Cancun: Jesuits at the WTO

The WTO?s Fifth Ministerial Meeting broke down on September 14; and Cancun passed into history as a site where protest was strongly made, if not duly heard. A delegation of Jesuits from the International Jesuit Network for Development (IJND) present at the meeting wrote, together with the International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN), daily reports of what was happening. From these it is clear that the meeting had two locations: the luxurious hotel zone housing national delegations, advisers, journalists and accredited NGOs for the official side; and the zone inside the city where, amidst the heat and dust, tents housed 20,000 of the worlds? poor and excluded—peasants, women, indigenous people, young activists. These were the people on whom the decisions being made in comfort in the other zone would have the greatest effect. Were they heard ? A communication signed by a number of bodies including IJND clearly rejected the official decisions when it declared ?Substantive changes vigorously proposed by the developing countries have been totally ignored. We reject the revised ministerial text. It is better to have no text at all than to sign a bad one.? A second document, expressing solidarity, referred to the tragic and ?honourable? death of Mr. Lee who, by stabbing himself in the chest, dramatically projected not only the plight of civil society in Korea but the struggles and sacrifices of small farmers everywhere who suffer as a result of the anti-farmer, anti-south anti-development agreements reached in the WTO. [HL 30901] All the relevant WTO reports are available on the IJND web-site