WDM campaigns against the root causes of poverty and inequality. We are a democratically-governed movement made up of local campaign groups based in towns and cities around the UK. Our staff in London and Edinburgh co-ordinate hard-hitting campaigns that challenge the powerful and seek to bring about economic justice for the world’s poor majority.
Global poverty is not inevitable. It’s a result of government policies, economic structures and corporate behaviour. As global citizens, we take seriously our responsibility to try and change the structures and policies which keep people poor – starting with those of our own government and British companies.
We’re politically and financially independent. The majority of our funding comes from thousands of individual members and supporters. That means we’re able to shine a light into dark corners and speak up for the marginalised when others find it uncomfortable to do so.
It’s central to our work that we act in solidarity with activists, civil society organisations and social movements in the global south. We have a history of campaigning with them on a range of issues, from opposing water privatisation to demanding a just solution to the climate crisis. We put pressure on decision-makers, organise public opposition to harmful policies, and produce robust research which shows there are alternatives to corporate-led globalisation.
Whether it’s winning votes for women and those without property or the end of Apartheid in South Africa, we know that change can happen. And we know that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK share our vision of a fairer world. WDM is made up of such people – ordinary folk who’ve taken a stand against injustice. If you believe that people should come before profit, why not join us?
WDM strives to be a truly democratic movement, with individual members, groups and our professional staff working together for global justice. Staff lead our campaigning, but in consultation with local groups, both directly and through our system of area representatives. Area reps cover specific regions and act as link between groups, staff and the council.
WDM's council approves and monitors all WDM's major policy positions and initiatives, and sets our long term plans and direction. Council members are responsible for:
The council of WDM consists of nine people voted for by WDM members, up to three representing local groups. In addition, up to three people may be co-opted to balance the council’s skills or diversity. Each council serves for a three year term, with elected members serving a maximum of two terms, or six consecutive years. The specific roles of chair, vice-chair, national secretary and treasurer (who make up the executive committee) are appointed by the council itself after elections.
The current council was elected into office in June 2012. The next election will be in 2015. The organisation's Annual General Meeting takes place in June each year and is its sovereign body.
WDM Council agreed Guiding Principles in 2012, to provide an overall framework for our strategy WDM plus 10, which was adopted in 2009. Our Guiding Principles address our vision, mission, goal, beliefs and aspirations.
Read our ten year vision statement that was pulled together through a movement wide consultation. This document provides the framework to help shape the movement's direction leading up to 2020.
WDM was founded in 1970, by bringing together a number of groups which had been campaigning against world poverty during the late 1960s. We broke new ground by focusing on the causes of poverty and demanding policy changes rather than charitable giving. Since then, WDM has evolved into a democratic, politically independent organisation, with 15,000 supporters and a network of 60 local groups across the UK. Read more about our campaigning successes below.
I respect the World Development Movement because it works alongside campaigners in the world’s poorest countries to win justice. Join WDM and support their campaigns – it’s an effective way UK citizens can tackle the root causes of poverty."
- Kiama Kaara, campaigner, Kenya Debt Relief Network
The people of the lesser developed countries has suffered so much. There are those who have tried to change this. I give thanks to WDM and its work.
- Rev Desmond Tutu
WDM is an influential movement of people, committed to finding solutions to the root causes of world poverty. They are not afraid to deal with the issues head on. Join me by supporting WDM."
- Benjamin Zephaniah
Whenever I hear politicians defending policies that are actually increasing injustice and suffering, I know that WDM will be on their case, confronting them and winning the argument. "
- Anita Roddick
Between 1994 and 1998, WDM worked on a number of arms trade issues.
In November 1994, we launched a campaign to stop the use of export credits to support arms sales. This campaign alerted many other organisations to the issue. The chancellor of the Exchequer announced a ban on the use of export credits for ‘unproductive’ expenditure (which includes arms sales) for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) in 1997. This ban was extended to over 50 low income countries in January 2000.
Together with Saferworld and the British and American Security Council (BASIC), WDM helped promote an EU Code which drew on all the voluntary agreements EU countries had signed up to. The EU Code agreed by EU Foreign Ministers in May 1998 is not seen as being tough enough on situations of internal conflict or human rights, and there is no transparency.
During the 1990s, WDM’s research and campaigns also exposed the investment of Britain’s high street banks in financing the arms trade; the link between aid and arms in Indonesia (mirroring the Pergau Dam case) and the scale of ECGD support for arms sales to Nigeria. WDM also highlighted the need for greater transparency and accountability of arms sales.
WDM campaigned on asbestos between 1997 and 2001
Thousands of people in the Northern Cape and Northern Province of South Africa suffer from asbestos-related diseases because of the blue and brown asbestos mining, milling and manufacturing operations undertaken by the English company, Cape Plc. Cape's own graphs show that dust levels at one South African mine were 12 to 35 times higher than permitted levels in Britain, where the dangers of asbestos had long been well-known.
WDM campaigned with Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) to build public support for the 7,500 asbestos victims, who were suing Cape Plc for failing to observe their ‘duty of care’. Claimants, represented by the solicitors Leigh Day & Co, first brought the case against Cape in 1997. However, the company argued that the case should be heard in the South African courts until, in July 2000, five Law Lords unanimously ruled that the case should be heard in the UK. The trial date had been set for April 2002. However, in November 2001, Cape agreed to enter into a dialogue to reach a settlement - by December they had settled out of court, agreeing a compensation package worth £21 million.
WDM campaigned to clean up the bailed-out banks between 2009 and 2011.
Following the financial crisis of 2008, the UK government used a staggering £45.5 billion of UK taxpayers’ money – the GDP of Kenya and Tanzania combined – to prop up the Royal Bank of Scotland.
RBS used that public money to finance projects and companies that threaten the climate and human rights, such as tar sands extraction in Madagascar and Canada.
WDM campaigned to get the government to rein in the power of RBS and the other bailed-out banks and force them to keep to the highest environmental and human rights standards when investing our money.
In October 2009, along with People and Planet and PLATFORM, we launched a legal action against the Treasury for failing to properly assess the impact of using public money on human rights and climate change, as it should have according to the government's own rules.
Unfortunately at the oral hearing, permission to proceed with a full judicial review was denied as the judge agreed with the Treasury that government intervention would be harmful to the ‘financial stability’ and 'commercial interests' of the bank. The subsequent appeal was also denied.
All over the world, diverse groups from community activists to schoolchildren, small businesses to faith-based networks, are starting to take action on climate change. Big business is following suit, but often with tactics that bring their integrity into question. Climate change is being used to create a new kind of brand identity, without any of the fundamental changes needed to tackle the root causes of the problem itself – the use of fossil fuels.
This report, written by environmental campaigners Platform with the help of WDM, takes the case of the Royal Bank of Scotland, an international bank with interests across the fossil fuel sector that is promoting itself as a genuine actor in climate change efforts. Using Bloomberg data this report compares RBS’ environmental rhetoric with the bank’s financing of coal companies around the world in the last three years, and examines the efforts of civil society to date to pressure the bank to adopt more climate-friendly policies.
RBS was recapitalised by the UK taxpayer from 2008 onwards, following major losses due to their reckless financial practices. Now, in 2011, the British public faces massive spending cuts. The taxpayers’ money used to bail out the banks could have supported the welfare services now being decimated; the bailed out banks have a debt of obligation to invest in socially useful rather than socially harmful projects.
This report finds that in the years from 2008 to 2010 inclusive, RBS was involved in providing finance worth €791.8 million to companies listed in the world’s 20 biggest operators of coal mines, and in the same period was involved in providing finance worth €7,201.8 million to companies listed in the world’s 20 biggest generators of coal-based electricity. The combined total financing of coal that RBS has been involved in is almost €8 billion.
All international banks were ranked according to the amount of finance they had been involved in providing to the 20 biggest coal mining operators and the 20 biggest generators of coal-based electricity. For the 20 largest coal companies, RBS was ranked 8th out of 35, with HSBC ranking 10th, and Barclays 29th. For the 20 largest coal-based electricity generators, RBS was ranked 3rd, with Barclays coming 4th and HSBC 11th out of 69.
The World Development Movement has an honourable and proud record in leading the way - fighting for debt relief and the reduction of poverty around the world
Gordon Brown September 1998.
Something criminal is being done to the world's poorest countries. The World Development Movement's (WDM) debt campaign revealed evidence that leaders of rich countries collude to give developing countries an unfair deal. They force policies such as trade liberalisation, investment deregulation and privatisation onto the poor, in return for minuscule debt relief.
The debt campaign called for:
WDM has campaigned on debt for over 20 years. After Jubilee 2000 closed, most other agencies stopped debt campaigning. WDM however, decided more could be achieved, and so we became the most active group working on debt both individually and collaboratively.
This decision has been vindicated by the UK government now accepting that many poor countries need 100 percent debt cancellation; that International Monetary Fund (IMF) gold should be used to part fund cancellation; that more countries than those on the existing list of 38 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) need debt cancellation; and, as a result of our Colludo campaign, that requiring economic policies, such as privatisation and trade liberalisation, to be implemented in return for aid is wrong.
The UK has now stopped attaching such economic policy conditions to UK aid provision.
We campaigned against Europe’s unfair trade deals from April 2008 to December 2009.
We are not against trade, but we do want to stop the European pirates stealing our resources"
- Norma Maldonado, Guatemala
In 2006. the European Union announced a new trade strategy which targeted developing countries for trade deals. These trade deals were clearly stacked in favour of European companies, for example unrestricted access to raw materials from poor countries and demanding less regulation for European corporations. The trade strategy also tried to get poor countries to open up their markets to subsidised, imported European goods and produce, rather than allowing space for developing countries to build their own industries.
The campaign got a quarter of all UK MEP candidates at the 2009 European parliamentary election to sign up to the TJM ‘trade pledge’. Candidates committed to take action if they were elected to get a review of EU trade policy and to promote coherence between trade and development issues.
WDM groups and supporters took an active part in lobbying their MEPs and candidates in the run up to the election. In total, 80 UK MEP candidates signed the pledge, including 19 elected MEPs. Together with our partners in the global south and in collaboration with our European partners, WDM raised the issue of EU’s unfair trade deals on the political agenda in Europe.
After the 2009 European election, WDM continued to play a role to ensure that the newly appointed European commissioners were questioned and scrutinised on their views on EU trade policy. A WDM group said of the trade campaign: “It was good to highlight trade issues to European politicians, as many of them were not aware of them before, and breaking the barrier of ignorance is a key first start”.
The campaign produced a range of promotional materials, including videos and briefings, to help drive its key messages to a wider audience.
A silent movie which gives a tongue-in-cheek look at European trade policy, its origins and its impacts on countries in the Global South.
Satirical explanation of Europe’s aggressive trade strategy
WDM campaigned on this issue between 1997 and 1998
In June 1997, WDM and Bananalink representatives visited plantations run by Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte Fresh Produce in the Atlantic region of Costa Rica. They found strong evidence that the workers were victimised for joining free trade unions (which have been banned) and were being made to handle hazardous chemicals.
In a powerful campaign, WDM supporters and local groups sent thousands of letters and cards, organised local talks and events, hosted Costa Rican trade unionists and dumped a tonne of banana skins in front of the UK office of Del Monte, the banana multinational. In December 1998, Del Monte signed an historic agreement allowing SITRAP, an independent trade union, to organise freely on its Costa Rican plantations. Although this was an important step forward, Del Monte has not fully implemented the terms of the agreement and has continued to deny workers their rights.
WDM is a founding member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), involving companies, trade unions and NGOs. WDM has pressed for the ETI companies, including most of the UK's major supermarkets, to ensure that the bananas they buy are produced according to internationally-agreed labour standards. There is now an active ETI project on bananas in Costa Rica to follow up on WDM's campaign and ensure that all companies respect the rights of workers.
WDM has also been working through the Fairtrade Foundation and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) to get fair trade bananas introduced to the UK market. Fair trade bananas are now widely available in the UK. Look out for the Fairtrade Foundation label and buy them!
Efforts by the World Development Movement... have got GATS exactly where the WTO does not want it to be: in the public domain
Nick Cohen, The Observer.
WDM worked on The General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) between 2000 and 2005.
Have you heard about the sale of the century? The world's services are up for grabs and the governments and corporations of rich countries are busy snapping up the best bargains from around the world. Following WDM's campaign, GATS moved from an obscure issue that no-one had heard of, to the political centre-stage.
From the moment we wake to the moment we sleep, we depend on services. We wouldn't get far without our water, health and education services, or our banks, telephone and transport systems. The service industry is huge - international trade in services is worth a staggering £1.5 million a minute.
A key role of governments should be both to ensure that people can get access to affordable basic services and to support the local economy. They do this through rules and regulations. For example, governments in many poor countries subsidise water supplies, transport and phone services in poor, rural areas by using profits generated from these services in densely populated urban areas.
But universal access to basic services and their adequate regulation are under threat with the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), part of the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) package of legally binding rules on global trade.
The World Development Movement (WDM) believes that GATS spells bad news for people, especially those in poor countries. For poor countries, GATS is another barrier in their efforts to break the vicious cycle of poverty.
WDM launched its GATS campaign in 2000, with a massive public meeting in London. Over 1000 people turned up to hear WDM speak alongside author-activists George Monbiot and Naomi Klein.
Highlights of WDM's GATS campaign include:
WDM campaigned on genetically modified organisms (GMO) between 1999 and 2000.
Biotechnology giants such as Monsanto and Astra-Zenaca have attempted to control and extract profit from some of the world’s poorest farmers by merging with multinational seed companies and buying out local seed co-operatives in the third world. In countries such as Zimbabwe, Monsanto-owned seed companies control whole distribution networks; farmers are therefore forced to buy whatever these companies choose to sell.
WDM was concerned about the increased concentration of GM technology in the hands of a few large companies, and the mechanisms through which it will reach farmers in the developing world. WDM worked to highlight how GM technologies could have a detrimental impact on poor farmers in the developing world, and campaigned for strong international regulation of the trade in GMOs in the form of a Biosafety Protocol.
In January 2000 a Biosafety Protocol was finally agreed. This Protocol sets out important principles for the trade in GMOs, and represents a start that campaigners have fought an up-hill battle to achieve.
WDM campaigned on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) between 1998 and 1999.
Governments of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a club of 29 rich countries, started negotiations on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) in May 1995. The MAI was to have been the world’s first investment treaty. It would have introduced new rights for foreign investors to invest wherever they saw opportunities, while restricting the powers of governments to prohibit access, attach conditions on investors or regulate in the public interest.
The MAI would have prevented developing country governments from adopting policies used by all OECD countries and the emerging economies during their development, such as South Korea’s requirements for foreign investors to form joint ventures, license technology and use local suppliers.
Details of the MAI became publicly known in February 1997 when a draft of the text was leaked and posted on the Internet. WDM played a leading role in the campaign, undertaking research on the likely impact of the MAI on developing countries, building a coalition in the UK and EU, and working with international partners.
After a powerful civil society campaign the MAI was defeated. The French government was the first to pull out in October 1998, followed by the UK government, which vowed to abandon further negotiations and start with a "blank sheet of paper".
However, within months it became clear that the "blank sheet of paper" had World Trade Organisation (WTO) written all over it. The British government and the European Commission (EC) mounted strong political pressure for an agreement with similar objectives upon the WTO. At the Seattle WTO Ministerial in November 1999, developing country governments resisted the EC’s attempts to include investment in a new round of trade negotiations. The EC exerted even more pressure in the preparations for the Qatar ministerial conference in November 2001.
The OECD was clearly the wrong forum to negotiate a balanced agreement that would prohibit monopolies, ensure that multinationals pay taxes, stop unfair competition and ensure companies abide by internationally agreed standards on labour, the environment and human rights. But so is the WTO. It has a mandate for trade liberalisation, not for balanced rules on investment.
WDM campaigned on People Before Profits between 1998 and 2000, seeking to control the power of multinational companies with strong international regulation and individual action.
In the campaign against world poverty, WDM believes that we need to challenge today’s leading global economic players in order to put the rights and demands of the worlds poor before those of multinational companies.
The size and power of multinational companies is increasing rapidly:
These companies could potentially bring benefits, but governments are failing to get them under control. People across the world are speaking out against multinationals abusing their power in the pursuit of profits:
At the core of the People Before Profits campaign was the recognition that the increasing power of multinational companies is not accompanied by sufficient regulation. A realistic and considered look at the roles of both governments and international institutions in regulating multinationals was long overdue.
High court victory over the Pergau Dam
The UK government planned to spend £234 million of aid money on the Pergau Dam project in Malaysia. WDM believed that the benefits of the dam were dubious, and that the finance was essentially a sweetener to encourage future arms purchases from UK companies. Since the 1980 Overseas Development and Co-operation Act stated that aid can only be used for “promoting the development or maintaining the economy of a country….or the welfare of its people”, WDM was able to pursue a judicial review of the funding of the dam. It was a landmark case which ensured that future aid couldn’t be used as a political tool regardless of the development benefits or lack of them.
In 2012, we returned to campaigning to stop big business cashing in on aid.
WDM exposed the linking of aid and arms in other countries, including Indonesia. In response the National Audit Office (NAO), the government’s own watchdog, conducted an inquiry into seven controversial British-funded aid projects. WDM also highlighted the misuse of aid to sell Westland helicopters to India.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) http://www.caat.org.uk
WDM campaigned on Tobacco multinationals in 1999.
Tobacco multinationals are facing increasing restrictions on the marketing of tobacco in the west. They are therefore seeking to expand markets in the south by using aggressive marketing methods, which are now banned in many industrialised countries, to target in particular children, young people and women. If current trends continue, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that the number of smoking related deaths in the south will increase from 1 million to 7 million a year by 2020.
In May 1996 at the World Heath Assembly, governments adopted a resolution calling on the director general of the WHO to initiate a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, but little else was done. In Autumn 1998, the UK government was due to publish a white paper on Tobacco. WDM supporters successfully persuaded the UK government to include a commitment to global regulation on tobacco marketing in the white paper. The 1999 World Health Assembly authorised work on the Framework Convention which came into force in 2005.
WDM continues to ensure that the initiative is backed by the provision of funding and human resources, and that the UK does take a lead on the WHO Convention.
For further information on the current campaign please contact:
WDM campaigned on the rights of workers in toy factories between 1995 and 1996 and in 1998.
Three out of every four toys bought in the UK have been made in Asia. China alone produces over a third of the world’s toys. Much of this work is subcontracted by the big toy companies to Asian factories. Research undertaken in China by the Hong Kong Coalition for the Charter on the Safe Production of Toys revealed that workers are not being adequately protected and their health and safety continue to be undermined by long hours, low pay and at times perilous working conditions.
Following major fires and deaths in toy factories in Thailand and China, WDM representatives visited Thailand to see factories and meet workers. This led to the launch of a UK campaign in partnership with Asia Monitor Resource Centre in Hong Kong, Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR) and the TUC, to press for a code of conduct on the production of toys.
In January 1996, the British Toy and Hobbies Association (BTHA) agreed their own health and safety code. This closely matched the code promoted by WDM and the Asian campaigners, except there was no recognition of trade union negotiating rights, and there was to be no independent monitoring. The impact of the code is being monitored in Asia, but so far there is little sign of any significant improvements in working conditions.
WDM has also run one-off campaigns on individual transnational companies (TNCs) in support of communities or workers in poor countries. Companies included Disney, Nestlé, Rio-Tinto, Shell and P&O.
The Grasberg opencast mine lies in the forested hills of West Papua and exploits gold and copper deposits that are amongst the largest in the world. The mine is operated by an Indonesian subsidiary of the US company Freeport McMoran, in which Rio Tinto has a significant share. The company has transformed the rainforest into a vast complex of mines, roads, towns and the world's longest tramway. But local people have not benefited. Instead, they have seen their hunting ground taken over, their rivers polluted and their sacred mountain ravaged. They were neither consulted nor given adequate compensation. Hundreds of people were displaced by the first mine site and have been resettled in a crowded and unhealthy township.
Since March 1996, WDM, together with Partizans, TAPOL and Survival, has worked with the Amungme people in West Papua, Indonesia, for consultation and adequate compensation for the indigenous people whose land was taken for mining by Rio Tinto (& Freeport McMoran). WDM met with the company and arranged meetings with West Papuans, pressed institutional shareholders to raise the issue with the board, and participated in AGM actions.
The company has introduced new social responsibility and environmental policies, but this has not translated into changes on the ground.
Despite having adopted a code of conduct supposedly ensuring workers’ rights, research showed that workers making Disney garments in Haiti are still not benefiting from the company’s promises. Workers receive paltry wages - often too little to feed their families - and face intimidation or even dismissal for trying to raise concerns by joining trade unions.
In 1997 WDM joined the Haiti Support groups and the GMB union in supporting the Haitian workers’ struggle, calling on Disney to improve working conditions in factories in Haiti and worldwide, in particular urging Disney to implement its own code of conduct, recognise workers' organisations and pay all of its workers a living wage. Batay Ouvriye, the grassroots union operating in Haiti, has requested a halt on international campaigning for the present.
Nestle and other companies continue to violate the International Code of Marketing of breast milk substitutes, agreed in 1981 by 118 countries, as well as flouting subsequent resolutions of the World Health Assembly. The marketing code aims to protect infant health by controlling the marketing of artificial milks and other baby foods, which replace breast milk. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed, especially as a result of diarrhoea caused by unsafe water used to mix feeds or wash bottles.
WDM supports Baby Milk Action in the campaign to stop Nestle and other baby milk companies breaching the WHO guidelines on marketing of baby milk.
Shell has faced international condemnation for the environmental and human rights consequences of its operations in Ogoniland, Nigeria. The lands of the Ogoni and other tribes have been polluted through the flaring of gas and multiple oil spills. Opposition to the operations was met with violent suppression by the army. Local people were not properly consulted beforehand and most did not benefit from the operations.
Since early 1997 WDM has supported the campaign pressing for Shell to make improvements in their company policy. This includes supporting the shareholder resolution at Shell's 1997 AGM and supporting MOSOP, the Ogoni people's organisation, who believe that little has changed on the ground and that Shell's recent concern for the environment is just PR.
The shipping giant P&O planned to build a passenger and cargo port eight times the size of Liverpool across an area known as the 'lungs of Bombay'. It is one of only three sites in the whole of India to have been designated an ‘ecologically fragile area’ and is protected by Indian national law. The port – potentially one of the largest anywhere in the world – would have destroyed the lands and livelihoods of local communities, including fishermen and the Warli tribe.
WDM supported the strong local campaign in India to stop P&O taking their lands. In October 1998, P&O announced that it would not go ahead with the scheme to build the port.
By investing in an oil pipeline in Burma against the wishes of the democratically elected majority (who have been prevented from taking power), Premier Oil is bolstering a repressive military regime. At least one million people are estimated to have been displaced within the country, whilst more than 100,000 refugees have fled to Thailand. The military regime has forced an estimated two million men, women and children to work on infrastructure projects such as roads, railways and tourist sites, seriously abusing workers’ rights and violating international conventions.
WDM has worked with the Burma Campaign UK to support the call for all foreign companies to disinvest in Burma.
WDM campaigned on the issue of water privatisation in poor countries between 2005 and 2008.
Water is a gift from Earth. We need to take care of it and preserve it so the next generation can live. If we don’t, the cost is the people, it is us
Oscar Olivera, water activist, Bolivia, 2006.
Most of us take clean water for granted, but a sixth of the world’s population aren’t so lucky. Over a billion people worldwide cannot reach or afford clean water.
Nearly two million children die every year because they do not have regular, safe water to drink, while the lives of many more people are blighted by the illness and preventable diseases that result from unsafe water and poor sanitation.
WDM lobbied for the UK government to adopt policies that promote access to clean drinking water, rather than waste aid money on failed privatisation. WDM campaigned to limit the spread of coporate control over water resources, and against climate change that threatens water supplies worldwide.
WDM has been campaigning on trade issues for almost three decades and monitoring negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since its creation in 1995.
We have been an active part of the global community of campaigners that organise counter-summits and protests around WTO meetings. WDM also has a long track record of producing credible and incisive analysis of trade issues. We have attended the past four WTO Ministerial meetings:
Seattle (1999), Doha (2001), Cancun (2003), Hong Kong (2005).
We will be going again in November 2009 as world leaders push for a conclusion to the Doha round in the wake of the global economic crisis. Check here for updates.
2004: Prevented the UK and EU from pushing through an agreement in the WTO which would have forced developing countries to allow western private companies to take over essential services such as water, banking and shops (GATS).
2004: Got the EU to drop its demands on developing countries in trade negotiations to open up their water services to private, western companies.
2003: Prevented the UK and EU from pushing through an agreement in the WTO which would have forced developing countries to remove regulations on western companies (the ‘new issues’).
The WTO failed to deliver a genuinely pro-development outcome at the sixth ministerial conference held in Hong Kong. It locked in a number of anti-development measures and it became obvious that the outcomes could not work in the interests of developing countries. WDM concluded that the talks should be drawn to a halt.
WDM went to Hong Kong to expose the coercion, to highlight the real issues and to make sure the voices of southern campaigners were heard.
The fifth ministerial conference in Cancun, Mexico came to a dramatic end in 2003 without agreement - leaving negotiations in a deadlock. On the agenda were a range of issues agreed upon at the 2001 ministerial meeting in Doha, including agriculture, services and the environment. The European Union continued to push for an expansion of the WTO's powers to include new issues (investment, competition policy, government procurement and trade facilitation) insisting that these issues get dealt with first before the development issues that should have been prioritised. Developing countries refused to be pushed into a corner as they rejected talks on several ‘new issues’ and proved that they are a force to be reckoned with at the WTO.
It was at the fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar where the Doha Declaration launched a wide ranging ‘round’ of trade negotiations including industrial tariffs, agriculture, services and a raft of ‘new issues’, such as rules limiting government regulation of multinational investors. The WTO and the EU dubbed this round the ‘Doha Development Round’, even though the agenda clearly favoured richer nations.
The final hours of the negotiations saw a repeat of the underhand tactics of Seattle. Secret talks were held and some countries were physically locked out of meetings. The unaccountable facilitators of the negotiating groups were picked by the WTO secretariat and major industrialised powers. They ran a process where there were no agendas, no minutes and no accountability.
Seattle hosted the infamous third ministerial conference where Europe and the US proposed to expand the WTO’s mandate in a way which would give unprecedented powers to corporations. Street protests by a broad alliance of campaigners brought the WTO to international attention and raised awareness that its rules are deeply unfair. The Seattle ministerial collapsed and the seeds were sown for a long campaign to fight for just international trade agreements.
The WTO’s first ministerial conference was held in Singapore in December 1996 and the second was held in Geneva in May 1998.
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This year's annual general meeting, to which all our members are invited, will be held in Leeds.
Saturday 15 June, starting at 10am
Leeds University Student Union, Lifton Place, Leeds LS2 9JZ
All national members will receive a letter nearer the time with a draft agenda, plus details of how to appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf should they not be able to attend in person. The draft agenda, annual accounts and the annual review will all appear on this web page in due course.
Please note that the proceedings will start at 10am. Registration and tea and coffee will be available from 9.30am.
The deadline for submitting policy motions to the AGM is 26 April. However, to allow us time to circulate any such motions with the agenda, we would prefer to receive them by 15 April. If this is not possible, please at least let us know you intend to submit a motion by 15 April. To do this, please email James O’Nions (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 020 7820 4900. The requirements for submitting a motion can be found on page 10 of WDM's Rules, which can be downloaded below.
The AGM will be followed by a WDM public conference in the same venue.
As part of our evidence-based approach WDM produces reports to support our campaigning work.
Below is a list of all our old campaign reports available as pdf files. We do have a limited supply of paper copies available on request.
You can also use the site search to locate past campaign reports.
Volunteers and interns are an important and valued part of the team at WDM. This is also true for many organisations in the not for profit sector. Our entire national network is comprised of people who are passionate about international development and campaign on a voluntary basis in their spare time. The internships we offer are slightly different as we tend to attract people who are not only passionate about international development but who also wish to develop their future career in this sector.
In the voluntary sector ongoing budget constraints mean there aren’t many entry level posts available. This, combined with the high level of competition, makes it extremely difficult for anyone to gain paid employment in this sector at entry level. WDM’s internship and volunteer schemes help people get their foot in the door.
Yes, WDM internship programme increases our capacity to do our work. In return, interns gain considerable and varied experience while working here. Not only do we provide an opportunity to gain work experience to increase their chances of gaining paid employment, but we also provide support on CV writing and interview techniques. In addition, if a short fixed term temporary position becomes available, we only recruit internally thus giving interns a much stronger chance of employment with WDM. Many of our paid assistant posts are filled successfully by former interns and volunteers who acknowledge the benefits gained from their early experience with WDM.
To allow time for part-time work outside of WDM, we ask interns to commit to 3 days a week for 3 months. We reimburse food and travel expenses but are not able to pay a wage due to limited resources. Please note that WDM’s income is both restricted and unrestricted, the latter pays for staff and other core costs and is always fully committed. Restricted funding must be spent on specific projects and campaigns directly.
We recognise this is not ideal. But if we had to pay wages to interns, it would be unlikely that we could offer an internship programme at all which would then remove the opportunity for people to gain the valuable work experience they need to get the jobs they want. The current system is tried and tested and it works well for both WDM and our interns and volunteers.
WDM's light and airy self contained meeting space can be hired for away days, meetings and training events. The room is 80 square metres in size. It seats 18 if tables are arranged in boardroom style or up to 25 if arranged in a horseshoe style.
There are two comfortable sofas for break out group or tea breaks.
The room has a small kitchenette and an en-suite toilet, with more toilets available in the building. There is fast and reliable WiFi with a number of accessible power points for break out groups to use.
Price: £150 per day (charities), £200 per day (businesses)
The World Development Movement Trust is a registered charity (CC No. 1064066) linked to WDM.
WDM Trust enables us to use charitable income from individuals, churches and charitable trusts to fund our research and education work, whilst leaving WDM free to campaign at a political level. The Trust funds the key research and publications which underpin our campaigns.
The Trust is also active in a small way in direct relief of poverty. Its Tanzania Rural Revival initiative is especially linked to Bulongwa and its neighbourhood and a "Peppercorn" scheme, run jointly with another Trust that specialises in employment generation by refurbishing computers, supplies computers to schools and other institutions, mainly in Africa. Both of these also welcome donations.
Through the WDM Trust, you can support WDM's work 'tax effectively' - if you are a UK tax-payer. This means that we can claim back from the Inland Revenue the tax you have already paid - making your gift worth 28% more at no extra cost to you.
We would like to thank the following charitable trusts and foundations, churches and faith based organisations for the generous financial support they gave in 2011 to either the World Development Movement Ltd (registered company no. 2098198) or to the World Development Movement Trust (registered charity no. 1064066).
This support is much appreciated for the significant contribution it made to WDM’s ability to fight for justice for the world’s poor