Fair Trade to change what? th November, Overijse (Belgium) REPORT ON SEMINAR

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1 Fair Trade to change what? th November, Overijse (Belgium) REPORT ON SEMINAR 1

2 Introduction In the framework of an exercise of reflection on the partnerships set up by Fair Trade organizations, a seminar was arranged by Oxfam-Magasins du monde from 22 to 25 November 2009 in Belgium. Nine Fair Trade organizations that are partners of Oxfam- Magasins du monde 1, the African regional Fair Trade network (Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa, COFTA), FTAO (Fair Trade Advocacyy Office ), five European Fair Trade organizations 2 (Fédération Artisans du Monde - France, Claro Switzerland, CTM-Altromercato - Italy, EZA Austria,) and staff from different departments of Oxfam-Magasins du monde, as well as volunteers from Oxfam-Magasins du monde s Partnership Committee, exchanged their experiences and outlooks in an attempt to understand towards what changes today's Fair Trade movement may lead. To ensure the success of this action, preparatory work was carried out on the basis of a methodology. Research work on Oxfam-Magasins du monde's past partnership practices and on those of other Fair Trade organizations was carried out in advance. During 2009 research was carried out on the past partnership practices of Oxfam-Magasins du monde and of other Fair Trade organizations. A first basis of analysis was drawn up and put together in a file to feed into the reflection 3. Similarly, every participant was asked to write a preliminary contribution 4 in accordance with a table of questions (What makes you indignant? What are your means of action? What changes have you managed to achieve? What changes are you striving for for tomorrow?). These two resource documents enabled the content of the seminar to be built up in partnership with the participants rather than starting from a blank page. This seminar is just one part of a process and marks the starting point in the development of a vision of the future partnership relations between Fair Trade organizations in North and South and in the determination of the ways in which they can strengthen each other as actors for change. Overall objective: To understand the changes generated through Fair Trade in the North and in the South and the way in which partnership can reinforce them with a view to identifying concrete ways forward. Problems to examine: How does one act for change? How can we mutually help and strengthen each other among Fair Trade organizations? In the following pages you will find a report on the exchanges of those three days. 1 Ajquen (Guatemala), Bombolulu (Kenya), Craft Aid (Mauritius)), Ndem (Senegal), Pueblos del Sur (Chile), Sasha (India), Sindyanna of Galilee (Israel), SWATE (India) et Undugu (Kenya). 2 In addition to Oxfam-Magasins du monde: Fédération Artisans du Monde (France), Claro (Switzerland), CTM-Altromercato (Italy) and EZA (Austria). 3 See the file "Partnership histories: Oxfam-Magasins du monde s support for actors for change". 2

3 The first part of Monday 23 November was devoted to a detailed presentation of the organizations taking part on the basis of their preliminary contributions. Next, it was proposed that the participants should split up into workshops to debate the differences and similarities between the various actors present. WHAT ARE THE CONVERGENCES / DIVERGENCES AMONG THE FAIR TRADE ORGANIZATIONS PRESENT? All the participants believe they share the same strong principles. The values and concepts attaching to the principles of Fair Trade are today well known and accepted. Moreover, Fair Trade is perceived as a means of favouring the development of a democratic consciousness, on a larger scale than if one merely addresses ones own community. Indeed, it allows whole regions, whole countries to be addressed. All the actors agree that it is essential to work with international Fair Trade networks, even if each organization's own work remains important and local promotion in each country is essential. One of the major distinctions between Fair Trade organizations (FTOs) in the North and the FTOs of the South is the awareness of Fair Trade in the population at large and among local and national authorities. In the South Fair Trade is still often little known and the first problem to tackle is therefore the recognition of the sector by the political powers. In the North, where the Fair Trade sector is known and recognized, the work of advocacy therefore has other issues at stake. The main objectives of Fair Trade organizations are to strengthen the position of Fair Trade (by contributing to consciousness-raising among consumers, by making it more effective, etc.) and to make international trade fairer. All the actors involved in Fair Trade respond to the first objective through their commercial activities and their efforts to promote Fair Trade. The second objective is more ambitious to the extent that it involves change at global level. The first effort during this seminar would therefore concentrate on the definition and common understanding of the concept of special pleading in favour of Fair Trade and what is at stake in this exercise. Some participants defended the point of view that by having good products the handicraft workers are led to develop specific techniques, which gives them access to a certain level of action in favour of change. If the product is no good, none of the other dimensions will have any sense because there will be no market for it. The discussion then moved on to the division of tasks (inside an FTO, within Fair Trade networks, etc.). Which position should each actor favour and how should one allocate ones resources (financial, human, etc.) to meet these two main objectives? The place and the role of Fair Trade were extensively discussed. WFTO and the regional networks reflect the people who compose them. It seems important to know when to act directly as a movement and when to delegate advocacy to experts 3

4 FAIR TRADE, A LEVER FOR CHANGE. WHAT STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE? Presentation by Hilary Jeune (FTAO) et Jérôme Chaplier (Oxfam-Magasins du monde) Very early in the seminar it was realized that the participants did not all attach the same meaning to the term advocacy Throughout the seminar a huge effort was therefore devoted to the definition and common understanding of the concept of advocacy and what it entails. I. ADVOCACY: ELEMENTS OF A DEFINITION What is advocacy? Advocacy is the action of carrying on a discourse, of pleading a cause, an idea or a policy. It is a dynamic process that aims at gradual change. It is therefore a long-term process. Advocacy is distinct from campaigning, which contributes to awareness among citizens and consists of the organization of activities and public campaigns that raise questions of general interest. Advocacy and campaigning are complementary and each reinforces the other. The objective of advocacy The objective of advocacy is often the same as that of the work of development cooperation: to reduce poverty and suffering, to struggle against oppression and injustice and to support sustainable, longterm development. However, development cooperation work is often insufficient because it does not tackle the underlying causes of the problems. Advocacy is therefore necessary for several reasons: o it tackles the primary causes of poverty and injustice and aims at long-term change o it is based on a conception of people as actors of change in their own community o it can help to generate resources for development cooperation work o it aims to change unfair power structures o it can mobilize various groups/organizations around one and the same objective Challenges of advocacy All the interested parties must be involved, that is to say, must work together to bring about change. Challenge of coordinating NGOs, enterprises, community groups and social movements. Need to take account of different points of view, to share power and to set up common agendas and complementary strategies. It is therefore essential to share knowledge, experiences and lessons learned. The challenges of pleading in favour of Fair Trade An action aiming to change the rules of international trade can only be led collectively. Willingness to support and strengthen Fair Trade must come from both North and South, from political decision-makers, from civil society, from consumers and from producers. There is a pressing need to bring the voices of the South to decision-makers in both North and South, to create an advocacy network at global and regional level. II. WHAT STRATEGIES? A shared vision The conventional practices of international trade have led to injustice, poverty and exclusion, particularly for millions of workers and producers from the South. Yet trade could create opportunities and contribute to a more just development. 4

5 Unfair trade is the root of the problem, poverty is its consequence. 1. First strategy : we carry out actions to fight against the consequences of unfair trade. 2. Second strategy : we carry out actions to fight against the causes of unfair trade. Through the numerous organizations that constitute it, the Fair Trade movement is currently implementing these two strategies... and will continue to do so! They are related and they reinforce one another. 1. Fighting against the consequences of unfair trade What do we want to change? Take marginalized small producers out of poverty. Séminai What means of action? Create and develop an alternative market thanks to Fair Trade: commercial activity: buying and selling Fair Trade products to increase the opportunities for producers; strengthening producer groups by direct support; certification : giving guarantees to consumers; promotion: bringing more and more actors (consumers, public authorities, business) to support Fair Trade; advocacy in favour of policies favouring Fair Trade. What impact? Direct impact: several million producers from the South have access to better living conditions. Long-term impact: by improving Fair Trade's market share, the direct impact for producers is increased. 2. Combating the causes What do we want to change? Making international trade fairer: change trade rules and the practices of multinationals; make the local context more favourable to deprived persons; change consumption patterns, in association with the desired social model an approach aiming to make trade fairer by making production methods and patterns of consumption more sustainable and fairer. What are the means of action to obtain this objective?? Actions aimed at political office-holders(campaigning, advocacy) E.g.: action on economic partnership agreements (EPA), denunciation of the impact of trade policies on small producers and of the effects of climate change on the South, calling for development aid measures, measures to protect cultural identity, demands for respect fro human rights, etc. Actions aimed at business (campaigning, advocacy) E.g.: action on unfair practices by Chiquita, Starbucks, IKEA, etc. Actions aimed at citizens and consumers (awareness campaigns, education) E.g.: demonstrations, events, Oxfam breakfasts, sensitization at school Plénière Mardi 24 Novembre What impact? Direct impact: new rules in favour of poor populations, ending unjust policies and rules, changes of business practices, increasing minimum legal wage, changing consumers' behaviour,, Often these results cannot be attained by ourselves acting alone and we must set up alliances with other organizations/movements. 5

6 Long-term impact: producers may market their products one the basis of their positive inclusion in the system of international trade. 3. Points where the two strategies meet Developing a concrete commercial alternative is the best way of criticizing a system: showing that Fair Trade exists and is viable is a way of exerting pressure on the actors in conventional trade and on political office-holders. We call the system into question from the inside, as Fair Trade actors working within the international trading system (commercial activities) with the intention of changing the system (political activities). Both strategies target the same beneficiaries, i.e. the most deprived populations. The success and legitimacy of Fair Trade actors derive from these two strategies. Action on the causes of unfair trade (making trade fair) Action on the consequences of unfair trade (strengthenin g the position of Fair Trade) Levers of change in Fair Trade Campaigning and advocacy (aimed at political officeholders) Campaigning and advocacy (aimed at business) Education and increasing awareness (aimed at citizens/consumers) Promotion of Fair Trade (increasing awareness, education) Advocacy in favour of Fair Trade (aimed at politicians and business) Level local/regional/international Alliances 6

7 How can we act for change? On 24 November, we tried to take a look at the various levers used by each organization represented and at the kinds of alliance to be preferred. 1. Action on the causes of unfair trade Most of the participants in the seminar are involved in the work of advocacy aimed at politicians on subjects linked to the causes of unfair trade. However, some also undertake advocacy aimed at business. Many insist on the importance of working inside coalitions so far as advocacy concerning the causes is concerned. This often involves delegating to platforms of which the FTOs are members. In short, for many, this is only a very minor part of their daily work. Nevertheless, the participants consider this activity necessary, even fundamental, but think their organization cannot make it a priority for lack of resources. It emerged moreover that working with alliances is often a more useful way of reaching political office-holders and of dealing with the range of subjects linked to the causes. To operate these levers of change it is necessary to work in coordination with actors working more specifically on the root-causes of poverty. It is counter-productive to work in isolation and to expend resources for everyone to develop their own expertise on closely related subjects. In sum, a great need was acknowledged for building and/or strengthening networks that enable exchanges of the expertise required for advocacy. Examples of campaigning and advocacy work targeted on political office-holders Sindyana of Galilee conducts campaigns aimed at getting the Israeli government to recognize the rights of Arab farmers. In addition, Sindyanna calls into question the European rules regulating olive oil in order to push the EU to open its market more widely to non- European oils. SWATE is involved in and leads various campaigns aimed at political office-holders, mainly on agricultural questions. For example, a campaign has been led to stop the requisitioning of peasants' lands by big business. A campaign also mobilized citizens to confront elected politicians on the subject of illegal exploitation of sand and its dramatic environmental consequences. Oxfam-Magasins du monde lobbies the political parties at each election on matters going beyond just Fair Trade. At European level this work is also carried out, essentially through participation in alliances. Ajquen works to secure recognition of Fair Trade by the Guatemalan authorities but also on the causes of poverty, e.g. by working on the legal status of handicraft workers. There is a law on the protection of handicraft workers but its implementation has given rise to problems. Ajquen also works for the creation of a movement representing handicraft workers. The Fair Trade Advocacy Office has, for example published a study of the EU's aid strategy regarding trade. However, given that work on the causes of unfair trade is not its main priority, the FTAO favours coordination with other, more specialized, actors. claro has led a campaign on rice and cocoa. However, the organization considers itself too small to do more than it already does on the root causes of unfair trade. Still, claro supports and passes on information about campaigns. 7

8 Ateliers Mardi 24 Novembre Campaigning and advocacy aimed at business claro is involved in the Clean Clothes Campaign. Oxfam-Magasins du monde has run various campaigns challenging business (IKEA, Chiquita, large-scale distribution firms, ). The current tendency is to work more with the Clean Clothes Campaign in this field. SWATE took part in the study of IKEA in the framework of Oxfam-Magasins du monde's campaign about this firm. Education and increasing awareness of consumers EZA operates this lever for change mainly through support for platforms. EZA also addresses consumers, students, farmers and trade unions to explain the structures of international trade and introduce them to Fair Trade. claro acts through awareness campaigns (with Alliance Sud), events and spreading information (by newsletters). Sindyanna of Galilee uses part of its profits to increase citizens' awareness. The organization produces an annual calendar which aims to make the public aware of the situation of the Arab population in Israel. Sindyanna is also involved in events on International Women's Day on 8 March. Conclusion To tackle the causes of unfair trade it appears necessary to work inside alliances and networks, not least in order to meet the need for an exchange of expertise among the various FTOs. 2. Action on the consequences of unfair trade If the work on the causes does not always show itself explicitly, there can be no doubt that all the organizations represented work to deal with the consequences of unfair trade. The organizations from the South insist on promoting the principles of Fair Trade not only among consumers but also among the producers themselves. Ajquen aims to raise producers' consciousness through workshops on Fair Trade. After these workshops working groups are set up on different themes: outlets, start-up funding, etc. Undugu organizes training programmes for producers on their rights and, among other things, Fair Trade. This enables producers to become aware of their rights and encourages them to mobilized Pueblos del Sur also organizes training on Fair Trade destined for producers. In their relations with political office-holders, the organizations from the South aim to make Fair Trade, its principles and its functioning better known. Like the advocacy work on the causes, advocacy on consequences is often carried out in alliances with other organizations. Action on the causes of unfair trade (making trade fair) Action on the consequences of unfair trade (strengthening the position of Fair Trade) Levers of change for Fair Trade Campaigning and advocacy (aimed at political officeholders) Campaigning and advocacy (aimed at business) Education and raising awareness (aimed at consumers) Promotion of Fair Trade (raising awareness, education) Working with producers on knowledge of Fair Trade Advocacy in favour of Fair Trade (aimed at political officeholders and business) Level local/regional/international Alliances 8

9 3. Discussion of possible common advocacy programmes Following the finding that work on the causes of unfair trade is weaker and the expression of a need for more collaboration and exchanges, the discussions turned to the best way of responding to this finding. By better networking but how? Several participants are already active in a Fair Trade network. However, this network does not necessarily devote itself to campaigning and advocacy. The proposal for common campaigns involving various FTOs or regional networks was put forward. The difficulty of getting national and regional, indeed even worldwide agendas to coincide (particularly with the inclusion of partners who are not active in Fair Trade) was quickly emphasized by some. Moreover, the necessary resources are lacking. Opinions were divided but the concretization of the idea did not seem impossible. Everyone agreed in any case on the importance of exchanging information and expertise. The FTAO mentioned the future creation of a website which would allow information to be made common. 4. Discussion of FLO and the importance of being united within the Fair Trade movement In one workshop the debate focused on FLO and its labelling criteria. The main idea that emerged was the notion that it ought to be possible to criticize the practices of FLO, but from a viewpoint internal to the Fair Trade movement. Thus, if it is necessary to change FLO from the inside, all must speak with a single voice towards the outside in the name of the Fair Trade movement. In relation with the certification of Fair Trade products, some participants denounced the opportunism of big companies who make use of Fair Trade and thus profit from the hard work of advocacy and awareness-raising done by FTOs. They ought to pay a tax to the Fair Trade movement for all the work that it does and they use! On the other hand, it was put forward that to move on beyond support for a few producers and enable the many to take part in Fair Trade, it can't be avoided to work inside the system, i.e. with business. 9

10 25 November : work in themed workshops After the work of identifying the levers of action for FTOs and the drawing up of an analytic table, four specific themes were discussed in workshops. The task was to identify projects and/or struggles to conduct and to define the outlines of new alternatives and new ways of functioning. The four themes discussed in workshops were: Fair Trade and the environment Fair Trade and cultural identity South-to-south Fair Trade Handicraft as an informal sector FAIR TRADE AND THE ENVIRONMENT It is important to make the distinction between, on the one hand, taking account of the conservation of the environment in our own practices and, on the other, the place of environmental considerations in our work of advocacy and campaigning. The two are linked because the consistency between what we do and what we say is essential to reinforce the latter. As regards practices, some examples: giving priority to products from organic agriculture; choosing to import only products unavailable on the local market; working on product packaging; using supplies made from recycled material in shops defining a sustainable development plan for the organizations buildings and activities. As regards campaigning, some examples: campaign on individual practices and their impact on the environment; climate campaign linked to the Copenhagen summit; campaign on the environmental impact of business practices. If there is scope for action on certain factors, there will always be an ecological footprint linked to transport. On the other hand, by working to ensure that the finished product is directly produced on the spot, one reduces significantly the impact from transporting the product's components. The overall ecological impact can thus be reduced. For example, wine produced in France, bottled in Morocco, with a cork manufactured in Germany and the label printed at the other end of the country may have a greater ecological impact than Chilean wine bottled on the spot and them imported. Arranging a transition towards a change in production methods costs a lot. To help certain producers who are engaged in such a process, it might perhaps be necessary to set up a support fund for ecological transition. The big question is: who should pay into this fund? The polluters? In this case there could be a risk of establishing a right to pollute for actors who can afford it. The fund could also be topped up by profits from Fair Trade. Another important aspect is the consistency that underlies the steps taken and is good for the organization's image. An organization taking steps to function more ecologically can thus, in the end, achieve a good commercial operation However, the transition cannot be achieved, practically, in the short term and many organizations have no possibility of carrying out this kind of costly strategy. Must Fair Trade adapt to the market and accept products having a not inconsiderable environmental impact (e.g. cans of fizzy drinks) or be 100% pure? It also has to be asked who our clients are. These are often people who have high expectations on the environmental front. In order not to lose this clientèle and not to give up the project that is at the heart of Fair Trade, we have to try to keep to a consistent line. Furthermore, seeing how certain public policies are evolving in the North, trade that takes the environment into account will perhaps soon have access to new markets. 10

11 Ateliers Mercredi 25 Novembre The environment is at the heart of Fair Trade because numerous Fair Trade projects were launched in response to problems of pollution, as for example in India where industries pollute the water tables and rivers. Fair Trade fights against poverty. It attacks its root causes. Poverty is not simply a matter of income., it is a problem characterized by a lack of capital, whether the capital is economic, social, cultural, human, environmental, An holistic definition of poverty has to be adopted. It is in our interests to work on all these aspects at the same time. Finding alternatives also requires investment in research. It is a long-term gamble. It is also important to campaign for responsible consumption, by showing people that all aspects of consumption must be considered as a whole, because all the elements interact with each other. Today we have to find the arguments and the means to defend an holistic approach. In a global debate on the environment, it is interesting to speculate about what gives actors engaged in Fair Trade a specific place in the debate about the environment : we are active in Fair Trade and in organic agriculture (holistic approach to trade issues); we do not only talk, we act concretely in the field of trade; we offer guidelines for an ecological transition; we call into question the heart of the international trading system. With our specificities we can take part in a grand alliance of actors mobilized on environmental issues. It is as a coalition that we must demand the implementation at political level of measures uniting the social and ecological dimensions and work for the establishment of a process of ecological transition for the economy. 11

12 Ateliers Mercredi 25 Novembre FAIR TRADE AND CULTURAL IDENTITY It is first of all a question of defining the notion of cultural identity. By culture is meant traditional skills, designs that belong to a particular region and/or ethnic group. Culture is expressed in clothes, food, festivals and so on. It is an integral part of individuals and groups. A distinction is therefore made between the product and the cultural identity that is attached to it. 1. What message do we want to convey within the Fair Trade movement to promote cultural identity through the marketing of traditional products? The participants discussed two visions that coexist: defending cultural identity, according to a cultural point of view In Europe today, demand ethnic products is limited. We therefore have to analyse this idea further than just simple economic demand. Handicrafts are not static: even traditional products evolve. What remains is the skills, the designs that belong to a specific region. The notion of cultural identity is supposed to heighten consumers' respect for and awareness of the cultural dimension, so that the products are not mere goods. It is therefore vitally important to protect the ancestral skills of handicraft producers in a region or country. Culture and tradition are tools for developing handicrafts. In Guatemala, several organizations protect cultural identity. The modernization of the handicrafts sector has been widely accepted by the workers, who are fully aware of the need to let their products evolve to meet the expectations of the market. Cultural identity must be protected and valued by public authorities in order for handicrafts producers to continue to do what they know how to do. Support from these authorities is also needed with regard to raw materials. Summary handicraft producers' practices are not always perfectly matched with market demand for these products (in countries in the North); it is important to prevent these skills from disappearing and to make them viable; meeting of two objectives: preserving cultural identity and ensuring economic survival. 2. Actions to be implemented: advocacy aimed at local and national governments; promotion of the cultural identity attached to products; increasing handicraft workers' awareness of the value of their know-how; using legal means to protect intellectual property (patents, etc.); increasing consumers' awareness of the issues at stake in cultural identity. 3. What action should be undertaken within Fair Trade networks? What are the obstacles and how can they be overcome? There is a consensus about the need for every member organization of the Fair Trade networks to act. The blockages inside the WFTO are felt above all by the organizations from the North, less by those from the South. The participants expressed a strong wish to enlist the participation of all the member organizations of the WFTO on this issue. It is therefore intended to inform them of the work already undertaken at the seminar and to draw up an evaluation document to mobilize them. A resolution was already passed on this type of question by the WFTO two years ago but there has been no action since then. The participants therefore identified the need to be particularly watchful concerning the concrete actions that will follow this discussion. The protection of cultural identity must be taken up by the 12

13 organizations from the South themselves, by carrying out work to heighten awareness at the base and by conveying a consistent at international level. 4. Conducting campaigns at local level: how do, we put our vision across? Initiatives must be undertaken by every organization, by involving national governments to the maximum. It is a long term project that is not easy, even at national level. The first stage must take the form of research work to identify the problem, because the situation is different in each country. It was proposed to set up a working group with the participants in the seminar which will subsequently bring their remarks up to world level, to the WFTO. Oxfam-Magasins du monde was requested to propose clear lines for action in order advance together thereafter. 13

14 Ateliers Mercredi 25 Novembre SOUTH-SOUTH FAIR TRADE The goal of the workshop was to question the development of access by Fair Trade products to the markets of the countries of the south and identify follow-up actions for the FTOs of both North and South. 1. Existence of different projects The Fédération Artisans du Monde gives support to a South-South Fair Trade project in Peru. This kind of project is not easy to support from the North. This raises the question of the way in which an organization from the North can help and organization from the South to develop its activities at local level. In India, Sasha has opened a shop to distribute its products locally. Another means developed by Sasha to sell its products locally is the organization of fairs and exhibitions. Sasha has also imported into India some African Fair Trade products. However, in India a problem arises from the fact that Fair Trade is still little known. Indian consumers buy a product above all because it is attractive and not in order to contribute to an alternative economic project. In Africa, there is at present no real local market for Fair Trade. Only a few local initiatives can be counted. In Thailand, the FTO Green Net, very active in protecting the environment, also works on the local market, where it has opened some Green-shops. The organization CTM Altromercato has been supporting a project to open a local shop in Argentina. Its work has mainly consisted of helping to set up a network among local actors. 2. Behind local alternatives, global issues at stake South-South Fair Trade is a subject that increasingly interests FTOs from the North, because of the growing interest in the issue of relocalization of the economy. The problem is that numerous Fair Trade products are not consumed in the South and can thus only find an outlet through exportation. It is therefore necessary to increase the awareness of producers who sell on local markets that they should make their commercial activity evolve towards Fair Trade. Rather than being rival activities, exporting and distribution on the local market seem to be complementary. Thus, Sindyanna of Galilee began its activities by selling its olive oil solely on the local market. However, there was then a serious political and economic crisis in the country, which made economic activity very difficult. The organization therefore decided to turn towards exporting by joining the WFTO in Trading with organizations from the North has enabled the organization to grow. This has, in the end, strengthened the local activity. Often the exporting activity of FTOs is complemented by an activity directed towards local consumption with products that are not necessarily the same as those that are exported. This is the case, for example, with the producers of dried mangoes in Burkina Faso, who also offer a series of products on the local market. In Ecuador, certain Fair Trade products are also sold and consumed locally. Each country has to face different issues that it is necessary to be able to identify. Despite everything, a way ought perhaps to be found of supporting South-South Fair Trade in a global manner and not only through isolated local initiatives. Every country is different and the initiatives must come from the FTOs from the South for their own markets, but research work on the best existing practices in certain countries from the South would be useful for organizations wishing to venture into Fair Trade destined for the markets of the South. Research in this field could be carried out by Oxfam-Magasins du monde. In addition, the campaigns in favour of Fair Trade conducted in the North could serve as sources of inspiration for the organizations from the South to raise awareness among the local population. Ateliers Mercredi 25 Novembre The organizations from the South may also expect FTOs from the North to provide them with a guarantee of credibility that enables them to find commercial outlets, for export but also on the local 14

15 market (among other things for tourists, who are often confronted with products of mediocre quality at abusive prices). Thus work is needed on the development of a network that is strong both commercially and politically. Account must also be taken of the fact that many commercial initiatives trying to show respect for people and the environment already exist in the South but are not always directly linked to the concept of Fair Trade. 15

16 HANDICRAFTS AS AN INFORMAL SECTOR 1. What is the message to convey? Handicrafts are an informal sector that needs to be recognized and respected as a sector of economic activity, but also through its handicraft producers. An integrated approach to the question is therefore needed. 2. What are the means of action? In the South: Raising awareness and mobilizing handicraft producers, citizens, consumers; advocacy targeted at public authorities, both local and national, to obtain recognition of the handicrafts sector (economic and technological support and access to raw materials); advocacy targeted at public authorities, both local and national, to get them to support handicraft producers (defending their rights, recognizing their labour and their skills, improving their working conditions, etc.). In the North: education and raising awareness of consumers, to remind them that there exists a whole handicrafts sector in Fair Trade; advocacy to obtain support, recognition and professionalization of the sector; support for producers to improve the quality of the products, to finance training, etc. 3. What links between the activities in the North and in the South? Sharing experience of advocacy can be useful, as the organizations in the countries of the North have more experience than those from the South in this field. The organizations from the North could help their partners to become more professional. A similar job could be done at the level of awareness campaigns aimed at citizens and consumers, on the basis of experience acquired in the North. Greater cohesion between FTOs would enable us to act with more consistency as a Fair Trade movement There is no international body representing handicraft producers on a global scale. The only place that resembles one is the WFTO. The WFTO could therefore be a space where it is possible to have a global discourse about handicrafts. No precise action plan emerged but a number of interesting subjects were identified: handicrafts and their producers are part of an informal sector and may therefore be compared to other informal sectors; by putting in the forefront cultural identity and the advantages of handicrafts, one has at ones disposal a positive way of presenting FTOs from the countries of the South, instead of saying that we are working with groups of poor and underprivileged producers. 16

17 CONCLUSIONS OF THE SEMINAR: TOWARDS A COMMON UNDERSTANDING OF ADVOCACY BY FTOS The seminar contributed to a better understanding of the concept of advocacy by all of the participants. Taking up this concept favoured a greater awareness by everyone of the fact that FTOs are by their very essence political actors. Their means of action are varied and may concentrate on either the causes or the consequences of unfair trade. Advocacy is a long-term process, whose objective is generally to secure structural changes. Conducting a campaign is a more short-term process. The richness of the exchanges and meetings that took place during the seminar leave us able to envisage future collaboration among the organizations represented. One participant explained that the multiple testimonies amounted to resources that would feed into the work of his organization. We have been able to observe various visions of the work of advocacy and campaigning. We understand better why different points of view exist and we are therefore better able to accept them. There is a real willingness to work together, but perhaps not all together. We should derive nourishment from one another's visions to build up our own vision of the work of advocacy. It is therefore important to construct a consistent message conveyed by several organizations to pursue a coordinated and effective strategy of advocacy. We must find the means of working together and of expressing ourselves as a movement. It would be tremendous to conduct one and the same campaign all together. We must continue to discuss and to work on our strategy and our campaigns, suggested one participant. Another added that the impact will be all the greater if we are in a position to communicate effectively towards the outside. We should each be working according to our own directions of work, but the message ought to be identical. The importance and the role of Fair Trade networks were also widely emphasized during these three days. A number of participants agreed on the importance of investing energy in national and regional Fair Trade networks. Networks are also seen as an effective tool for passing on the results of the seminar to all the members and producing a multiplier effect. One participant reminded us that We are ambassadors and we must carry our message to others so that the action may be carried out at every level. The working perspectives that emerged from the seminar cover important issues a local, national, regional and even global level. The four themes that were pursued in workshops on the last day of the seminar indicate some possible actions and directions of work. It now remains to determine a concrete action plan, as well as the collaborations that could be envisaged. Oxfam-Magasins du monde proposes to pursue the work that has been begun by giving a concrete follow-up to the discussions and conclusions of the seminar. The evolution will not be instantaneous but it is possible. We must continue to work on these themes and we shall meet again at the World Social Forum in Dakar in 2011, concluded one participant. 17

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