinance 9375 appears as the minimum measure to protect health and the environment affected by agricultural practices in the area.
It involves the application of the precautionary principle, expressly stated in the General Environmental Act which affirms that “when there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of information or scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing the adoption of effective measures, depending on costs, to prevent degradation of the environment. “
However, the decision of the City Council was challenged in court by Verdol S.A., which filed an action of unconstitutionality against the ordinance.
It also requested an injunction to get a temporary authorization to use agrochemicals until the case is decided.
FUNDEPS filed an amicus curiae arguing that the ordinance adequately protects health and the environment and was issued within the framework of municipal powers.
It also details that the main risk is not a profit decline, but the violation of the right to health and a healthy environment.
The constitutional obligations to protect health and the environment require the rejection of the interim to allow effective implementation of Ordinance 9375 of the Municipality of Alta Gracia.
More information:
Text of the amicus curiae submitted by FUNDEPS
Contact:
Translated by Robyn Franklin

FUNDEPS signs up to the petition of 110 non-governmental organisations calling for the World Bank to change the criteria relating to projects in the area of health and to actively promote universal health coverage.

At the end of the World Bank’s annual meeting which took place in Tokyo, Japan, numerous non-governmental organizations presented a letter requesting that the World Bank modify the criteria relating to projects in the area of health and that it actively promotes universal health coverage.

As part of their work on health rights, FUNDEPS signed up to the initiative which makes specific recommendations to the World Bank to change practices in the area of ​​health. The thrust of this request is to understand health as a right which cannot be subject to market rules but rather by the logic of the need to protect the most vulnerable; those who in practice are denied the right to health. The recommendations include:

  • Making active efforts to promote universal access to health coverage.
  • Promoting the elimination of tariff systems for access to health services.
  • Supporting public investment in health without favouring private-sector oriented solutions.
  • Ensuring that the projects of the World Bank have positive impacts on the poorest two-fifths of the population in which development projects are based.
  • Endorsing the participation of civil society in the definition of public health policies.

These organizations will monitor the responses to these requests and the impact of World Bank programs in the effective enjoyment of the right to health.

For more information:

Note calling for a change of perspective of the World Bank programs in the field of ​​health

Translated by Stephen Routledge

On the occasion of commemorating the World Access to Public Information Day, César Murúa, coordinator of the FUNDEPS Area of Democratic Governance and co-administrator of the Transparent Cordoba Program, has published an article along with Mariano Mosquera, with their reflections regarding this right and the institutional implications it entails.

In the article published today in the La Voz del Interior newspaper, some assessments stand out:

Despite the existence of norms, as apparent in the provincial as in the municipal order, the access to public information is not a practice propagated to citizens, nor have governmental bodies been capable of adapting their complex political and bureaucratic systems to principles of publicity and transparency of their actions. (…)

The issue of lack of access to public information in the power of the State is not only related to the normative flaws or to the lack of spreading this right, but also to the culture of secrecy. The reluctance of institutions and their political and administrative servants to deliver information can undermine even the most progressive norms and the most active citizens.

Although the policies to promote governmental transparency have begun to gain a place within political discourse, this unfortunately does not correspond to policies which are truly effective. The lack of launching institutions, specialized in coordinating the compliance of terms and the forms for providing public information, erodes any proclamation of transparency.

On behalf of FUNDEPS, we follow these reflections in the commemoration of this day, while we continue to work towards institutions, which are more open, transparent and which actively seek to provide information.

For more information:

Article, published in La Voz del Interior, “A Right, Which Must Be Respected”

Contact:

César Murúa

cmurua@fundeps.org

Translated by Alexandra Botti

FUNDEPS supports global efforts to achieve a framework convention on World Health that assures equal standards in the exercise of the human right to health.

According to World Health Organization statistics, the enormous health inequalities between rich and poor countries (and inequalities within these same countries) have resulted in nearly 20 million avoidable deaths every year for the last two decades. This represents one out of every three deaths worldwide. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights establishes the right of all people to enjoy the highest possible level of physical and mental health. The concrete meaning of that right is not clear, however, and has been interpreted in a variety of ways in different contexts.

Bearing in mind the inequalities in health, both between different countries and between different sectors within each country, FUNDEPS supports a worldwide campaign based on the human right to health. This campaign seeks to ensure that governments guarantee conditions that allow all people to be healthy. It also recognizes the importance of existing international laws, at the same time noting how difficult it is for those in need to assert their rights with these laws. The Framework Convention on World Health being convened will reinforce international laws and extend their reach to our communities, to create the conditions for the health and wellbeing of all people.

The first manifesto of the campaign reads: “We affirm the right of all people to enjoy the highest possible level of physical and mental health. Making this human right a reality will require committed governments, a strong civil society, universal social protections, global solidarity, and other existing resources currently denied to the poor.”

Although this movement is still in the initial phase of investigation and dissemination it already has the support of academics, civil society, and international institutions.

FUNDEPS will be joining the campaign from Argentina, collaborating in investigative efforts needed to establish legal standards for the protection of health and also spreading the word about the initiative. Check this link for an invitation to sign the manifesto.

More information:

Initiative for a Framework Convention on Global Health

Health for all. Justice for all. Campaign for a Framework Convention on Global Health

Contact:

Juan Carballo, juanmcarballo@fundeps.org

Traducido por James Cochran

Más información:

Iniciativa por una Convención Marco sobre Salud Global

Salud para todos y todas. Justicia para todos y todas. Campaña por una Convención Marco de Salud Global

Contacto:

Juan Carballo

juanmcarballo@fundeps.org