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We the Peoples Millennium Forum Declaration
Strengthening the United Nations for the 21st Century
*

We, 1,350 representatives of over 1,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society organizations from more than 100 countries, have gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 22-26 May 2000 to build upon a common vision and the work begun at civil society conferences and the UN world conferences of the 1990's, to draw the attention of governments to the urgency of implementing the commitments they have made, and to channel our collective energies by reclaiming globalization for and by the people.

OUR VISION

Our vision is of a world that is human-centered and genuinely democratic, where all human beings are full participants and determine their own destinies. In our vision we are one human family, in all our diversity, living on one common homeland and sharing a just, sustainable and peaceful world, guided by universal principles of democracy, equality, inclusion, voluntarism, non-discrimination and participation by all persons, men and women, young and old, regardless of race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or nationality. It is a world where peace and human security as envisioned in the principles of the United Nations Charter, replace armaments, violent conflict and wars. It is a world where everyone lives in a clean environment with a fair distribution of the earth's resources. Our vision includes a special role for the dynamics of young people and the experience of the elderly and reaffirms the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights-civil, political, economic, social and cultural.

THE CHALLENGES

We begin the new millennium facing grave and interconnected challenges. As actors in the struggle for peace, justice and the eradication of poverty, NGOs encounter daily the human impact of rising violence and armed conflicts, widespread violations of human rights, and unacceptably large numbers of people who are denied the means of a minimal human existence. At the same time, new and emerging diseases such as HIV/AIDS threaten to devastate entire societies.

Globalization and advances in technology create significant opportunities for people to connect, share and learn from each other. At the same time, corporate-driven globalization increases inequities between and within countries, undermines local traditions and cultures, and escalates disparities between rich and poor, thereby marginalizing large numbers of people in urban and rural areas. Women, indigenous peoples, youth, boys and girls, and people with disabilities suffer disproportionately from the effects of globalization. Massive debt repayments are still made by the poorest nations to the richest, at the expense of basic healthcare, education and children's lives. Trafficking in women, sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and the flow of small arms promote insecurity. States are becoming weaker, while an unaccountable, transnational private sector grows stronger. A single-minded focus on economic growth through uncontrolled free markets, combined with the adjustment and stabilization policies of international financial institutions controlled by the rich creditor nations are crippling many national economies, exacerbating poverty, eroding human values and destroying the natural environment.

Globalization should be made to work for the benefit of everyone: eradicate poverty and hunger globally; establish peace globally; ensure the protection and promotion of human rights globally; ensure the protection of our global environment; enforce social standards in the workplace globally. This can happen only if global corporations, international financial and trade institutions and governments are subject to effective democratic control by the people. We see a strengthened and democratized United Nations and a vibrant civil society as guarantors of this accountability. And we issue a warning: if the architects of globalization are not held to account, this will not simply be unjust; the edifice will crumble with dire consequences for everyone. In the end, the wealthy will find no refuge, as intolerance, disease, environmental devastation, war, social disintegration and political instability spread.


1 For the suggested series of concrete steps to strengthen cooperation among all actors at the international, national, regional and local levels (the United Nations, governments and civil society), please use the reply slip to request the occasional paper, "We the Peoples Millennium Forum Agenda for Action."

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