Events-2005 - Archives

Bal Mela (Children’s Fair)
Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, December 26-27, 2005

CUTS Centre for Human Development (CUTS-CHD) in due cooperation with Save the Children, UK, is organising a Bal Mela (Children’s Fair) at Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, on December 26-27, 2005.

During the event, the children will express their ideas through plays, songs and paintings. The main objective of the programme is to create awareness in the community regarding child rights and to provide the children with a platform to display their skills.

National Consumers’ Day
Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, December 24, 2005

CUTS-CHD in association with District Supply Office is organising ‘National Consumers’ Day’, at Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, on December 24, 2005. The aim of the programme is to inform and empower consumers to be aware of their rights and fight against the social crimes like adulteration, counterfeiting and spurious products.

Various other issues linked to consumer protection, including the need to revamp current consumer protection laws would also be discussed.

State Level Workshop
Grassroots Reachout and Networking in India on Trade and Economics (GRANITE)
Patel Bhawan, HCM-RIPA, Jaipur, India, December 21, 2005

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART) in partnership with CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE), Jaipur and with active support of Novib (Oxfam Netherlands) and NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), New Delhi has planned to organise the State Level Workshop of Grassroots Reachout and Networking in India on Trade and Economics (GRANITE) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005, at Patel Bhawan, HCM-RIPA (popularly known as OTS), JLN Marg, Jaipur.

The objective of the workshop is to ensure wider outreach and networking on issues, such as agriculture, textile, handicrafts and handlooms relevant in purview of World Trade Organisation(WTO) and Globalisation.

The workshop aims to assemble and secure diverse views/perceptions and concerns of the participants leading towards convergence of various approaches and opinions, which can be ultimately put forward to the policy making bodies on economic governance issue at various levels.

The state government officials are one of the key stakeholder groups under the GRANITE project. The participants include officials from different department of the state government, media persons, policy makers, academicians (from university, colleges, schools), Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

For further information, please contact:
Punyarupa Bhadury/Swati Chaddha/RK Sharma
Ph: 91.141.228 2821/513 3259
Fax: 91.141. 510 4258
Email: granite@cuts.org; granitencu@cuts.org; graniteraj@cuts.org; cart@cuts.org
Web: www.cuts-international.org

CUTS events at 6th WTO Ministerial
Hong Kong, December 12, 15, 17, 2005

  1. South-South Cooperation on WTO Issues: Where do we stand and how to move forward
    December 15, 2005, 14:15-16:30 hrs, Room No. 402 of Hong Kong Exhibition Centre
  2. Does Trade lead to poverty reduction: voices from grassroots
    December 15, 2005, 16:45-19:00 hrs, Room No. 404 of Hong Kong Exhibition Centre
  3. Competition issues in the global agricultural commodity markets and the WTO: Whose agenda?
    December 17, 2005, 16:45-19:00 hrs, Room No. 402 of Hong Kong Exhibition Centre

‘Good Economics is Good Politics’
Launch Meeting of the Parliamentarians’ Forum on Economic Policy Issues (PAR-FORE)
New Delhi, India, December 07, 2005

The launch meeting of the Parliamentarians’ Forum on Economic Policy Issues (PAR-FORE) is being organised by CUTS International, at New Delhi, India, on December 07, 2005 to which all the Members of Parliament (MPs) have been invited.

Following two issues will be discussed in the first meeting:

  • Regulatory Autonomy and Accountability
  • WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference: What is at Stake for India?

For this all-important initiative, CUTS has prepared ‘Issue Notes’ on each of the two subjects mentioned above. A typical ‘Issue Note’ provides an overview on the theme and ends along with a few questions that parliamentarians would like to address in their discourses inside and outside the parliament.

More of such issues will be discussed in subsequent meetings of the Forum.

PAR-FORE is a non-partisan and informal forum, which has been set up on behest of five MP’s belonging to different political parties. The Forum intends to appraise MP’s on core economic policy issues to facilitate better-informed debate. Till date, more than 40 MP’s from nearly all the political parties, including independent and nominated members have joined the Forum.

For further information, please contact:
Vinayak R Pandey
Email: c-cier@cuts.org

AIDS Awareness Programme
Bhilwara, Rajasthan, India, December 01-15, 2005

CUTS-CHD, in association with CARE India and District Health Department, Chittorgarh, is organising ‘AIDS Awareness Programme’ at Bhilwara, Rajasthan, India, from December 01-15, 2005.

The programme aims at social mobilisation in order to promote awareness on HIV/AIDS among the youth and the community.

International Symposium
Exploring Linkages Between Trade, Development and Poverty Reduction

Geneva, Switzerland, November 24, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE, Jaipur, India) will organise, in association with the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service, an International Symposium on “Linkages between Trade, Development and Poverty Reduction” on 24th November 2005 at Geneva. The event will be held at Salle C1, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), 7, bis, avenue de la Paix, CH-1211, Geneva.

Supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands and the Department for International Development, UK, the project aims at exploring linkages between trade development and poverty reduction, involving stakeholders and policy-makers in a meaningful dialogue so that trade works better for poverty reduction. The project involves 15 countries, from Southern and Eastern Africa, South and South East Asia and Europe.

The theme of the international symposium is “Stakeholder Perceptions on Trade, Development and Poverty Reduction”. The objective being to facilitate cross-fertilisation of experiences and lessons learnt on linkages between trade, development and poverty reduction in the developing countries, which will aid in deriving appropriate policy responses.

The symposium will deliberate on the following issues:

  • The TDP Project and Links with Millennium Development Goals
  • Key Messages from TDP Initiatives
  • TDP Initiatives: Ways to Maximise Policy Coherence

For event backgrounder please click here.

For event agenda please click here.

For further project details please see: www.cuts-citee.org/tdp.htm

For more Information, please contact:
Ms. Pooja Sharma and/or Mr. S. K. Soni at tdp@cuts-international.org

National Consultation: Regional Economic Cooperation in South Asia
Bangladesh, November 21-23, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) will organise a three-day National consultation in Dhaka, Bangladesh on November 21-23, 2005. The consultation is a part of the project titled, ‘Regional Economic Cooperation in South Asia’. The National Consultation in Bangladesh is being jointly organized by CUTS-CITEE, FES-India, Unnayan Shamannay, Bangladesh and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

The event is designed to involve business representatives, government, civil society representatives and academics primarily from Bangladesh to create an awareness and momentum towards regional cooperation with a view to influence the future policy direction on trade and investment promotion within the country and amongst other South Asian countries.

For more information, contact:
Pooja Sharma at – citee@cuts.org

About the Project
The project Regional Economic Cooperation in South Asia endeavours to assess the present status of this regional bloc and analyse the future prospects of economic cooperation in South Asia. An effort will be made to bring together like-minded people and find out their opinion on South Asian Economic Trade. This will be carried out by organising a series of meetings in major South-Asian countries and gathering opinion on how to enhance the regional cooperation within this region.

For event backgrounder, please click here.

Competition Regimes in the World – A Civil Society Report
Antalya, Turkey, November 14-18, 2005

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS-CCIER) is preparing to release a civil society report in the 5th Review Conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to be held in Antalya, Turkey, during November 14-18, 2005.

The prevailing competition regimes in about 125 odd countries are sewed together in this unique compilation. The members of the International Network of Civil Society Organisation on Competition (INCSOC) and scholars have contributed essays on the state of competition across the globe.

For more Information, please contact:
Rijit Sengupta
Email: c-cier@cuts.org, rsg@cuts.org

National Seminars on
Grassroots Reachout & Networking in India on Trade & Economics (GRANITE)
Linkages between Trade, Development & Poverty Reduction (TDP)
Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur, November 13-15, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) is organising National Seminars of two of its projects, GRANITE & TDP, at Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur, between 13-15 November, 2005. CUTS-CITEE is implementing these network-based research and advocacy projects through scientific consolidation and expansion of the need-based and demand-driven agenda of building the capacity of Indian civil society organisations and other targeted stakeholders.

The objective is to create a better space for the Indian civil society for effective interventions at various levels. It will facilitate cross-fertilisation of experiences and lessons learnt during implementation of the projects. The events will deliberate on linkages between trade policy and development policy in India, what stakeholders think about these linkages and related issues.

The seminars are intended to involve civil society representatives (public interest NGOs), government bodies, research institutions, media persons, and other stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue. It is to provide a platform to enable them to identify gaps, learn from each other and discuss ways to improve linkages between trade and development, and apply the learnings in their respective fields of activities.

The agenda involves discussion on- Pro-poor economic reforms and governance: Issues and concerns, people’s perceptions on globalisation, international trade and poverty, The role of media, and Issues before the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Hong Kong Ministerial Conference.

Event Backgrounder

Event Agenda

For further information, please contact:
Swati Chadha/Pooja Sharma
Ph: 91.141.228 2821/513 3259
Fax: 91.141. 510 4258
Email: granite@cuts-international.org; granitencu@cuts.org; tdp@cuts.org

Inception Workshop for the Project on ‘Strategies and Preparedness for Trade and Globalisation in India’
November 7, 2005, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

CUTS-CART, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME), in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, UNCTAD and DFID will organise an inception workshop for the project on ‘Strategies and Preparedness for Trade and Globalisation in India’ (small and cottage industries including handicrafts and leather footwear), at HCM-RIPA, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on November 7, 2005.

This five-year project seeks to facilitate capacity building on trade competitiveness in selected sectors/regions. The project engages in ‘downstream’ actions, to build stakeholder capacities for understanding and managing the impact of globalisation on their respective constituencies.

Non State Actors Workshop on the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial
November 03, 2005, Lusaka, Zambia

Kepa-Zambia, Consumer Unity and Trust Society-Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC) and Civil Society Trade Network of Zambia (CSTNZ) will hold a one day workshop in Lusaka on the 3rd of November 2005. The theme for this workshop is “to build consensus among stakeholders and identify Zambia’s priority for the 6th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial”.

The target groups for this workshop are representatives from civil society organisations, private sector/business associations, media, officials of inter-governmental and regional organizations, trade policy experts, and the Academia.

The objectives of the workshop are: to provide a proactive forum to brainstorm, lobby and advocate for a focused National Position Paper, to draft a well thought-out declaration on Zambia’s position and priority for the 6th WTO ministerial, to flag on priority issues to be considered by the Zambian government at the 6th WTO Hong Kong

The workshop aims at building consensus and identifying Zambia’s priority for the 6th World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial and filtering in stakeholder’s inputs into the National position paper.

For details:
Vladimir Chilinya
Consumer Unity & Trust Society -
Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC)
Suite 4.11, 4th Floor, Main Post Office Building,
Cairo Road, Lusaka, ZAMBIA
Ph: 260.1.224992
Fax: 260.1.225220
Email 1: cutsarc@zamnet.zm
Email 2: lusaka@cuts.org
Website: www.cuts-international.org

Final Consultation
South-South Economic Cooperation: Exploring Mekong-Ganga Relationship

Bangkok, October 26th – 27th 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE, Jaipur, India) will organise the Final Consultation of the project “South-South Economic Cooperation: Exploring Mekong-Ganga Relationship” on October 26th – 27th 2005 in Bangkok in association with Centre for Ecological Economics (CEE).

Supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the project aims at exploring and analysing trade and investment relationship between India and four countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), viz., Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.

The objective of the Final Consultation is to discuss the key findings of background research and business perceptions on the present and future scope of economic cooperation between India and GMS countries. It is intended to involve business bodies, policy-makers, research institutions, civil society organisations and representatives of international and inter-governmental organisations to discuss issues for better economic cooperation between India and GMS countries.

The interactive seminar will deliberate on the following issues:

  • Trade and Investment Relationship
  • Transport Facilitation for Better Trade
  • Enterprise Development & Cooperation

The Agenda

  • Presentation of research findings, including business perceptions
  • Scope for trade and transport facilitation between India and GMS countries
  • Enterprise development in the GMS region and mutual learning

Event Backgrounder

For further project details please see: www.cuts-citee.org/mgr.htm

For further information please contact:
Ms. Pooja Sharma/ Ms. Swati Dhoot at - citee@cuts.org

Samvaad (Dialogue) on ‘Land and Water Management for Sustainable Development’
HCM-RIPA, Jaipur, 26-27 October 2005

As part of the ongoing CUTS project on “Land and Water Management leading towards Bio-diversity Conservation” in partnership with UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme, and in association with Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Ahmedabad, CUTS will organise a two days Samvaad on ‘Land and Water Management for Sustainable Development’ at Jaipur on 26 & 27 October 2005. The venue is the Patel Bhavan, HCM-RIPA (HCM Rajasthan State Institute of Public Administration), JLN Marg, Jaipur.

About Samvaad
Efficient and equitable management of limited natural resources is amongst the greatest challenges mankind is facing today. The problem of land degradation is one of the major concerns in reaching sustainable development goals worldwide. Increasing human and animal populations are placing extreme pressure on the soils and vegetation on the earth. Land degradation is broadly defined as “any form of deterioration of natural potential of land that affects ecosystem integrity either in terms of reducing its ecological productivity or native biological richness” Land degradation would have a significant impact on the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing by half the proportion of people in poverty by 2015 and ensuring environmental sustainability.

In India, out of the total 328 million hectares of land, 175 million hectares are considered to be affected by land degradation. Life in arid desert lands is a perpetual struggle as a consequence of lack of proper resource management. Arid regions of Western Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Southern parts of Haryana face frequent droughts. Overgrazing due to the high animal population, wind and water erosion, mining and other industries are serious land degradation processes. While modern science and technology has opened up new possibilities, the abandoning of traditional and time-tested practices and institutions can be fraught with dangers.

Water is one of the most important natural resources, critical for sustainable development, including survival of all living beings. World Water Day (22 March) this year marked the beginning of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life 2005–2015”. The goals of the ‘Water for Life’ decade are aimed at having “a greater focus on water-related issues, while striving to ensure the participation of women in water-related development efforts, and further cooperation at all levels to achieve water-related goals of the Millennium Declaration” One of the major targets of the MDGs is to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

Unsustainable extraction of ground water is leading to serious deterioration of water quality, and causing irreparable damage to the ground water aquifers. Due to the lack of integrated management of water resources and policy coordination, various priorities seem to be at war with each other. Speedy enactment of an effective ground water regulation act is the need of the hour in a state like Rajasthan. An integrated approach to water resources management is critical to the survival of the State. Though, a renewable resource, it requires suitable management approach for its conservation.

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a dynamic concept that utilizes all aspects of public awareness, education and training to create an understanding of the linkages among the issues of sustainable development. ESD is a vision that seeks to balance human and economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for the earth’s natural resources. Hence the United Nations has launched the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Samvaad also will coincide with the beginning of the decade.

Objectives
The following are the multi-fold objectives of Samvaad:

  • To share and consolidate key findings and learning’s from the grassroots on the status of land and water management and to show-case best practices
  • To facilitate discussion on effective strategies and plan of action for the sustainable management of land and water.
  • To establish a linkage between Government programmes and CSO initiatives for better co-operation and coordination.
  • To create an informal network of organisations working on land and water issues for information sharing.


For more Information, please contact:
George Cheriyan
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART)
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282 482
Cell: 098292 85927
Fx: 91.141.5104258
Email: cart@cuts.org
Web: www.cuts-international.org

Launch Meeting of Public Expenditure Tracking Survey on Mid-day Meals
Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, October 21, 2005

CUTS-CART in partnership with the South Asia Social Accountability Network (SASAnet) of the World Bank will launch a project to conduct a Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) on the Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS) in Rajasthan.

The project is for a period of six months i.e. from October 2005 to March 2006. It would look into the schemes and expenditure at the State level in Rajasthan, with special focus on Chittorgarh district for an in-depth analysis. The launch meeting of the project is going to be held in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, on October 21, 2005.

For more Information, please contact:
George Cheriyan
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART)
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282 482
Cell: 098292 85927
Fx: 91.141.5104258
Email: cart@cuts.org
Web: www.cuts-international.org

UNV-WIDER Project Meeting on ‘Hunger & Food Security’

CUTS-CART is part of the UNV-WIDER Project on ‘Hunger & Food Security’. George Cheriyan will participate in the second project meeting to be held in Helsinki, Finland on 12-14 October 2005 and present a research paper on “Enforcing Right to Food in India: Bottlenecks in delivering the expected outcomes” (focusing on corruption and the resultant failure of various welfare schemes).

For more Information, please contact:
George Cheriyan
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART)
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282 482
Cell: 098292 85927
Fx: 91.141.5104258
Email: cart@cuts.org
Web: www.cuts-international.org

Hum Bhi Bachche Hai (we, too, are children) – Painting/Poster Competition
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, October 17, 2005

As part of the on CUTS-CART going project on Child Domestic Workers in partnership with Save the Children (UK), a state level poster and painting competition will be organised at the Youth Hostel in Jaipur on the theme ‘Hum Bhi Bacheche Hai’ on 17 October 2005 followed by a public awareness programme and Nukad Natak. Students from various schools in Jaipur city will participate in the event.

For more Information, please contact:
George Cheriyan
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART)
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282 482
Cell: 098292 85927
Fx: 91.141.5104258
Email: cart@cuts.org
Web: www.cuts-international.org

National Consultation
South-South Economic Cooperation: Exploring IBSA Initiative

New Delhi, October 7, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE, Jaipur, India) will organise the National Consultation of the project “South-South Economic Cooperation: Exploring IBSA Initiative” on October 7th 2005 in New Delhi in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and industry (FICCI), New Delhi.

Supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the project aims to explore and analyse trade and economic relationship between IBSA countries viz., India, Brazil and South Africa.

Trade and Investment advocacy can play a major role in achieving better economic and political results at the regional and international levels. Therefore, the objective of this Consultation is to engage relevant stakeholders and understand their perspectives and concerns on future trade and investment scenarios including regional trade initiatives so as to promote policy responses that factor stakeholder preferences. It is intended to involve business representatives, government, civil society representatives and academics primarily from India, to discuss issues for better economic cooperation between India and these countries.

The interactive seminar will concentrate on the issues such as:

  • Increasing the ties amongst the three IBSA countries
  • Understanding the potential for promoting trade and investment between these countries
  • Engaging relevant stakeholders and understanding their perspectives and concerns on future trade and investment scenarios

The Agenda

  • Presentation of research findings by representative, CUTS-CITEE
  • Presentation by representative, FICCI
  • Tabling the findings of the research undertaken and receiving stakeholder responses on the same.

For event backgrounder, please click here.

For further project details please see: www.cuts-citee.org/ibsa.htm

For further information please contact:
Dr. Prasad P. Ranade/ Mr. Anutosh Biswas at – citee@cuts.org

Rajasthan State Media Workshop under
Grassroots Reachout & Networking In India on Trade & Economics (GRANITE) Project

Jaipur, October 6, 2005

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART), Jaipur in partnership with CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE), Jaipur, and with an active support from Novib (Oxfam Netherlands) and NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), New Delhi plans to organise a ‘Media Workshop Under GRANITE Project’ at Harish Chandra Mathur-Rajasthan State Institute of Public Administration (HCM-RIPA), Rajasthan, India on October 6, 2005.

The objective of the workshop is to actively involve the media in disseminating comprehensive information and greater orientation on issues pertaining to agriculture, textile & handlooms under Globalisation and World Trade Organisation (WTO) regimes, so that right information and knowledge about these issues could reach in right perspective to the public at large, and thus can have larger implications on their lives. The media, which has been playing a crucial role in promoting trade and economic activities in the country, is one of the key stakeholder groups in GRANITE Project.

The workshop aims to cultivate critical points for debates and discussions, so that there emerges a better understanding on issues related to national and international trade leading towards convergence of various approaches and views. The media persons, both national as well regional level, from English and local language press including alternative media will participate in the workshop.

For further information, please contact:
Punyarupa Bhadury/George Cheriyan
Ph: 91.141.228 2821/513 3259
Fax: 91.141. 510 4258
Email: granite@cuts-international.org; granitencu@cuts.org; graniteraj@cuts.org

National Consultation: Regional Economic Cooperation in South Asia
Karachi, Pakistan, September 23-25, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE), in association with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, India (FES India) will organise a three-day long national consultation on ‘Regional Economic Cooperation in South Asia’ (RECSA) in Karachi, Pakistan on September 23-25, 2005. The prime objectives of the Consultation are:

  • to establish a platform for facilitating the cross-fertilisation of experiences and lessons learnt on economic cooperation among South Asian countries in order to develop appropriate policy responses;
  • to discuss South Asia's position on global economic issues, its relations with other regional groupings and response to global developments;
  • to look for new initiatives that can be launched to enhance economic cooperation among the South Asian countries; and
  • to facilitate the synergy between business, policy makers, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to learn from each other and strengthen their collective perspectives and positions on boosting economic cooperation between South Asian countries.

Contact Person:
Dr. Prasad P Ranade/Anutosh Biswas
CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: 91.141.228 2821
Fax: 91.141.228 2485
Email: citee@cuts.org

National Consultation: WTO Doha Round & South Asia: Linking Civil Society with Trade Negotiations
New Delhi, India, September 17, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) will organise a one-day national consultation in New Delhi, India, on September 17, 2005. The consultation is a part of the project entitled, ‘WTO Doha Round & South Asia: Linking Civil Society with Trade Negotiations,’ currently being implemented by the Centre. The project is named as South Asia Forum for International Trade (SAFIT).
(visit http://www.cuts-international.org/safit.htm)

Researchers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will present the draft on development dimensions, trade in services, agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA) and trade facilitation respectively. The objective of the consultation is to provide a dialogue and discussion forum to relevant actors on issues relating to the Doha Round of negotiations leading up to the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial.

For more information, contact:

Purnima Purohit/ Chandan Mukherjee
safit@cuts-international.org ; citee@cuts.org

About the Project

The Project entitled, ‘WTO Doha Round & South Asia: Linking Civil Society with Trade Negotiations’ aims to establish linkages between the civil society organisations and research institutions while conducting advocacy with the governments. The project will be implemented in five South Asian countries, viz., Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in a partnership mode. The period of the project is 15 months starting from January 1, 2005 and completing on March 31, 2006. It will focus on the following five key elements of the July Framework Agreement:

  • development dimensions, being researched by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, Bangladesh

  • services, being researched CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE), India

  • agriculture, being researched South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics & Environment (SAWTEE), Nepal

  • NAMA, being researched Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Pakistan

  • trade facilitation, being researched Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Sri Lanka

While four elements has annexes in the July Package, the fifth element development dimension, which includes special & differential treatment (S&DT), capacity building, technical and financial assistance is a cross-cutting issue. This Agreement provides the basis on which the Doha Round of negotiations will progress. While negotiating positions of South Asian countries are analysed, they are to be juxtaposed with the concerns and perceptions of diverse stakeholders. On each issue, the position of a particular country and civil society (including business bodies, trade unions, women groups, particularly those working on gender and trade linkages) perceptions is being placed with those of other countries, so as to come out with a common position on a particular issue between the South Asian countries. Furthermore, the positions of some other key players (like Brazil, European Union, US, the Africa Group, the LDC Group) will be placed vis-à-vis the positions of South Asian countries, so that these countries can arrive at better negotiating positions during the Doha Round of negotiations.

For more details, visit: http://www.cuts-international.org/safit.htm

For the Backgrounder of the event, please click here.

For the Agenda of the event, please click here.

Outreach Meetings under Grassroots Reachout & Networking In India on Trade & Economics (GRANITE) Project
Rajasthan, September, 2005

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART) in partnership with CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE), Jaipur and with active support of Novib (Oxfam Netherlands) and NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), New Delhi has scheduled organising the Outreach Meetings at the grassroot level in different districts of the State of Rajasthan. The districts have been carefully selected for the meetings fairly representing the project identified sectors i.e. agriculture, textiles & handloom.  The schedule of the meetings is as follows:

Sequence of Outreach Meetings

District

Sector/s Covered

Date

First

Chittorgarh

Agriculture

September 14, 2005

Second

Bhilwara

Textiles & Handloom

September 15, 2005

Third

Sawai Madhopur

Agriculture and Textiles & Handloom

September 22, 2005

Fourth

Jalore

Textiles & Handloom

September 28, 2005

The prime objectives of the meetings are:

  • to gather existing perceptions of the grassroot people regarding issues relating to globalisation and World Trade Organisation (WTO) and also to identify the anti-poor impact of the existing policies; and
  • to bring them to a common platform where they could share their present livelihood concerns.

The participants of the meetings will include farmers, farm labour, artisans, handloom weavers, community based organisations, journalists from local media, panchayati raj (local self governance) representatives, community leaders, representatives from cooperative societies and trade unions, self-help groups and lower and middle level officials of various departments of the State Government.

Later, the discussions from the above meetings would be documented, which will serve as key inputs for preparing an advocacy document to take up the issues to the relevant policy-making bodies.

For further information, please contact:

Punyarupa Bhadury/George Cheriyan
Ph: 91.141.228 2821/513 3259
Fax: 91.141. 510 4258
Email: granite@cuts-international.org; granitencu@cuts.org; graniteraj@cuts.org; cart@cuts.org
Web: www.cuts-international.org

Third Session of Retreat on Regulatory Autonomy and Accountability
New Delhi, India, September 10, 2005

Regulators need to be given sufficient autonomy to ensure that they take judicious decisions in a competent manner and are made accountable and answerable for their actions and performance. With the view to facilitate better understanding among key stakeholders, CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS-CCIER) envisaged to organise sessions of discussions on the key aspects of regulatory autonomy and accountability in India. The objective of these sessions of discussions is to establish a consensus on this issue.

Against this background, a retreat on ‘Regulatory Autonomy and Accountability’ (third and the final, in the series of three) will be organised at New Delhi, India on September 10, 2005.

Based on the outcome of the earlier rounds of the discussions, a set of draft recommendations would be prepared and presented before the group in the third and concluding Retreat.

Thereafter, the final recommendations will be submitted to the Planning Commission of India and widely circulated amongst the policy community and other stakeholders for suggestions.

Second round of the discussion on ‘Regulatory Autonomy and Accountability in India’ was organised in New Delhi, India, on July 23, 2005. More than 20 representative stakeholders from the policy community participated in this Retreat.

Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS, recapitulated the outcome of the first Retreat on the subject, which was organised on May 7, 2005. This was followed by an intensive discussion on three aspects: mandate, selection and removal, and financial autonomy.

For further details please contact:
Vinayak R Pandey
CUTS C-CIER
D 217 Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur –302016, India
Ph: +91 141 228 2821
Fx: +91 141 228 2733
Cell: +91 98292 85932
Email: c-cier@cuts.org, vrp@cuts.org

National Consultation on South-South Economic Cooperation:
Exploring Mekong-Ganga Relationship

New Delhi, India, September 01, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE), is organising a ‘National Consultation on South-South Economic Cooperation: Exploring Mekong-Ganga Relationship’ at New Delhi, India, on September 01, 2005.

In this meeting, there will be discussion on trade and investment cooperation in the Indo-China region, both policy and its implementation aspects and to look for new initiatives that can facilitate economic cooperation between India and Indo-China countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam) with special emphasis on business-to-business engagements.

In addition to, the meeting also aims to strengthen the capacity of Indo-China countries on issues of South-South trade and investment cooperation by providing necessary know-how and do-how to policy-makers, business community, civil society and other stakeholders.

Contact Person:
Dr. Prasad P Ranade
Email: citee@cuts.org, pr2@cuts.org

Regional Seminar on ‘National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) and
Its Prospects on Economic Reforms’
Jaipur, India, August 24, 2005

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART) in association with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, New Delhi (FES India) has planned to organise a Regional Seminar on ‘National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) and Its Prospects on Economic Reforms’ covering the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. The seminar is going to be held on Wednesday, August 24 2005 from 0930 hrs and will conclude at 1730 hrs. The venue of the seminar is Patel Bhavan, HCM-RIPA, JLN Marg, Jaipur.

National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the United Progressive Alliance government has covered all relevant issues for India’s development with employment generation and poverty reduction. It is a good initiative that highlights the main priorities, policies and programmes of the government. However, unless attention is paid on issues of economic governance at the grassroots, its outcome may be far from what is promised. Hence the above-mentioned seminar will focus on the economic issues covered under the NCMP.

The prime objectives of the seminar are:

  • To take stock of various aspects of the NCMP, with emphasis on issues relating to economic reforms and development;
  • To discuss concerns and necessary actions of different stakeholders for achieving better coherence between policy formulation and implementation; and
  • To contribute towards a networking platform to stakeholders in order to discuss issues of mutual interests and build partnership between and among different stakeholders.

For further information, please contact:
Swati Chadha/Punyarupa Bhadury
Ph: 91.141.228 2821/513 3259
Fax: 91.141. 510 4258
Email:granitencu@cuts.org
         graniteraj@cuts.org
Web: www.cuts-international.org

Training workshop for consumer representatives
August 22-23, 2005, Thanh Hoa, Vietnam

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (C-CIER) is organising a training workshop on issues related to competition and consumer protection for Vietnam consumer representatives during the 22-23 August 2005, within the framework of its project entitled “Advocacy and Capacity Building on Competition Policy and Law in Asia” (7Up2 Project).

The 7Up2 project is a trilateral cooperation initiative, supported by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland (SECO), the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO), and the Department for International Development (DFID), UK, aimed at accelerating the process towards a functional competition policy and law for selected countries in Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Bangladesh, Nepal and India) and advancing an enabling environment for the law and policy to be better enforced.

The workshop is organised with a view to building the capacity of Vietnamese consumers to understand issues related to competition policy and law, and consumer protection; and on that basis, identify various anticompetitive practices and unfair competition practices; and seek redress accordingly in the Vietnam context. It will also help to foster public acceptance and support to aid the effective implementation of the Competition Law 2004 of Vietnam by inculcating the spirits and content of the Law among widespread consumers.

For further information, please contact:
Ms. Alice Pham at 7up2@cuts.org
Tel: +91 9829 285 926
Fax: +91 141 2282 733
Internet: http://www.cuts-international.org/7up2.htm

Stakeholders’ Workshop on the Investment Policy Review of Zambia
Zambia, August 22, 2005

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as a focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of all matters related to foreign direct investment, carried out a study on the Investment Policy of Zambia with the intention of helping this African nation improve her investment policies and also to familiarise the private sector with Zambia’s investment environment.

To facilitate the initiative, UNCTAD compiled a document, ‘the Investment Policy Review (IPR) of Zambia’, which contains a comprehensive review of the policies -- legal, regulatory and operational frameworks -- that have a strong bearing on the investment climate in Zambia. The information and policy recommendations would serve as a useful basis for further improving the investment climate and ultimately increasing investment flow into the country.

To discuss the findings of Investment Policy Review of Zambia, UNCTAD, in conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Zambia and Consumer Unity and Trust Society – Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC) is very pleased to invite you to a workshop scheduled to take place on Monday, August 22, 2005 at Intercontinental Hotel, Zambia commencing at 08:30 hours. The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Honourable Dipak K.A. Patel, will officially open the workshop at 09:00. All the invited guests are requested to be present before 09:00 hours.

7Up2 Project Interim Review Meeting
Hanoi, Vietnam, August 16-17, 2005

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (C-CIER) is organising the Interim Review Meeting of its project entitled, ‘Advocacy and Capacity Building on Competition Policy and Law in Asia’ (7Up2 Project), a multi-stakeholder initiative supported by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland (SECO), the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO), and the Department for International Development (DFID), UK, in Hanoi, Vietnam on August 16-17, 2005.

The meeting is expected to provide an opportunity for all relevant stakeholders to meet and discuss the progress achieved so far within the framework of the project as well as lessons learnt therein, and to map out future plans to take the project forward into fruitful outcomes.

The meeting will also serve as a forum, where research findings on the competition scenario in project countries (Vietnam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, India, Nepal and Bangladesh) would be presented for comments from the delegates. Recommendations towards an enabling environment, in which competition policy and law can be adopted and effectively implemented, will also be assimilated through discussions.

For further information, please contact:
Ms. Alice Pham at 7up2@cuts.org
Tel: +91 9829 285 926
Fax: +91 141 2282 733
Internet http://www.cuts-international.org/7up2.htm

National Consultation on Competition Policy and Law in Namibia
Namibia, Africa, August 16, 2005

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS-CCIER) is currently implementing a project entitled, ‘Capacity Building on Competition Policy in Select Countries of Eastern and Southern Africa’, popularly referred to as 7Up3 project. This initiative is being executed through a ‘partnership approach’ with selected partner organisations representing leading civil society organisations (CSOs) in the project countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Uganda.

The implementation process involves national consultations in project countries, to identify a roadmap towards effective competition in the marketplace. CUTS C-CIER is organising the National Consultation (NRG meeting) of the 7Up3 project in Namibia, with the collaboration of Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU), the project partner, on August 16, 2005.

National consultations have already been organised in Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritius and Uganda, with assistance from the country partners in the respective countries. The response in the NRG meetings organised so far has been encouraging, and has revealed the need for sensitising various stakeholders of the need for an effective competition regime, especially for the purpose of safeguarding consumer interests.

For further details please contact:
Rijit Sengupta
CUTS C-CIER
D 217 Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur –302016, India
Ph: +91 141 228 2821
Fx: +91 141 228 2733
Cell: +91 98292 85932
Email: c-cier@cuts.org, rsg@cuts.org

Training Workshop on M&As Investigative Skills for Vietnam Competition Officials
Hai Phong, Vietnam, August 13-14, 2005

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (C-CIER) is organising a ‘Training Workshop on Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As) Investigative Skills for Vietnam Competition Officials’ at Hai Phong, Vietnam, on August 13-14, 2005, within the framework of its project entitled, “Advocacy and Capacity Building on Competition Policy and Law in Asia’ (7Up2 Project).

The 7Up2 project is a multi-stakeholder initiative, supported by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland (SECO), the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO), and the Department for International Development (DFID), UK, aimed at accelerating the process towards a functional competition policy and law for selected countries in Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Bangladesh, Nepal and India) and advancing an enabling environment for the law and policy to be better enforced.

Designed as a blend of theoretical analysis and hypothetical case study, the training workshop will draw on the first-hand and varied experiences of several competition authority officials and practitioners with regard to merger review, to build up an applicable and effective approach for the young competition regime in Vietnam in the area.

For further information, please contact:
Ms. Alice Pham at 7up2@cuts.org
Tel: +91 9829 285 926
Fax: +91 141 2282 733
Internet http://www.cuts-international.org/7up2.htm

World Youth Day
Bhilwara, August 12, 2005

On the occasion of World Youth Day, varied programmes will be organised by CUTS Centre for Human Development (CUTS-CHD) in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, India, on August 12, 2005.

The aim of the programme is to sensitise the youth towards their rights and responsibilities towards the society and to help them define their role vis-à-vis that of government on various relevant issues.

For further details please contact:
George Cheriyan / Dhanna Singh Rawat

Launch Meeting of Project on Child Domestic Workers- ‘Hum Bhi Bachche Hain’
Patel Bhavan, HCM-RIPA, July 27, 2005

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CART), Jaipur in partnership with Save the Children (UK) has conceptualised a unique project titled ‘Hum Bhi Bachche Hain’ on Child Domestic Workers. The project will be implemented through 35 selected Schools in Jaipur City in close collaboration with the Departments of Education, Social Welfare, Labour, Women & Child Development, Government of Rajasthan.

The project will be formally launched in Jaipur on 27 July 2005 in a meeting at Patel Bhawan, HCM-RIPA, Jaipur. Principal Secretary DWCD (Department of Women & Child Development), GoR Ms. Alka Kala will formally launch the project. Secretary Education, GoR, Mr. B.L. Jaiman will deliver the keynote address. Govt. officials, teachers & students from selected schools; representatives of donor agencies/CSOs working on child issues, representatives of social organizations etc. will participate in the event. The first phase of the project is for one-year from July 2005 upto June 2006.

Child Domestic Workers, as the term implies, are children working within the homes. That means children working for wage in cash or kind, outside their families in domestic chores and not for commercial purposes. They are within the households of employers and thus are invisible to public scrutiny. India employs the largest number of working children in the world. Every third household in India has a working child. A survey states that 17 percent of domestic workers in India are under 15 years of age and forty percentage of them are girls. Though the problem is so serious, in many cities in India there is no official data/record about the gravity and vastness of the issue.

The main purpose of the CUTS-CART project is to understand the issue and generate awareness about ‘Child Domestic Workers’ through schools in Jaipur through a child-to-child approach. It also aim at advocacy at Rajasthan State level, involving different stakeholders to make it compulsory for all schools in the state to check and the Government to prevent child domestic work. The project also aims at the capacity building of the schools and sustainable advocacy involving different Govt. Departments.

For further information, please contact:
George Cheriyan/Dharmendra Chaurvedi
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302016, India
Ph: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282482
Fax: 91.141.5104258
Email: cart@cuts.org

Retreat on Regulatory Autonomy and Accountability
New Delhi, India, July 23, 2005

Regulators need to be given sufficient autonomy to ensure that they take judicious decisions in a competent manner and made accountable and answerable for their actions and performance. With the view to facilitate better understanding among key stakeholders, CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS-CCIER) envisaged to organise rounds of discussions to deliberate upon the key aspects of regulatory accountability and independence and help emergence of a consensus, in this regard.

Against this background, a retreat on ‘Regulatory Autonomy and Accountability’ (second in the series of three) will be organised at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on July 23, 2005.

The first, in the series, of such discussions was organised successfully at New Delhi, India, on May 7, 2005.

Pre-Hong Kong LDC Civil Society Consultative Forum
 Livingstone, Zambia, June 23–25, 2005

Introduction

Zambia is chairing the least developed group of countries and in preparation for the sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which will be held in Hong Kong in December this year, trade ministers of 50 Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) will be meeting in Livingstone, Zambia during June 25-27, 2005. The LDC Ministerial Conference is expected to evolve joint positions and adopt a Declaration on crucial issues to poor countries in the 'global trading system such as trade rules in agriculture, market access, special and differential treatment (S&DT), trade facilitation, etc. 

While the trade ministers and officials will exchange views and take stock of all the key issues in the on-going Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations and will formulate joint LDC strategy and positions with regard to the sixth Ministerial meeting, it is important that civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-state actors (NSAs) contribute towards the ministerial through a consultative process of evaluations, research inputs, lobbying, advocacy and information sharing. Further, the LDC ministerial will also be attended by trade ministers of several rich countries, which provides a unique opportunity for the civil society and the private sector to highlight LDC concerns vis-à-vis global trade rules.

Consumer Unity and Trust Society-Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC), in collaboration with partner organisations have scheduled to host a three-day workshop in Livingstone, Zambia entitled: ‘Pre-Hong Kong LDC Civil Society Consultative Forum’ from June 23-25, 2005. This activity to be attended by over 50 national and international organisations forms a part of the ongoing constructive dialogue, capacity and consensus building for promoting, supporting and advancing the interests of the LDCs at the WTO and other global trade forums. More precisely, the activities planned under the CSO forum will focus on contributing to sustainable economic development in poor countries by improving the international trade policy environment and rules on trade and thus, manifesting the role that trade can and should play in enhancing development and reducing poverty in LDCs.

Given the importance of the LDC ministerial meeting in adopting the LDC declaration on the WTO, and the proactive role that CSOs could play in advocating for a more equitable and transparent international trading system, it is timely that a well conceived civil society forum be convened to brainstorm and coherently put forward their views.

Rationale
The desire by the CSOs and the private sector stems from resultant disproportionate and unbalanced benefits to the poor countries that arose from the new agreements and understandings on world trade that have been signed on ever since the mid 1990s. The dynamic goal of deepening market access at the WTO is not only being approached through the trade policy instruments, but also through ‘trade-related’ understandings. In the context of several adverse impacts of rapid economic and trade policy reforms introduced in the LDCs during the over the past decade, there has been a cautious approach to any future fast track liberalisation. Further, CSOs are advocating for a proper assessment of the existing situation and a cost benefit analysis before launching any further liberalisation programmes especially in the poor countries. 

The DDA negotiations which began in 2001, envisaged that a number of landmarks be achieved during the time bound negotiations and interim assessments at ministerial conferences. Whilst agreements were reached in Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and public health issues, it is worrying that a number of deadlines were not met including key issues such tariff reduction formula for agriculture and non-agriculture market access negotiations, market access and preferences for LDCs, S&DT, etc. 

Given the huge implications of the DDA negotiations and the mandate of CSOs and NSAs in influencing international economic policy making and advocating the cause of poor countries through research and capacity building initiatives, it is necessary that civil society and private sector representatives find an appropriate forum to put forward their views during the run-up to the LDC meeting and the WTO negotiations. The various pro-active and constructive inputs from the civil society and private sector could speed up the process of consensus building and reaching fair trade deals at the WTO negotiations.

At the previous LDC and WTO ministerial meetings, civil society organizations hosted several formal and informal meetings, which helped in persuading policy makers and negotiators to take positions for the benefit of the poor countries and people at large. It is appropriate that similar and more concerted efforts should be made during the run up to the LDC meeting and the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2005, where policy makers could interact with civil society and non state actors and vice versa on key trade and development issues.  

Background and context
The Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations which began in 2001 under the auspices of the WTO have been quite ambitious and vocal in addressing some of the structural and man-made inequities in the world trade order, that has been characterised by minimal or declining trade share of LDCs over the years. Special initiatives to assist the LDCs have been discussed at previous ministerial meetings and also at the ongoing DDA negotiations especially those addressing supply-side constraints and inequities in the agreements and commitments. In this context, any future agreement under the DDA negotiations and the WTO should contribute to sustainable economic and human development in poor countries by improving the international policy environment as well as trade rules. Therefore, LDCs should advocate for coherence between different agreements and understandings such as WTO, UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and also articulate a practical agenda vis-à-vis trade and development dialogue, if they have to address poverty reduction in a sustained manner.

Further, the WTO is now over a decade old and it is time for an objective evaluation of its successes in peoples’ welfare and poverty reduction through trade rather than just boosting cross-border trade statistics. It is time for the LDC ministers to take notice of the past commitments and craft policies that discipline all sources of market distortion, which adversely affect poor people. It is time for a proactive and people Centreed and equitable trade agreements, and it is up to the alliance between trade policy makers and NSAs to channel coherent sentiments towards these objectives.

With this as a backdrop, this forum will involve the cooperation and the participation of 50 civil society representatives from LDCs and developing countries to participate in the CSO forum and various workshops and lobby meetings. The idea is to evolve a synergistic and pro-active position on a diverse set of development policy issues through South-South and South-North civil society cooperation.  

The CSO Forum
In seeking to complement and add value to the governmental process on the eve of the LDC Ministerial meeting in Livingstone, CUTS-ARC in co-operation with partner organisations will host a forum of national, regional and international NSAs in presenting their views through constructive dialogue in a three day workshop which is scheduled from June 23-25, 2005. The agenda and various sessions will be well conceived to discuss all core issues that are relevant to trade, development and poverty linkages as well as key themes on LDC ministerial agenda viz:

  • Evaluation of the ongoing DDA negotiations;
  • Trade in agricultural products;
  • Non agricultural trade issues;
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) negotiations; 
  • Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT);
  • Market Access for LDCs;
  • Trade Facilitation;
  • Specific issues such as cotton, TRIPs, etc.

The focused and issue based sessions will be addressed by trade policy researchers, advocacy groups, trade unions, representatives of inter-governmental organisations, government, private sector and civil society. The forum will also work closely with media networks and advocacy groups. The forum will also provide an opportunity for civil society capacity building on trade policy analysis, constructive dialogue with policy makers and provide collective action through experience sharing. The forum would also provide opportunity to LDC officials to brief their positions and interact with non-state and development partners.

Objectives of the CSO Forum
The Livingstone CSO LDC forum has the following objectives:

  • To provide a proactive forum to brainstorm, lobby and advocate for fair trade rules in the global system;

  • To create an opportunity to advocate stakeholders’ concerns pertaining to WTO negotiations and provide a platform for interaction and constructive dialogue on issues of concern to civil society organisations, private sector and policy makers;

  • To prepare a focused and well thought- out Declaration on civil society’s views, as regards LDC perspectives, on the Hong Kong ministerial and DDA negotiations; 

  • To flag on priority issues to be considered by ministers of LDC and rich countries in achieving UN MDGs using trade as a tool for poverty reduction; and

  • To provide constructive inputs which would result in a balanced, development friendly and timely completion of DDA negotiations.

Value Added and Output

The occasion provides an opportunity of proximity for filtering ideas to LDC and rich country trade ministers through constructive dialogue, civil society and media outreach. The forum will also provide an ideal opportunity to brainstorm and lobby with LDC ministers and key trade officials to sharpen their sense of negotiating a fair, development friendly and balanced trade agreement during the DDA deliberations and the sixth WTO ministerial conference. By dealing with practical issues of trade and poverty from a civil society perspective and condensing these with the mood of the occasion, LDC ministers will be more confident to articulate critical development issues knowing they have the research inputs and back up support of the CSOs.

Further, the LDC CSO forum will release a formal declaration, which will be distributed to all LDC ministers as well as Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ministers present. A copy of the same will also be sent to all LDC national trade centres around the world.

Thus, the civil society – private sector – media advocacy platform, which is a key element of the forum, will also promote constructive dialogue and information sharing on key issues that emerge at the CSO and LDC ministers’ deliberations. 

VI Participation

The focus group for this workshop are civil society representatives, private sector and business associations, trade diplomats, media persons and officials of inter-governmental and regional organisations, trade policy experts, etc. The audience for this forum includes poor and rich country trade ministers who will be targeted through an LDC Civil Society Declaration and advocacy inputs.

VII Contact Details

LDC CSO Forum Co-coordinator
Consumer Unity and Trust Society-Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC)
Suite 4.11, Main Post Office Building, Cairo Road, Lusaka, Zambia
Ph: +260-1-224992, Fx: +260-1-225220
E-mail:
cutsarc@zamnet.zm
lusaka@cuts.org, cuts-lusaka@cuts-international.org
Website: www.cuts-international.org

Standardisation of Products and Consumers’ Awareness Programme
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, June 11, 2005

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART), in association with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is organising a programme on “Standardisation of Products and Consumers’ Awareness”, at Phagi Tehsil, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India on June 11, 2005.

Under the programme, BIS will inform the consumers about the standardisation process on various products. The local consumers will also be made aware on how to protect their rights under the Consumers’ Protection Act.

----------------------------------------------------
For further information, please contact:

Deepak Saxena
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART)
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302016, India
Ph: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282482
Fax: 91.141.5104258
Email: cart@cuts.org

Information-Based Advocacy, Networking and Capacity Building Project on NEPAD in Zambia
Lusaka, Zambia June 8-9, 2005

The consultative National workshop is being jointly organised by Consumer Unity and Trust Society-Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC) and Participatory Ecological Land-Use Management (PELUM) Association, at Taj Pamodzi Hotel, Lusaka, Zambia, on June 8-9, 2005.

The workshop is being held to facilitate the launch of the partnership project entitled: ‘Information based Advocacy, Networking, and Capacity Building on NEPAD in Zambia’, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).  The project is being implemented to increase awareness and involvement of stakeholders on New Economic Partnership on Africa’s Development activities in Zambia, and build capacity to implement it through public-private partnership. For the purpose of continuity and complementarity of objectives, the project recognises and takes forward the Action Points and Activities identified at the national sensitisation workshop held in Livingstone on the September 10-11, 2004, which marks the beginning of NEPAD implementation in Zambia.

The objectives of the project and consultative workshop are to:

  • bring NEPAD initiative into harmony with relevant partnership agreement and development initiatives in Zambia such as private sector development and;
  • to strengthen understanding among stakeholders of the dynamics between NEPAD the various trade agreements; 
  • the transitional development plan and the Poverty Reduction Strategies; and
  • to assess the level of public and private sector commitment towards the implementation of the developmental projects under NEPAD, and identify areas for the direct involvement of stakeholders e.g. farmers, manufacturers, financial institutions and business community, etc. The project envisages to draft of a National Advocacy Document that will assist in providing a framework for action plan on NEPAD implementation in Zambia.

Some of the themes for discussion at the workshop will be: -

  • Overview of NEPAD programmes in Zambia
  • Developing a coherent framework for economic development through NEPAD
  • Mobilising support for implementation of NEPAD programmes in Zambia
  • Establishing public-private partnership in implementing NEPAD.
  • Strategies for mainstreaming NEPAD programmes into national development plans in Zambia.

Participants will comprise of representatives from key government and public sector institutions, inter-governmental and developmental agencies, private sector, donor community, civil society, and research/academic institutions and media organizations.

----------------------------------------------------
For further information, please contact:
Vladimir Chilinya,  
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), Africa Resource Centre (ARC)
Suite 4.11, 4th Floor, Main Post Office Building, P.O Box 37113, Cairo Road, Lusaka
Ph: 260.1.224992; Fax: 260.1.225220;
Email 1: cutsarc@zamnet.zm
lusaka@cuts.org 
Email 2: cuts-lusaka@cuts-international.org

Regional Human Development Report on Trade and Human Poverty:
Second Stakeholder Consultation

New Delhi, India, June 1-3, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE), in association with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is preparing a report on “International Trade and Human Poverty in Asia”, which will be launched during the fourth quarter of this year. With the objective of further soliciting stockholder’s views and perceptions, the Second Stakeholder Consultation is going to be held at New Delhi, India, on June 1-3, 2005. The representatives will be invited from 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The consultation will serve to provide relevant inputs for the forthcoming Regional Human Development Report (R-HDR). The report is essentially an advocacy document, which will examine the ways in which international trade affects poverty.

----------------------------------------------------
For further information, please contact:
Pramod Dev M
Researcher, CUTS-CITEE
Ph: 9828202811
Email: pramoddev@hotmail.com

Punyarupa Bhadury
Research Assistant, CUTS-CITEE
Ph: 9829373614
Email: thp@cuts.org

 

Propagating Competition Awareness in Africa
May 25, 2005 - June 1, 2005

National Consultations in 7Up3 project Countries on Competition

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS C-CIER) is currently engaged with the implementation process of the project entitled, ‘Capacity Building on Competition Policy in Select Countries of Eastern and Southern Africa’, popularly referred to as 7Up3 project. This initiative is being executed through a ‘partnership approach’ with selected partner organisations representing leading civil society organisations (CSOs) in the project countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Uganda.

The project aims to develop the capacity of national stakeholders including policy makers, regulators, CSOs, academicians and the media through a participatory process to understand prevailing competition concerns from the national, regional and international perspective, and enable them to respond appropriately.

As a first step towards realising its objectives, national consultation meetings with representatives from diverse stakeholder groups would be organised in the project countries, starting May end. This group, referred to as the National Reference Group (NRG) would act as the ‘missionaries’ of the 7Up3 project, and help in sensitising other key people of the objectives and the anticipated outcomes of the project.

The project partners, comprising of representatives from CSOs, universities, government and regulatory authority officials and the media, have identified NRGs in the project countries. Meetings in five of the seven project countries have been finalised on the following dates:

Country

Date of NRG meetings

Botswana

May 27, 2005

Ethiopia

May 27, 2005

Malawi

May 31, 2005

Mauritius

May 25, 2005

Mozambique

To be finalised….

Namibia

To be finalised….

Uganda

June 1, 2005

Representatives from the CUTS resource Centres in Africa would be participating in the meeting to share the objectives of the project, and its implementation process, and also to elucidate the role of the NRG in the project.

For more information, contact:
Rijit Sengupta
CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2821
Fax: 91.141.228 2733
Email: c-cier@cuts.org; 7up3@cuts.org

State-level Orientation of CUTS-FES Power Sector Reforms – Phase II
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, May 27-28, 2005

As part of kick-starting the activities of the Phase II of CUTS- Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Project on 'Involvement of Consumers in Power Sector Reforms a State level Orientation Workshop at HCM-RIPA (Harish Chandra Mathur-Rajasthan Institute of Public Administration) was organised in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on May 27-28, 2005. The participants will be the networkers and grassroots groups from 12 circles in Rajasthan selected for the implementation of the project, a few agents from other districts and representatives of other stakeholder groups such as Energy Department, Discoms, Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) etc.

In the first phase of the project, CUTS worked in six districts of Rajasthan on a pilot scale with the support of FES. The major objective of the programme, among others, is to facilitate active involvement of consumers in power sector reforms. In the beginning, it was decided to test the effectiveness of the approach on ground, and based upon the feedback and learning to scale it up further. The second phase is as a result of the successful implementation and evaluation of the first phase. The World Bank, in 2004, under its Voice and Client Power programme, had identified this project as one of the successful interventions and documented it for wider dissemination.

For more information, contact:
George Cheriyan
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART)
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302016, India
Ph: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282482
Fax: 91.141.5104258
Email: cart@cuts.org

Retreat on Regulatory Accountability and Independence
New Delhi, India, May 7, 2005

A Retreat is being organised by CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS-CCIER) to discuss the issue of regulatory accountability and independence in India, at New Delhi, India, on May 7, 2005.

The experiences with independent regulation has so far been of a mixed nature in India and the most critical issues these agencies are encountering relate to their accountability and independence.

The Retreat will deliberate upon these issues, in particular, on how to strike the right balance between independence and accountability, to enhance the effectiveness of the regulatory regimes.

Member of Parliaments, senior lawyers, former as well as serving regulators, retired judges and other experts are expected to participate in the Retreat. The retreat is being organised at the behest of Yashwant Sinha, former Finance Minister and member of Rajya Sabha.

For more information, contact:

Vinayak R Pandey
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS),
CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2733
Fax: 91.141.228 2485
Email: c-cier@cuts.org; cuts@cuts.org

Regional Seminar on
Economic Cooperation in South Asia
Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 7-9, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES, India) is organising the regional seminar entitled “Economic Cooperation in South Asia” at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 7-9, 2005. The seminar endeavours to:

  • facilitate cross-fertilisation of experiences and lessons learnt on economic (trade and investment) cooperation among the South Asian countries in order to develop appropriate policy responses; and

  • discuss South Asia’s position on global economic issues, its relations with other regional groups and response to global developments and also to look for new initiatives to enhance economic cooperation among the South Asian countries.

Representatives from academia, business chambers, government and inter-governmental organisations and civil society have been invited. The meeting will be interactive in nature, so as to take on diverse views on economic cooperation between South Asian countries.

For more information, contact:

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2821
Fax: 91.141.228 2485
Email: citee@cuts.org

Seminar on Developing Markets through Competition for Growth and Equity
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, April 30, 2005

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS-CCIER), and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry are jointly organising a seminar on ‘Developing Markets through Competition for Growth and Equity’ in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India on April 30, 2005.

The seminar is being organised to maximise outreach about Competition Policy, generating awareness on competition and economic regulation issues pertaining to India and to disseminate the findings of the report recently brought out by CUTS: ‘Towards a Functional Competition Policy for India’. The seminar is structured as an interactive session with local participants and seeks to create awareness among the stakeholders on competition and regulation issues.

For more information, contact:

Vikash Batham
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS),
CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2733
Fax: 91.141.228 2485
Email: c-cier@cuts.org; cuts@cuts.org

Workshop on State Competition and Regulatory Agency
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, April 30, 2005

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS-CCIER), and the Department of Food and Civil Supplies, Government of Rajasthan, are jointly organising a workshop to discuss the proposal for setting up a State Competition and Regulatory Agency (SCoRA) to regulate various service sectors in Rajasthan.

Need for having such an agency is felt to address the local-level competition abuses. By promoting effective regulation and fair-trading, the agency will ensure competitive outcomes in various service sectors. 

As a result of the initiative taken by CUTS, the Government of Rajasthan has constituted a Committee to prepare a draft of the State Competition and Regulatory Act. This one-day workshop is expected to provide necessary inputs to the Committee for preparing the draft bill.

Representatives of all stakeholders including service providers, consumer groups, and government departments will be invited to the workshop.

For more information, contact:

Vinayak R Pandey
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS),
CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2733
Fax: 91.141.228 2485
Email: c-cier@cuts.org ; cuts@cuts.org

Seminar on “Advocacy & Networking for Child Rights”
Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, April 21, 2005

CUTS Centre for Human Development (CUTS-CHD) jointly with Save the Children (UK), Jaipur, will organise a seminar on “Advocacy & Networking for Child Rights” under ‘Hamara Manch’ in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, on April 21, 2005. CUTS is having a long history of involvement in advocacy and networking on child issues, mainly at three levels: grassroots, state/national and at the international level. The main objective of the seminar is to establish a network with different stakeholders working on child rights in six districts coming under Udaipur division, through interaction and information sharing (Children’s groups, NGOs, Donor Agencies, Government Departments etc); to develop strategies to establish linkages between Children’s Groups and Government programmes; and to advocate for implementation of ‘State Child Policy’ in Rajasthan.

Launch Meeting of GRANITE Project at State-level
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, April 14, 2005

1. Background:

1.1 CUTS has launched a two-year project titled ‘Grassroots Reachout & Networking in India on Trade & Economics’ (GRANITE). Support for the project has been extended by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Norway and Novib (Oxfam, The Netherlands).

1.2 The project commenced on January 1, 2005 and it will continue for two years. It is being implemented in eight states, viz Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, in partnership with various governmental and non-governmental agencies. CUTS-CITEE is performing the role of the ‘National Coordination Unit’ (NCU).

1.3 The overall objective of the project is to create a long-term capacity of grassroots civil society organisations (CSOs) and local media to address complex issues of globalisation and the WTO (World Trade Organisation) and their relationship with economic development and governance in India. The project is giving special focus on two sectors, i.e. agriculture and textiles & clothing.

2. Highlights of recent progress:

2.1 The NCU has sent its comments by taking into account the required pro-poor changes in the ‘National Foreign Trade Policy’ (NFTP) to the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. The NFTP is being revised by the concerned Ministry and is scheduled to be released on April 15, 2005.

2.2 Arjun Sengupta, Chairman, National Commission for Promotion of Enterprises in the Unorganised & Unformal Sector, has given his consent for chairing the ‘Project Advisory Committee’ (PAC) under GRANITE. 

2.3 CUTS-CART being an active partner in the GRANITE project, has scheduled the formal launch of the project to carry out a set of activities at the state level on April 14, 2005 at Pink City Press Club, Narain Singh Circle, Jaipur. The state launch meeting will begin at 9:00 am and conclude at 4:30 pm.

2.3.1 There would be two panel discussions:
  • Agriculture sector in Rajasthan in the context of globalisation
  • Opportunities and challenges in textiles and clothing

2.3.2 Each panel would consist of three penallists from the Government, civil society organisations – specially from the grassroots – and media, respectively. Several other economic activists from various sections of the society will be participating in the launch meeting. The role of women is very important in making the project a success, in terms of achieving the overall objective of the project. The female participation in the meeting will be equal in terms of numbers.

2.3.3 Under the project, a major number of selected organisations in the partnering states have planned to organise a similar event in their respective states in the month of April 2005.

2.4 A State Reference Group (SRG) has been formed (please refer to the attachment ‘List of SRG Members’) in Rajasthan, including members from government departments, civil society organisations and media, with the purpose to act as a sounding board and check quality of outputs of the project. The group has been carefully constituted, ensuring gender balance. Under the project, similar groups are also being formed in other partnering states of the country.

2.5 Field research for the project, concentrating mainly on ground realities of agriculture and textile and clothing sectors, has been completed in West Bengal and is progressing well in Rajasthan, where, in Bhilwara and Chittorgarh districts, it is being coordinated by Centre for Human Development, Chittorgarh, which is a field centre of CUTS, actively engaged in various programmatic areas at the grassroots level.

2.7 Initiating advocacy activities, such as visits to government officials, preparation of points based on ‘National Common Minimum Programme’ (NCMP) and coordinating with all the state partners for undertaking advocacy activities, such as writing to a state Chief Minister for the role of state in national policymaking process.

For more information, contact:

R K Sharma
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research and Training (CART)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg
Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: +91.141.5133259
Fax: 91.141.2282485
E-mail: cart@cuts.org

World Consumer Rights Day
Kolkata, West Bengal, India, March 30, 2005

The right approach to fight against the social crimes like adulteration, counterfeiting and spurious products is to inform and empower consumer at large – the recommendation came out of the panel discussion organised by CUTS Calcutta Resource Centre (CUTS-CRC) to celebrate the World Consumer Rights Day with the theme, “Crusade against adulteration, counterfeiting and spurious products” at Kolkata, West Bengal, India, on March 30, 2005. Distinguished journalist Jayanta Basu moderated the discussion. Mala Banerjee, President, Federation of Consumer Association, West Bengal, K K Sengupta, eminent consumer activist, and R K Adhikari, Deputy Commissioner, Enforcement Branch, Kolkata Police, were the main speakers.

Project Launch Meeting of 7Up3 Project
Entebbe, Uganda, March 22-23, 2005

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS C-CIER) has recently undertaken a project entitled ‘Capacity Building on Competition Policy in Select Countries of Eastern and Southern Africa’, popularly referred to as ‘7Up3’ project with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Norway, and the Department for International Development (DFID), UK. The project is being executed in seven countries of the region: Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Uganda.

CUTS C-CIER is happy to announce that the Launch Meeting of the 7Up3 Project would be held at Entebbe, Uganda on March 22-23, 2005.

One of the main objectives of the 7Up3 project is to develop the capacity of stakeholders including the policy makers, regulators, civil society organisations, (especially consumer associations and groups), academicians and the media through a participatory research-based advocacy process to understand and appreciate prevailing competition concerns from the national, regional and international perspectives and enable them to respond appropriately.

Participants from the project countries would share the experiences of their respective countries in addressing competition related issues with experts, including competition authority representatives from other countries in the region; international specialists on the topic; regional authority officials; representatives of inter governmental organisations and development assistance providers. The discourse is expected to focus on the relationship between competition policy and economic development; interface between competition and sectoral regulation and the dimensions of competition from the regional perspective.

For more information, contact:

Rijit Sengupta
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS),
CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2733
Fax: 91.141.228 2485
Email: c-cier@cuts.org ; cuts@cuts.org

Project Launch Meeting
Linkages between Trade, Development & Poverty Reduction
Jaipur, India, March 18-19, 2005

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) is organising the Launch meeting of the Project on “Linkages between Trade, Development & Poverty Reduction” at Jaipur, India, on 18-19 March 2005. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands and the Department for International Development (DfID), UK are supporting this project. Starting from January 1, 2005, over a period of four years it will be implemented in 17 countries.

The project aims to focus on the following aspects:

  • Partnership approach;
  • Bridging the gaps and differences between the southern and northern civil society and other stakeholders vis-à-vis the role that international trade should play in poverty reduction;
  • Manifest the linkages between the international trading system and the national development strategies;
  • Implementation through participatory and multi-stakeholder approach; and
  • Information-based advocacy, i.e. inputs for advocacy will be drawn from perceptions survey.

For more information, contact:

S K Soni /Purnima Purohit
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS),
CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2821(3 Lines)
Fax: 91.141.228 2485
Email: citee@cuts.org; cuts@cuts.org

Investor Education and Protection Programme
January 17 to March 23, 2005
Rajasthan, India

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART), in association with the Ministry of Company Affairs (MoCA) is organising the Investor Education and Protection Programme in six districts of Rajasthan: Jaipur Bhilwara, Kota, Nagpur, Udaipur and Sikar, from January 17 to March 23, 2005.

The project primarily envisages building of a network of investor protection organisations at the grassroots, by identifying potential individuals and organisations working at the grassroots and building their capacities through training workshops. These workshops will create a platform for the small investors and investor protection organisations to interact with members of the stock exchange, representatives from the regulatory authorities and other subject experts who will be invited to the workshops as resource persons.

In the first phase, CUTS will identify nodal grass-root consumer organisations in select cities, namely, Jaipur, Bhilwara, Udaipur, Sikar, Nagour and Kota. One representative from each of these organisations will be imparted training by CUTS. It is expected that these organisations would disseminate their learnings at the block level. These nodal organisations will, in turn, create a network of committed consumer activists in their districts, who can effectively take up the issues of small investors at the grassroot level.

In the second phase, training workshops of one and a half-day each will be conducted in each of the six identified cities (total of six workshops) with a close involvement of the nodal organisations identified and trained in phase one. The nodal organisations will identify approximately 25 committed consumer organisations/individuals from various small cities and towns in their districts who would be invited to attend the one and half-day training workshops. These participants would represent various blocks of the district where the workshop will be conducted and it is estimated that all the 25 representatives from each block will attend. Average of 8 blocks per district has been taken to arrive at the figure of 25 participants.

Apart from CUTS own subject experts, other resource persons like representatives of local chambers of commerce, stock exchange, business, Chartered Accountants, district administration and lawyers will form the core of the resource team and the workshops will be a combination of lectures and group work. Booklets, handouts and other relevant literature pertaining to investments will be distributed to the participants. In order to build up organisational capacities of the nodal organisations, they will be encouraged to take charge of all arrangements and participation under the guidance of CUTS.

The third phase will include organising of a series of ‘Open Houses’ (half day), which will be for the general public of the city/district, where the workshop is being organised. These series of open houses (six in all) will be conducted immediately after the workshops of one and a half day (under phase two) at the same venue. These ‘open houses’ would provide a platform for interaction between the small investors and investor groups on the one hand and representatives from the regulatory bodies and the stock exchange on the other.

The launch meeting of the project was organised on January 17, 2005. Under the project in these six districts mentioned below, two-day awareness workshops and an open house will be organised, in which there will be at least 150 participants – this information will be there in local newspapers. Media persons will be involved during/after the workshop.

Institutional representatives of three districts were present: Rajendra Sen, Sararthi, Surajgarh Mandi, via Chidawa, Jhunjhunu district; Raghuveer Prakash Sharma, Prayas Sewa Sansthan, Shahpura, Bhilwara district; and Suresh Kumar Saini, Aman Development Agency, Phagi, Jaipur district.  

Project Implementation Districts

1 Jaipur
2 Bhilwara
3 Seekar
4 Kota
5 Nagaur
6 Udaipur

At least one representative per block from the district and local investors will be present in these workshops. The experts for the workshop are two chartered accountants, two advocates, one police officer and two sharebrokers.

Others: Small savings officers, bank officers and post officer. There will be eight sessions in the two-day workshop.

Expert’s fee – Rs. 500 each

For more information, contact:

Deepak Saxena
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research and Training (CART)
D-222, Bhaskar Marg
Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: +91.141.5133259
Fax: 91.141.2282485
E-mail: cart@cuts.org

Project Launch Meeting:
WTO Doha Round & South Asia: Linking Civil Society with Trade Negotiations

March 09-10, 2005
Colombo, Sri Lanka

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) in association with South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics & Environment (SAWTEE) is organising the launch meeting of the Project: WTO Doha Round & South Asia: Linking Civil Society with Trade Negotiations. The meeting will be held at Kathmandu, Nepal on February 08-09, 2005. The project is being implemented by CUTS-CITEE, Jaipur. It is supported by NOVIB (OXFAM, Netherlands).

The project has been taken up with the background that the outcome of the Doha Round will have significant implications on international trade and national development. This is more so for developing countries, as international trade is increasingly linked with livelihoods and associated national development (poverty reduction) strategies. Therefore, it is important for South Asian countries to have arrived at better negotiating positions during the Doha Round of negotiations.

Given this context, the project will focus on the following five key elements of July Framework Agreement on which the Doha Round of negotiations will progress:

  • Agriculture
  • Non-agricultural market access
  • Development dimensions
  • Services
  • Trade facilitation

For more information, contact:

Ms. Purnima Purohit
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS),
CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2821(3 Lines)/228 2482
Fax: 91.141.228 2485/ 228 2182
Email: citee@cuts.org ; cuts@cuts.org

Outreach Seminars

Developing Markets through Competition for Growth and Equity

I.Objective

  • Disseminate key findings of the research report on Functional Competition Policy for India
  • Maximise outreach on Competition Policy, through media people working on economic policy issues
  • Target various stakeholders such as policy makers, trade unions, civil society organisations, academia and involve them in the process to have better understanding of the competition scenario
  • Generate mass awareness on competition and economic regulation issues
  • Networking and advocacy with various experts and organisations

II. Background

Competition policy is an integral part of economic policy. The main objective of competition policy is to preserve and promote competition as a means to ensure efficient allocation of resources in an economy, resulting in the best possible choice of quality, the lowest prices and adequate supplies to consumers. Although a competition law may be quite narrow in its scope, Competition Policy is much more broad and comprehensive in its scope, and tries to bring harmony in all government policies that may encourage or adversely affect competition and consumer welfare.

India is at the cross roads of implementing a new competition law. However, the country is yet to have a stated competition policy. The reason perhaps is lack of awareness about competition policy and its adverse and positive impact on various sections of the economy. Concerns have been expressed that, this lack of awareness, and the nature and extent of prevalence of different types of anticompetitive practices will pose a major challenge.

Against this background, CUTS had undertaken the project to develop a Functional Competition Policy for India, to get a better understanding of the competition scenario in the country. The project report comprises of 22 chapters covering systemic as well as sectoral issues and endeavours to assist the Government to come up with a Competition Policy that is ‘implementable’.

The report endeavours to find out what ails the economy in the context of competition and what can be done to improve the situation. Contrary to popular perceptions, the study does not treat competition policy as just adoption and implementation of a competition law, but looks at it as a broader policy framework where competition is encouraged as a market process. An important aspect of the study is that, it has looked at regulation not as an instrument of price control but as a process to bring forth competitive outcomes in a non-competitive situation.

III. Tentative Structure

The seminar is tentatively structured as two sessions. Morning session will be exclusively for media representatives, and afternoon session is for local participants.

Media Session (1100-1300 Hrs)

The session seeks to build the capacity of media representatives. The idea is to sensitise the media about competition policy and economic regulation issues and attain wider coverage. This would also help media to report on these issues in an informed way. One can imagine the impact, it would have on readers, as they will be getting more informed news and articles.

Interaction with Local Participants (1500-1800 Hrs)

The session would comprise of interface with local participants and relevant stakeholders focusing on making them understand competition issues and obtain their feedback. The objective will be to raise awareness and interest among participants.

IV. Key Issues to be discussed/presented

  • Definition and distinction between various terms (e.g. Competition vs Competitiveness, anti-competitive practices, etc.)
  • About Competition Policy and Competition Law
  • Local-level competition and economic regulation issues, such as tied sales in schools, cartelisation at local level, etc. (these will be highlighted during the presentation of key findings from the project report, sharing of experiences by local experts, and local participants)
  • Competition Issues at sectoral level (Professional Service, Telecommunications, Electricity, Banking, Transportation, Agriculture Markets, etc.)
  • State Government Policies and Competition
  • Competition Law in India, Role of Competition Commission of India, Sectoral Regulators, and other stakeholders

V. Schedule of Outreach Seminars

City

Date

Local Partner

Ahmedabad

Monday, February 07, 2005

Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Ahmedabad

Mumbai

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC), Mumbai

Kolkata

Monday, February 14, 2005

National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Kolkata

Hyderabad

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Institute of Public Enterprises, Hyderabad

Chennai

Friday, March 04, 2005

Citizen, consumer and civic Action Group (CAG), Chennai

Bangalore

Saturday - Sunday,
March 12-13, 2005

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore

Delhi
Monday, March 14, 2005
India Habitat Centre, Delhi

Lucknow

Friday, March 18, 2005

Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow (JIML)

Jaipur

April 2005

PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Jaipur

For further Information, please contact:
Manish Agarwal (Mr) / Vikash Batham (Mr)
Email: c-cier@cuts.org
Website: http://www.cuts-international.org

The Launch Meeting of the Project
“South-South Trade & Investment Cooperation: Exploring IBSA Initiative
"
February 15-16, 2005
Johannesburg, South Africa

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) is organising the Launch Meeting of the Project “South-South Trade & Investment Co-operation: Exploring IBSA Initiative” in Johannesburg, South Africa on 15-16 February 2005.

The event is designed to involve business representatives, governments, civil society representatives and academics, primarily from India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA), in a one-day meeting, to deliberate on the current and future direction of trade and investment promotion amongst IBSA countries and provide inputs for the successful implementation of the project.

For more information, contact:

Parashar Kulkarni
CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CITEE)
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India.
Ph: 91.141.228 2821(3 Lines)
Fax: 91.141.228 2485
Email: citee@cuts.org

Seminar on “Advocacy & Networking for Child Rights”
February 03, 2005
Hotel Maharani Plaza, Jaipur

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CART) jointly with Save the Children-UK Jaipur, will organise a seminar on “Advocacy & Networking for Child Rights” in Jaipur on Thursday 3rd February 2005, to kick start the activities of ‘Hamara Manch’ (Our Forum) in the State of Rajasthan. Ms. Alka Kala, Principal Secretary of Dept. of Women & Child Development (DWCD), Govt. of Rajasthan will inaugurate the seminar on 3rd morning at 10.00 a.m.   

Selected representatives from different stakeholder groups-Govt. Depts., inter-governmental organisations, donor agencies, NGOs, Children’s groups, will participate in the seminar. A group of 12 NGO leaders from USA, who are on a exchange and exposure visit to India, sponsored by Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) will also participate in the seminar exploring the possibility of enhancing institutional partnership at macro Level. Children and a socio-cultural group called Goonj will perform few of the cultural items, highlighting the plight of the children in the State.

Background & Purpose:

Hamara Manch is a forum for children to express their opinions on issues concerning their lives and environment initiated in September 2004 by Save the Children (UK) NCI office in Jaipur, looking into this process by bringing together different agencies working for children or any development issues on one platform to raise their voice collectively for child rights and adequate policy inputs for the best interest of children as stated in the Child Rights Convention. All SC partners in Rajasthan - CUTS, CECOEDECON, Urmul Jyoti, Urmul Setu, Urmul Trust, SDS and SARA, are members of Hamara Manch. This seminar is mainly aimed at establishing a linkage between ‘Hamara Manch’ and other stakeholders like Government Departments, Donor agencies and NGOs working on Child issues. Being the first seminar in a series of programmes planned under Hamara Manch in Rajasthan, the seminar will kick-start the activities of Hamara Manch in Rajasthan.

CUTS is having a long history of involvement in advocacy and networking on child issues, mainly at three levels-grassroots, State/National and at the international level. CUTS-CART is part of the committee to formulate Child Policy in the State from Feb. 2003. In addition, now CUTS-CART being part of the national and State level coalitions on MDGs (Millenium Development Goals), is contributing towards achieving the goals such as universal primary education, reducing child mortality etc., which is having a direct impact upon children, through different interventions.

Objectives:

  • To establish a network with different stakeholders working on child rights through interaction and information sharing (Children’s groups, NGOs, Donor Agencies, Govt. Departments etc.)
  • To develop strategies to establish linkage between Children’s Groups and Government programmes.
  • To advocate for implementation of ‘State Child Policy’ in Rajasthan.
  • Enhancing advocacy and institutional partnership at macro Level

Output:

1. A platform to raise the voices for child rights and adequate policy inputs for the best interest of children as stated in the Child Rights Convention

2. A network of organisations working on Child Rights

Agenda:

09.30 a.m.

Registration

10.00 a.m.

Welcome & Introduction: George Cheriyan, CUTS-CART

10.10 a.m.

An introduction about Hamara Manch – Mini Bhaskar, SC (UK)

10.20 a.m.

Comments on draft State Child Policy – R.K. Sharma (CART) & Mini Bhaskar (SC-UK)

10.30 a.m.

Inauguration: Ms. Alka Kala, Principal Secretary, DWCD, GoR

10.45 a.m.

About the exchange & exposure programme– Mr. Bruce Hershfield, CWLA

10.55 a.m.

Brief introduction about representing organisations and its activities (Participants-2 minutes each)

11.30 a.m.

Mid morning Tea

11.45 a.m.

An introduction to Advocacy & Networking in India- Mini Bhaskar (SC-UK)

12.00 noon

Child Participation in Advocacy & Networking, How?: Sharing & learnings (in two groups)

1.00 p.m.

Group Reporting & Summing up

1.20 p.m.

Cultural Programme by Children  (CEOCODECON)

1.40 p.m.

Role Play “Whether Childhood is Free?”– Goonj (A Socio-Cultural Group)

1.55 p.m.

Vote of thanks

2.00 p.m.

Lunch

3.00 p.m.

Review of progress of implementation of project action plan and reporting about planned activities (only for the partners of Hamara Manch) –Mini Bhaskar, SC (UK)

4.00 p.m.

Tea, Departure

For further information, please contact:

George Cheriyan
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CART)
 D-222, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282 482
098292 85927 (cell)
Fx: 91.141.2282 485
Em: cart@cuts.org
Web: www.cuts-international.org

Panel Discussion
Multilateral Competition Framework: Where and How?
1st February 2005, The Claridges, New Delhi, India

I. Background Note

II.  Papers:

Multilateral Competition Framework In Need of a Fresh Approach

Multilateral Competition Framework: Where and How? View Point Paper

III.  Photographs

International Conference on “Moving the Competition Policy Agenda in India”
Monday 31st January – Tuesday 1st February 2005
The Claridges, New Delhi, India

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (C-CIER), Jaipur, India is organizing a two-day international conference “Moving the Competition Policy Agenda in India” on Monday 31st January – Tuesday 1st February 2005 at The Claridges, New Delhi, India.

CUTS has undertaken a research project to develop a Functional Competition Policy for India. The project report comprises of 20+ chapters covering systemic as well as sectoral issues and endeavours to assist the Government of India to come up with a Competition Policy that is ‘implementable’.

The conference is being organised to release the report and facilitate deliberations on its findings and recommendations. The meeting is structured in the form of a peer review of the Indian competition scenario and will draw out a framework to implement the Competition Policy Agenda in India.

Background Note is available on this link.

For further Information, please contact:
Manish Agarwal (Mr) / Vikash Batham (Mr)
Email: c-cier@cuts.org
Website: http://www.cuts-international.org

Sustainable Production in the South as a tool for enhanced market access in the North
24 January,2005
India International Centre, New Delhi, India

The Final Meeting of the project “Sustainable Production in the South as a tool for enhanced market access in the North” will be organised on January 24, 2005 at India International Centre, New Delhi. The meeting will present the findings of the leather Project that attempts to understand the utility of ecolabels/environment measures for increasing India’s leather footwear exports. Policy makers, academics and environmentalists will attend this meeting. Interested participants can request an invitation, by sending a mail to Mr. Rajeev Mathur at citee@cuts.org.

Road Safety Programme
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, January 15, 2005

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART) organised a month-long ongoing campaign on “Road Safety” from December 15, 2004 to January 15, 2005. The programmes, which were conducted are:

  • A Road Safety awareness camp was organised outside the railway station, Jaipur. In this, cycle-rickshaw pullers were distributed information material related to road safety and traffic rules;

  • A drawing and poster competition was organised in which around 150 students of different age groups participated, innovating road safety messages through posters/drawings; and

  • A rally on road safety was organised comprising around 150 students of different age groups of Bright Buds School, Jaipur. All were enthusiastic and energetic and raising slogans on road safety issues.

One-day Seminar
Regulatory Framework for Infrastructure Sector in India
January 14, 2005
New Delhi, India

Over a decade after India launched its economic reform programme, poor and inadequate infrastructure continues to remain a major obstacle to achieving high and sustained economic growth.

The Central Government has resolved to ensure a regulatory framework for Infrastructure that is transparent, independent of the government, is based on international best practices and provides an impartial balance between the private sector and public sector suppliers. The Planning Commission has been asked to prepare a policy paper indicating the salient features of the regulatory structure for each infrastructure area.

Against this backdrop, CUTS C-CIER is organising a one-day seminar on ‘Regulatory Framework for Infrastructure Sector in India’ in New Delhi on January 14, 2005.

The seminar would deliberate on the existing regulatory framework in the country and provide useful inputs to the Planning Commission and the Government of India. Participants including representatives from the government, regulatory agencies, business chambers, consumer organisations, academicians, media, researchers and consultants, etc. would engage in detailed discussions on the regulatory regime in telecom, power and transport sectors, and chalk out future strategies. In a separate session, the participants would discuss how pro-active participation of consumer organisations could ensure effective regulatory regime in the country. A roundtable in the concluding session would attempt to draw out the framework of regulatory structure for the infrastructure sector in India.

For further Information, please contact:
Manish Agarwal (Mr)
Email: c-cier@cuts.org
Website: http://www.cuts-international.org

Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)

D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park

Jaipur 302016, Rajasthan, India

Email: cuts@cuts.org

Phone: 91.141.228 2821-3
Fax: 91.141.228 2485

Copyright 2005 Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), All rights reserved.
D–217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, Rajasthan, India
Ph: 91.141.2282821, Fax: 91.141.2282485

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