Nov 20, 2009
The Croation Ministry of Environment is attempting to shut down Zelena akcija/FoE Croatia due to a peaceful protest the group held in March.
Zagreb, Croatia, Sept 23, 2009 -- The Croatian Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Construction has launched a case at the Court of Offences in Zagreb against the biggest Croatian Environmental NGO, Zelena akcija/Friends of the Earth Croatia, threatening its closure with a fine of 50.000 to 110.000 euros for a peaceful protest action held in front of the Ministry on 12th March 2009.
The action consisted of a small group of activists exhibiting empty cans of paint and varnish in the shape of a question mark for 7 hours in front of the Ministry to protest at the Ministry's failure to implement the Waste Act and provide collection points for waste paint. The Ministry, however, in its statement described it as illegal dumping of waste, which carries a fine of 50.000 to 110.000 euros - a sum which would bankrupt the NGO.
Ironically, the action was successful and led to the provision of free waste paint disposal services at the recycling yards in Zagreb.
"The Ministry must drop the court case immediately and concentrate on the real polluters", said Tomislav Tomasevic the President of the Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia. "A fine of 50.000 - 110.000 euros for a peaceful protest action is ridiculous, particularly considering that Croatian oil company INA was fined just 15.000 euros in 2005 for decades of choking air pollution in the city of Sisak, and even then the judge imposing the fine was removed from his position afterwards".
"It is hard to see this court case as anything other than an attempt by the Ministry to silence the biggest and most successful environmental NGO in Croatia," added Jagoda Munic, the Vice-President of the NGO. "It is an embarrassing step backwards for a government which sees itself as leading the country towards EU membership".
Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia also calls on the Prime Minister Ms. Jadranka Kosor to take action against the politically responsible people in the Ministry.
For more information contact:
Tomislav Tomasevic, president of Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia
+385 98 719253, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov 16, 2009
Vote for the company or lobby group you think is doing the most to sabotage effective action on climate change.
The Angry Mermaid Award has been set up to recognise the perverse role of corporate lobbyists, and highlight those business groups and companies that have made the greatest effort to sabotage the climate talks, and other climate measures, while promoting, often profitable, false solutions.
The award is named after the iconic mermaid statue in Copenhagen - where crucial climate talks will take place this December. The mermaid is angry about the destruction being caused by climate change.
Tell us who you think is the biggest culprit by casting your vote online now!
Sep 17, 2009
Europe is using increasing quantities of the world’s natural resources, according to a new report launched by Friends of the Earth Europe.
According to a new report launched by Friends of the Earth Europe at the 'World Resources Forum' in Switzerland, Europe is more dependant on imported resources than other global regions.
The extraction and use of natural resources such as food crops, fossil fuels, minerals, agrofuels and timber has major environmental and social impacts.
Case studies in the report – including of oil extraction in Nigeria and biofuel production in Indonesia - demonstrate some of these impacts. Europe does not just import such materials directly, it also imports them as part of finished products, for example a computer imported from China will have large amounts of resources associated with its production.
Dr Michael Warhurst, who leads Friends of the Earth Europe’s Resources and Consumption campaign, said:
“Europe is using an ever-increasing amount of the world’s resources, and our society is already very dependent on imports of materials – yet we have no targets to reduce this resource use, and new policies are not assessed for their potential to increase our resource efficiency.
Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on the EU to take the first steps to tackle this issue through ensuring that our resource use is measured, and by adopting new policies to increase our resource efficiency, such as higher recycling targets. The EU must also start to devise long term targets and strategies in order to radically reduce our resource use.”
Friends of the Earth Europe and Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) have analysed possible methods of measuring Europe’s resource use, and are proposing that four key aspects be covered: material use (the focus of this report), land use, water use and greenhouse gas emissions. Each of these analyses must properly account for the impacts of Europe’s consumption on the rest of the world, by incorporating the ‘rucksack’ of the resources used to make products which are imported into Europe.
Dr Warhurst added:
“In order to continue to thrive on this planet, our societies will need to become less resource dependent, so that we are able to protect our natural resource base and the fragile eco-systems on our planet.”
Europe is using more than its fair share of resources, and reducing our consumption will also free more resources to increase the quality of life in the developing world. In addition, a more resource-efficient economy will be a competitive advantage for Europe as resource availability becomes more constrained in the future.”
Read the full report here.
Jul 23, 2009
Thousands of indigenous Guatemalans took to the streets in July to demonstrate against a new mining law and a cement company threatening to damage rural communities.
Nearly 15,000 indigenous Guatemalans began a march this week to the country's capital and blockaded roads to demand the suspension of a new mining law, a law they say will be extremely damaging to rural communities.
The indigenous community had previously held consultations where the population expressed their rejection to mining extraction projects, and the new mining law would render these agreements void.
Furthermore, the community of San Juan Sacatepéquez is calling on cement company Holcim-Cementos Progreso to leave their territories. The company aims to install a plant that would start operating in 2012.
Members of the Friends of the Earth Guatemala/CEIBA said the residents that would be affected by the Holcim-Cementos Progreso project are mainly craftspeople and flower harvesters.
They claim that the cement company's plans to “mitigate” the environmental impacts including reforestation with eucalyptus, something that would have even more serious consequences on the water sources.
call to suspend mining licenses
Real World Radio interviewed Alfonso Morales, leader of the Maya Mam organization in Huehuetenango, on the north west border with Mexico. His organization and others calling for an immediate suspension of mining licenses, and for the approval of the Integral Rural Development Law, which promotes the local and peasant economy.
“Thousands of indigenous people have taken to the streets to defend the 25 mining consultations carried out in Huehuetenango”, said Morales. He also expressed concern about the criminalization of local leaders in the area as a result of their outspokenness.
Former presidential candidate and human rights advocate, Rigoberta Menchu, is warning about the possibility that the country's most powerful sectors might orchestrate a coup d'état against President Alvaro Colom due to the current climate of social agitation.
See the photos of the demonstrations here
Listen to an the interview with Alfonso Morales here on Real World Radio
Jun 10, 2009
Damning evidence reveals Shell’s complicity in crimes against humanity as a landmark case is resolved in favour of families of executed Nigerian environmental leader Ken Saro-Wiwa and others after a 14 year legal battle.
After legal battles lasting nearly fourteen years, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has been forced to pay a $15.5 million out-of-court settlement. Plaintiffs from the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta have successfully held Shell accountable for complicity in human rights atrocities committed against the Ogoni people in the 1990s, including the execution of writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. The legal action is one of the few cases brought under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute that have been resolved in favour of the plaintiffs. The settlement includes establishment of a $5 million trust to benefit local communities in Ogoni.
“Shell could not stand the damage of bad publicity around this human rights case. Global campaigners have helped to highlight Shell's abuses and we share in this historic victory” he continued.
Han Shan from the ShellGuilty campaign said: “This case should be a wake up call to multinational corporations that they will be held accountable for violations of international law, no matter where they occur,”
This settlement though will not put an end to the daily struggles people throughout the Niger Delta face as a result of Shell's activities in the region. Despite this victory, justice will not be served in Ogoni and throughout the Delta until the gas flares are put out, the spills cleaned up, and the military stops protecting the oil companies and starts serving the people. This issue will not be solved until these legitimate grievances of the community are addressed.
the fight goes on
The next phase of the struggle continues with another case with an Ogoni plaintiff pending in the New York District Court, and a further legal action in The Hague, Netherlands, where Royal Dutch Shell is headquartered. The company faces a legal action there for repeated oil spills, brought by residents of the Niger Delta, with support from Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Friends of the Earth Nigeria.
“Shell will be dragged from the boardroom to the courthouse, time and again, until the company addresses the injustices at the root of the Niger Delta crisis and put an end to its environmental devastation,” says Anne van Schaik from Friends of the Earth Netherlands.
“Communities, human rights lawyers and activists will continue to demand justice with the same determination and hope shown by Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people.”
May 26, 2009
The European Parliament elections will take place from 4-7 June. Now is the time to call on your MP to stop the corporate lobby's influence on EU policies.
Currently, more than 15,000 professional lobbyists are present within the halls of the EU institutions, a large majority of these representing business interests. Many of these corporate lobbyists are being granted privileged access to EU-decision-makers, often resulting in delaying, weakening or blocking urgently needed progress on social, environmental and consumer protection regulation.
The Commission’s existing voluntary lobbying register is inadequate: most lobbyists have not registered or fail to provide crucial information such as the names of individual lobbyists, what issues they lobby on, and how much money is involved in their lobbying operation. Moreover, the current laws do not address the influence of lobbyists over EU decision-making and raise serious concerns over the EU’s impartiality and democratic principle.
European citizens need to know who is influencing EU decision-making and how much money is involved. For the sake of democracy and transparency, it is essential to create a mandatory lobby register to which all lobbyists have to sign up and that gives clear information on the interests represented and how much money is involved.
We need strong Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) ready to fight for the ambitious social and environmental policy targets we know we need. In order to put corporate interests in their place, lobbying transparency and high ethical standards for EU policy makers are essential.
Take action now!
EU readers should go to Friends of the Earth Europe's Election Campaign Website and ask their parliamentary candidate to end corporate dominance in the EU today.
Global Europe: The tyranny of "free trade", the European way
Read our new analysis of the EU's 'Global Europe' strategy. This strategy is set out to support the profit of European corporations instead of people and the environment. Find out more.
Apr 07, 2009
Campaign organizations denounce the EU's continuing contribution to the financial crisis.
On April Fools day 2009 Brussels-based environment, development,
farming and transparency campaign organizations denounced the EU's
continuing contribution to the financial crisis and the limited
solutions it advocated at the G20 with a theatre spectacle in front
of the European Council.
Politicians and citizens battled their way out of the financial crisis, to the backdrop of a stock-exchange on stilts - all part of "Financial Fools Day", a global day of action on the eve of the G20 meeting in London.
Alex Wilks from the European Network on Debt and Development said:
"The ostrich approach to regulation -- put your head in the sand and hope for the best -- has been exposed as a sham, as many protesters have said for years. European companies and governments bear a big responsibility for the current crisis. Yet EU proposals for the G20 offer little for ordinary citizens in Europe, and the pledges for the world's poorer regions to be announced tomorrow will be a mere drop in the ocean compared to the dramatic impact of the crisis."
Friends of the Earth Europe and the other groups involved are concerned that European governments are bailing out the banks responsible for the crisis without demanding significant regulatory concessions in exchange. European governments are relying on the advice of controversial bankers, continuing to promote further financial services liberalization in trade negotiations, and failing to regulate European-based hedge funds.
are being hard hit by the financial and economic crisis, but are being
given no additional support by European governments.
Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"We are witnessing not just a financial crisis, but a global systemic crisis with environmental, social, economic and democratic dimensions. Banks need to be held fully accountable for the impacts they have on the environment, food prices, destruction of biodiversity, climate change. To tackle this crisis we need a radical departure from the current economic and social model."
Apr 01, 2009
Thousands of protesters descended on European cities calling for green jobs, fair distribution of wealth and climate issues to be addressed by the G20 leaders.
The first of the protests took place on March 28 when 35,000 people marched for jobs, justice and climate with the 'Put People First' coalition of which Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI) is a founding member. As part of their involvement, EWNI arranged for several climate activists to speak at the rally, including Biana Jagger, Tony Juniper and Father Joe Komakom. They spoke powerfully and eloquently about the urgency of the climate crisis and the impact of climate change on the poorest people in the world.
There were additional protests from Friends of the Earth member groups across Europe, including actions in France and Belgium under the name 'We Won't Pay for Your Crisis'.
Friends of the Earth International strongly supports the coalition's call for a fair, sustainable route out of recession and for an economy based on fair distribution of wealth, decent jobs for all and a low carbon future. The G20 summit was a meeting of the world's leaders which aimed to agree coordinated action to address the current economic crisis, as well as a blueprint for future reform of the world financial system. We demand that world leaders break with the failed policies of the past and embrace a new system that seeks to make the economy work for people and the planet.
Whilst the G20 summit itself was hugely disappointing – the world’s leaders failing to take any significant action to address climate change, the continuing global financial crisis and its impact on some of the poorest people in the world – throughout the UK's G20 presidency EWNI will continue to call for real action on green jobs, and economic and climate justice.
- Find out more about the Put People First movement -
- Find out more about the Stop G20 movement in France -
Mar 19, 2009
Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria for their extreme efforts in monitoring tobacco companies.
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA) received an award this year from the 2009 Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Mumbai, India. The group was applauded for monitoring and publicizing tobacco industry activities intended to increase tobacco use and undermine tobacco control efforts.
ERA has extensively monitored and exposed the marketing activities of the tobacco industry. They have faced the industry's numerous attempts to undermine tobacco control policies in Nigeria head-on by exposing the front groups used by the industry to carry out its activities. Furthermore, they have highlighted unfair practices towards tobacco farmers and indifference to child labor.
The award for excellence in monitoring was accepted by Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Programme Manager, ERA.
"Sadly, Africa is the newest frontier for tobacco companies," Mr. Oluwafemi said.
"Tobacco companies have mapped out the tender lungs of our youth and women as enormous profit opportunities. This is what ERA is dedicated to resisting."
Mar 05, 2009
European leaders handling the economic downturn are relying on the advice of a committee dominated by financial industry insiders implicated in the current crisis.
On February 25, Friends of the Earth Europe, in conjunction with Corporate Europe Observatory, SpinWatch and LobbyControl, protested against the fact that an EU committee, set up to advise European leaders on the economic crisis, is largely made up of financial industry insiders.
Activists dressed as sheriffs made their protest outside the European Commission by carrying 'Unwanted' posters with pictures of the 'cowboy' bankers who make up the committee.
Paul de Clerck of Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"Most of these guys have acted like wild cowboys. They have brought misery to millions of people. Their one-sided advice is not wanted. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution. The Commission should not rely on a group with such close ties to the financial industry."
The protest was in support of a new report, entitled 'Would You Bank on Them?', which examines the track records of the committee members and argues that, instead of repeating mistakes of the past, the European Commission should investigate how financial industry lobbying contributed to the present crisis, and employ entirely new consultation methods.
Read the full report here
Feb 25, 2009
Preventing the World Bank from contaminating the climate change agenda
- December 2008: Climate talks in Poznan, Poland
- October 2008: World Bank annual meeting addressed in Washington, Amsterdam and Jakarta
- August 2008: FoEI at the UN Climate Talks in Accra
- July 2008: What happened at the G8 meeting in Japan?
world oil bank
The World Bank is setting itself up to become the world's climate banker. But at the same time, the World Bank is the largest multilateral lender for oil and gas projects and a major deforester, fueling climate change.
The World Bank spends some $1 billion per year on the oil and gas industry. And these projects don’t increase poor people’s access to energy. More than 80% of all oil projects financed by the World Bank are for export back to wealthy Northern countries. Meanwhile, pollution and social conflicts surround these projects.
Despite all of these controversies, the institution attempts to regain relevance in the global arena. It is now promoting itself as a major actor in the fight against climate change. The Bank has started various initiatives ranging from carbon financing facilities and climate investment funds to a strategic framework on climate and development.
The world bank's climate funds are likely to:
1. increase the global South’s debt burden and force them to pay for the climate crisis that they are not responsible for;
2. place the last remaining forests in so called 'carbon offset schemes', which would undermine Indigenous Peoples’ land rights and do nothing to reduce emissions;
3. finance a version of “clean technology” that includes dirty coal, agrofuels and large hydro dams;
4. dramatically undermine United Nations climate talks.
read more: why the world bank's climate plans are not a good idea
- 'The Poznan Statement: World vs Bank' by 142 organizations of December 2008
- FoEI briefing paper (English and Spanish)
- Article on forests, trade and climate change, by FoEI's Joseph Zacune
- Poverty, Climate and Energy: the case against oil aid
- FoE US webpage on The World Bank's Climate Investment Funds
- More on public finance for fossil fuels
- FoEI climate program
- Voices from communities affected by climate change
- Third World Network: No Additionality, New Conditionality: A Critique of the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds
- Sustainable Energy and Economy Network: World Bank: Climate Profiteer
- End Oil Aid Coalition: Aiding Oil, Harming the Climate
- Bretton Wood Project: World Bank climate funds: A huge leap backwards
- Bank Information Center: World Bank’s lending for fossil fuel skyrockets as it positions itself as the “climate bank”
World Bank links
- Global Consultations: Towards a Strategic Framework on Climate Change and Development for the World Bank Group
- Proposed Climate Investment Funds (CIF)
Protest at the launch of the World Bank's forest carbon facility, Bali 2007
Feb 21, 2009
On 4 and 5 Dec 2008, over 170 people from more than 30 countries participated in highly inspiring debates on the Global Europe strategy.
Entitled 'Living Beyond its Resources: Impacts of Global Europe on Sustainable Development', the conference was jointly organised by Friends of the Earth Europe and the Globalisation Intergroup of the European Parliament.
The conference filled a gap in the current debate around 'Global Europe', where civil society groups and social movements have been little involved, as compared to the intense activity of European business and industry. The objective was therefore to raise public attention to the GE agenda, involve new stakeholders in the Brussels debate, and discuss alternative political paths for the European Union.
Speakers from both Europe and developing countries with a particular experience or knowledge about the issues participated actively in the conference's debates. Read more and watch photos of the conference here