Doc. 9660

17 January 2003

Globalisation and sustainable development


Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs

Rapporteur: Mr Bill Etherington, United Kingdom, SOC


Globalisation and its effects, which have traditionally been seen as an economic phenomenon associated with the development of the global market, have started to influence all aspects of community life, from culture to crime, and from finance to religion. This has entailed new problems and challenges for society.

These challenges are implicit in the various political, institutional, cultural and economic options, which this report suggests employing in order to counter the negative effects of globalisation. One such idea, of a more human approach to change and organisation, is embodied in the concept of sustainable human development. Together with “solidarity economy” and other new patterns of consumption and production, it could offer a genuine freedom of choice which would help democratise the economy, based on citizen commitment to greater social responsibility, cohesion and justice.

The report also examines the new emerging forms of political participation and world governance, which would engender greater involvement of citizens in decision-making and enable human communities to manage their interdependence and their integration into the global society in a peaceful and sustainable manner.

The rapporteur underlines that the restructuring of the global economy to make it socially, economically and ecologically sustainable presents the greatest investment opportunity in human history.

I.       Draft resolution

1.       Globalisation and its effects have caused anxiety worldwide about the direction that society is taking. Traditionally seen as an economic phenomenon linked with the appearance, development and consolidation of the global market, it has become connected with areas previously regarded as bearing little relevance to economic development.

2.       Today globalisation may be said to be covering the expansion, deepening and acceleration at planetary level of the reciprocal connections between all aspects of community life, from culture to crime, and from finance to religion. The world is turning into a single social space, shaped by complex economic and technological forces.

3.       New problems and challenges for society have emerged. Events occurring, decisions taken and measures introduced in one part of the world can have profound effects on the lives of individuals or communities in another. The impact of these changes is so immeasurable that governments and individuals can do little to contest or resist them.

4.       Globalisation is characterised by four major trends: increased flows of commodities and persons, expansion and diversification of financial activities; development of communication, networks, knowledge and relationships; and increasing disparities.

5. The Assembly is concerned about the growing disparities between developed and other societies, and within societies themselves, leading to a high degree of economic stratification between rich and poor, at regional, national and global levels. Unfortunately, this difference is not shrinking, it is growing.

6.       The Assembly regrets that the reaction and opposition to globalisation are sometimes manifest in violent outbursts causing considerable human and material damage.

7.       The Assembly is convinced that the world order should not be based on business management dominated by purely financial considerations, where living organisms can be patented and pollution rights bought and sold, and where human relations are based primarily on the principle of free trade. The world needs an alternative definition of wealth and how it should be measured, it needs sustainable human development to take pre-eminence.

8.       The concept of sustainable development was first given prominence at the Rio “Earth Summit” of 1992, following which the notion of sustainable development rapidly gained wide currency and encouraged a greater awareness of the major environmental problems and international disparities. It marked a decisive stage by recognising the existence of challenges and problems that were common to the entire planet and all of humankind, and by seeking to identify cases where joint responsibility could be established. It thereby considerably widened the scope of global problems to include such matters as the environment, health, trade and poverty. It also highlighted the links between globalisation, planet-wide risks and shared responsibilities that created a need for concerted action by the international community.

9.       However, in recent years two opposing but equally restrictive tendencies have emerged in the understanding of the concept of sustainable development: for some, it has become the subject of an excessively economic bias, being often used as a justification for faster growth on the grounds that this will help to reduce poverty and achieve ecological sustainability, all the same serving the purpose of promoting the opening up of markets, financial deregulation, privatisation of natural resources and biopiracy. For others, sustainable development has undergone a form of ecological over-simplification in which the concept is restricted to environmental sustainability.

10.       These trends always need to be counter-balanced by a form of sustainable development that focuses on human beings, and is both more comprehensive and more radical.

11.       Sustainable human development may be defined as the capacity of all human communities, including the most deprived, to meet their fundamental needs – for accommodation, drinking water, food, satisfactory health and hygiene, participation in decision-making, social cohesion, a social fabric, cultural and spiritual expression, etc. This entails the adaptation of technologies and lifestyles to the social, economic and environmental potential of each region, internalising costs and establishing systems that are compatible with the biosphere.

12.       Such an approach makes sustainable human development a multifaceted process. It seeks a balance between the ecological, economic and social spheres, while also taking account of political (participation and democratisation), ethical (responsibility, solidarity, social justice and sufficiency) and cultural (local diversity and artistic expression) considerations.

13.       Sustainable human development also calls for a fundamental re-evaluation of our basic principles and lifestyles, and of the way our societies function, particularly regarding production and consumption. This implies significant changes to attitudes and behaviour, in which an awareness of living in a common space, individual responsibility for actions, learning to see long-term perspectives and partnership between players in different regions of the world, including governments, international institutions, business and the civil society, will take precedence over material factors.

14.       The Assembly believes that the recent expansion of “solidarity economy” offers an instructive illustration of a new development model and a new form of economic activity. It includes all aspects of production, distribution and consumption that help to democratise the economy, based on citizen commitment to a greater social responsibility, cohesion and justice.

15.       The Assembly notes the increasing role of dual delegation (to those who have expert knowledge and to representatives) and the professionalisation of politics through it. Participatory democracy requires further “proximity” responsibility and a wider involvement of the population in decision-making. This could be promoted through appropriate bodies, set up in some countries, such as the citizens’ juries, citizens’ forums or “consensus conferences”.

16.       The Assembly recognises that, in order to cope with the challenges of globalisation, a global governance is needed which would be capable of perceiving the complexity and interdependence of the issues to be addressed and seek to resolve them through a comprehensive approach involving all the players concerned. It should involve the array of representation systems, institutions, procedures, social bodies and information systems which would enable human communities to manage their different forms of interdependence and their integration into the biosphere in a peaceful and sustainable manner.

17.       The Assembly deems it essential that environment should lie at the heart of the debate on the renewal of world governance. Multilateral agreements today have had little impact and are very disparate, each one covering a specific area. Environmental issues should automatically be addressed from a global perspective and solutions be found involving a wide range of partners and countries. In this respect, the establishment of a single international environmental institution in charge of following up the implementation of international protocols and their coherence, an idea formulated but not maintained at the Johannesburg Summit, should be envisaged.

18.       The Assembly is convinced that sustainable human development can lead to a form of social organisation that offers everyone genuine freedom of choice between alternative forms of consumption, work, saving and use of their time, each of which is compatible with their human and natural environments.

19.       It also believes that the restructuring of the global economy to make it socially, ecologically and economically sustainable, presents the greatest investment opportunity in human history.

20.       In the light of these elements, the Assembly recommends the member states to:

a.       put human beings at the centre of all development policy;

b.       implement socio-economic policies which are compatible with life and welfare, i.e. a system which gradually reduces the net perverse effects of subsidies and introduces taxation that reflects social and ecological values;

c.       promote new patterns of consumption and production, as defined at the Johannesburg Summit, which would help democratise the economy, based on citizen commitment to greater social responsibility, cohesion and justice;

d.       support international trade in such a way that it is consistent with the required changes and with consideration of the need to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in the whole world;

e.       ensure that environmental law is no longer subject to commercial law, as is often the case at present, particularly by setting up an arbitration procedure for disputes with both environmental and economic components; reassert the political will to implement environmental regulations, notably against economic interests;

f.       support the proposition formulated at the Johannesburg summit as regards the setting up of a single international environment institution within the structures of the United Nations;

g.       encourage new forms of participation in civil society by involving both citizens and non-citizens in the policy-making process, promoting dialogue at national and regional level and within communities themselves;

h.       encourage the involvement of the opponents to globalisation in the policy-making process via peaceful means in an effort to counter the violence which some anti-globalisation protests have led to;

      i.       promote global governance that would enable human communities to manage their different forms of interdependence and their integration into the biosphere in a peaceful and sustainable manner.

II.       Explanatory memorandum by Mr Etherington1


Preamble ……………………………………………………………………………………………….       5

Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………….       5

1.       Globalisation analysed: a few facts and problems ……………………………………….       6

      2.1       A new globalised awareness ………………………………………………………       11

3.       Proposals for a thematic approach …………………………………………………………       15

Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………………………………       22


1.       The background of the current report lies in the fusion of two motions dealing with the issues of globalisation, and tabled almost simultaneously: “Opponents of free trade and globalisation regarded as a threat to democracy and freedom of opinion in Europe” (Doc. 9085) and “Harmonisation of the globalisation process and maintenance of regional values” (Doc. 9087). Considering the importance of regional identity within the democratisation process in the member states of the Council of Europe, the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs of the Assembly decided to concentrate this report on new forms of participation within the globalisation process.

2.       The Committee held a hearing on 25 November 2002 with Mr Viveret, Director of Pierre Mendès France International Centre, Mr de la Chapelle, French Institute for International Relations, Mr Beytelmann and Ms Rioufol, Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Man (FPH), and an exchange of views with Mr Reimann, Rapporteur for opinion by the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, on 16 December 2002. The report takes note of the suggestions made at those two meetings.


3.       The problems created by globalisation seem to have been the root cause of the anxieties felt at the close of the twentieth century concerning the general direction that human societies were following. A study of the changes shows, however, that globalisation of trade is a major - but not the only – factor, and that this complex series of changes connects with areas previously regarded as bearing little relevance to economic development. This is why, for example, there has been talk of the globalisation of mass culture, resulting from the homogenisation of cultural output (linked with concentration of the major production and distribution groups); or of the effects of changes in religious feeling, and in the organisation of religion and belief, in today’s “globalised” context.

4.       All of this is bringing various factors to the surface – factors previously thought to be solely a matter of politics or ideology – and, as they are studied and compared, new problems and challenges for human societies are coming into view. These challenges are also implicit in the various political, institutional, cultural and, more simply, economic options which we can suggest or employ to counter the effects of the present globalisation. One such ideal of a more human approach to change and organisation is embodied in the concept of sustainable human development.

5.       Our intention here is thus to consider a few notable aspects of this globalisation process. We also intend to highlight some new approaches and measures we can take to tackle globalisation and its effects in a more responsible way, using a few examples to show that a new approach to globalisation is in fact possible.

6.       We shall start by trying to pinpoint and illuminate a few basic aspects of globalisation and its effects – which will make our context clear and provide a background for our discussion of sustainable development in Part 2. Having considered these issues, we shall then be able, in Part 3, to outline a few proposals on thematic approaches, which will allow us to look in greater detail at some of the main questions raised by the new forms of political participation, which are emerging in response to the crisis of representation affecting most democracies at present, world governance and, finally, a number of proposals on new forms of international solidarity to check the spread of poverty and war.

1.       Globalisation analysed: a few facts and problems

7.       Globalisation and its effects have sparked numerous controversies – some academic, others purely political. For some people, globalisation is above all an economic phenomenon, linked with the appearance, development and consolidation of the global market. To that extent, they say, we live in a world which has been “globalising” itself in successive waves since the eighteenth century, when a strike among China’s porcelain producers could already have direct effects on various British “markets”, from ports to the luxury goods trade. Seen in strictly economic terms, globalisation (or globalisation of the various forms of capitalist trade) is thus inherent in the structures and logic of the global market. We shall see, however, that it is important not to confuse the globalised and the international economy.

8.       For others, the trend towards globalisation is an old one, and essentially driven, not by the impetus regularly supplied by the great economic powers, but by the rise of the European empires. The process is triggered when economic change and political “innovation” combine: the first instance of globalisation on a planetary scale would thus coincide with the emergence of the Spanish empire in the mid-sixteenth century. In this reading, certain relationships, which exist between centres and peripheries, are extended on a global scale – and this extension seems linked to various political developments. We shall see that, once states lose their dominant position, it becomes necessary to rethink certain problems, for which state sovereignty no longer provides an adequate decision-making and negotiating basis2.

9.       This debate on the remote origins of the radical change today’s world is undergoing highlights one basic question which takes us into our real subject: what exactly is globalisation?

1.1       Globalisation, “mondialisation”: from word to concept

A summary definition and some problems

10.       English-speakers normally talk of “globalisation”, “global change” or “global integration”, or use other terms of varying technicality (some political, others economic). In French, the habit has grown up of using “globalisation” and “mondialisation” interchangeably, although various technical uses (in economics, political science or geo-politics) help to clarify the meaning of these terms in specific contexts (e.g. globalisation of water management, arms production, etc.).

11.       Conceptual differences can undoubtedly be deduced from the two words’ etymologies, since the French “mondialisation” comes from the noun “monde” (world), which denotes both a space, within which all reachable places are physically contained, and, metaphorically, a complex concept, covering all aspects of human experience on a given register (“the world of business”, the “world of work”, etc.). This connotation would tend to emphasise the spatio-temporal ambiguity of “mondialisation”, whereas “globalisation” in English, derived from “global” and denoting something which applies to the whole planet, suggests a process.

12.       Globalisation, as we have sketched the term here, can be taken as covering expansion, deepening and acceleration at planetary level of the reciprocal connections between all aspects of community life, from culture to crime, from finance to religion. Notwithstanding other visions (academic and popular/rhetorical), this definition does suggest that our perception of the developments affecting most of our societies today is coloured by the notion that the world we live in is turning into a single social space, shaped by complex economic and technological forces. This brings us back to the idea that events occurring, decisions taken and measures introduced at one end of the world can have profound effects on the lives (or survival) of individuals or communities at the other.

13.       This also brings us back to one of the leitmotifs of every political discussion of globalisation: the idea that the force of the changes we have mentioned is so immeasurable that - in terms of state or regional policy – governments and individuals can do nothing, or next-to-nothing, to control, contest or resist them.

14.       It may well be true that Indian computer staff can now work in real time with their employers in the US and the UK, and that poppy-growing in Afghanistan is now essentially determined by the demand for drugs in places like Berlin or Rome, but we need to remember that most of the discussion centres on two things:

15.       In short, globalisation is not just a question of some groups of states winning out over others (the geopolitical plane), or of the spread of capitalism and the modes of production that go with it. Nor is it just a question of economic thinking’s taking over, although financial imperatives and their insistence on maximising profits do play a crucial role, and must take part of the blame for the steadily growing inequalities in the distribution of wealth. The present, growing hold of economic relations is also reflected in the triumph of certain ways of thinking over others: the logic of transnational networks has undoubtedly been superimposed on the logic of inter-state relations, and the logic of virtual territories, occupied by members of the same networks, is sometimes superimposed on that of spatial territories, where the various groups gathered within a state’s confines cohabit.

1.2. A few aspects and major trends of globalisation

Increased flows of commodities and persons

16.       First, a few figures to illustrate the increase in the movement of goods, commodities and services. Basically, these questions are reflected in the direction followed and modus operandi adopted in stratifying world trade. According to the IMF4, world export percentages developed as follows between 1965 and 1995: exports between developed countries decreased (by almost 10% of total volume); exports between developed and developing countries remained stable (with 5% fluctuations), while the figure for developing countries increased by a factor of seven over the whole period. This confirms that the trend was indeed towards globalisation of trade: trade forged links between distant markets5.

17.       What pattern do the differences follow? What conclusions can we draw on this aspect of international trade? The first is that, in terms of volume, post-war international trade was mainly concentrated in the rich countries, with developed economies, until the 1990s. In the developing countries, the growth in exports followed a clear pattern: leaving out China, they accounted for almost 20% of the world total in 1995, as compared with 6% in 19636; Latin America stagnated in the 1990s; the percentage share of Africa and the Middle East declined, but Asia experienced exponential growth. The trends for services are similar. A detailed survey should explore the special features of each sector, highlighting the different market pressures which affect different continents.

18.       The result is that few countries succeed in making it to world level (i.e. increasing their share of the market) because of the competition they face. Trade may have been a decisive factor for some individual countries, and this makes it very hard to talk about economic blocs, facing the same external conditions. This does not rule out regional analyses, however. Africa is important here, since most of the low-income African countries, being unable to develop the export of manufactured goods, had no choice but to continue exporting raw materials. Trading conditions for these markets have varied greatly, but have been bad since the late seventies: demand is dropping, and prices are falling. The negative effects of this are intensified by the increased economic interdependence which typifies the “globalised” context.

19.       What about migration and the various people-flows, in this context? According to the International Migration Organisation, 150 million people were living outside their own countries in 2000; in 1975, the UN put the figure at 75 million7. This would indicate that the number of migrants increases by 2.5% every year.

20.       What are the typical features of this migration? Specialists use temporal and sociological criteria to distinguish migration from displacement. “Migration” is the geographical movement of persons intending to settle in another country (i.e. displacement regarded, sooner or later, as permanent), while “displacement” covers a very broad range of precarious situations and usually applies to people who are forced to migrate, or even flee. In fact, the refugee question is one of those which determine the way in which states regard these complex migration flows.

21.       Three basic features have been identified as typifying these flows. First of all, most of them are spontaneous (not controlled by states, or planned in advance by economic or state bodies, as they were in the 50s/60s) and forced (the result of disaster, poverty or exile). Secondly, women are increasingly involved: according to the UN, 48% of all migrants today are women. As one expert puts it: “Today’s would-be migrants are, above all, engaged on a personal quest for proper living and working conditions which they cannot find at home, and which they project as ideals onto potential host countries. These people, too, no longer have the same relationship and attachment to their own countries (emigration conditions have changed), or the same goals as their elders”.8

22.       The last feature of these increased migration flows is that the new migrants no longer have the material resources that most of the others had (this applies, above all, to those making for the major centres). This extreme shortage of the resources they need to ease the settling-in process is due partly to the situation they are leaving behind, and partly to the situation that awaits them on arrival. The decisive factors are thus:

23.       In addition to following new routes, in order to get around officially closed frontiers, these new migrants have one other characteristic which distinguishes them from their predecessors – their desperate search for a place (any place) where they can settle, in which preferences rooted in history or language no longer play a part. All of these factors (though the list is not exhaustive) together reflect a wholly new attitude, which is also connected with globalisation. And they also reflect, and are shaped by, the new institutional and administrative contexts which determine the reception reserved for immigrants in host countries, and adjust to the legal constraints imposed by national policies on migration flows and frontiers.9

A cumulative system with a mainly financial thrust

24.       As we have pointed out, the changes which have affected trade are largely the product of liberalisation and removal of the old-style regulatory systems, introduced after the war and embodied in the Bretton Woods institutions. This deregulation and liberalisation of trade was spear-headed by finance – itself central to the changes which made it possible to free capital from the old time-and-space constraints, guaranteeing it total freedom of movement within an international network of private capital sources, functioning round the clock in almost every corner of the globe.

25.       The first element in this new financial set-up is the dramatic increase in international flows of investment capital in search of a return. These movements obviously lead to concentration of investment capital10, founded on enterprise government and on political and social factors which no longer have anything to do with production.

26.       The effects of expansion and diversification of financial activities are enormous, but one can try to summarise them under a few headings:

27.       The importance of the question of monetary stability must not be underestimated, since exchange and interest rates are two of the main variables which have to be considered in formulating a national macro-economic policy – but are increasingly determined within global financial markets where maximum short-term yield is the prime consideration.

28.       These connections are based on the rising number of forms of communication and, thanks to increased competition, the declining costs of these services. As a result, the idea that globalisation involves the movement of objects, trademarks and persons between regions and across continents raises the issues firstly of access to these connections, and secondly of the policy governing the dissemination of mass culture produced in the major centres.

29.       The importance of the cultural dimension of trade globalisation is not a matter of chance. The diffusion of knowledge and its status is a good example of the difficulties arising from the emergence and development of communication tools and infrastructure that are increasingly widespread but not universal, because they are supplied from western sources to a world that has to adjust to these new trading conditions. There are five major problems associated with cultural globalisation:

-       the establishment of global networks, on an unprecedented scale, in which the capacity to cross frontiers and penetrate markets coincides with a significant decline in costs;

-       increasingly intense, numerous and rapid cultural exchanges and communications of all sorts;

-       the dominance of western popular culture and the extent to which this is reflected in global communications and trade in services;

-       the dominant role of culture industry multinationals in the production and distribution of cultural products;

-       the ending of geographical restrictions on cultural exchanges imposed by the cold war.

30.       There is strong evidence of growing disparities between developed and other societies, and within societies, leading to a high degree of economic stratification between rich and poor, at regional, national and eventually global levels. Even if international comparisons can be criticised on the grounds that the monetary economy affects countries in different ways, a few statistics are enough to highlight the material disparities. A German worker can earn up to 55 times more than a Sri Lankan peasant. Or to quote another striking figure, more than 1.3 billion persons survive on less than 2 dollars a day12.

31.       To this should be added the growing difficulty of securing access to basic goods and services, such as water, health care, a balanced diet, electricity or education.

32.       The purchasing power parity method enables us to compare average incomes in different countries and at different times13. This highlights the catastrophic situation in Africa, where real per capita income is barely more than it was in the early 1960s. The African crisis, characterised by long-term economic stagnation, excessive debt burdens and political instability, has been further complicated by war, famine, and the demographic and social pressures caused by pandemics. For Africans, globalisation is leading to the growing isolation of their continent, which no longer attracts foreign capital and is increasingly excluded from the international trading system.

33.       Africa suffers from a number of underlying economic problems, including mass under-employment, which even in developed countries is a sign that wealth creation is not necessarily compatible with jobs and decent living conditions for all. From this standpoint, the crisis of the welfare state has simply served to emphasise the extent of social exclusion.

The sense of a shared world?

34.       In conjunction with and in addition to the four major trends outlined, we must also consider the ways in which members of civil society organise themselves and co-ordinate their activities politically and socially to deal with the consequences and new forms that globalisation imposes on society. Such organisations create networks concerned with mutual assistance and discussing common problems. They also reflect the democratic need for representation in areas that are often invisible to or remote from the centres of decision-making. They are stimulated by the questioning of existing policies and areas of agreement, as well as the need to develop approaches that take account of interests and realities.

35.       These activities and initiatives with their roots in the community and non-governmental organisations help to stimulate and crystallise alternative approaches and offer a democratic outlet to all those affected by social, economic and ecological change. As we shall see in connection with the fundamental problems of global governance, a number of major trends can be identified:

-       the major integration process associated with globalisation is accompanied by widespread economic, social and cultural exclusion, which in statistical terms, affects the majority of human beings;

-       an analysis of these problems reveals a growing number of interdependent spheres of activity, concerning imbalances and inequalities within each society, between societies and, finally, between societies and the biosphere;

-       this has led to these problems being perceived in terms of global citizenship, which offers a legal and political foundation for a fairer system of representation and the safeguarding of rights;

-       the existence of international organisations and networks that create new links makes it possible to associate the notion of a shared membership of the same world with that of the need to participate in decision-making on common problems. As a result, the demand for a new form of world governance helps to strengthen the alternative of a form of democratic globalisation legitimised by the recognition of conflicting situations and realities.

36.       Globalisation has thus been accompanied by a composite movement of alternative proposals for stemming the onward rush to disaster (particularly from the social and ecological standpoints). This necessary movement is associated with the emergence of the concept of sustainable development.

2.       Sustainable human development as a response to the challenges of globalisation

37.       In response to the effects of globalisation, a truly human and world-wide conception of sustainable development enables us to be more aware of the risks faced by humankind and the planet, and shows that a global and concerted form of regulation is both necessary and possible, thereby challenging the pre-eminence of economic arguments and thinking.

2.1       A new globalised awareness

1992: the Earth Summit

38.       The concept of sustainable development, which first became familiar with the publication of the Brundtland Report in 1987, was given further prominence by the Rio Conference of 1992. At this "Earth Summit", heads of state, United Nations agencies and NGO representatives came together for the first time to consider the problems of environmental risks and underdevelopment. The summit, which at the time was the largest international conference ever held14, had an enormous impact in the media, on public opinion and on governments and international institutions. It also aroused great expectations, particularly the hope of a major recasting of international relations to inaugurate the new post-cold war era.

39.       Following the Rio Summit, the notion of sustainable development rapidly gained wide currency and encouraged a greater awareness of the major environmental problems and international disparities. This increased awareness helped to promote the search for and dissemination of information on these issues, particularly through international co-operation between scientists and other experts. It also led to broader consultations involving not just governments and scientists but also representatives of voluntary organisations and the private sector. Finally, it resulted in a rapid growth in the number of multilateral agreements on the environment.

40.       Above all, the Earth Summit marked a decisive stage, by recognising the existence of challenges and problems that were common to the entire planet and all of humankind, and by trying to identify cases where joint responsibility could be established, on the basis of which there would be joint action on a global scale. It thereby considerably widened the scope of global problems, to include such matters as the environment, health, trade and poverty. It also highlighted the links between globalisation, planet-wide risks and shared responsibilities that created a need for concerted action by the international community.

A thwarted and impoverished debate

41.       Apart from the fact that the institutional follow-up and practical effects of the Rio Summit were very disappointing, the search for sustainable development has been thwarted and largely drained of substance.

42.       Firstly, sustainable development has become the subject of an excessively economic bias. A significant number of those concerned have sought to use sustainable development as a justification for faster growth and a means of ensuring that development becomes permanent15. The sustainable development debate has even been used cynically to promote the opening up of markets, financial deregulation, privatisation of natural resources and biopiracy, on the grounds that this will help to reduce poverty and achieve ecological sustainability.

43.       Secondly, sustainable development has suffered from a form of ecological over-simplification, in which the concept is restricted to environmental sustainability. In this model, sustainable development policies are primarily concerned with finding answers to environmental problems and making environmental protection more effective, even though their proponents claim to be concerned with balancing economic, social and ecological considerations, such as poverty, wealth production and redistribution and the quality of life, or even with incorporating political and ethical factors, such as participation, responsibility and the rights of future generations. This approach has often been adopted by the European Union16.

2.2       Achieving sustainable human development

44.       These trends, which were confirmed by the August 2002 Johannesburg Summit, need to be countered by a form of sustainable development that focuses on human beings, and is both more comprehensive and more radical. Given the ever-greater complexity and interdependence of global phenomena, increasing disparities between North and South and within each society and the predominant - and growing - influence of economic arguments, sustainable human development offers a framework for responding to the challenges of globalisation. In particular, it offers a basis for collective action on a global scale and puts the economy back in its rightful place.

Changing the paradigm: sustainable human development

45.       In contrast to a vision of development confined to economic growth, sustainable development is concerned with human communities, their well-being, the relationships established within and between them, and their links with their environment.

46.       Sustainable human development may therefore be defined as the capacity of all human communities, including the most deprived, to meet their fundamental needs - for accommodation, drinking water, food, satisfactory health and hygiene, participation in decision-making, social cohesion, a social fabric, cultural and spiritual expression and so on. This entails the adaptation of technologies and life styles to the social, economic and environmental potential of each region, internalising costs and establishing industrial systems that are compatible with the biosphere.

47.       Such an approach makes sustainable human development a multifaceted process. It seeks a balance between the ecological, economic and social spheres, while also taking account of political (participation and democratisation), ethical (responsibility, solidarity, social justice and sufficiency) and cultural (local diversity and artistic expression) considerations.

48.       It also calls for a fundamental re-evaluation of our basic principles and life-styles, and of the way our societies function, particularly regarding production and consumption. This implies significant changes to attitudes and behaviour, in which social and spiritual considerations take precedence over material factors, "being" is seen to be as important as "having", a culture of sufficiency is developed as the basis of consumption, and thus of sustainable production, and people learn to take their time and adopt a long-term perspective.

Collective global action

49.       In accordance with the Rio spirit, the sustainable human development approach enables us to identify the global challenges that face us and recognise the need for each of us to accept our responsibilities and act in concert.

50.       In a world that has become a global village, issues such as the greenhouse effect, deforestation, the destruction of fish stocks, nuclear hazards, migration, food safety and the stability of financial markets affect us all but are not the exclusive responsibility of anyone. They cross national - and often regional - frontiers, transcend the public-private barrier and exceed the technical resources and scope for action of existing international institutions. Efforts to deal with such issues through traditional legal instruments, particularly multinational agreements, have rapidly proved to be inadequate or even useless.

51.       An alternative approach has therefore been developed in which global problems are seen in terms of interdependence and those concerned are encouraged to work together to find solutions. Such an approach to international relations offers responses to the challenges of globalisation within a sustainable human development framework, involving:

-       an awareness of living in a common space: the biosphere constitutes a shared environment involving both natural and human cycles. The waste and negative externalities produced by one system (for example, the industrial structure) are therefore suffered by all the others, such as human communities and the environment;

-       everyone's individual responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions, which extends to areas outside their own immediate sphere (hence firms' social and environmental responsibility) and their shared responsibility for finding solutions and acting together to implement them;

-       a willingness to pay short-term costs, which are sometimes met by a restricted number of protagonists (for example, modifying production systems or the use of CFCs), to achieve long-term benefits for all, such as limiting the greenhouse effect;

-       co-operation between players in different regions of the world, including both the public (governments and international institutions) and private (business, NGOs and individual consultancies) sectors.

52.       This co-ordinated international response to global problems has made it possible to update and at least partially institutionalise the regulatory system, particularly in the public sphere. With the growing interdependence of the world's regions and areas of activity and increasing awareness that we all share the same global destiny, such forms of collective action are seen to be more valuable and more legitimate.

53.       Such an approach underlies the notions of a "common human heritage" and "global public goods", which in turn justify measures to protect the ozone layer, counter deforestation and desertification, maintain navigable waterways and so on. However, the scope of global public goods may be extended to include issues that are seen to have a global effect and call for concerted action. For example, there are those who would include such matters as financial stability, reducing social and economic inequality or universal access to knowledge and new technology (Jacquet et al., 2000).

Putting the economy back in its place

54.       Sustainable human development also offers an alternative to a purely economic approach to all human activities and helps to define what belongs to the economic sphere and what lies outside it.

55.       In a world in which business management is dominated by purely financial considerations, where living organisms can be patented and pollution rights bought and sold, and where human relations are based primarily on the principle of free trade, sustainable human development provides an alternative definition of wealth and how it should be measured. It encourages us to recognise a modern paradox, which is that while there is general support for the principle of sustainable development, we tend to adopt a short-term perspective to everyday problems, and apply quantitative measures to what are largely material phenomena. The result is that an oil slick can be seen as a source of economic growth (the cost of pumping activities is included in GDP statistics), whereas the input of volunteers does not "contribute" to social wealth (Viveret, 2001).

56.       The sustainable human development approach takes account of all aspects and forms of social wealth, which include not just material goods but also social cohesion, close links and mutual support between different strata of society and generations, the cultural heritage, quality of life, landscapes, cultural diversity and so on.

57.       In response to this excessive dependence on what can be measured in financial terms, so-called "economic" value, sustainable human development is concerned with alternative concepts and measures of wealth, assets and values, and developing new indicators. To offset the crushing political impact of such indicators as GDP or the unemployment rate, for example, in 1990 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) introduced the Human Development Index (HDI). This helped to shift the debate from what societies owned and produced to more general aspects of everyday life, including such factors as housing, education, equality between men and women and health (Fabre, 2002). More broadly, it is concerned with establishing multidimensional concepts and indicators of wealth with a view to promoting alternative forms of globalisation and sustainable development17.

58.       The sustainable human development approach not only looks at other ways of measuring wealth but also invites us to consider the goals of social life and re-examine the values that unite us, underpin our societies and determine how they are organised. Sustainable human development can and must lead to a form of social organisation that offers everyone genuine freedom of choice between alternative forms of consumption, work, saving and use of their time, each of which is compatible with their human and natural environments.

59.       The recent expansion of the so-called "solidarity economy", even if most of the examples attract little attention, offers an instructive illustration of a new development model and a new form of economic activity in society. The solidarity economy can be defined as all aspects of production, distribution and consumption that help to democratise the economy, based on citizen commitment to greater social responsibility, cohesion and justice. It is no longer a marginal sector of the economy and now offers a general challenge to the prevailing concept of the market economy and is helping to establish an alternative to the capitalist neoliberal model of development.

60.       Three examples may serve to highlight the solidarity economy's contribution and the change in perspective it offers:

a.       Even though it is still often more a question of image, the growing emphasis on business responsibility is encouraging firms to change their operating methods to take account of all their stakeholders - employees, trade unions, consumers, shareholders, suppliers, local authorities and so on - and of their responsibilities to their surrounding community, in terms of staff training, retraining for redundant workers, contribution to regional development and so on, and the environment, for example through the use of renewable resources, recycling and more efficient energy use;

b.       Even without formal monetary exchange systems, the use of social money permits wealth creation and trade, so long as the necessary resources, workers, productive capacity and wish to trade exist. Social money offers alternatives to national currencies, such as local currencies, barter and time-based systems18. It also helps to strengthen the social fabric and introduces those concerned to alternative forms of economic management. Social money therefore offers an opportunity to radically rethink production and trading conditions, regain control of trading relationships and reinvent the concept of abundance.

c.       The solidarity economy also offers a fresh approach to the current changes in employment patterns in the western world. In response to structural and permanent under-employment it shows that there are human activities that are alternatives to work as sources of income, human dignity and social inclusion. Such an approach encourages recognition of, and recompense for, domestic or voluntary work under the aegis of the solidarity economy. It also suggests the need for a different sharing out of the fruits of what the market economy deems to be productive activity, in recognition of the fact that all production places indirect costs on society, for example, in terms of infrastructure, education and training, and a redefinition of what constitute productive activities.

3.       Proposals for a thematic approach

61.       We should first like to take a brief look at some of the efforts being made and at some of the issues, so that we can clearly see the alternatives and collective initiatives for coping with both the implications and the consequences of globalisation.

3.1       Democratisation and new forms of participation

62.       The way in which democratic governments have developed has, since the late seventies, revealed several contradictory political trends, all leading to what has been referred to as a representation crisis of democratic institutions, mainly as a result of worsening economic conditions and of a crisis situation in the developed countries. When we consider the issues involved in developing non-traditional means of participation, the problem arises of the representative nature of democratic institutions in a situation where the merging of several decision-making levels is becoming increasingly urgent, with greater emphasis being laid on recognition of the dimension of citizenship which involves participation and integration in the political process.

Questions about citizenship

63.       The questions thrown up by the need to adapt political decision-making in the light of global challenges have, for most democratic countries, meant delegating to different tiers some powers which had previously been strictly associated with the principle of national sovereignty. As the case of Europe shows, a direct consequence of both the management of these different tiers of governance and the need to maintain political balances through continual negotiation and compliance with procedures has been a transfer of sovereignty to institutions which, while they are not representative, are nevertheless legitimate.

64.       It is in this context that discussions about citizenship have to be placed. There is a fundamental need to put forward a definition of the condition of the citizen which is not restrictive, that condition being viewed in relation to its established position in the national framework. In a number of registers, citizenship is not the same thing as nationality: participation in decision-taking about issues affecting the life of the neighbourhood, and the management of town-planning initiatives at certain regional levels, are also appreciable forms of involvement in political life, and cannot be equated solely with nationality, the applicable criterion being the emphasis placed on living in the same community, in a shared community which is not simply a matter of geography.

65.       This concept of a shared community encompasses the local community (as in a neighbourhood) and a national community of a non-homogeneous nature. The underlying idea is that non-nationals also form part of the community, and that this kind of link may become political when intermediate institutions are set up (such as neighbourhood councils)19, in which people are invited to participate as users of a public service, residents or persons who work locally.

66.       Clearly, in the political sphere, this promotes the concept of interculturality, offering the possibility of coexistence for traditions which are far removed from one another, and which can thus be kept alive, not only with the avowed aim of combating discrimination (through the promotion of, for example, dialogue between communities which, a priori, are separate), but also through a process of study (in schools and the institutions of society) of the concept of the appropriation of remote traditions, so as to combat the affirmation and exaggeration of cultural differences which, ultimately, in a context of coexistence of different communities, lead to an ethnic dimension being given to social issues.

67.       Paradoxically, this movement also precisely reflects the crisis being experienced by the representative bodies of most countries of western Europe, a crisis which seems to have as its decisive symptom a slump in election turnouts, expressing both growing dissatisfaction with the inadequacies of the representative system (which distributes decision-taking powers to experts, very much on a technocratic basis), and attachment to the fundamental values of democracy (through the emphasis placed on the need to participate).

New forms of participation

68.       Centred on the distinction between representation and participation which is one of the principles on which our political systems operate, the crisis of legitimacy to which we referred above also reflects a crisis in the functioning of the system of political representation. Participation initiatives are pursued to overcome the dual delegation to those who have knowledge (experts qualified through their skills) and to representatives. This dual delegation is constantly increasing as politics becomes more professionalised.

69.       Yet how is such a difficult question to be resolved at neighbourhood, municipal, regional or national level? We shall take a look at some new forms of participation and the contributions they make in this problem area.

Neighbourhood councils: from budget adoption to municipal politics

70.       Participatory democracy has enjoyed new success in the framework of "proximity" activities, primarily in the context of municipal politics. The fundamental principle put forward is that of joint management of a town by the municipal council and local society. The example of Porto Alegre20 shows that, in an institutional framework which is stable, it is possible to introduce innovations enabling the population to be involved in decision-taking, while both respecting the constitutional operation of municipal structures and enabling the town’s residents to take part in the preparation, assessment and ratification of the budget.

71.       The idea that citizens must play their part in supervising public administration, because they are the first parties concerned, leads to the first structures for these participatory processes being set up. We can say, on the basis of various examples21, that just about all of these processes follow the same pattern:

a.       The town is divided into sectors, with each sector covering a neighbourhood unit (either geographical or symbolic);

b.       Committees are set up on specific subjects, to evaluate problems, assess needs and consider possible solutions. The committees are elected by sector, and each neighbourhood is represented;

c.       Deliberations basically take place in two stages. In the first, problems are examined and priorities identified jointly by local residents and representatives of the municipality. In the second, expenditure is assessed and work proposals are set down on paper;

d.       The draft budget is drawn up, and a vote is taken.

72.       These experiments are not wholly positive, and many disputes may arise between local authorities and councils or groups, not forgetting possible excesses and the danger of these intermediate institutions being to some extent used as instruments22 by certain groups (professionals, activists, local authorities and customer networks).

73.       It is nevertheless important to emphasise as well that disputes need to be studied case by case. It is often the case that the suspicion of new arrivals felt by institutional players also gives rise to a process in which the logic of institutional policy conflicts with the unofficial policy of achieving a broadening of the decision-taking process. Essentially, participation is not set against authority, but involves access to the setting of collective priorities and the public validation of these.

Citizens’ juries, citizens’ forums and “consensus conferences”

74.       These forms of participation are intended to give citizens an opportunity to form and to express an opinion about a technical subject requiring a certain level of competence, through a representative sociological consultation in a local, regional or national context. The initial aim of these initiatives is to demonstrate and establish the representative nature of participatory practices, through the introduction of methods involving deliberation, enabling an opinion to be expressed which specifically validates the democratic aspiration to recognition of, and participation by, the majority.

75.       The extreme complexity of the development of modern societies has led to the emergence of some very important highly technical questions, and especially of major consequences for each person in his or her own day-to-day life. Issues such as bioethics, the development of GMOs, the management of nuclear power, pollution and the environment are questions for which expert knowledge is, a priori, needed. But although considerable knowledge is needed to be able to weigh up the implications of each of these issues, they also have a social, political, economic, or even ethical dimension which may be evaluated by non-specialists. The politicians responsible for these matters are usually aware of the positions on each issue of certain interest groups or activists, and opinion polls tell them about certain tendencies, but they are not able to assess actual opinion.

76.       To this end, citizens' forums have introduced certain discussion and synthesising techniques enabling a group of "ordinary" citizens from all walks of life to prepare an opinion, on request, on any issue, however technical. Citizens’ forums were first set up in 1974, in the United States23, and their theoretical and practical aim is to provide a way of involving citizens in the political discussion process.

77.       In Denmark, consensus conferences24, tasked by Parliament itself with voicing ordinary citizens’ views on technology-related issues, have given rise to some original experiments in opinion-forming and providing advice for decision-makers.

-       These conferences last for six months.

-       Fifteen citizens are selected as representative of the population in terms of gender, education, occupation and place of residence (the aim is to span a variety of opinions).

-       The group is provided with information and given various expert opinions, and then has an opportunity for discussion before filling in a questionnaire.

-       The authorities' explicit aim is to arrive at a quality consensus to pass on to the public and politicians.

-       At the close of a conference, a document is drawn up to which the public and parliament are given an opportunity to react.

78.       This process for reaching a consensus is not intended to supersede the political decision-making process, but does enable the discussions to be broadened and made more democratic.

79.       Another form of deliberation in the form of "citizens' juries" is also being developed in other countries. The individuality of these stems from an attempt to take account of certain criticisms of the representative nature of participatory practices (participants’ social origins, lack of information, inadequacy of debate). In Spain, an experiment of this kind is based on a 50-strong group drawn by lot from 100 people selected at random from the municipal registers. Their meetings last several days, and they receive expert assistance, information and documents to help them to find answers to a number of questions. A worthwhile aspect of this kind of initiative is for example, the particular attention paid to enabling all opinions to be voiced. To do this, the group divides into several sub-groups, each with three or four members, and all the groups are given a hearing at the end.

80.       These practices reveal that socially recognised competence is not a definitive criterion, and that it is possible to draw up collective opinions drawing on views taken from professional contexts other than that of expert knowledge, so as to balance the politics-knowledge relationship through citizens’ discussions.

Referendums held as a result of citizens’ initiatives

81.       In some representative systems, referendums are traditionally recognised as a means of obtaining approval directly. Numerous subjects are covered, ranging from airport construction and energy projects to the privatisation of public transport or state-owned businesses. The fundamental question in this context is that of the possibility of holding a referendum on a matter of public interest, bearing in mind that the referendum is subject to disagreements in political theory, having been associated with populist regimes which override institutional mediation and use political weapons against both representative methods and the work done by politicians in parliament.

82.       Essentially, the forms of participation put forward here cannot change the political representation structures of the major political systems, but can point to the possibility of finding practical solutions at local level to the crisis of confidence in democratic institutions.

3.2.        World governance

Towards a framework for world governance

From the crisis of regulation by governments …

83.       Called upon to address increasingly global issues, the world’s current regulatory systems are neither effective nor suited to the constantly growing interdependence between societies, and between humankind and the biosphere.

84.       In this setting, multilateral negotiation processes drag on indefinitely or fail to yield results; the agreements concluded remain on paper or simply state inapplicable general principles; and all the decision-making powers and influence remain in the hands of the most powerful. At the same time, the gap is widening between countries’ leaders and public opinion and between the peoples of the North and South. The traditional framework for international relations is now out of date, crippled by a twofold crisis due to its lack of effectiveness and legitimacy alike.

85.       This traditional framework - historically termed the Westphalian order - is based on relations between nation states which are assumed to wield sole sovereignty, and are indeed sovereign, on their respective territories. Issues which are too broad for the government of a single country to handle are then dealt with under a system of inter-state relations: either between states or - as a result of a process of growing institutionalisation in the 20th century - in “inter-national” organisations such as the League of Nations, the UN and the International Monetary Fund.

86.       In the 20th century, however, the increasing number of non-state transnational players (e.g. multinational firms, non-governmental organisations, churches) and of issues highlighting the interdependence of world regions and spheres of activity (e.g. ecological hazards, migration, terrorism) eroded the sovereignty of states, which are now incapable of taking effective action alone or through the standard forms of international co-operation. As for specialist international institutions such as the International Labour Organisation and the World Bank, they have neither the mandate nor the resources, nor above all the legitimacy required to solve these global problems.

to world governance

87.       Given this dual crisis of the old order, a new architecture based on an alternative vision of the world and world regulation is essential. This will mark the shift to a framework for world governance. Unlike government, which is state-based and exercised in a particular area of sovereignty, governance may be defined as the array of representation systems, institutions, rules, procedures, social bodies, information systems and measurement methods which enables human communities to manage their different forms of interdependence and their integration into the biosphere in a peaceful and sustainable manner. It regulates both a community’s internal functioning and its relations with the outside world (other communities and the environment) and allows it to combine stability and adjustment.

88.       To cope with the challenges of globalisation, what is needed is essentially global governance capable of perceiving the complexity and interdependence of the issues to be addressed and seeking to resolve them through a comprehensive approach involving all the players concerned. A form of world governance is necessary for two reasons: firstly, globalisation forges increasingly close ties between the regions of the world, and between issues and the responses they call for (e.g. the link between population movements and desertification); secondly, it is accompanied by a growing feeling of solidarity or at any rate of common destiny (depending in particular on the survival of the planet in the face of nuclear hazards, major ecological hazards and technological engineering of plant/animal/human life) (Jacquet et al, 2002; 62-64). This is an incentive to recognise the existence of basic common aims - sustainable development, peace, greater equality - and common principles (including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, responsibility and solidarity).

89.       The four main features of the new model of world governance are therefore:

-       setting up common, neutral forums for discussion and decision-making,

-       involving all the players concerned by an issue,

-       considering each one to be responsible,

-       taking a concerted approach to the five stages in the regulatory process: inception, formulation, adoption, implementation, monitoring and assessment.

90.       At present, the players on the world scene normally come together in separate arenas symbolised by the United Nations for states, the World Economic Forum for economic operators and the World Social Forum and other “alter-globalisation” gatherings for the emerging world civil society. The first step is therefore to open up forums where all these people can get together, state their views, compare them and see how they conflict or converge as a prelude to jointly seeking solutions to global issues. It is important for these forums to provide a neutral setting for people to meet and debate, accommodating their players’ wide range of backgrounds and positions. In an ad hoc forum those concerned could then discuss a particular global issue such as oil slicks or the privatisation of plant/animal/human life) (de la Chapelle, 2002).

91.       All the parties concerned by a problem are invited to co-operate in solving it, including governments, international institutions, companies, non-governmental organisations and independent expert and monitoring bodies. The distinction between public and private players must be dropped, since private bodies are also involved in and responsible for those of their activities that have an impact on the public arena. This does not mean that all the parties are on an equal footing, but that the accent is placed on a new approach based on partnership.

92.       Given the increasing interdependence between the various players, spheres of human activity and regions of the world, a given player’s act or decision may directly or indirectly affect numerous other players and spheres of activity. A fundamental principle of world governance is therefore that all players should assume responsibility for their acts and decisions, thereby recognising that they are part of a human community and of the biosphere. In this sense, world governance does not mean encroaching on or denying the parties’ sovereignty but, where sovereignty is an insufficient reason to take legitimate and effective steps, supplementing it with another principle - that of responsibility (de la Chapelle, 2002). From this perspective, power is not simply a source of authority but also a source of responsibility: the more powerful one is, the more responsibility one has.

93.       The parties take a concerted approach to each of the five stages in the regulatory process:

-       inception: determining the issue, identifying the parties, defining objectives and a timetable, etc.

-       formulation: identifying possible solutions, consulting experts, drawing up guidelines, etc.

-       adoption: validating the terms of the regulation with all those involved and giving it binding force (on a legal or ethical basis)

-       implementation: mustering the resources needed to apply the regulation

-       monitoring and assessment: checking whether the regulation is applied in an effective and relevant manner and assessing its impact.

94.       Even where all the parties take part in this process, they are not all involved in the same way at every stage of the regulatory process, since they have widely differing capacities for action, responsibilities and powers (de la Chapelle, 2002).

95.       Viewed from the perspective of this kind of world governance, a stronger “world civil society” is clearly an asset and a factor for good governance. By taking up a position in the world arena, the “alter-globalisation” movements and public opinion demonstrate that they are aware of the effects of globalisation, want to help frame the choices and rules governing global issues, are convinced of governments’ and international institutions’ inability to regulate the world order alone and have feelings of solidarity and responsibility for other people and for the environment (Jacquet et al., 2002: 62-63).

A case in point: the environment

96.       The environment lies at the heart of the debate on the renewal of world governance. Firstly, international ecological regulation has been very ineffective. Multilateral agreements (of which more than 200 have been concluded in the past 30 years) have had little impact: negotiation processes drag on indefinitely and agreements either fail to come into force because too few countries ratify them (e.g. the Kyoto Protocol) or are not applied. These agreements are also very disparate: each one covers a specific area (e.g. climate change, prevention of biotechnological hazards, transfrontier movement of dangerous waste) instead of dovetailing with the others, and leads to the establishment of a specific organisation.

97.       Secondly, environmental issues should automatically be addressed from a global perspective. The main issues currently concern public goods and heritage: it is not simply a question of regulating flows, but also of protecting the world heritage (e.g. biodiversity, fish stocks, climate change). Furthermore, these issues arise at global or regional level rather than locally and therefore call for solutions involving a wide range of partners and countries.

98.       Renewing world governance in the environmental sphere consequently entails reinforcing the international institutions in charge of environmental issues, asserting the need to protect the environment against purely economic processes and promoting a multilateral, partnership-based approach.

99.       Many international organisations currently deal with the environment; they are largely powerless and do not reflect the importance widely attached to global environmental issues. As a result, many people are calling for the establishment of a World Environment Organisation (WEO), a single international environmental institution with substantial legal and financial resources. It would in particular need to have the authority to impose sanctions, together with a system for monitoring the environmental situation and the application of regulations and a judicial function for the settlement of disputes.

100.       In addition, the ecological and economic spheres are becoming more and more closely interconnected. Firstly, economic operators pay increasing attention to environmental regulations - either in order to apply them (by setting up codes of ethics, the Global Compact, etc.) or to restrict their scope, as evidenced by the weight of industrial, financial and economic issues in the negotiation of treaties on climate change or biodiversity. Secondly, environmental regulation increasingly resorts to economic and commercial instruments such as taxes, quotas and emission permits, so that it frequently interferes with international trade rules.

101.       So there is an urgent need to ensure that environmental law is no longer subject to commercial law, as at present25, particularly by setting up an arbitration procedure for disputes with both environmental and economic components. It is also essential to reassert the political will to implement environmental regulations, notably against economic interests.

102.       Lastly, a global partnership-based approach must be adopted to devise, frame, implement and enforce more suitable and more effective environmental regulations. In line with the model described above, this approach would involve governments, multinational firms (in a more binding framework than that of the Global Compact), the World Environment Organisation, scientists, NGOs (particularly for the framing and monitoring stages) and private rating agencies, among others. A number of principles widely accepted by the various parties already provide a partial common framework; they include the precautionary principle, the polluter-pays principle, the principle of “common but differentiated” responsibility (under the terms of the Rio Convention) and the preventive principle (Bureau et al., 2002: 454).

3.3. New forms of international solidarity?

103.       The international issues referred to in the first part of this paper compel us to return to a few basic aspects of globalisation. Both the debates surrounding elections in west European countries and the scale of the disaster caused by third world debt demand that migration flows, poverty and the impossibility of paying and servicing the debt be considered as a single issue.

Immigration and controls: alternative prospects

104.       Over the past few years the need to co-ordinate immigration control policies has become apparent in Europe, because most member countries have decided to restrict immigration and categorically refuse entry to immigrants. The question is therefore whether such a policy can be pursued in the current social, economic and political context or, in other words, whether the area established by the Schengen Agreements (1990) is the place where national policies can be welded into a Community policy that addresses the cultural aspects of immigration as well as regional issues exacerbated by the steadily worsening social and economic situation. Posing the problem in these terms makes it clear that immigration cannot be viewed simply as the management of migrant entry flows in a stringent legal framework coupled with repressive policies. The question of relations between migrants and nationals inevitably arises.

105.       This issue of immigration and the ideological justifications that describe it as a threat to the internal equilibrium of host countries also points up the contradiction between the universal principles underpinning democratic systems and the practices of “fortress” Europe. As the historian Gérard Noiriel puts it, once the ideology of human rights became dominant (in the 1970s), the drive to protect national interests, put up barriers and refuse entry, which had been steadily gaining strength, could no longer be conducted in full public view. Hence the increasingly important function assigned to technology as a means of masking the tasks that democrats now find distasteful. Manipulation of people’s ideals, sometimes in cynical fashion, has done much to increase apathy and heighten the feeling that all causes are co-opted for political or commercial purposes. As a result, the gap between rich countries and the third world has never been so wide, and there have never been such huge numbers of refugees in the entire history of humankind. Choosing to chart another course would probably mean upholding the cause of universal values by recognising, rather than denying, the existence of specific interests; in other words, working out a definition of the right of asylum that is not based on denying national identity, but on looking beyond it. That would no doubt be an excellent way of envisioning ourselves as “others”26.

106.       So the options for a European immigration policy and asylum policy are unclear (apart from the will to refuse entry to those considered “unacceptable”), and as a result of steadily growing inequalities, this policy would constantly come up against renewed causes of migration - war, poverty and dictatorship. As most migrants (though not the professional and artistic elite) have no long-stay prospects whatsoever, the administrative possibilities left to them are voluntary return, family reunion, right of asylum, provision of administrative documents and illegal residence.

107.       Unfortunately for most migrants, they have no choice, and falling outside the official categories means joining the silent mass of those who have no rights.

108.       Some experts take the view that the real mainstay of a European immigration policy would be to devise better ways of combating poverty, economic crises and dictatorship, and to work out ways of achieving a form of international solidarity in which the parties’ interests were recognised and supported (development aid, technical training, co-operation).

109.       For the moment, Europe is moving towards stability, with a controlled influx of skilled and unskilled labour and the emphasis on the quota model calculated to meet the needs of national economies.

Can tourism change?

110.       As the authors of the proposals paper A red card for tourism point out, tourism is the only human activity that brings the wealthy populations of the North and the poor ones of South into contact in massive numbers, for better or for worse. This encounter is all the more painful because despite the expanding spatial possibilities, traffic is strictly regulated and can officially only take certain directions. In some ways, tourism highlights the other side of the coin in terms of globalisation facilitating the movement of persons: people have never travelled so much, but it is uncertain whether promoting tourism increases development opportunities for the countries that come into contact with it, as is often claimed on the grounds that tourism is - strictly speaking - the top world industry. The issue of direct foreign investment, which in most economists’ view would ensure the influx of capital and growth opportunities for poor countries which can rely on tourist assets to secure foreign currency, is in practice distorted by the fact that control over local resources is withdrawn (by purchase) from local populations, and decisions are taken to their detriment.

111.       As the ill-effects of tourism (worsening living conditions for local people, damage to the environment due to the material consequences of mass tourism) have become apparent, steps have been taken to promote “equitable” tourism, recommending that tourism be incorporated into sustainable development policies because of its links to improved public well-being, the economy and the environment. In the same spirit, the Rio international conventions and the Agenda 21 resolutions should be complied with, and not made subject to the international rules of economic and trade policy. This requires the UN to upgrade the status of social and environmental rules in international policy and to provide for suitable machinery. In addition, tourism and leisure activities should be taken into consideration at all levels and in all policy areas where the aim is to consolidate sustainability strategies.

112.       These ideas have already been discussed by the United Nations Committee for Sustainable Development. They establish a simple principle: if an international programme for discussion and action on sustainable tourism is to be set up, it depends first and foremost on awareness of the economic importance of tourism27 and on working out political and ethical frameworks in which tourism can develop while genuinely furthering the development of those who are subjected to it.


Pamphlets and proposals from Alliance pour un monde responsable, pluriel et solidaire.

especially:        Dette et ajustement

Jacques ADDA : La mondialisation de l'économie. Volumes 1 et 2 ; éd. La Découverte, Paris (1996)

Michel AGLIETTA : Macroéconomie financière. V. 1 & 2 ; éd. La Découverte, Paris (2001)

Antoine BEVORT : Pour une démocratie participative. Ed. Presses de Sciences Po, Paris (2002)

Dominique BUREAU, Marie-Claire DAVEU et Sylviane GASTALDO, Gouvernance mondiale et environnement, in Gouvernance Mondiale, JACQUET et al., La Documentation française, 2002.

Séverine CHAPAZ, (sous la dir. de) : Les migrations internationales. éd. La Documentation française, Paris (2002)

Jean FABRE, Nos sociétés ne savent pas répartir la richesse, entretien avec le Directeur adjoint du PNUD réalisé par Philippe MERLANT, in Transversales ~ Sciences, Culture, n°2, 2ième trimestre 2002, pp68-71

International Monetary Fund (IMF): International Financial Statistics., Washington (2001)

GATT/WTO : International Trade Yearbook, Washington (1995)

Tarso GENRO, Ubiratan de SOUZA : Quand les habitants gèrent vraiment leur ville. Le budget participatif : l'expérience de Porto Alegre. Ed. Charles Leopold Mayer, Paris (1998)

Jacques GODBOUT : La participation contre la démocratie. Ed. Saint-Martin, Montréal (1983)

Marion GRET, Yves SINTOMER : Porto Alegre, l'espoir d'une autre démocratie. Ed. La Découverte, Paris (2002)

David HELD, Anthony McGREW, David GOLDBLATT , Jonathan PERRATON : Global Transformations. Politics, Economics, and Culture. éd. Standford University Press, Standford, California (1999)

Pierre JACQUET, Jean PISANI-FERRY, et Laurence TUBIANA (eds.), Gouvernance Mondiale, Rapport de synthèse, Conseil d'Analyse Economique, La Documentation française, 2002.

Gérard NOIRIEL : Réfugiés et sans papiers : la République face au droit d’asile. Hachette, Paris (1991)

OOCD, Sustainable development : what policies ?, Rapport 2002

PNUD, Human Development Report, ; 1999, 2002

Marie REVEL, Sarah MANGOLIN : Migrations internationales et européennes : évolution et nouvelle donne. Note de Synthèse du Haut Conseil à la Coopération Internationale, n° 3 ; Paris (2002)

Patrick VIVERET, Nouveaux facteurs de richesse, Rapport de synthèse, Secrétariat d'Etat à l'Economie solidaire, 2001

Edwin ZACCAI, Le développement durable: dynamique et constitution d'un projet, Bruxelles, PIE-Peter Lang, 2002, 358p

Ann-Corinne ZIMMER et Jacques ROBIN, De Monterrey à Johannesburg: quel développement? Les termes du débat, in Transversales ~ Sciences, Culture, n°2, 2ième trimestre 2002, pp6-8

Catherine WIHTOL DE WENDEN : "Logiques migratoires, figures de migrants", in CHAPAZ (ut supra)

Other sources

Oral contributions during the meeting of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in Paris on 25 November 2002 by:

Interview with Heloisa PRIMAVERA, Animator of the network Red Global de Trueque in Argentina, Co-ordinator of the programme of Social Management at Buenos Aires University, international expert on social and economic solidarity, Paris, 19 November 2002.

Reporting committee: Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs

Committees for opinion: Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Committee on Economic Affairs and Development and Committee on Culture, Science and Education

References to committee: Doc. 9085, Reference No. 2611 of 22 May 2001 and Doc. 9087, Reference No. 2612 of 22 May 2001

Draft resolution adopted by the committee on 9 January 2003

Members of the committee: Mr Martinez Casañ (Alternate: Fernandez Aguilar) (Chairman), MM. Behrendt, Hornung, Stankevic (Vice-Chairmen), Mr Agius, Mrs Agudo, MM. Akçali, Akselsen, Mrs Angelovicova, MM. Annemans, Blaauw, Sir Sydney Chapman (Alternate: Mr O’Hara), MM. Churkin, Ciemniak, Cosarciuc, Delattre, Dokle, Ekes, von der Esch, Etherington, Frunda, Giovanelli, Gonzalez de Txabarri (Alternate: de Puig), Graas, Grachev, Grissemann, Gubert, Ms Hajiyeva (Alternate: Mr Huseynov), MM. Haraldsson, Hladiy, Ilascu, Janowski, Juric, Kalkan, Mrs Kanelli, Mr Kharitonov, Lord Kilclooney, MM. Klympush, Lachat (Alternate: Ms Fehr), Lobkowicz, Loncle, Lozancic, Libicki, van der Linden, Manukyan, Masseret, Mauro, Meale, Mesquita, Meyer (Alternate: Goulet), Müller, Nazaré Pereira, Oliverio (Alternate: Crema), Podobnik, Pollozhani, Popov, Rafaj, Salaridze, Ms Schicker, MM. Schmied, Skoularikis, Ms Stoejberg, Mr Stoica, Ms Stoyanova, MM. Tabajdi, Theodorou, Timmermans, Tiuri, Truu, Vakilov, Velikov, Volpinari, Wright, Yürür, Mrs Zetterberg, MM Zhevago, Zierer.

N.B. The names of those members present at the meeting are printed in italics.

Secretariat to the committee: Mrs Cagnolati, Mr Sixto, Mr Torčatoriu and Ms Odrats.

1 The rapporteur would like to thank Ms Veronique Rioufol and Mr David Beytelmann of the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Man (France) for their valuable assistance in the preparation of this report

2 de la Chapelle (2002).

3 Adda (1996), pp. 3ff.

4 IMF: International Financial Statistics (2001).

5 Most western countries are now barely affected by seasonal cycles in the consumption of fruit and vegetables; we can consume any kind of food at any time of year simply because the global network ensures that the great consumer centres are constantly supplied.

6 GATT/WTO: International Trade Yearbook (1995).

7 Revel (2000).

8 Revel (2002) and, on all these aspects, Withol de Wenden (2002).

9 We may also mention the new increase in ”privileged” migration, favoured by special arrangements in the rich countries and involving highly qualified people and students. Chapaz (2002).

10  Although mainly concentrated in London, Tokyo and New York, stock exchange activity at world level is enormous: total transactions on every trading day average 1490 thousand million dollars. See Held and McGrew (1999), pp. 189 ff.


Because capital is free to move from one financial centre to another, depending on the profits offered by various currencies and on exchange rate forecasts. See Adda (2002), vol. 1, p. 103.

12 According to the UNDP, towards the end of the 1990s, a fifth of the population living in the wealthiest countries accounted for 82% of the activities of the export markets, controlled 68% of direct foreign investment, owned 74% of the world's telephone lines and accounted for 86% of the world's GDP. See UNDP (1999).


For a comparison between continents see Adda (2002), t. 2, pp. 44 ff.

14 172 of the 178 member states of the United Nations were represented and it was attended by 108 heads of state and 2400 representatives of non-governmental organisations (Zimmer and Robin, 2002).

15 In 1998, OECD experts stated that "sustainable development can be interpreted in economic terms as 'development that lasts'" (OECD, 2002)

16 For example, at the Gothenburg European Council in June 2001, although the chapter on a strategy for sustainable development mentioned poverty, demography and social exclusion, the final version only referred to the following priority issues: climate change, ecologically viable transport, risks to public health and more responsible management of natural resources (Zaccai, 2002)

17 Apart from its Human Development Index, since 1990 the UNDP has refined its range of indicators and the criteria they incorporate, particularly with the development of the Human Poverty Index (HPI). The World Bank has developed the social capital approach. Various other indicators are concerned with measuring well-being, destruction and the levels of associative activity or solidarity that characterise societies (Viveret, 2001: 28-33).


Numerous countries now have experience of various forms of social money, such as time banks, local trading systems, knowledge exchange networks, barter networks, with or without local currency. In Argentina, powerful social money networks have existed since the early 1990s, involving about a million persons in 2000. The serious financial crisis currently affecting the country has resulted in some fifteen parallel currencies, some of which are openly supported by regional governments, and which are used by between two to three million persons (Fabre, 2002).

19 See, for instance, Bevort (2002).

20 See Gret and Sintomer (2002) and Genro and de Souza (1998). Started in 1989, the orçamento participativo has enabled machinery to be set up for participation, planning and the monitoring of municipal expenditure. This provides the municipality and its population with an instrument for the democratisation of relations between central government and society (as they have a vote, the logic of vertical, hierarchical relations is broken), combining forms of direct democracy (through consultation of the population at every stage of the definition of priorities and preparation of the budget) with a strengthening of the representative structures (through co-operation of the municipal authority at every level as a token of transparency and trust).


Experiments with involvement of the population in decision-taking processes and in the structuring of municipal policies have been carried out in Haarlem since 1973, and others were conducted in several American cities in the seventies. Rouen began experiments in 1996, and Marseille in 1993; for detailed information, see Bevort (2002).


Godbout draws attention to these aspects (1983).

23 By the Minneapolis Jefferson Center, according to Bevort (2002), p. 29.


Citizen-Based Technology Assessment Consensus Conferences.

25 These disputes are currently examined, by default, by the World Trade Organisation’s Dispute Settlement Body, which looks at them from its own perspective.

26 Noiriel (1991).

27 According to the International Tourism Organisation, tourism employs almost 200 million people.