June 4, 2002 – Latin American countries today pledged to counter the United States’ pro-corporate push at the Fourth Preparatory Meeting for the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) taking place in Bali, Indonesia.

Ministers and ambassadors from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador and most other Latin American nations were responding to a call from international environment network Friends of the Earth (FoEI) to stand up to the United States’ repeated attempts to water down any meaningful action to limit the environmental and social impacts of the world’s corporations. The pledge was obtained at a meeting with FoEI Chairman Ricardo Navarro.

Latin America knows only too well the excesses of corporations. For example Monsanto developed a pesticide plant in San Miguel, El Salvador. The site was abandoned and tanks of highly explosive toxafen waste are contaminating the area.

“The US delegation has stood in the way of an international convention on corporate accountability and liability”, said Mr Navarro.

FoEI is concerned that while global and regional trade agreements continue to grant multinational corporations far-reaching powers, no international mechanism exists to hold corporations accountable to the citizens and communities affected by their activities.

Mr Navarro concluded “We hope Latin American countries will play a honourable role and secure rights for citizens and communities to counter corporate power.”

FoEI’s position paper for Prepcom 4, “Towards Binding Corporate Accountability,” is available in hard-copy.

In Bali: media team: 0817 971 1394 or Matt Phillips 0818 560 730
Daniel Mittler +49 173 923 4747