Draft Declaration Trades Away The Environment

November 13, 2001

The leaked revised WTO ministerial declaration, drafted and circulated by the Chair of the Ministerial Conference in Doha at noon time today, was greeted with horror by Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), the largest grassroots federation of environmental and social justice organizations around the world. 

FOEI fears that if adopted in its present form, the agreement would:

  • perpetuate the WTO?s marginalization of the environment and sustainable development and continue to undermine the effectiveness of global environmental treaties (para 6, 31, 32, 33);
  • continue to promote subsidized and unsustainable industrial farming practices and threaten food security and safety (para 13, 14);
  • lead to the intensified plunder of the last ancient forests and other vital ecosystems. Trade liberalization for natural resources, especially from developing countries, such as forest products will increased resource destruction, and will undermine forest conservation measures (para 16);
  • continue to permit the patenting of life forms and the theft of biological and genetic resources, especially from the South (para 19);
  • threaten environmental regulations and expose local economies to damaging international corporate pressure through proposals to liberalize investment and competition policies (paras 20-25);
  • pose a risk to the environment and damage local communities through the liberalization of trade in environmentally-sensitive services sectors such as water, energy, waste, transport, and tourism (paras 31(i) and 15).

Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth International said:

"This is another example of very one-sided globalization. The cause of sustainable development is more urgent than ever, yet the rich country
governments in particular, are determined to press ahead with yet more environmentally damaging trade liberalization. We don't need a new
trade round nor new issues, we need a review that enables sustainable development to be reflected in all trade rules."

For more information contact:

Damian Sullivan
Mob: 0421 874 838

Cam Walker
Mob: 0419 338 047