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The AITEC Project

Publié par , le 19 février 2007.

Founded by urbanists, economists, corporate executives, jurists..., Aitec is an international solidarity association committed in the fight for economic, social and ecological justice. Through research, advocacy and support provided to the social movements’ campaigns and mobilisations Aitec participates in building an expertise that is rooted in resistance and critical action. Aitec strives to propose alternative perspectives and policies.

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The overall vision of AITEC was defined in its founding text (1983) : “To establish practically and professionally a refusal of the technical “diktats” and to give political debate its importance back”. This means “overcoming the divide between the professionals and the activists”, and “progressing on both a political and a professional front in order to better respond to the demands of workers and peoples for progress and independence”. By refusing to make knowledge exclusive and unaccessible, we encourage a variety of approaches and invite technicians to accept or to widen and develop debates.

AITEC’s project is strongly rooted in the field of international political economy : it has developed its reflection on differents themes since its creation, among which :
 housing access and right to the city
 public services, access to rights and democracy
 The reform of the International financial institutions
 Debt cancellation and financing for development
 Trade and development, regulation of international trade

In this way expertise, in connection with social movements, NGOs and trade unions, represents a dominant axis.
AITEC defines itself as a network of professionals, associations and professional and expertise groups, working itself in connection with a number of associations.

Through various activities (seminars, workshops, publications, briefing and policy papers, experience sharings...), AITEC aims at contributing to the exchange of informations, analysis and expertise, while avoiding north/south dichotomy or citizens/specialists divisions.

AITEC collaborates with other organizations for much of its work. AITEC is becoming increasingly involved in collectives, it has a strong presence in international conferences, working alongside other organizations challenging the dominant currents. AITEC participates in the alternative globalisation movement, particularly through themed seminars : social forums, particularly the first World Social Forum at Porto Alegre (in reaction to the Economic Forum at Davos), counter summits to the G7-G8, at the counter Franco-African summit, etc…
Thus AITEC shows itself as a part of the world social and citizen’s movement.

Some of our projects, declarations, stances

AITEC’s existence has been characterised by the creation of specific work groups and theme areas, as well as numerous events (colloquiums, seminars, debates) publications and declarations.

Some of the declarations by AITEC :

 "La dette et le développement du Tiers-Monde" in 1986 and in 1989,
 « Environnement, développement et démocratie » in 1992 during the Rio Conference,
 « Le droit à l’accès de tous à l’habitat et à la ville » in June 1996 (Habitat II),
 the « Charte européenne pour le droit à habiter et la lutte contre l’exclusion » in 1998...

Debates and innovative reflections :

 « Sécurité : quelles politiques ? » in 1984,
 « L’économie politique de la corruption » in April 1989,
 The 1992 dossier « Légitimité ou illégitimité de la dette du Tiers-Monde », - « Science, pouvoir et démocratie » in 1996 ;
 « Expertise et principe de précaution » in 2002.

The « Cahiers Voltaire » files :

 « Marché et démocratie » (oct. 1993) ;
 « Quelle politique énergétique en France aujourd’hui ? » (1999) ;
 « Service public : dossier pour une refondation » (2000)
 and more recently « Contre la criminalisation des familles pauvres » (2004) and « Libéralisation du commerce et développement » (2005).

The Aitec’s projects

Urban Issues

AITEC’s urban group started its activities early by organising reflections on the future of towns, notably on the role of towns in developing countries and on the lack of policies and practices for the establishment of urban spaces. A key issue is land access, which has been the object of declarations and statements denouncing the unequal access of urban social classes to equipped land which is suitable for construction. The work carried out with regards to developing towns brought together the struggles taking place in Europe with regards to the right to housing and the right to the town. The positions held by the urban group shared with associations, researchers, professionals and activists have been displayed and discussed during social forums. This stand denounces poor housing and the urban divide. Our activities working together with the Brazilian movements have spurred us to work on an radical urban reform. This work must focus on coming together on an agreement of a “globalised” approach of popular habitats as habitats which are undervalued and looked down upon despite being the habitat of the many. This is in addition to agreeing on the recognition of the right to housing and to the town as instruments in the struggle in the North as well as the South. Urban sustainable development is a burning topic.

Examples of activities and involvements :

 Franco-Brazilian platform of exchanges and experiences
 The ‘opposable’ right to housing platform
 The Seminar "the city under the threat of neoliberalism"

Development financing and trade

AITEC’s reflection regarding development financing involves a wide analysis of development models and policies. How should we finance development ? This issue also leads to the issue of governance, the means of regulating the global economy and its political framework. This reflection concerns States just as much as multinationals and their corporate social and environmental responsibilities. How can we organize the international system, based on which principles, and according to which rules ?
AITEC works, in connection with its partners and through different campaigns , on the problems of debt, international financial institutions, official development aid, world trade and development financing.

Examples of activities and involvements :

 Participation in the activities of Réseau IFI, PF Dette et Développement, Taxations internationales, and the Commission APD and Coordination SUD…
 The study « Gouvernance mondiale »
 Exchange with CNCD on the section Commerce de l’étude Gouvernance mondiale…
 Within the CRID, coordination of the group « Financement du développement durable ».

Public Services

Since 1995, this group brings together professionals of public service companies, universities, trade union representatives and organisers of citizens associations from the global North as well as South. The group’s analysis of the democratisation and modernisation of services incorporates both a European dimension and a North-South perspective. This reflection also considers its key role with regards to development and the guaranteeing of access to fundamental rights, such as access to health, water, education, electricity, housing, etc.

Examples of activities and involvements :

 Call by the GATS/public services coalition, campaign.
 Proposals for "la représentation des usagers-citoyens dans les services publics"
 Struggles against the privatisastion of EDF : colloque à l’Assemblée Nationale "Citoyens, EDF, GDF vous appartiennent"
 AITEC-CELSIG’s response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on the SIG
 CRID Workshop : "Les services publics, une alternative au système néo libéral ?"
 2005-2006 : Fifty proposals for public services

Citizen expertise

This issue has been a part of AITEC’s work since the 80s, representing one of the historic projects of the association. AITEC’s reflection on this very broad subject of citizen expertise is designed around three main focus points : the types of expertise arising from social movement / the relationship between science and expertise / the status of the expert in social change.

Examples of activities and involvements :

 « Vous avez dit progrès ? Sciences progrès et développement » 1993 (AITEC, Global Chance, SNCS, Conscience)
 « Sciences, pouvoir et démocratie » 1996 (AITEC, Forum Plutonium, Global Chance, 4D, en hommage à Martine Barrère
 « Expertise et principe de précaution » 2002 (AITEC, Global Chance et Solagral).
 Programme Européen Leonardo en partenariat avec Les Petits Débrouillards

Partnerships et publications

AITEC’s privilidged partners :
Agir Ici, ATTAC, CNCD, DAL, Gresea, Rinoceros…

AITEC is a member of different coalitions and networks, including :
 CRID - Centre de recherche et d’information pour le développement.
 CICP - Centre international de culture populaire.
 Alternatives, an international development communication and action network.
 Resol, an association which independent expertise, advice and support structures, working for social transformation, a socially responsible economy and sustainable development.

AITEC is a co-founding member of IPAM (Initiatives pour un autre monde), a network of 6 international solidarity associations (Echanges et Partenariats, Amorces, Cedidelp, AEC, Cedetim, AITEC) which are involved in the construction of a solidarity movement bring international issues to local mobilisations. IPAM is particularly involved in the world, continental, national and local social forums, aiming to create a world based on solidarity.

English ressources from our internet site :

Introductory report on the inclusive city - Fourth international forum on urban poverty - Marrakech

Communication from the European section of habitat International Coalition, NGO in Consultative Status - 1999

Athens statement - Another Europe with public services for all - may 2006

European network for public services : Meeting of Geneva - Communication - october 2006