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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2003 / 0128

0128

January 28, 2003
Porto Alegre, Brazil and Davos, Switzerland:

trust - can corporates and government deliver?

Eighty Friends of the Earth International [1] members participated at the World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil and at the Public Eye [2] on Davos, in Davos, Switzerland a parallel summit outside the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Corporate power and government complicity in the rape of the planet was the main focus of the activities undertaken by the Friends of the Earth International participants in Porto Alegre and Davos. "The tens of thousands of participants at the WSF are planning a new world order, one which is socially just and ecologically sound", states Ricardo Navarro, Chair of Friends of the Earth International participating in the WSF and "ecological issues are finally being recognised as a critical cornerstone to a fair and just new world order."

While the process at the WSF was inclusive and accepting of a diverse range of views and positions, in Davos, governments have been responding to demands of corporations for the further exploitation of the natural resources of the planet and the further undermining of civil society's rights. Secret meetings between governments and major oil corporations at Davos have serious implications for the future stability of the United Nations. A recent Deutsche Bank report indicates serious conflicts of interest within the Security Council of the United Nations (UN), in considering the future of Iraq. Major oil companies stand to gain depending on a future decision by the UN in regard to Iraq.

Friends of the Earth International has raised concern about the manner in which non-government organisations have been treated within the WEF. Pro-Natura, Friends of the Earth - England Wales and Northern Island - NGO's participating in the WEF and a leading human rights organisation have been prevented from presenting critical information within the WEF to inform key debates. "This exclusion clearly indicates that the potential for open dialogue within the WEF is a misnomer, and that civil society will never be able to inform debates participating within the WEF," says Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth Vice Chair Friends of the Earth International, "trust is no where to be found within the WEF."

The violence of the world economic order on local communities has been presented at both the WSF and at Davos. Friends of the Earth International calls on world governments to "take back the power they have given to the trans-national corporations through the multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organisation. Governments should return that power to decide the future of the earth to the communities," said Ricardo Navarro, Chair of Friends of the Earth International.

"The WEF confirmed it is a business leaders meeting supported by governments trying to prioritize economic benefits of transnational corporations at the expense of social and ecological needs," said Navarro. "The World Social Forum on the contrary is open to everyone and every idea, from people protesting the free trade areas of the Americas to the people who are concerned by pollution. This is a truly inclusive culturally diverse democratic and participatory event."

It is clear that trust cannot be built by the governments and big business, therefore Friends of the Earth International in recognising the above weaknesses of the global world order commits itself to strengthening local community campaigns that challenge the abuse by corporates and governments.

For more information:

Ricardo Navarro, Chair of Friends of the Earth International
+ 55 519213 8163
Tony Juniper, Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International + 44 771 284 3207

NOTES:

[1] Friends of the Earth International is a federation of autonomous environmental organizations from all over the world. Our members, in 68 countries, campaign on the most urgent environmental and social issues of our day, while simultaneously catalyzing a shift toward sustainable societies.

[2] "The Public Eye on Davos" is an international conference held over several days at the end of January at the same time as the WEF annual meeting in Davos. This alternative to the WEF is the joint project of a coalition of NGOs from all the continents. It focuses on a well-grounded critique of the neoliberal globalization influentially promoted by WEF members – the biggest multinational corporations. Faced with the massive social and environmental impacts of this one-sided economic globalization, the Public Eye promotes a globalization of justice and environmental sustainability. The globalization project of international business is countered with viable alternatives that have arisen from civil society.

 

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