of the Europe-Third World Centre
is no such thing as a developed
and an under-developed world,
There is only a single, badly developed world"
This conclusion marked the creation of the CETIM and, by contesting
the prevailing, generally positive, assessment of the Western mode of
development, exposed that development to questioning and debate.
"Bad development", ecological as much as economic and social,
is not confined to the Third World. It encompasses the entire planet:
the spiralling debt and socio-economic stagnation of many Southern countries
and the ever-widening gap between the living conditions and consumption
levels of the rich and of the poor all over the world amply justify this
assessment. If we limit ourselves simply to the statistics furnished by
various United Nations agencies, we see that chronic poverty is the lot
of more people around the world than ever before. Likewise, ecological
catastrophes are multiplying, threatening the very survival of humanity
and of planet Earth, and providing potential new sources of conflict.
Massive stockpiling of weapons is also a central factor in bad development.
In this era of "globalisation", we need
to develop new relations between nations, peoples and individuals to keep
pace with the upheavals caused by the prevailing economic paradigm.
A primary concern of the CETIM is the search for alternatives capable
of ensuring the survival and development of the majority of the countries
of the South. These countries are faced with a dominant model that clearly
disadvantages them, whether economically (e.g. the inappropriateness of
world production to basic economic and social needs, the vicious cycle
of the third-world debt), by damaging the social fabric (e.g. unemployment,
the dismantling of social welfare systems), ecologically (e.g. deforestation,
pollution), or by threatening their culture (e.g. standardisation and
loss of cultural identity). The growing marginalisation of regions like
sub-Saharan Africa, considered by the industrialised world as possessing
no strategic value, is also profoundly worrying.
the CETIM has chosen to criticise financial and trade institutions (International
Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organisation) as well as the dominant
role of multi- or transnational corporations.
Cultural interactions arising from the vast migratory movements that characterise
the end of the 20th century are a second important concern. The movement
in one direction of political, economic and ecological refugees and, in
the other, of hordes of tourists in quest of the exotic can have devastating
consequences. Here, the CETIM's activities highlight such issues as political
asylum and living conditions for immigrants. They also aim at denouncing
the rise of racism, xenophobia and forms of apartheid by examining structural
causes that underlie such phenomena.
Disturbed by the growing numbers of people marginalized by globalisation,
whether in the South or the North, the CETIM also deals with various aspects
of exclusion and precariousness, such as the economic, social and cultural
effects of the new telecommunications networks.
The CETIM: a Solidarity Switchboard
The CETIM works to contribute to an exchange of critical views from both
Southern and Northern societies in response to what appears to be the
emerging trends for the 21st century. With this aim in mind, the CETIM
has a number of tools in hand.
Publications: a different slant
As a not-for-profit association, the CETIM deals with topics that the
media often neglect. Convinced that some social actors in both global
and national power struggles start with a decided handicap, the CETIM
as publisher pays careful attention to the myriad conflicts that daily
endanger peace and to the search for alternatives that could ensure egalitarian
and lasting development.
With this aim in mind, the CETIM has produced and distributed some 90
publications to date. We offer our services to associations and NGOs wishing
to take advantage of our technical expertise and publishing experience.
Our publications mostly target a general public and solicit active solidarity
with the victims of human rights violations, many of whom face social
problems linked to globalisation.
Active support of awareness-raising campaigns
By getting involved in consultations and demonstrations, the CETIM participates
in local, national and international campaigns in cooperation with a wide
network of organisations and movements. Already in 1995, for instance,
the CETIM organised an international symposium, "GATT/WTO: What are
the issues, the effects?" in Geneva with 20 speakers and several
Working at the UN
CETIM enjoys general category consultative status with the ECOSOC, the
UN Economic and Social Council, which allows us to engage in several important
activities. Criticisms emerging from civil society (people's movements,
grassroots organisations, trade unions and NGOs) around the world are
transmitted to the international level in the form of proposals for concrete
action and calls for innovation. At present, the CETIM is emphasising
in particular respect for, implementation and promotion of economic, social
and cultural rights, as well as issues related to the right to development.
As its name indicates, the CETIM is a research and study centre with specialised
documentation on numerous subjects; we also subscribe to more than 200
regional and international periodicals as well as to those published by
various UN bodies. The CETIM's archives are open to researchers, students
and others on request.
Overall, the CETIM's various activities and tools complement each other.
Our original approach has won us considerable acclaim on various levels
– international and national as well as among Geneva-based associations.