At the end of October, four ICV volunteers went to Oslo (Norway) to help out with the Eurodad Annual Conference, providing Spanish-English interpretation. Ines Hidalgo, Paula James and Juan Torres Guzman attended enthusiastically the meeting session. Here are some of their comments on their way back home.
Ines Hidalgo-ChÃ¢telain pointed out: "As a Latin American, it was a great experience to witness that our claims against the International Monetary Institutions since the sixties, have been adopted by all the continents. During this conference, I felt so young by interpreting topics and ideas that were part of my life when I was student."
According to Juan Torres "the Norwegian experience was excellent because not only we had the chance to stay in an astonishing place with a beautiful scenery by a lake and in the woods, but also to have shared this with a very interesting group of people. We could hear the voices of many countries discussing about their problems related with the external debt and hoping for better chances in the future. We were favoured with a very inspiring atmosphere, which made our role as interpreters easier and also enjoyable!".
The Eurodad's network members and Southern groups have been increasingly working on the issues of the legitimacy of previous loans and also on the questions of what makes future financing (loans and grants) legitimate and responsible. This year the annual conference focused the roles of multilateral organisations, such as, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. They are criticised for being dominated by Northern governments, for imposing harmful economic policy conditions, for environmental devastation and for failing to respect local people's rights.
A proposal for alternatives institutional arrangements have been advanced by civil society organisations, think tanks and governments. These alternatives range from cutting or dramatically changing the roles of the International Financial Institutions to withdrawing from them and building up new ones such as the Banco del Sur.
You can find more information about the conference and some presentation at www.eurodad.org.