from Rio to Johannesburg
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Earth Summit – from Rio to Johannesburg
Friends of the Earth works on a range of issues – from climate change to trade – which will be discussed at the Earth Summit being held in Johannesburg, South Africa in August this ye ar.
This briefing takes a closer look at progress (and lack of progress) since the first Earth Summit was held at Rio, Brazil in 1992. It also sets out what Friends of the Earth International believes Earth Summit delegates must do at the Johannesburg meeting to improve equity, protect the environment and limit the power of corporations. The potential impacts of economic globalisation on society, on sustainability and on world stability have been all but ignored by world leaders. Increasing international trade is leading to resources being used at unsustainable rates, leaving formerly rich areas depleted. International environmental agreements, established to protect natural resources, are frequently undermined. Domestic health and environmental regulations are also undermined by special arrangements with trans-national corporations – often reached without the involvement of local communities or indeed employees. Key sectors including water services and agriculture have been brought within international trade rules – potentially resulting in higher costs for local communities. The volatility of the international economy also leaves local communities and developing countries increasingly vulnerable to the global economic cycle, and to economic decisions made beyond their control by companies and other states.
Friends of the Earth International believes that a different, democratic, equitable and sustainable future is both necessary and achievable. The Earth Summit at Johannesburg should map out a path towards new and sustainable economies fit for the 21st century.
This briefing includes a summary of what has happened since Rio to corporate policy (page 4), trade and food (page 5), climate (page 7), forests and biodiversity (page 9) and water (page 10). It also sets out what Friends of the Earth International is campaigning for at the Johannesburg meeting (summary, page 3).
If you would like a reminder about what happened at the Rio Earth Summit then please call Friends of the Earth on freephone 0808 800 1111 and ask for the Earth Summit – Frequently Asked Questions briefing or visit www.foe.co.uk/earth_summit/ Ten years after Rio it is more than ever clear that issues of environmental quality and poverty are inseparable. When a company irresponsibly logs a forest it damages the local environment, adds to the problem of climate change and causes immense hardship for local peoples. When an international company charges for fresh water it can make daily life for the already poor an ever greater burden. As Ricardo Navarro, Friends of the Earth International Chair, who is based in El Salvador, points out: “The people affected by the powerful corporates that cause environmental deterioration are the immense majority of the world’s population. At this year’s Earth Summit in Johannesburg I hope that governments get the message that the main economic system, including globalisation, is at the...
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