Friends of the Earth International Political Declaration
Johannesburg, South Africa, August 26 2002
We, the members of Friends of the Earth International, a federation of environmental
groups, with members in 70 countries and more than 1.1 million people in collective
membership in the five continents, ask governments at the WSSD, to affirm the following
principles in their Political Declaration:
· The present neoliberal economic model, is making our world unsustainable.
Environmental and Social problems have worsened since the Rio conference, It is
imperative to reverse this trend, towards the sustainability of our planet.
· There can be no sustainability for the North without sustainability for the
South. Equity, particularly gender equity, is at the core of sustainability and it
often requires the empowerment of peoples, communities, regions and countries.
· The recognition that individual and collective fundamental human rights is the
foundation on which sustainability rests. Every human being has the undeniable right to
all means required for a dignified existence. It is the duty of governments to guarantee
· Environmental racism is a human rights violation. The equal right of all
communities to a healthy environment must be affirmed and all governments must commit to
ending environmental injustices.
· Sustainability can only exist in a democratic world; therefore, governments
must take back the power that they have given to transnational corporations and give it
back to the peoples that they represent.
· Sovereignty and free determination of peoples, is a prerequisite for
Sustainability. It is imperative, to ensure effective participation mechanisms for civil
society, particularly local communities in decision making on land and resource use
· The social and environmental damage generated by the exploitation and use of
resources, has generated an ecological debt from the north to the south. This debt must
be recognized, reduced and stopped.
· The cancellation of the financial debt of the Third World is a necessary
requirement for sustainability.
· Cultural and biological diversity is an essential precondition for
sustainability. Therefore, no investments or development projects that undermine this
diversity should be considered. The health and stability of different ecosystems is
essential for life.
· Climate change is among the greatest risks facing humanity and is undermining
the stability of societies and economies. An urgent shift to renewable sources of energy
· Current developments in biotechnology present potential risks to the
environment, agriculture and human health. A global moratorium on GMO releases into the
environment should be established. The Cartagena Protocol must be ratified and national
biosafety frameworks established.
· Clean water, a fundamental ingredient for life, is being reduced in many parts
of the world. An urgent effort must be made to guarantee the existence of enough clean
water for an harmonious existence of ecosystems, peoples and other species.
· The different life species are the result of million of years of evolution;
therefore no commercial enterprise can claim ownership to any one of them. There should
be no patents or other intellectual property rights granted on life.
· Peace is essential for sustainability. Peace requires not only the absence of
war but also the fulfillment of individual and collective needs. Governments must move to
abolish the military industrial complex. There can be no sustainability without peace and
no peace without sustainability.
· Corporations must be accountable to all of those whose well being they affect.
An international agreement on corporate accountability, including liability, transparency
and rights for communities and citizens, is essential for securing the sustainability of
· The trade system must be reviewed and amended to achieve fairness, justice and
environmental sustainability. Export-led development must be ended and instead local
economies must be strengthened.
· International Financial Institutions often support projects in contradiction
with the Río principles. They must assume investment criteria, in support of
sustainability. Besides, international negotiations must prioritize multilateral spaces.
· Multilateral Environmental Agreements must never be subordinated to WTO rules.
· Corporate led globalization does not and will not lead to poverty alleviation,
moreover it is undermining biodiversity. The UN must particularly be careful not to be
hijacked by corporations.