“There is not a developed world and an underdeveloped world but a single world badly developed.” This conviction underpinned the founding of the CETIM in Geneva in 1970 as a center for study, research and information focused on the mechanisms at the origin of the world’s misdevelopment and interface between the social movements of the Global South and North.
With more than 150 publications to its credit, the CETIM is a publishing house dealing with North-South relations and development questions from a critical, serious and original point of view rarely to be found in the mainstream media. These books aim to supply the general public with the tools needed to understand the world and the ways to transform it.
Enjoying consultative status with the ECOSOC, the CETIM supports social movements of the Global South in gaining access to the United Nations human rights protection mechanisms and participating in the drafting of new international human rights norms. It also carries out information and training work on human rights with its partners and the general public.
A Specialized Documentation Center
The CETIM includes a documentation center open to the public. With its 3,000 volumes and 200 periodicals by a vast range of authors, it concentrates on topics such as development, the environment, trade, foreign debt, food sovereignty, transnational corporations and human rights, among many others.
“There is not a developed world and an underdeveloped world but a single world badly developed.”
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.
Generally, 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.