Act now to save Earth Summit!

May 27, 2002

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) accuses governments of wrecking the Earth Summit in Johannesburg ( 1 ). At the start of the last round of negotiations before the Summit in August, FoEI calls on governments to finally commit to a meaningful action plan. The negotiations in Bali, Indonesia are based on a new negotiation draft issued by Conference Chairman Emil Salim on May 9th . The text contains little of value. Most of the targets and timetables from earlier drafts have been removed.

Friends of the Earth International accuses governments of failing to set social and ecological limits to economic globalisation. Instead of using the Earth Summit to respond to the global concern over deregulation and liberalisation, governments seem hell-bent on rebranding the WTO´s free trade agenda as sustainable development. Corporations are being given a free hand by governments. The very few targets that remain in the text, are mostly to by achieved by corporations through voluntary initiatives. This, says Friends of the Earth International, is a shameful abdication of responsibility by governments and ignores that big business is one of the key players undermining sustainable development today.

Friends of the Earth International has made constructive proposals throughout the preparatory process for the Summit but has seen little willingness by governments to respond to civil society concerns. The USA, Australia, Canada and OPEC countries have continuously fought against any new commitments to emerge from the Earth Summit. Sadly, other players such as the EU have been unwilling and unable to stand up to these wreckers.

Friends of the Earth International sets out two challenges for governments to show that they are willing to change direction. Governments must agree to launch negotiations for binding global rules on corporate accountability at the Summit ( 2 ) and must establish that Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) are never to be subservient to WTO rules ( 3 ).

Daniel Mittler, Campaign Coordinator for FoEI, comments:

"Bali is the last chance to save the Earth Summit. Governments have broken the promises they made at Rio in 1992. It is thus urgent, that governments agree a clear action plan with money attached for Johannesbur."

Friends of the Earth International is launching its global campaign for the Earth Summit in Bali under the slogan "Don´t let big business rule the world". FoEI will be collecting demands for world leaders all over the world and deliver them to Johannesburg as part of a major art installation ( 4 ).

Daniel Mittler comments:
? We will bring thousands of messages from all over the world to the Summit to show governments that citizens demand social and environmental limits to globalisation. If governments fail to respond to this call, they will face a groundswell of anger in Johannesburg."

Friends of the Earth International´s comments on the negotiation text are available at www.rio-plus-10.org or www.foei.org/wssd as well as from daniel.mittler@bund.net

For more information contact:

Daniel Mittler
Earth Summit Campaign Coordinator
Ph: +49 173 923 4747

Notes

(1) Official information on the summit is at www.johannesburgsummit.org
(2) FoEi has launched a global campaign for binding corporate accountability rules: http://www.rio-plus-10.org/en/positions/26.php
(3) A full statement on MEAs signed by more than 150 organisations globally is at: http://www.rio-plus-10.org/en/positions/35.php
(4) FoEI is collecting messages for the Earth Summit, including on the Internet at http://www.rio-plus-10.org/en/action.php?a=a1〈=en