denouncing corporate driven policies

FoEI has been one of the most active groups working on the topic of trade and climate change. Through policy articles, press releases, public interventions and seminars, we have highlighted how the ‘development-as-usual’ approach of the EU in particular, has aimed to expand corporate-friendly trade rules by deregulating and liberalizing energy markets: this contradicts its own commitment to fighting climate change.

denouncing corporate driven policiesWe have also analyzed new climate change policies from the international financial institutions and worked with civil society organizations to develop a set of demands targeted at governments and international institutions. While some of the original features of the new Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) have been adapted as a result of NGO criticism, the fundamental principles have not changed. However, what we have achieved, together with our allies, is unprecedented exposure and political debate around these CIFs, which is ongoing at the time of writing. Read more about our campaign on IFIs and Climate Change in 2008.

 

As a follow up of the FoEI Conference and workshops on Investor/State Dispute Settlement Mechanisms held in Montevideo, in 2007, FoE Uruguay launched the report, “People's sovereignty or corporate interests?". This homes in on the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), highlighting the way in which this World Bank mechanism is biased towards corporate interests. The report was presented several times in Bolivia, at the CEDIB (Bolivia’s center for documentation and information), at FTFC (the Factory Workers’ Union) in Cochabamba, and at Bolivia’s Press Federation in La Paz: it was received with great enthusiasm, and we succeeded in reaching out to more than 800 organizations. FoE Uruguay was also invited for an audience with senior officials at Bolivia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives of the Solón Foundation. In May 2008, Bolivia became the first country in the world to withdraw from ICSID, and Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Venezuela seem prepared to follow its example.

 

In 2008, the EJRN program also exposed actors who are pushing for more agrofuels development. For example, we produced reports on the role of the regional development banks in promoting agrofuels. During the Interamerican Development Bank meeting in Miami in March 2008, a FoEI delegation including FoE groups from Brazil, US and Haiti presented the analysis, did excellent media work and built important alliances. During the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting, in May 2008 in Madrid, we worked with the NGO Forum on the ADB to present the role of the ADB in financing agrofuels in Asia in an energy panel discussion. We also released a report on the involvement of European private banks in agrofuel development in Latin America, as well as a report on the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive, highlighting the fact that oil companies can achieve a reduction in emissions without having to shift to agrofuels. In September 2008, we released a major report on agrofuels in Latin America, with case studies written by our member groups in the region. In 2007, FoEI produced a movie on palm oil in Indonesia, produced by a German film-maker.

 

 

Another area where we have had a significant policy impact is on the European Union's timber trade policies, particularly in relation to the import of illegal timber. In 2007, in cooperation with other NGOs, we contributed to the reform of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and lobbied the European Commission and the EU Member States to ban the sale of illegally-harvested in Europe. In March 2008, with FoE Netherlands, we organized a march to the European Commission to deliver a report on illegal and destructively logged timber used in four EU building projects. The march comprised a band of musicians playing a fanfare on chainsaws and axes, led by a conductor. The objective was to raise EU decision-makers’ awareness that illegally logged timber is widespread in Europe, and that the EU needs to adopt a strong regulation completely banning the import and sale of illegal timber.

 

FoE Cameroon published an assessment of the relevance of the different certification mechanisms within the context of Central African forests, in 2007. The main conclusions of this report (with regard to socio-economic aspects, corruption, participation and access to information) also fed into above-mentioned discussion on FLEGT’s Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs).

 

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