The following article was published in "The Guardian", newspaper of the
Communist Party of Australia in its issue of Wednesday, September 4th, 2002.
Contact address: 65 Campbell Street, Surry Hills.
Sydney. 2010 Australia. Phone: (612) 9212 6855 Fax: (612) 9281 5795.
CPA Central Committee: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
"The Guardian": <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subscription rates on request.



The US, Canada, EU and Australia have in the past thwarted attempts by 
the world's nations to conclude a comprehensive agreement to reverse the
destruction of the environment: the Earth Summit in Johannesburg is no
exception. As 20,000 people marched on the summit from the Alexandra
township demanding an end to poverty and a halt to environmental
destruction, the rich nations were busy trying to hijack the gathering.

Against sustainable development they were promoting corporate
self-regulation; in place of specific and binding guidelines to cut the 
use of finite, ozone-destroying fossil fuels, they were pushing their
globalisation agenda.

Driven by big oil the US and those clinging to Uncle Sam's coat tails --
with the Howard Government especially reaching new lows in subservience 
-- the rich nations set out to deliberately derail the Summit.

This has put the chance of an agreement on sustainable development in 
grave doubt. As The Guardian went to press ministers at the Summit were 
claiming that a blueprint on issues was being negotiated and that 
countries had agreed to slow the loss of biodiversity rather than halt 
it. But the rich nations were still rejecting the means for cutting the 
use of fossil fuels.

Environmental organisations at the Summit have slammed the corporate
lobbyists and their government representatives for promoting weak 
voluntary agreements instead of binding regulations.

Friends of the Earth summed up such voluntary agreements as secretive 
and undemocratic and ineffective and short sighted. On the first day of 
informal discussions at the Summit Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and 
Third World Network obtained a leaked copy of a joint US/EU negotiating 
paper which outlined the aim of converting the Summit into a world trade 

The groups said that the paper moved forward the rich countries' trade
liberalisation and corporate globalisation priorities at the expence of
addressing issues of environmental protection, poverty relief and
sustainable development.

They noted that the Earth Summit is the only political process where
governments are supposed to be able to negotiate freely around global
environmental and development problems, irrespective of their size or
economic power.

"The US claims that an unaccountable corporate sector can deliver
sustainable development when recent scandals in the US show that
corporations such as Enron and WorldCom are not even accountable to 
their auditors."

The Australian Government has played its part, lobbying against even a
mention of the Kyoto protocol on climate change in any final agreement.
Greens Senator Bob Brown, who is at the Summit, said that the Howard
Government had been humiliated by being bumped down the speakers' list 
to last spot.

"Australia is seen as a spoiler at the Summit", said Senator Brown, "and
when it was realised that Prime Minister Howard was not coming, the 
speakers list was changed. It shows how badly Australia is seen here."

Senator Brown said the Earth Summit is showing the power of greed over 
green and leaving the coming generation with some unfixable social and
environmental problems.

"The neo-liberal economic policies being foisted on the world, primarily 
by Northern Governments and the international institutions they 
dominate, are failing people and the planet", said Friends of the Earth 
International Chair Ricardo Navarro.

"Inequality is increasing and poverty in many countries is getting 
worse. Forests, minerals and fossil fuels are being exploited at an 
ever-increasing and utterly unsustainable rate.

"Democracy is being eroded as economic power is concentrated in fewer 
hands. Environmental standards, biodiversity and cultural diversity are 
all under threat."

Alternative to corporate globalisation

Environmentalists put forward a plan for sustainable economies as a 
concrete alternative to the corporate globalisation agenda. Its key 
principles are:

* Sustainable development is dependent on the equitable and sustainable 
use of limited resources.

* Sustainability must be based on economic diversity. Different models 
of development are appropriate in different societies and communities. 
The "one size fits all" approach of the WTO and IMF is doomed to failure.

* Effective corporate control must be introduced, including corporate
accountability and liability rules and international anti-trust legislation.

* Stronger international institutions and mechanisms are required to 
protect the principles of equity and sustainability.


           Leftlink - Australia's Broad Left Mailing List
                            mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
        Archived at

Sponsored by Melbourne's New International Bookshop
Sub: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]?Body=subscribe%20leftlink
Unsub: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]?Body=unsubscribe%20leftlink

Reply via email to