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International Responsibility Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Savina Sawan Sengupta, Oct 16, 2006
Human Rights , Peace & Conflict , Global Citizenship   Opinions


Yes, we are frustrated. Yes, it is about time governments around the world make the promise of cutting the world’s poverty by half. And yes, we are tired of promises being broken by national governments. Yet, Canadian youths are not abandoning the hope that the 6 billion individuals inhabiting this planet live in dignity. The youth of Canada, specifically university students, across the country have been active on global justice matters long before the MDGs were agreed upon.
The MDGs are the product of years of campaigning and fervent advocacy on the part of global civil society, grassroots organizations, and youth activism. However, now more than ever, young activists have become politicized in ending preventable causes to human suffering. Canadian youths recognize the connections between the global economy, global political movements, and the complexities of people’s daily lives. The MDGs challenge national governments to be accountable for the needs of the world’s most vulnerable.
Having admitted that time is a necessary prerequisite for eradicating social and economic inequities, two main questions remain to be answered when thinking about how the MDGs will bring about their desired results. First, can the MDGs offer a remedy for structural problems within the international system? Second, if the MDGs are achieved by 2015, how can we ensure that the improved social indicators attained will not slip back into retrograde?
This article aims to contribute to the debate and analysis of international power holders and their accountability in making positive social changes. According to Social Watch, raising funds to fulfill our objectives is pivotal, and remains our greatest challenge. In order for the MDGs to be successful, the leaders of the global economic forces need to take responsibility. It is unclear whether measures are being taken to allocate funds to the campaign.
Thanks to grassroots advocacy and youth activism, criticism directed toward the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank has resulted in the cancellation of the debt for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). However, despite such efforts,The World Trade Organization (WTO) remains the most dominant international economic institution that is legally binding. The rules and regulations of the WTO threaten the sovereignty of developing states, and perpetuate the problems incurred as a result of free trade, such as environmental degradation and poor labour standards.
Providing remedies for the depravity of current human conditions will be an uphill battle if global financial giants continue to contribute to fundamental structural problems in the international system. If successful, it will be difficult to maintain the progress of the eight proposed goals.
Hopeful youths understand this reality and thus, become further aggravated by the prospect of the MDGs campaign becoming yet another failed attempt to fight against poverty.



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umeche, chinedum ikenna | Nov 16th, 2006
your article is self prasing. i fail to see how canadian youths have impacted the world through their so called claim of advocacy et all

Re: responsibility?
| Mar 9th, 2009
First, I apologize for my delay in responding to your comment, but it was only recently when I learned that someone has written a comment about my article, and for that, I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter. Now to address your critique of my article being self-praising of young Canadians who seek to make a positive social change, I would first like to problematize the strongly held assumption in your comment that Canada translates to a Euro-white populace. It is the kind of national discourse that Canadian activists and leftist scholars are trying to unmask. Let us not forget about Canada's colonial history of forcible dispossession of Indigenous peoples, theft of land, and implementation of legislation. Canadians, including our youth, are living in the shadows of this legacy. Moreover, Canadians come from all corners of the world, and in extension their offspring carry with them their cultural heritage. Thus pitting up Canadian youths to the rest of the world draws a false dichotomous illusion, projecting that Canada is somehow an island of its own, unaffected by the current and past global, social, political, economic processes. I hope I was able to address some of your concerns here, and I welcome any further discussion regarding my comments or article. -Sawan

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