|Fifth Joint Convention of Pakistan-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy was held in Bangalore, India, on April 7 2000|
The workshop on 'Globalisation and Regional Cooperation' recognises the need for struggle against forced integration of South Asian economies and the necessity of forging a joint struggle against the common threats to the economy and polity of India and Pakistan by unfettered globalisation. It was pointed out that this struggle to counter the threat of globalisation has to be linked to the struggle for democratisation of our respective societies. Hence the struggles of dalits, women, workers and other marginalised sections needs to be linked to the movement for alternative development in the sub-continent. In this context it is essential to emphasize the interlinkages between the processes of democratisation and anti-globalisation.
The workshop identified the following common areas of concern:
1. The need to cooperate in building food security through a sustainable agriculture strategy that will exclude the multinational controlled seed/biotechnology/pesticide cycle. The possibilities of sharing appropriate and small technologies that provide for greater autonomy to agricultural and rural producers were explored. Water management and distribution issues need to be addressed on a regional cooperative basis.
2. The danger posed by the processes of concentration of capital and de-centralisation of production, informalisation of the labour force, multinational control over foreign trade, dumping of dirty technology by MNCs, and impact of short term financial flows on the economies was highlighted. The need to forge closer regional trade through strengthening the SAPTA and ultimately moving to a South Asian Free Trade regime to counter these was recommended. The need to immediately extend MFN treatment to exports from neighbours was emphasised. Greater contacts between the business and trade of the two countries need to be developed.
3. Sharing of information through a bulletin and a web-site on the impact of globalisation in the two countries was essential. Several areas were identified on which a data bank needs to be urgently built up -- dis-investment patterns, trade regimes, concessions given to MNCs, employment structures, social sector spending, feminisation of poverty, increasing inequalities, etc. The information should be widely disseminated and translated by local chapters of the PIPFPD.
4. Both the countries share common ecological regions, like the Himalayas, the Kutch and the plains of Punjab, which face identical issues such as degradation and environmental destabilisation. This provides the basis for forging a common strategy.
5. The two countries need to evolve joint strategies on multilateral negotiations, including the WTO, Global environment, Plant Breeders Rights, etc.
6. A permanent committee of 4 to 6 members be set up in the PIPFPD to initiate and implement the recommendations.
Rasheed Rahman Dr Ritu Dewan
April 7 2000