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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 29, 2002
1:12 PM
CONTACT:  Green Party of the US
Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576, nallen@acadia.net Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, scottmclarty@yahoo.com
U.S. Greens at the Earth Summit to Challenge International Trade Authority, Citing Disastrous Environmental and Economic Policies
 

WASHINGTON - August 29 - The International Committee of the Green Party of the United States will introduce a set of eight demands at the World Summit on Sustainable Development ("Earth Summit") this week.

The eight demands, appended below, stress the need for wealthy nations to lead the world in overturning policies that have led to a global climate crisis, fossil fuel dependence, arms races and the threat of war, and an increasing gap between rich and poor. The demands have been distributed to the major NGO groups officially affiliated with the U.N. yesterday at the official site of the summit, the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"The demands from the U.S. Green delegation address the ruin that trade authorities such as the WTO, IMF, and the World Bank are causing worldwide," said Tim Harthan, Green Party candidate in Iowa for the U.S. Senate. "These secretive, anti-democratic cabals wreak havoc on the environment, on human rights and democracy, and on the health and local economies. They overrule local and national environmental, health, and labor protections and force privatization of public resources and services, all in the name of investment and the market. It really means turning developing nations into feeding troughs for corporate profit."

At the top of the list, say Greens, is fresh water, privatization of which has caused economic hardship and disease around the world. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, a World Bank mandate in 1999 to hand over the ownership of water to the California-based Bechtel corporation meant that prices for fresh water rose to a quarter of monthly earnings for many people. Privatization of water last year caused epidemics of cholera and typhoid in Ghana.

"The attempt by multinational corporations to control water supplies is yet another example of the need to reverse global warming and effect regulations to prevent hardships among those too poor to afford the price of water," said Ted Glick, New Jersey candidate for the U.S. Senate, who noted that global corporations already own or operate water systems that bring them profits of $200 billion a year and serve only 7% of the world's population. "Water, so necessary to life's existence, should not be an item of trade for profit," Glick added.

Green International Committee co-chair Annie Goeke, in a speech at the People's Forum for WEDO (Women's Environmental Development Organization) Women's Action Tent on Monday, August 26, criticized the U.S.'s current military buildup, calling it symptomatic of the Resource War syndrome. "This form of leadership under the banner of 'War on Terrorism' has further allowed countries and in particular 'developing' nations to neglect the care for their people as they scramble to arm themselves with the latest high tech warfare equipment," said Goeke.

Greens at the Earth Summit will also introduce a petition calling for self-government in the form of statehood for the District of Columbia. Organized by the D.C. Statehood Green Party, the petition will be presented to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

"It's a disgrace that, in the capital of the free world, American citizens are denied democracy and equal protection under the law," said Adam Eidinger, Statehood Green Party candidate for 'Shadow' U.S. Representative for the District. "The only solution to Congress's power to impose unwanted and destructive policies on D.C. is political self-determination. It's no coincidence that the majority of the District's population is African-American, so our situation here is comparable to that of nonwhite developing nations throughout the world -- which also suffer unwanted and destructive policies imposed by international trade institutions acting on orders from the U.S. and other wealthy nations."


MORE INFORMATION

The Green Party of the United States http://www.greenpartyus.org National office: 1314 18th Street, NW Washington, DC 20036 202-296-7755, 866-41GREEN

Citizens Guide to the World Summit
http://www.citnet.org/worldsummit

Women's Environmental Development Organization
http://www.wedo.org/

Petition to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights,
in demand for statehood and democracy for the
District of Columbia
http://petition.dcstatehoodgreen.org/

Index of Green Party candidates in 2002
http://www.greens.org/elections


* * * * *
Demands for Johannesburg: Eight Key Steps to Global Renewal.

Looking Towards Johannesburg The Environment, Development, Security, and Democracy Eight Steps to Global Renewal [International Committee of the Green Party of the United States]

Introduction and Summary

The World Summit on Sustainable Development will occur in late August of this year, in Johannesberg, South Africa on the 10th anniversary of the Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992. The prospect facing the planet, its eco-systems and its peoples, has not improved in spite of Rio¹s high hopes; indeed, they are arguably in a much worse condition.

The gap between rich and poor, both within nations and among the nations of the world, is greater than ever. Natural resources continue to be extracted without sufficient attention to the impact on the environment or the long term impact on the availability of resources for future generations. The planet's forests, fish, and available water supplies are diminishing due to reckless exploitation and mismanagement. Conditions for working people have become much worse. Climate change, global warming, and poisonous air are by common consent now major catastrophes in the making. Consumers are increasingly exposed to food and water and products of all kinds that are inimical to their health. Communities everywhere are suffering greater threats to neighborhood, family values, security of livelihood and physical safety, often coupled with deadly threats to their eco-systems. The world is increasingly wracked by a deadly arms race and a misguided war on terrorism. The leadership of the most powerful countries is in the grip of an obsession for more fossil fuels instead of making a necessary shift to renewable energy sources. The hopes for greater democracy heralded by the Rio Summit have all but faded away.

This paper explores the global political context and proposes steps that can be taken to transform global governance and policies vis-a-vis the environment, development, and democracy. First, six steps, then a background analysis, and a conclusion.

Eight Steps to Global Renewal

1. Make the closed deliberations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) open to NGO participation.

2. Require the WTO dispute resolution panels to give as much priority to environmental, labor, and consumer standards as they do to standards of market fairness and freedom of trade. In this regard, it must become the norm that the panels will give utmost consideration to the Precautionary Principle in their deliberations and decisions.

3. Create a World Environmental Organization (WEO) as a partner in tandem with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

4. Levy a small tax (often called the Tobin Tax) of 0.1% on foreign exchange transactions, the proceeds -- estimated to be approximately $400 billion per year -- to be dedicated primarily to drastically reducing the preventable death toll annually of over 10 million children around the world and to the rapid development of solar power worldwide.

5. Demand that the developed countries live up to their already existing commitment to provide aid to developing countries in an amount not less than 0.7% of their GNP.

6. Require the IMF and the World Bank to shift their financial aid to developing countries from loans to grants to a point where at least one half of the financial outlay is in the form of grants.

7. Make a decision at Johannesberg to convene immediately a special world conference to achieve a drastic reduction in the production and sale of arms in and among all nations.

8. Make a decision at Johannesberg to call upon all nations, including the government of the United States, to approve the International Criminal Court.

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