WIDE Annual Conference - Globalising Women's Rights: Confronting Unequal Development Between the UN Rights Framework and the WTO Trade Agreements
Tuesday, October 19, 2004 10:45 AM

For this year’s Annual Conference WIDE returned to Bonn, where 157 participants from 33 countries gathered to exchange ideas, experiences and strategies. As in 2003, the participants were an ebullient mix of first-time attendees and familiar faces. With some self-styled ‘WIDE dinosaurs’ and many young women from so many countries and cultures, the conference bubbled with energy and wisdom, intellectual riches and a keen sense of commitment, struggle and anger in the face of hegemonic capitalism, militarism and fundamentalisms.

In its work on the intersections and interactions between development and trade policies, WIDE stated a growing lack of coherence between two different global governance and rights regimes which impact national policies, the chances for gender justice, women’s rights and livelihoods.

This is on the one hand the human rights framework adopted by the UN and elaborated in various conventions, plans of action and development programmes, on the other hand the commercial and corporate rights codified in free trade agreements, be it multilateral, regional or bilateral agreements.

Although women’s economic, social, and political rights have been spelled out in CEDAW, the BPfA and other UN-documents, they are under attack, and it gets increasingly difficult to implement them in the context of neoliberal globalisation, an unequal development between and within countries, and the WTO-regime which expands its mandate.

The conference was preceded by an informative and empowering capacity-building day, which consisted of four seminars turning women’s eyes on the WTO; poverty eradication and the roles of poverty reduction strategy processes (PRSPs) and the MDGs; the trade and development policies of the EU; and the key UN instruments for gender equality, CEDAW and the BPfA.

To order a copy of the conference report (8 Euro plus portage and packing) please contact Nerea Craviotto at info@wide-network.org. The URL for this record is: http://www.eurosur.org/wide/home.htm