Friday, 7 May 2010

Latin American consumer groups look for solidarity

Boris Wolf, Global Member Services Coordinator at CI, says consumer organisations in Latin America are inspired by legislation abroad.

Last month I met with consumer organisations from Argentina, Brazil and Chile and overall I feel greatly encouraged by the conviction shared by many members that organisations from the region should look beyond Latin America, both further to the north and south.

An organisation from El Salvador, CDC, said that it is through learning of the existence of legislation about insolvency in France, Italy and Chile that they made demands for changes to the national law. CONADECUS from Chile also made the point that it could be interesting to share evidence gathered about the long term impact of private pension funds on consumers with other consumer organisations in countries where this system is currently being implemented. Chile has pioneered reforms for funding pensions since the 90s.

Looking at the common problems encountered in dealing with northern transnational companies is also an area that got a great response from consumer organisations in all three countries.

But the withdrawal of international cooperation continues to pose a very grave challenge to the operational capacities of consumer organisations in Latin America. A few are faced with the challenge of making the transition to becoming a more mature and sustainable organisation but many still do not know if they will continue to exist beyond a year or two.

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