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Davos Conference Challenged by 20 Million People

**Press Release**

Global Outrage against "The Globalisers of Misery"

Oviedo, Spain, 29 January 1998 - Today the 1.000 foremost corporations of the world, associated in the World Economic Forum, start their Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, with the stated objective of setting the "Priorities for the 21st Century".

At the same time, 192 organisations from 54 countries, with an aggregate membership of 20 million, released the Declaration against the Globalisers of Misery, a statement that denounces the Davos meeting and "the accelerating centralisation of political and economic power caused by globalisation, and its gradual shift to unaccountable and undemocratic institutions, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO)" (1)

The statement, issued by academics, authors, journalists and a broad coalition of organisations (including peasant movements, trade unions, indigenous peoples, human rights activists, environment and development NGOs and church-based groups), reflects the growing opposition to economic globalisation, "which only benefits multinational business elites, while increasing numbers of people are going hungry, unable to afford basic health care and education, and forced to cope with environmental destruction."

The statement emphasises the "leading role [that the World Economic Forum] played in the economic globalisation process", preparing the ground for the launching of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and the liberalisation of financial services.(2)

This denunciation of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum is the first activity of the Peoples' Global Action against "Free" Trade and the World Trade Organisation (PGA), a new instrument for coordination created by grassroots movements from all continents to enhance their work against corporate rule. The PGA will hold its first worldwide conference in Geneva on 23-25 February, convened by some of the foremost peoples' movements of the world, like the Zapatista Front for National Liberation, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, the Sandinista Workers' Union, the Peasant Movement of the Philippines, the Indigenous Women's Network and the Karnataka State Peasant Movement, among others. (3)

The collection of signatures for the statement will continue until the evening of the 2nd of February. In the same period, protest actions against the World Economic Forum will take place in all continents, ranging from a demonstration in South Korea to street theatre in Mexico.

(1) The complete declaration and the list of signatories can be retrieved from the PGA web page at http://www.agp.org. For information about the statement and the actions, please e-mail playfair@asta.rwth-aachen.de or fax +34-8-524.11.21

(2) All direct quotations and factual information regarding the World Economic Forum have been taken from the Forum's web page http://www.weforum.org

(3) For more information about Peoples' Global Action Against "Free" Trade and the World Trade Organisation (PGA) and its first worldwide conference please visit the web page (http://www.agp.org) or e-mail playfair@asta.rwth-aachen.de

Play Fair Europe! Oviedo Tel/fax +34-8-524.11.21 Pedro Masaveu 1 10 E playfair@asta.rwth-aachen.de 33007 Oviedo, Spain check http://www.agp.org

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