On Monday 10th October, the International Debt Observatory (IDO), was launched at Parliament House in Brussels, Belgium. African, Asian and Latin-American representatives were present, as were anti-debt campaign-leaders, social and citizens’ movements, trade-unionists, jurists, NGO members and members of parliament from Brazil, the Philippines, Mali and Venezuela.
The International Debt Observatory was presented by the President of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM), Eric Toussaint, as « arising from an initiative of the World Social Forum to centralise analysis and research on debt-related issues ». Its main instrument will be Internet. Its Website will reflect the IOD’s activities and « will include information, data-bases and studies offering alternatives to those carried out by organisations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the financial information "factories" used to back up policies and interpretations which go against the interests of the people ».
Professor Jorge Marchini, of the University of Buenos Aires, explained that as he saw it, « the Observatory will not replace national and international campaigns against the debt. On the contrary, its purpose is to give them objective scientific backing with high-level academic research from a variety of countries ».
For Camille Chalmers, Professor of Politics at the University of Port-au-Prince in Haiti, the Observatory will bring « support for our countries’ demands and mobilisation against the application of neo-liberal policies and permanent structural adjustment. The time has come to fight for full-scale audits and to propose alternatives ».
The meeting with journalists from the main Belgian media was closed by Pierre Galand, saying that the event was « of enormous importance for the analysis and search for solutions to what is a huge issue of dramatic proportions for Third World countries ».
The Web-site www.oid-ido.org will be launched on November 2005. There will also be an official presentation of the Observatory in Mexico City on 29 October.
Traduction: Vicki Briault (CADTM).