New Delhi 13 April 2004

“Are international organisations adapting themselves to the issues that developing countries advocate for development to be holistic?” N. K. Singh, Member, Planning Commission of India posed this question. He also added that the definition of sovereignty will undergo a significant change in the near future and countries need to reposition themselves in this new era of globalisation.

He was delivering the inaugural address at the Afro-Asian Civil Society Seminar being held in New Delhi. The event is organised by Consumer Unity & Trust Society, an international non-governmental organisation, having its headquarters at Jaipur, India. The Seminar will continue for the next two days. More than 150 representatives from over 40 countries are participating at the event.

According to Magda Shahin, Egypt´s Ambassador to Greece: “Increased awareness of NGOs on issues confronting the international trading system is indeed helping developing countries in manifesting their concerns on development in a better way.” She added that Cancun was a new beginning as far as developing countries´ participation in the international trading system is concerned. In this context, she highlighted the importance of the various groups in the developing countries that have shown readiness to work together.

While chairing the session, Arjun Sengupta, a leading economist of India, argued that the civil society has a much larger role to play today than before, especially in the light of changes which are taking place in the international trading system. He took this opportunity to laud the efforts made by CUTS and other NGOs to do both research and advocacy to place the developing countries´ views at different fora in a better way.