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You are here: Home / Resources / publications / annual report / archive / 2004 / success


international campaign victories in 2004

gm-free europe gathers steam
Friends of the Earth Europe's “GM Free Europe” campaign spread throughout 2004, with thousands of regions and subregions declaring themselves GMO-free (see ). Although Slovenia is the only entirely GMfree country, GMOs are not welcome in eight out of nine provinces in Austria and a huge chunk of Poland . Thanks to Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland 's call for a GM- free Europe , more than 14 million people in the UK are now living in GM-free areas. In Germany , 12,000 farmers, most of them conventional, agreed not to grow GMOs on 430,000 hectares in more than 60 regions.

In France , more than 1,000 mayors declared their municipalities GM-free; more than half of the 54 Greek prefectures banned GMOs; and over 500 Italian cities don't want genetically modified agriculture. Overall, seventy percent of European consumers have rejected genetically modified food, and many food retailers and manufacturers have pledged to source their products from GMO-free sources.
with thanks to our funders: the sigrid rausing trust and hivos.

peruvian mountain can keep its gold ,
In November Minera Yanacocha, a unit of the US mining giant Newmont, cited local protests as the reason for its decision to stop exploring for gold on Peru 's Mount Quilish. Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth Peru have long supported local farmers struggling to protect their natural resources, particularly water, and pressured the World Bank's International Finance Corporation not to finance the mine.
with thanks to our funders: the c.s. mott foundation and the oak foundation

climate litigation heating up
Friends of the Earth groups are involved in some of the world's hottest legal cases to combat climate change (see ). In Germany , for example, BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany launched a legal action in 2004 to force the German government to disclose its contributions towards fossil fuel projects through its export credit agency. Citing the 2003 floods in Argentina which killed more than 100 people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage, Friends of the Earth Argentina successfully used Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to reveal the failure of their government to adapt to climate change.

Friends of the Earth Nepal petitioned the World Heritage Committee to place the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, where glaciers are threatened by the warming climate, on its World Heritage in Danger list. In the United States , Friends of the Earth and others launched a lawsuit against the US export credit agencies for funding fossil fuel projects without assessing their contribution to global warming, or their impact on the national environment as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.
with thanks to our funders: the esmée fairbairn foundation and the polden puckham charitable foundation.

biting back: wto get your hands off our food!
In 2003, George Bush and big biotech companies put consumer health and the environment at risk by trying to use the World Trade Organization to force the EU and the rest of the world to accept genetically modified food and farming. In response, Friends of the Earth International and other organizations – together representing 48 million citizens worldwide – launched the “Bite Back” campaign, demanding that the US complaint be dismissed by gathering Citizens' Objections. The first 100,000 Citizens' Objections, with signatories from 90 countries including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and French small farmers' leader Jose Bové, were handed over to the WTO in May 2004.

Later in the year, the WTO panel decided to call in scientists, including several ecologists, to debate the safety of GM foods and crops. The move was a blow to the Bush Administration, which had attempted to stop any debate over scientific safety.
with thanks to our funders: the jmg foundation, the sigrid rausing trust and the dg environment of the european commission.

new targets for sustainable energy
At the June intergovernmental conference on renewable energy in Germany , the World Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank made new commitments to increase funding for renewable energy. The European Investment Bank announced an unexpected target for renewables lending of 50% of its financing for electricity generation in the EU – over 700 million Euro per year – by 2010. Friends of the Earth groups advocated more financing for sustainable energy during the conference handing out windmills to delegates.
with thanks to our funders: the wallace global fund, the oak foundation and the c.s. mott foundation.

russia ratifies kyoto protocol
In November 2004, the Russian parliament finally ratified the climate change treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol, paving the way for its entry into force in early 2005. Friends of the Earth and others had long campaigned for Russia 's ratification, for example protesting outside Russian embassies around the world and sending e-cards to President Putin on his birthday asking him to take action.
with thanks to our funders: the sigrid rausing trust and novib.

recognizing indigenous rights
In February 2004, our forest, trade and biodiversity campaigners teamed up at the Conference on Biological Diversity in Malaysia and fought successfully for the recognition of indigenous peoples' rights when protected areas are established, as well as indigenous rights in legal instruments dealing with biopiracy, the theft of genetic resources and traditional knowledge.

Friends of the Earth International also generated attention by organizing a fake Biodiversity Auction to highlight the immoral sides of the increasing commercialization of biodiversity through biopiracy and biotrade. Items up for sale included Russian and Malaysian national parks, West African fish stocks, Peruvian potato varieties, the entire Colombian Amazon, a transgenic “tomato-fish”, and even an indigenous person. Thanks to this and other campaigns, countries ultimately rejected the inclusion of ecological services in a tropical timber trade agreement that is currently being negotiated.
with thanks to our funders: the swedish society for nature conservation, hivos and novib

eib drops copper mine in laos
Over the past years, Friends of the Earth groups have worked hard to stop public funding by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a controversial copper mine in Laos . Although the EIB approved the loan in January 2004, it announced just a few months later that it was no longer involved in the problematic project as the mining company Oxiana had received a “better deal” somewhere else. This was an important victory in our campaign to phase out public funding for destructive large-scale mining projects.
with thanks to our funders: the c.s. mott foundation, the oak foundation and the wallace global fund

quantifying exxon's climate footprint
In January, Friends of the Earth International released the landmark report “Exxon's Climate Footprint”, which revealed that over the past 120 years the operations and burning of the products of oil giant Exxon Mobil and its predecessors have caused between 4.7 and 5.3% of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions across the globe. This is the first time a company's historic contribution to global climate change has ever been calculated, and should prove vital in paving the way for compensation claims against companies by victims of global warming.
with thanks to our funders: hivos and novib.

gmos, hunger and food aid
Friends of the Earth International is working with groups in Latin America and Africa to detect the presence of GMOs in food aid, and supporting claims by citizens and NGOs that non-contaminated alternatives are available. In early 2004, FoE African groups together with over 50 African farmers'and environmental organizations criticized the pressure placed by the World Food Program and the US Administration upon Angola and Sudan for their refusal of GMOs as food aid, asserting that alternatives exist. Friends of the Earth was also a main organizer of the first international conference on hunger, food aid and GMOs, which took place in Mozambique in July and brought together over 100 people, mainly from the African continent.
with thanks to our funders: the swedish society for nature conservation, hivos and novib

shell hit by nigeria spill claim
In August, the Nigerian parliament upheld a compensation claim of US$1.5 billion against Shell made by the Ijaw tribe in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The company admitted that in 2002 alone there were 262 oil spill incidents in Nigeria , involving 2,700 tonnes of crude oil. Friends of the Earth Nigeria and Friends of the Earth International welcomed the ruling against Shell, which has long been the target of our campaigns in Nigeria and elsewhere. Shell, however, has thus far not accepted the compensation order, refusing to face up to its responsibilities to local communities.

In 2003, climate campaigners throughout Europe staged protests outside the Russian embassies in their countries calling on Russia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Janneke Bruil of FoEI and Emil Salim, leader of the World Bank's Extractive Industries Review. Bottom right:World Social Forum 2004 .

monsanto drops gm wheat
In May, Monsanto, the world's biggest seller of genetically modified (GM) seeds, quietly announced that it was stopping all further efforts to commercialize its controversial GM RoundUp Ready wheat. Monsanto had applied in the US and Canada to grow the GM wheat, but faced worldwide opposition from farmers, food manufacturers, consumers and environmental groups including Friends of the Earth. Friends of the Earth was particularly concerned that growing this GM wheat would increase the use of herbicides.

improved, more transparent opic
Following a sustained campaign by Friends of the Earth groups, the Board of Directors of the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) approved the creation of an Advisory and Accountability mechanism which will allow redress for all communities affected by its projects. Friends of the Earth International's campaign also resulted in a “no-go zone” policy in areas of high conservation value, and the integration of the World Commission on Dams' recommendations into OPIC's environmental standards. with thanks to our funders: the c.s. mott foundation and the wallace global fund.

global law for gmos
Friends of the Earth GMO campaigners from many countries inflated an 8-meter high corn cob and launched a publication detailing a decade of failure in genetically modified crops at the February 2004 Biosafety Protocol meeting in Malaysia. The action and publication received worldwide media attention, and were part of a successful campaign to persuade governments to support strict GMO labelling laws and to launch negotiations for an international regime on liability for genetic contamination.
with thanks to our funders: hivos and novib.

reprieve for sakhalin's endangered whales
The Shell-led Sakhalin Energy company decided to postpone the construction of undersea pipelines in the Siberian Sakhalin II oil and gas project in mid-2004. Prior to the decision, the company had planned to lay the pipelines directly through the primary feeding habitat of the Western Grey Whale. Friends of the Earth groups and affiliate group CEE Bankwatch Network were part of a coalition generating pressure on the consortium and on potential international lenders, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Although the pipelines are only one part of a huge project, this was the first time that Shell acknowledged the impact of the project on the critically endangered whales.
with thanks to our funders: the c.s. mott foundation and the wallace global fund

pipeline construction stopped after oil company violates georgian laws
In July, the Georgian government suspended work on the Baku -Tbilisi- Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline after British oil giant BP decided to start construction in the ecologically vulnerable Borjomi region despite failing to obtain the necessary environmental permission. Furthermore, after continued pressure by Friends of the Earth groups and others, the World Bank Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed to a compensation scheme and monitoring plan for the project. The pipeline is a long-standing Friends of the Earth campaign due to its negative impacts on local communities and biodiversity, and its contribution to global climate change.
with thanks to our funders: the c.s. mott foundation and the oak foundation

world bank group responds to ngo boycott
At the end of 2004, after months of civil society protest, the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced that it would significantly revise its consultation process on new social and environmental standards. The decision followed a three-month civil society boycott of IFC consultations in Brazil , Manila , London , Nairobi and Istanbul by Friends of the Earth and other groups from around the world.
with thanks to our funders: the c.s. mott foundation

wto expansion plans scrapped
In 1996, at the first ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization, the European Union insisted that WTO member states begin discussions on liberalizing investment, competition, transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation. Since then, developing countries and civil society organizations around the world including Friends of the Earth International have staunchly opposed negotiations on these issues, which would greatly expand the WTO's power. In July 2004, following eight years of bitter wrangling, developing countries – with the full support of civil society networks such as Our World Is Not For Sale – finally succeeded in taking these issues off the WTO's negotiating agenda.
with thanks to our funders: the c.s. mott foundation and the sigrid rausing trust


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