Annual report 2006
Breakthroughs on the public policy front were a major highlight of 2006 for TNI. At the hugely successful Enlazando Alternativas in Vienna, attended by over 1,500 delegates from Europe and Latin America, we had the presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia and the vice-president of Cuba join us for the final session, with follow up invitations from these and other Latin American governments to further dialogue.
Breakthroughs on the public policy front were a major highlight of 2006 for TNI. At the hugely successful Enlazando Alternativas in Vienna, attended by over 1,500 delegates from Europe and Latin America, we had the presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia and the vice-president of Cuba join us for the final session, with follow up invitations from these and other Latin American governments to further dialogues on a range of development policy matters.
We also co-hosted a major conference on the economic policies of Mercosur governments in Uruguay, attended by high level government officials, senators, parliamentarians and policy advisors. Meanwhile, the similarly successful Asia-Europe People’s Forum in Helsinki saw the Finnish Foreign Minister address the Forum, the Prime Minister receive a delegation from the Forum, and an official EU-commissionedreport acknowledge the challenges posed by the AEPF for both the inter-governmental Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and its official civil society body the Asia-Europe Forum (ASEF). The fruits of 10 years of lobbying by the AEPF also showed in the invitation to dialogue at the ASEM Labour Ministers’ meeting in Vietnam and the subsequent incorporation of some AEPF proposals in its final declaration.
The Swiss government co-hosted with TNI the third annual Informal Drug Policy Dialogue, attracting representatives from UN agencies, the European Commission and a number of governments, mainly from Europe and Latin America. TNI was subsequently invited to join the official Dutch delegation to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, held a number of policy dialogues with the Dutch government on the question of Afghanistan, and was invited to participate in major policy dialogues in the UK and Germany. The latter involved sixty of the major international players in the drugs and development policy field. The results of our work over the past ten years are now beginning to show in European policy documents.
As regards our work on public services, this year saw important strides in the development of the public-public partnerships (PuPs) approach to improving access to water and sanitation, which TNI and partners have been advocating. TNI co-hosted a successful symposium on this theme in parallel to the World Water Forum in Mexico. Our materials were quoted several times in the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2006, and the UN Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation proposed the launch of a mechanism to facilitate PuPs. We saw concrete commitments to such PuPs emerge from public water utilities in Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina and Peru in 2006, and indications of interest in France and Spain.
TNI was busier than ever in 2006, (co) organising a total of 77 international events involving 10,560 participants. These took place variously in The Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Finland, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States, Canada, India, and the Philippines. They included activities conducted under the auspices of the World Social Forum process in Venezuela, India, Athens and The Netherlands; as well as the Asia-Europe People’s Forum, the EU-Latin America and Caribbean “Enlazando Alternativas”, the Madison Dialogue on Latin American politics, and the annual Informal Drug Policy Dialogue.
TNI also (co) published two new books as well as translations of five previously published books; five briefing papers; three reports and a multilingual magazine supplement for distribution within Europe. Furthermore, we actively promoted the seven books and 285 articles authored by our fellows. We are particularly proud of the success of our Reclaim Public Water book, first published in English in 2005, and now translated into Bahasa, Spanish, Italian and Korean, with further translations into Finnish, Japanese, French, Chinese, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam now underway.
We held our annual fellows’ meeting on China, being privileged to have an opportunity to engage with Chaohua Wang, acclaimed author of One China, Many Paths and academics and activists from within China. Chinese NGOs are now official observers to the AEPF International Council, and 27 Chinese organisations participated in the AEPF in Helsinki. TNI has subsequently undertaken a mission to China, and is beginning a programme of training and dialogue with Chinese NGOs.
In memory of our dear late friend and colleague, we inaugurated the annual Basker Vashee Memorial lecture on African politics in June, also dedicating the TNI library to his memory. Dr Alex Magaisa, a political commentator and economist from Zimbabwe, gave the inaugural lecture at de Balie in Amsterdam.
On the staffing front, we bade a sad farewell to Helen Vreedeveld, Heidi Bachram and Annemarie Oostenbrink. Annemarie was given a particularly fond send-off on retiring as our bookkeeper after 17 years service with TNI. We welcomed to the team Environmental Justice project assistant Kevin Smith, Rural New Politics project manager Daniel Gómez and Communications Officer Oscar Reyes. The full staff complement stood at 18.9 in 2006, excluding our regular freelance staff. We took on six interns, mainly from Spain and the United States. Three talented young people were supported by TNI’s Next Generation programme to do work complementary to TNI’s current programme. Their work is to be published by TNI in 2007.
TNI had an income of Euro 1.909 million in 2006, down 16 per cent on the previous year – which had been a particularly good one as it included an extremely generous gift from our long-time friend, advisor and landlord, Hermann von Hatzfeldt. We effectively overspent Euro 10,376 in 2006 (a 0.5 per cent rate of over-expenditure) though the figure in our accounts is higher due to a legal obligation to post as a cost the depreciation in the value of our building.
On behalf of the Institute, I thank all staff, fellows, contracted researchers, partners and funders for their contributions to another very successful year for TNI.