Development Platform for the Americas (PLADA)

Speech by Rafael Freire, Economic Policy and Sustainable Development Secretary, on the Development Platform for the Americas (PLADA), which the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas is about to finalise

We are currently witnessing the unfolding of a far-reaching, multifaceted international crisis that calls for a reassessment of the hegemonic neoliberal development model imposed for over three decades. Thus far, the key countries have, however, offered no more than stopgap solutions, applying policies based on the same logic as those that triggered the crisis. The only result has been to magnify the most damaging effects of the crisis, with a clear-cut impact on the world’s social majorities, and especially its workers. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the policies serving corporate interests and the bank rescues, rather than helping countries, are contributing to increases in unemployment, inequalities and social exclusion.

In light of this, we are united by the conviction that an urgent and structural response is needed to overcome the crisis. This response must inevitably be developed in consultation with the trade unions, labour movements and the various collective expressions of civil society: social, peasant and environmental movements, student, feminist, youth, childhood and human rights groups, organisations fighting against repression, defending sexual diversity, indigenous peoples’ rights or the victims of violence, social and solidarity economy stakeholders and organisations defending the rights of migrants, teachers or promoting art and culture, etc.

Conscious of the need to expand on the changes driven by the emanicipatory political projects seen in recent years on the continent, the TUCA has undertaken to develop a new policy instrument, the Development Platform for the Americas (PLADA), centred on the principle of sustainable development.

The concept of sustainable development has emerged as an alternative to the neoliberal model; a way of understanding and organising the key aspects of social life from a new perspective; a solution built by the people and for the people. The conditions are ripe for the launch of a new development agenda for a new economic model that prioritises production and work, responds to the social demands of our people and has environmental sustainability as a foundation stone, together with a system of democracy that provides people with the means to express themselves both through their representatives and directly.

This is our vision of development, built on trade union values reaffirming the principles of decent work, the distribution of wealth, participatory democracy, gender equality, social protection and inclusion for all, intergenerational equity and environmental protection. It is a vision that integrates economic, social, environmental and political dimensions.

The only way to ensure that the gains are lasting is to consolidate and institutionalise them. The challenge of the 21st century is to strengthen the mechanisms guaranteeing that it is the people and not the corporations or multinationals that determine the social and political course taken on the continent. This joint endeavour should focus on building genuine social alliances that merge to form a counter-hegemonic development agenda capable of embracing and articulating all of our voices.

The PLADA is in the process of being finalised and will be launched during the first half of 2014.

11 February 2014