south-north development monitor [Email Edition]

SUNS #4451, Wednesday, 9 June 1999


Labour: Divisions on child labour convention (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: Advisory Trade Law Centre proposal unveiled (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Environment: World mayors meet to combat desertification (IPS, Bonn)

Environment: Global warming threatens marine life (IPS, Washington)

Brazil: Billions of dollars smuggled out through Paraguay (IPS, Rio de Janeiro)

Mozambique: Campaigners halt Danish-funded project (IPS, Maputo)

United States: Manipulating the United Nations (IPS, New York)

Some excerpts from selected articles:

Labour: Divisions on child labour convention

Geneva, 7 June (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- Committee discussions at the International Labour Conference for adopting a convention against worst forms of child labour have run into serious differences over the "age" for defining a child and on specific provisions for banning participation in armed conflict.

The Committee, which has been holding evening and night meetings, is due to complete its work on the details of the convention this week, in time for adoption at the Conference which is due to end next week.

The US President is due to come to the Conference next week, and the US would like to get the convention adopted to show US success, but is now tied up in a controversy over the "age" issue and use of children in armed conflict.

But the differences on age and ban on use of children in armed conflict are such that the issue may be sent to the conference plenary, without specific recommendations on this, ILO officials said.

Trade: Advisory Trade Law Centre proposal unveiled

Geneva, 7 June (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- A proposed Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL), sponsored by a group of industrialized and developing nations, to provide advisory and legal assistance to developing countries in the WTO dispute settlement process was unveiled at a pre-launch function and press briefing, with sponsors hoping to attract a critical mass of founding members and initial funding to be able to launch it at the Seattle Ministerial Meeting in November.

The Netherlands Trade Minister, Mr. Gerrit Ybema, announced that his country had pledged $2.2 million to the initiative. Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway and Norway have announced one million dollars each.

The Colombian ambassador, Nestor Osario Londono, said the ACWL would need as founding and contributing members, some six to eight industrial countries and some 20 developing countries to achieve the critical mass to launch the initiative.

An initial capital fund of $8 million, and a donor contribution of $6 million for the first five years would be needed to make the centre viable and self-supporting from the sixth year, according to the project document made available Monday.

The objective is to provide developing countries with the capacity in their own administrations, through training programs, and give at affordable costs legal assistance to pursue and defend their rights in the dispute settlement process.

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