Asambleas Ciudadanos


the Citizens' Assembly in the Southern Cone



Second «Water and geopolitics» Seminar in the Southern Cone

Translations : Español . français . English

The second “Water and geopolitics” Seminar took place on June 5-6, 2009 in the Argentinean city of Córdoba, with ten experts in water management and environmental impact from the Southern Cone. The papers were complemented by different debates organized in round tables. More than 150 participants attended, among whom there were many students.

This second stage of the seminar – the first one had taken place in September, 2008 in Córdoba as well – is part of the Francisco Miranda Regional Integration Chair project. This chair is an initiative of the regional Citizens’ Assembly of the Southern Cone, and it comprises a space for informal discussions and the elaboration of reflections about the very many challenges faced by the region in order to promote the integration of the communities and the peoples from this region.

The guest speakers translate this effort so as to call for regional diversity. The following participants were present : the Mothers of Ituzaingó from Córdoba association (Argentina), a group of farmers from the Córdoba region (Argentina), Tamara Pérez Rivera – Environmental Sciences professor from the University of San Simon (Bolivia), Victor Manuel Torres Lozada – Peru’s National Drinking Water Workers’ Federation advisor, Juan Carlos Cardenas – Ecocéanos Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (Chile), Cecilia Lujan – Citizens’ Assembly for the Life of Famatina (Argentina), Norma Pollet – Environmental Law professor from the School of Commerce of the National University of Córdoba (Argentina), María José Castillo and Cecilia Batistini – lawyers from the National University of Córdoba and miembers of HIJOS organization.

«This variety of viewpoints offered the possibility to present a view of the various impacts that industrial activities have on the environment as well as reveal a cross issue : the worrying human situations caused by the irrational development of such activities. These situations affect citizens’ fundamental rights. But the limited approaches connected with the defense of “human rights” was quoted insistently, when dealing with this sort of problem» points out Angela Pino, speaker for the Argentinean Assembly. In fact, various activities are carried out in the region connected with mining, soy and corn single-crop-farming, as well as chemical and energetic production. These activities, produced according to technical and one-dimensional logics, impact directly and indirectly, and sometimes destructively, on health, employment, social cohesion and ecosystems.

The debates have proved that the market’s economic logics, together with permeable governance mechanisms which do not limit foreign influences (what others may call “neo-colonization”), may and already do lead to several insoluble situations :

  • they do not allow to secure reciprocal inter-dependence relationships between the various regions of the world and, worse still, they do not foster mutual understanding amongst peoples so that they may get ready to manage the plant together in the future;
  • they produce greater conflicts and deeper contradictions among towns, even among governments ; such conflicts may bring “un-governability and instability” situations ;
  • they maintain an imaginary within which conquest and power-taking appear as the privileged means to make the situation evolve ; now, it is clear then that the alternatives to be created when faced with such great challenges are, at the same time, conceptual, organizational, ethical and political.

The summary of the seminar currently being written by Angela Pino should pick up from these various points and emphasize the proposals suggested in the debates.

The seminar was an opportunity to create new contacts with universities and citizens’ organizations from Argentina. Angela will propose the exchanges, particularly with the University of Córdoba and the Union of environmental citizens’ assemblies from Argentina.







the Southern Cone Assembly ont the web

Visit the webpage of the Assembly : and the different blogs linked to its initiatives : the General Blog of the Argentinan team in Córdoba, the Blog of the revue Pensamiento Propio, the blog de la Regional Integration Chair.

Pictures of the 2009 women's meetings

Have a look at the pictures of the women’s meetings held in September and November 2009


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