International Forum for Developing States
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Logo of the IFDS
|Motto||"Cooperation, Development, Sovereignty"|
|Purpose||Internationalism, trade, cross-border cooperation|
The International Forum for Developing States an international grouping for promoting international cooperation among participating countries. It aims to galvanise South-South cooperation and greater understanding between the three important continents of the developing world namely, Coius and Asteria. The forum provides the countries with a platform to engage in discussions for cooperation in the field of agriculture, trade, culture, poverty reduction and defence among others.
The Association of Emerging Socialist Economies ended before the establishment of the IFDS, but was similar in its promotion of south-south cooperation. It notably excluded Shangea and other non-socialist regimes, and eventually fell apart because of decline in membership and lack of ideological coherence.
The International Forum for Developing States aims to promote South-South cooperation and build consensus on issues of international importance. It also aims at increasing the trade opportunities among members, as well as facilitate the multilateral exchange of information, technologies and skills to complement each others strengths. Subsequently, it promotes the international poverty alleviation and social development with main focus being on equitable development. It also aims to explore avenues to promote cooperation in broad range of areas, which include agriculture, climate change/global warming, culture, defence, education, energy, health, information society, science and technology, social development, trade and investment, tourism and transport. The IFDS also seeks to establish a series of regulations and rules that regulate the role developed states play within the economies of the developing world, in a program known as the "Sovereignty Project".
Areas of cooperation
The Sub-Forum for Agriculture aims to improve production, promote and develop small-scale agro-industry in participants. It also seeks to improve and diversify horticultural crops across the developing world.
The IFDS recognises education as a vital instrument for achieving social equity and laying the foundations for a modern labour force. Three major areas of cooperation have been identified for collaboration namely, Open and distance education, higher and professional education and finally, universal education with a focus on gender equality. The IFDS also seeks to establish formal student exchanges between the participants based upon areas of strength, as such Zorasan for example seeks to offer thousands of places for students in engineering and medicine.
The working group aims to promote clean and efficient sources of energy such as bio-fuels. It also gives an opportunity to exchange information about renewable energy and use of non-conventional energy sources. There is also an argument towards establishing an "energy circle" in that the poorest participants can receive energy at discounted prices to ensure energy supplies.
Science & technology
Science & technology has been identified as one of the key areas of multi-lateral cooperation. The following is a list of desired areas of research cooperation:
- HIV/AIDS and Nanotechnology
- Malaria and Oceanography
- Tuberculosis and Biotechnology
- Communications and Computing
- Robotics and Financial Technology
Will wait until the first Forum-General Summit...
The IFDS was created by Zorasan and Xiaodong in partial response to fears of globalisation's effect on the sovereignty of developing economies. However as far back as the 1970's, both Zorasan and Shangea had communicated shared wishes for a body that would bring together the developing economies to insulate them from the erosion of sovereignty, whilst also offering genuine support for outright South-South cooperation.
In a speech in 1990 former Shangean leader Yang Zhengming stated that "we need a world where the developing countries support each other, exchange ideas, exchange successful policies and plans, while warning against failed ones, where they exchange technologies and expertise, rather than seeking this from the developed world which only leads to the introduction of malignant multi-national corporations who treat workers poorly and have little respect for political institutions - corruption happens. By working together can you get the protection of sovereignty among the developing nations."
The organisation wants to introduce a "blacklist" of multi-national corporations known to be engaged in criminality or corruption, this blacklist would be shared among all developing nations, whilst a "Gold standard list" would be used to identify the most successful partners among the developed world's most prominent multi-national corporations.
The IFDS is currently made up of seven developing or newly industrialised economies, of which each has an equal stake in the IFDS' running and maintenance. The IFDS is centered around the Forum-General, which meets annually in alternating member states. It is attended by either member's heads of governments or state, Foreign ministers who senior diplomats. The Forum-General is the platform where systemic agreements are made, or exclusive issues are settled. These issues and proposals are sent to Sub-Forums, of which there are six; Agriculture, Education, Energy, Science and Technology, Trade and Sovereignty. These Sub-Forums are made up members' specific ministers related to those areas.
Each member is given leadership over a specific sub-forum, usually based upon their individual economic strengths in the area. However, this was scrapped before the First Forum-General, in the view that all member-states should share equally in areas of cooperation.
Developed states are permitted to take up observer membership, a non-voting position that allows developed economies to address the Forum-General, the IFDS hopes that this will allow lines of cooperation and collaboration to open between the developing and developed world.
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