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Benin, Bhutan and Costa Rica entered into a partnership through the South-South Cooperation Programme for Sustainable Development, with the financial support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This initiative was established in 2002 based on the principles of equality, reciprocity and participation of all societal stakeholders.

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PSSC at International Social responsibility Conference in the Netherlands

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banner inauguration 346pxLast Friday (14 October) the head of PSSC Secretariat, Prof. Marianella Feoli attended a Conference on International Social Responsibility at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands.

She introduced the audience to the participant countries’ innovative approach to development in the global South, based on equality and reciprocity between developing countries.

She explained that more than 150 organisations had already participated across three countries: Costa Rica, Benin and Bhutan. As a result of the cooperation projects, hundreds of new products had been brought to market, creating thousands of jobs.

One of the key lessons that people often learn from working on the project is that cultural differences are not necessarily barriers, but rather opportunities for learning.

The Conference also saw the opening of the Photo Exhibition “Three Continents. One Vision” which featured photographs by Javier del Campo, which he took during his travels in the three PSSC Partner Countries.

Other notable speakers included the former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers elaborated on the personal influence Marga Klompé had had on him when he first took office, praising her unique moral clarity, which stemmed from her religion.

Roberto Bissio, the international coordinator of NGO-network Social Watch expounded on the failure of recent economic ‘development’ and globalisation, to benefit the poorest members of the world’s population.

Social Watch’s ‘Basic Capabilities Index’ reveals that poverty alleviation has stalled, whilst trade has grown exponentially. At this time of ‘fashionable austerity’ he advocated a more human approach, paying greater attention to people’s well-being than to GDP figures.

Prof. Mirjam van Reisen, who at this event was inaugurated as Endowed Chair of International Responsibilty in name of Marga Klompé (the first female minister of the Netherlands), talked about the relevance of Marga Klompé’s ideas and approach to today’s world: “Klompé was someone guided by a deep sense of faith, yet her religion was an intensely personal affair - she used it to bring people together in her search for universal values.

“Klompé’s basic moral principles are those which still underpin the inclusive welfare state - she rejected the notion of personal culpability for misfortune, and preferred to blame circumstances rather than the underprivileged themselves.

“The economic doctrines of privatisation of social security pursued by the World Bank proved to be incompatible with the provision of a minimal level of social protection. A reassessment is underway of the appropriate balance between states and markets.”