NGO's at World Summit \Ashamed\ to be Australian

August 27, 2002

Australian civil society are so embarrassed by the Australian Government's position at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg that they are telling the world they feel ashamed to be Australian.

As day one of the WSSD commenced, it quickly became clear that the Australian Government will again undermine measures for people-centred sustainable development.

"It's clear that Australia will again try on its tactics of blocking binding targets and undermining a positive process that has taken years to get off the ground," said Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) spokesperson Liz Turner following a meeting today with members of the government delegation.

"Time and again, this government frustrates hopes for constructive solutions to global problems. We saw it at Kyoto, we saw it at Bonn, and again at Bali in the lead-up to Jo'burg.

FoEA is lobbying for greater corporate responsibility and binding targets for sustainable development, specifically:

  • A framework for corporate accountability, contained in an internationally binding Code of Conduct;
  • Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and commitment to binding targets for the development of renewable energy;
  • International recognition that nuclear energy is unsustainable. In Australia Rio Tinto must abandon attempts to develop the Jabiluka Uranium Mine and rehabilitate the mine site;

"The world's NGOs have expressed open resentment of the Australian Government's position, and Australian NGOs share the international community's disillusionment, with many participants at the Summit openly saying they feel ashamed to be Australian."

The Summit's Draft Plan of Implementation currently calls upon countries to increase renewable energy use by 10 percent by 2010 and provide clean water to at least half of the world¹s poor by 2015 ­ Australia is expected to reject both of these targets.

Friends of the Earth International will protest against World Business Day at the WSSD Sandton Convention Centre on Sunday 1st September. 6000 mannequins will reclaim the WSSD as "The People¹s Summit" from a huge ?corporate giant¹ floating above the Convention Centre.

For further information contact:

Liz Turner
Ph: 0837508407

Kel Dummett
Ph: 072 401 5395

Mark Wakeham
Ph: +61 412 853 641