June 2011

Monitoring the road to UN Millennium Development Goals in Latin America

LA Ruta and Noticias.nl report on it for you!

Almost three years ago a small team of journalists, equipped with video cameras and enthusiastic about starting an investigative journey through Latin America, departed from Amsterdam to Central America.

By: Team Noticias and LA Ruta

Photo: TEAM Noticias and LA Ruta
Interviewing miners in Potosi

The objective of the LA Ruta team was to get a better understanding of the real impact of one of the most important recent agreements of the international community, the UN Millennium Development Goals.

In the UN Millennium Declaration of September 2000, 147 heads of State agreed on overall values and principles of development which are reflected in the Millennium Development Goals. These bind countries in a global partnership to meet the overarching goal of reducing poverty by half before 2015. In detail, they aim to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.

Although it is an ambitious undertaking, which includes a unique unifying effort for the UN-member states in their development of co-operation policies, it is also the object of criticism from different perspectives. The main concerns of critics are: the lack of inclusion of citizens and civil society organizations, the disregard of important agreements already reached at previous UN conferences and the methods of goal-measurement. Moreover, there is a suspicion that the MDGs do not really represent a new agreement for global structural economic and social change, but rather the simplification of complex issues and the assuming of ´business as usual´.

LA Ruta was born out of necessity to track the progress of goal achievement. It shows that there is still a long way to go towards meeting these targets in Latin America. Our concern is that the local population’s point of view has not been considered sufficiently. This is the reason why we emphasize the voices of local social movements, which represent the ones concerned and therefore are the real experts.

On our trips to Central America, Mexico and South America, we carried out several investigations and produced a number of documentaries with videos, photos and articles about topics related to the MDGs.  Mines of Potosí and the capital La Paz and later to Lima, the Peruvian capital in our last trip to Bolivia and Peru between March and April of 2011 led us from Bolivian Chaco, home of the indigenous Guaraní, to the Cocaleros of Cochabamba. We saw the effects electoral fever, but not without passing by the impressive Lake Titicaca and the huge asparagus plantations in Ica.

During the trip, we gathered information about the more and less successful attempts of the governments to respond to a number of social and ecological problems, as well as about the opinions and alternative solutions of NGOs and local social movements.

In forthcoming months, we will present the results of our investigations, including whether or not forms of slavery exist on the plantations of El Chaco, the positive and negative effects of large-scale mining, the effects of mass tourism in Peru on the local population and the different local initiatives, which seek food security.

Photo: TEAM Noticias and LA Ruta
A Guarani woman


We invite you, the readers of the Cocha Banner Magazine, to follow LA Ruta and visit our web pages www.laruta.nu and www.noticias.nl, to be a part of our network on Facebook and Twitter and get a closer insight into our work.

LA Ruta is a project of Noticias.nl, which was founded in 1994 in the Dutch city of Amsterdam. We see ourselves as a platform for organizations and initiatives in the Netherlands which are socially and culturally connected with Latin America. As a news agency, we also search to stimulate the exchange of information between the Netherlands and Latin America and we inform about the Latin American migrant community in the Netherlands.

The web pages are in Dutch and Spanish, most of the videos are in Spanish with Dutch or English subtitles.

We hope you enjoy our productions and if you want to get involved, do not hesitate to contact us.

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