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Global Greens Congress 2008 - 21 Commitments for the 21st Century Declaration

Introduction

At the second Global Green Congress held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 1–4, 2008, Greens from all over the world reaffirmed their commitment to overcome the ecological and social crises that humanity and the planet face.

Climate change, flooding of coastal regions, the burgeoning number of environmental refugees, over-consumption, water shortage, the rising price and scarcity of food and oil, poverty, gender discrimination, growing tension and conflict between communities, the emergence of new failing states and increasing conflict over access to raw materials, are just some of the most urgent problems that threaten our immediate future and that of coming generations. Greens are aware that there is not much time to find solutions. Business as usual will lead to catastrophe.

Inspired by Green values and principles as adopted at the first Global Greens Congress in 2001 in Canberra, to which the Green movement continues to strongly adhere, these 21 Commitments for the 21st Century reflect Green priorities for political action. Thus Greens commit to working to:

1) Fundamentally reform the present dominant economic model to establish a new sustainable society
2) Promote a deep and rapid reduction of CO2 emissions
3) Improve water management and increase the efficiency of its utilization
4) End the hunger crisis and make food available for all
5) Respect and preserve biodiversity in all its dimensions including defence of natural forests
6) Urge the international community to achieve the Millennium Goals agreed to by the United Nations in 2000
7) Establish a global partnership for development including the introduction of a Tobin tax as a source of development financing
8) Promote fair trade as an alternative to the present international trade patterns
9) Support socially and ecologically inspired scientific research and technological progress
10) Convene an international conference on exploding prices of raw materials and fair access to natural resources and energy
11) Promote women’s rights
12) Promote representative and participatory democracy
13) Develop a World Environment Organization
14) Reinforce the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the International Court of Justice and achieve a universal ban on the death penalty
15) Promote recognition of ecological refugees and the human rights of all refugees including displaced people
16) Foster sustainable city development and promote stronger cooperation among cities
17) Promote sustainable cultural policies
18) Support an open and structured dialogue among world religions including atheists
19) Expand and improve the rights of the youth
20) Improve access to medicine for pandemics and neglected diseases
21) Promote peace, conflict prevention and disarmament

Making the 21st Century a Green Century

The world urgently needs a solid Green movement, based on strong Green Parties and an active international young green organization, a movement able to take on governmental responsibility at the national as well as at the international level. This is a condition to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable international order that at the same time is peaceful and democratic and respects the rights of future generations. Greens will do their utmost to work in this direction and to make the 21st century a Green century.

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21 Commitments for the 21st Century


1) Fundamentally reform the present dominant economic model to establish a new sustainable society

Greens will work to replace the western economic liberal model, which is fossil fuel based, car-centred, energy inefficient, promotes the over exploitation of natural resources, encourages a throwaway society, creates social injustice and is not viable any longer.

Public services like health and education have to be strengthened and made accessible to all.

Markets need to be regulated in order to reduce the environmental footprint of our economies. Prices have to reflect the real costs including the social and ecological costs.

Taxation of labour has to be shifted to taxation of pollution. Eco-taxes have to be implemented on fossil fuels as well as on polluting and otherwise environmentally destructive activities. This will facilitate job creation.

Emission cap and trade schemes and eco-bonuses are good instruments to complement eco-taxes.

Environmentally damaging subsidies have to be replaced by investment in low carbon solutions and renewable energy production. The use of non-renewable raw materials has to be replaced wherever possible by renewable ones.

Humanity’s ecological footprint is already greater than this planet can sustain and is still growing (more than 1 according to the WWF’s definition). Reducing this footprint is imperative. Reduction should come primarily from industrialized countries, which are the greatest per capita polluters (where the ecological footprint is already over 3 or in some cases even 5 according to the WWF’s definition). Greens affirm that the only acceptable target from the perspective of real worldwide solidarity is the convergence of the per capita footprint towards 1.

2) Promote a deep and rapid reduction of CO2 emissions

Climate change and unsustainable use of limited resources have converged to challenge humanity to rethink how we live. If we continue to live beyond Earth’s ecological limits in combination with dangerous climate change this might lead to the collapse of human civilisation. Climate change is an issue of human rights and global equity, with security implications that might threaten international peace. An equitable solution with respect for local communities is fundamental for success in international climate policy.

Therefore, Global Greens call on the international community to negotiate in good faith to ensure that a binding and equitable regime for global greenhouse gas reductions will be agreed at the COP 17 at Copenhagen in 2009. Global Greens also call for the international community to commit to the Bali mandate by:

• Building on key principles and mechanisms of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol;

• Set rigorous short, medium and long-term emission reduction goals consistent with limiting average global temperature increase to below +2ºC above pre-industrial levels;

• Requiring reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels;

• Applying binding targets for emission reduction for industrialised and developed countries of 40% by 2020 and at least 90% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels;

• Applying fair and proportionate targets for developing countries;

• Including effective and predictable financing for adaptation, incentives for ecosystem restoration and to avoid deforestation, forest degradation and reduce land use emissions;

• Making significant advances in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and facilitating non-nuclear and non-fossil fuel technology and deployment; and

• Including the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices.

Global Greens maintain that nuclear power must remain excluded from mechanisms aimed at emission reduction, since a world that does not rely on fossil fuels and nuclear energy is possible. A serious investment in energy saving, resource-efficient and renewable energy technologies will also bring an increase in quality of life as people adopt localised food and consumption, better public transport and urban planning.

Global Greens consider that after 2015 greenhouse gas emissions should decline to a level below the natural absorption capacity of natural sinks. Therefore, it is necessary:

• To place quantifiable limits on fossil fuel extraction;

• Phase out all subsidies on coal, oil and natural gas;

• Promote investment in renewable energy, sustainable transport and energy productivity;

• Promote technological innovation and the Clean Development Mechanism as a supplement and not a replacement for domestic reduction;

• Adopt a principle of polluter pays.

Global Greens call for an agreement to develop full carbon accounting measures to counteract negative impacts of agro-fuel and monoculture plantations. Therefore, Global Greens call for integration of the Convention on Biodiversity and UNFCCC. An independent and predictable financing to assist low-income countries is needed in adapting to already inevitable climate change.

Global Greens recognize that geological or oceanic sequestration is not a feasible option for decreasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Greens ask our governments to apply the proposal by the Stern review that at least 1% of global GDP should be invested to face global warming.

3) Improve water management and increase the efficiency of its utilization.

One of the most dramatic and recent developments of modern times is shown by falling water tables and its impact on agriculture and farmers. Urban water stress goes hand in hand with frequent droughts, rivers running dry and lakes and reservoirs with less and less water. Competition for water between the needs of urban areas, industry and farmers is increasing. Over 1,1 billion people are still denied access to safe drinking water and more than double this number do not have access to sanitation.

Increasing temperatures cause the melting of glaciers and high mountain ice, transforming perennial rivers into seasonal rivers. Over-pumping of aquifers has become a problem for most of the bigger grain-producing countries.

Greens reaffirm the view that beyond the technical solutions that help to improve water management and increase the efficiency of its use, water is a public good and not a commodity comparable to others. For Greens, water access is a human right.

Because water is a vital good to mankind and survival, water management must be ensured by public authorities and not by private companies. Adequate management of water requires coordinated policy making at all levels. The participation of those directly affected in decision-making, particularly women, is a key component of establishing an integrated water management strategy.

Cross-border dialogue and agreements on water management are necessary to build trust and avoid water–related political tensions or conflicts. Greens will operate to avoid demands for water resources leading to political or even military conflicts.

Irrigation efficiency in agriculture including the promotion of sustainable crops and organic farming which need less irrigation, reuse and recycling in the industrial sector, better indoor and outdoor water management in urban areas would create very large savings. Increasing the efficient use of water is a key aspect of green politics.

Greens will work to strengthen global and local efforts to monitor and prevent water-originated tensions as one of the key aspects of our commitments in the coming decades.

4) End the hunger crisis and make food available for all

The current world food crisis results from an unsustainable food system that includes:

• Extremely unequal access to land, seeds and water;

• Concentrated markets favouring the transnational food industry;

• A shift of land use from food to agro-fuel production;

• Dumping practices in food trade; and

• Worldwide speculation in feed and food commodities.

The widening gap between demand and supply for grain is leading to an explosion in the price of basic food. Rising global temperatures, water scarcity, increased food demand including increased meat consumption, the newly emerging economies of India and China, the explosion in the price of oil as well as an increasing allocation of farmland for the production of crops for agro-fuels are some of the reasons that have led to scarcity of grains and food. The results are higher food prices and reduction of reserves at an extremely rapid rate.

The dominant model of industrial agriculture imposes an unsustainable use of natural resources: soil, water, seeds, biodiversity, including the use of energy. Global Greens will work towards establishing sustainable farming methods and food supply systems that set the political priority on food security through local and regional food supply and consumption.

Global Greens will work towards a more sustainable balance between plant and animal production in agriculture, which will lead a more sustainable allocation of resources for food security worldwide. The increased demand for meat in emerging economies and the negative impact on environment and public health of factory farming in industrialised countries demand a radical change in farming practices.

We need to increase food grain harvests while at the same time we need to ban all GMOs. It is urgent to improve the use of land, increase the production for local and regional needs by using sustainable and organic methods, reduce the dependency on fossil resources as well as empowering small farmers.

Global Greens demand that the competition between land-use and production for local and regional markets and land-use and production for cash crops for export has to be decided in favour of production for local and regional markets. Exports of cash crops should be considered only once local and regional demand is satisfied.

Crop lands now used to produce agro-fuel crops need to be reconverted to produce grain. Set aside farmland in some cases can be included again in the farmed surface. Priority should be given, anywhere where it is possible to local basic needs, the only way to comfort self sufficient feeding.

Global Greens will promote the suppression of public subsidies by rich countries to agricultural exports, which contribute to a dumping system.

5) Respect and preserve biodiversity in all its dimensions including defence of natural forests

Ecological wisdom is a fundamental principle of the Global Greens Charter and protecting biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, has always been a central Green priority. The climate crisis makes this imperative.

The earth’s natural ecosystems regulate the climate and keep the planet habitable. Oceans have a primary role in temperature setting and maintaining the Earth’s carbon balance. Coastal zones have the highest rates of biodiversity and biological productivity in the world but are threatened by development and over-exploitation. Forests store massive amounts of carbon and have a crucial role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating impacts, yet natural forests being destroyed by logging, clearing and the expansion of agro-fuels.

Greens believe that the Earth’s remaining natural ecosystems should be protected and expanded while upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples, women and local communities. We promote organic, diverse and GMO-free agriculture to improve the health and carbon-richness of agro-ecosystems, and recognize that raising animals for food is a significant contributor to climate change. We reject any assumption that industrial-scale logging in natural forests is ‘sustainable’ or carbon-neutral and will campaign against illegal and unsustainable logging.

• Greens agree to propose a common protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: The Biodiversity and Climate Protocol, which recognises the links between biodiversity and climate, prevents actions having adverse impacts on biodiversity and establishes a very large global biodiversity fund to support local communities and all levels of government in protecting, restoring and managing natural ecosystems;

• Greens oppose mandatory targets and subsidies for agro-fuels, except where their production is demonstrably greenhouse positive, does not impact on biodiversity, and does not compete against food production for land and water;

• Greens commit to campaign at national and international level to protect oceans and their biodiversity.

6) Urge the international community to achieve the Millennium Goals agreed to by the United Nations in 2000

Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases are crucial targets that become even more urgent in the context of worsening climate conditions.

Although the world is economically wealthier than ever, the environmental threats and inequalities between South and North, rich and poor, are enormous and growing. Global Greens insist that all world citizens, especially the wealthiest, do their fair share in achieving greater social justice.

Greens will use their influence to promote the Millennium Goals and to get the international community to fulfil the promises made in the biggest ever General Assembly of Heads of States held by the UN in the year 2000.

If conditions are applied to grants and loans as well as to other forms of financial assistance, these conditions must promote, for example, the development of civil society, of good governance and empowerment of women.

Greens also urge donor countries to substantially increase their aid flows, in order to reach the required additional 50 billion US dollars for programmable multilateral and bilateral aid, to at least 0.7% of GDP, particularly for the least developed countries, so that all countries are able to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. These goals include reducing poverty levels by 50%, providing primary education for all children, and assuring universal access to health services and clean drinking water.

In this context Greens also stick to their commitment to demand the cancellation of developing country debt, especially of the poorest countries. At the same time they state clearly that while the Millennium Goals are just a first step they will strive for elimination of poverty by 2030 at the latest.

7) Establish a global partnership for development including the introduction of a Tobin tax as a source of development financing

Greens will promote the levying of a Financial Transaction Tax on cross border speculative currency exchanges. This will have a positive effect by helping to control the volatility of financial markets and giving national governments greater control of internal taxes. Income from this tax, projected at 100-300 US billion dollars, can be used to finance development projects, including implementation of the Millennium Goals.

Greens all over the world commit themselves to pressure their respective parliaments and governments to follow Belgium’s example by enacting a financial transaction tax as a first step in enforcing the Millennium Goals’ required multilateral cooperation. The potential funds should be allocated to help turn the tide towards a global solution for the problems of the 21st century. The financial resources generated should be mobilized as mentioned to comply with the Millennium Goals, to fight against diseases and poverty as well as to adapt to and mitigate the effects of global warming.

Greens denounce the danger of international financial speculation for the world economy. It is unfair and unsustainable to use public budgets to wipe out crises resulting from financial deregulation and the consequences linked to short term profits.

8) Promote fair trade as an alternative to the present international trade patterns

“Free trade” promoted as a panacea to overcome poverty, has exacerbated poverty and primarily serves corporate interests.

Greens commit to replacing development policies which link aid to free trade with programs aimed at retaining added value locally, by supporting basic infrastructures of education and health, and by preserving policy space for communities to decide themselves on their specific way of achieving sustainable development.

The legitimacy of the WTO can only be achieved by making sustainability its central goal supported by transparent and democratic processes and the participation of representatives from the affected communities. International trade rules under a revamped WTO must be designed to achieve the higher goal of truly sustainable global development, including social rights, environmental sustainability and consumer protection. More concretely:

• Multilateral trade agreements must include provisions that guarantee developing countries enough policy space to define and pursue their own development strategies.

• International Commodity Agreements, which stabilize the prices of the most volatile agricultural export goods, should guarantee a fair and stable return especially to small producers, and involve producers and consumers along the entire supply chain.

• Imports into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries from countries that (1) have not ratified international climate agreements, (2) do not abide by such agreements or (3) do not implement ILO’s core labour standards should be subject to border tax adjustments to establish an equitable trading environment for all.

• Greens demand that the corporations of developed countries, applying their technologies in developing countries, are subject to the same environmental and social responsibility policies that they have to observe in their country of origin.

• Internationally certified Fair Trade products should get greater access to OECD markets. Public entities should have procurement policies mandated to favour Fair Trade by exempting such products from tariffs at OECD borders, and by requiring large retailers to offer a minimum percentage of Fair Trade products in their stores.

• The WTO should stick to its main task which is to set trade rules. International labour and environmental standards, such as those enshrined in the ILO and international environmental conventions, should be the leading principles in international trade and never be overruled by WTO provisions. Trade competition should be based on best labour and ecological practices and not on avoidance of such standards.

• International trade rules should allow for the creation of regional economic areas, which prioritise harmonization of social and environmental standards at the highest level.

• The corporate patents of products which are crucial to fight global diseases and climate change should be subject to mandatory licensing taking due account of the costs incurred in their development. In extreme cases compulsory licensing might be envisaged.

9) Support socially and ecologically inspired scientific research and technological progress

Greens, often unjustly accused of resisting scientific research and technological progress, view innovation differently from other parties. Greens consider the Precautionary Principle — in short: “First, do no harm” — as the bedrock principle that should guide technological progress. As a result, Greens oppose nuclear technology and genetic manipulation of organisms as dangerous. Greens will always have a view of technological innovation that is different from conventional political forces.

The 21st century will continue the rapid technological innovation of the preceding century. We will certainly face further steps in biotechnology including genetic engineering and cloning; in communication, computing and artificial intelligence; in energy technologies; development of new materials; nanotechnologies; transport including space transport; and in many other fields.

Greens recognize the value and inevitability of technological innovation but insist on assessing such innovation from the perspective of its social, ethical and environmental impact as prescribed by the Precautionary Principle. Further, Greens promote direct dialogue between scientists and the public and equal participation of women in science and technology.

Greens support basic scientific inquiry, but the role of social and environmental considerations should be largely emphasized. Research efforts to improve clean and renewable energy production, to increase the productivity of organic agriculture or to develop pollution-free engines, can count on the full support of the Greens.

Massive funding should not go exclusively to pharmaceutical development and other "end of the pipe" treatment while precautionary research is marginalized. Much more research funding should be devoted to public health and preventive medicine for toxicological and epidemiological studies on the complex causes of many "modern" industrial diseases. Research on pandemics and illnesses that affect populations worldwide and especially poorer countries should be funded more generously.

Climate change, the study of crop predators, social issues such as poverty, cultural clashes, conflict prevention, and a lot of others issues largely neglected by the present scientific policies, should be up-graded and receive more investment.

Greens will promote the creation of an independent, multidisciplinary United Nations Global Research and Ethics Council. In consultation with other UN organizations and NGOs, this council will be mandated to prepare recommendations for decision-makers that prioritise human needs over corporate needs.

10) Convene an international conference on exploding prices of raw materials and fair access to natural resources and energy

Increasing prices of raw materials are a social risk - but also an opportunity for green change. Increasing prices of oil, fossil gas, minerals and other raw materials brings them closer to their actual environmental costs and can be used as an opportunity for green changes. Developed countries need to reduce their use of raw materials in order to reach a fair distribution of limited resources.

Exploding prices of oil, gold, and silver but also of copper, iron, lead, tin, bauxite and other essential raw materials seem to be related to increasing financial speculation in commodities and futures. In a context in which all kind of funds, including hedge funds, are looking for new speculation options, commodities and futures become an attractive alternative. Nevertheless everything indicates that the behaviour of the financial world is just the tip of the iceberg.

Our global throwaway economy is on a collision course with Earth’s geological resource limits.

The supply of crude may be approaching “Peak Oil” — the point of maximum global petroleum production. Peak may have already occurred. In any case, an energy crisis is presently developing as demand increases for a static supply of oil, driving prices up dramatically. Drastic, uncontrolled price changes will hamper effective investment in alternatives. For this and for environmental reasons, Greens favour a quick, planned phase-out of oil as the dominant economic force. This also applies to many other raw materials. According to the US Geological Survey, if we assume an economic growth of 2% yearly, we have 17 years of exploitable reserves of lead, 19 years for tin, 25 years for copper, 54 years for iron ore and 68 years for bauxite.

Extending mining activities to the most remote areas is threatening the livelihood of local populations. Profits often leave the country and leave local populations as well as governments and countries with environmental costs greater than the benefit of the investment.

The key question therefore is about how far the development of new recycling techniques, product adaptation and new renewable materials will be able to compensate for the shrinking availability of non-renewable resources. Even if new synthetic substitutes are developed we will have to ensure that economic growth is increasingly decoupled from raw material needs.

Greens will work to promote an improvement in resource productivity and the development of substitute products. The working life of products will need to be prolonged and much more sophisticated recycling techniques will be needed.

Neither war for natural resources and energy, nor the rules of a free liberal market can guarantee fair access to these goods for everyone. Greens propose to convene quickly an international conference about fair access to natural resources and energy, similar to the agreement made in Kyoto for greenhouse gases.

11) Promote women’s rights

The UN’s 1970 estimate that women perform two-thirds of working hours worldwide, whereas men only fulfil one-third, is still a fact today. The gender gap in access to income, wealth, payment, social security, education, health, political participation, etc. is still extremely wide in all parts of the world.

To reach equality and equity between men and women, women’s rights, especially their reproductive and sexual rights, have to be strengthened, as well as women’s participation at all levels of society, especially in decision making positions: in politics, business etc.

Greens aim for a fair distribution between women and men of the workload, both paid and unpaid (particularly house and family care work for children, the sick and elderly people). Greens work to prevent domestic violence and sexism at all levels of society. Setting quotas is one effective way to increase women’s participation in especially the decision-making at all levels of society. As Greens we put these aspects into practice within our own parties.

12) Promote representative and participatory democracy

Greens reaffirm their condemnation of all dictatorships and regimes which deny human rights, regardless of their political ideology or affiliation of its perpetrators, as well as the use of unilateral military force in international relations.

Greens will work to establish democracy where it does not yet exist, promote its consolidation where it is still fragile and enhance it where it already exists. Greens strive for the kind of participatory democracy in representative systems that acknowledges the importance of civil society and NGOs creating political pressure from outside Parliament.

Green will work to establish global exclusive jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

Greens favour full democratic rights for citizens, which include:

• Universal and secret voting rights;

• Directly electing a parliament based on a multiparty system;

• Clear division between executive, judicial and legislative powers;

• Distinct separation between state and religious institutions.

Greens also support proportional representation that includes all political groups. Greens demand the strengthening of minority and opposition rights in national and regional parliaments, and in parliamentary assemblies like the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Greens support political systems that include:

• Regular competitive elections;

• A meaningful range of political parties;

• The existence of a lively civil society

• Regular alternative governments;

• An independent and diversified media.

A long-term Green goal is overcoming the international democracy deficit. This includes greater democratisation of the UN and other international institutions.

Among these reforms, Greens support the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) as a parliamentary body within the UN system. As a first step it should be composed of representatives of national parliaments but it should become a directly elected body. The UNPA should complement the UN General Assembly.

Since the call for a UNPA is a long-term proposal meanwhile we demand that minority and opposition rights in national and regional parliaments and parliamentary assemblies like the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) have to be strengthened in order to improve active parliamentarism.

Greens also favour an increased role for civil society and greater access for NGOs in the UN System.

13) Develop a World Environment Organization

Greens advocate the creation of a UN World Environment Council with similar standing to the Security Council but with rotating membership and no veto right. This Council will combine the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

14) Reinforce the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the International Court of Justice and achieve a universal ban on the death penalty

For Greens, human rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable. For Greens these are not just noble sounding words. Green daily action worldwide has proven it. Greens do not hesitate to condemn violations of human rights wherever they occur with no exceptions.

Our support to promote human rights is based on international law and the different legal instruments adopted in the countries and regions where we are active.

Greens confirm their support to the right of people for self-determination. This is why Greens condemn equally the violation of the right of free expression for instance in Syria or Zimbabwe as well as the violations committed by the US or other European countries through counter-terrorism measures.

Political violence used to intimidate opponents by a dictatorial regime is to be condemned as strongly as torture, illegal imprisonment, uncontrolled personal data disclosure or extraordinary rendition by western governments.

Greens are committed to ensuring respect for all human rights, from freedom of expression to ending violence against women and children, from free movement to equal rights for women, men and for all kinds of minorities, from indigenous people to gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, from special ethnic groups to elderly people.

The rights of sexual and ethnic minorities must be considered priorities of international human rights efforts. Discrimination based on sexual orientation or ethnic origin should not be tolerated. Heads of state should ensure that such human rights violations are kept on the agenda during their diplomatic and international duties.

We need to put an end to the trafficking of women and children and slavery of all kinds. This includes fighting against child abuse, misuse of children as soldiers and illegal organ trafficking.

In order to lead the UN from a reactive to a pro-active stance on human rights, we will press for all countries’ human rights records to be expressed quantitatively, so that they can be published annually by the UN in ranked order, revealing the relative standing of each country, which will exert a continual persuasive force on all governments to improve their performance in the field of human rights.

Greens commit to banning the death penalty worldwide.

Because transparency and an informed public are essential to democracy, Greens promote freedom for journalists and uncensored internet access everywhere as keys to the fight for human rights.

Greens acknowledge positively the work being done by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in protecting and promoting human rights within the UN framework. At the same time Greens insist that the credibility of the UNHRC rests on its ability to address human rights violations. The role of NGOs fighting for the right of women, sexual, religious, ethnic and other minorities has to be strengthened.

In this context Greens urge the international community to include a strong human rights clause in all international treaties and agreements.

15) Promote recognition of ecological refugees and the human rights of all refugees including displaced people

According to the Geneva Conventions, every person who needs shelter must have access to a fair asylum procedure as a basic human right. To comply with this, Greens call for a new Geneva Convention that guarantees legal protection for new kinds of refugees. Such a convention must recognize forced abortion and sterilization, as well as gender-based persecution, such as genital mutilation, honour killings and rape, as grounds for asylum.

Asylum seekers fleeing a conflict should be granted protection, with minimum rights such as family reunification and access to the labour market. If the conflict they fled continues for several years, they should be granted permanent residence status.

There are now more and more migrants and displaced persons and their families who must leave their land because of environmental degradation or disaster. The concept of “refugee” must be extended to those who are forced to migrate because of climatic change and other environmental threats.

Greens will work to introduce the promotion and recognition of environmental human rights in the third-generation human rights category and promote their inclusion in the Geneva Convention through the adoption of an additional Protocol. Therefore Greens propose a third international Covenant that codifies the right to a healthy environment as well as the right of access to the natural resources necessary for survival and respect for intergenerational equality.

The entire international community should be responsible for supporting and helping ecological refugees. Industrialized and rich countries have a moral and financial duty to welcome refugees or pay for their refuge, in proportion to their contribution to climate change.

16) Foster sustainable city development and promote stronger cooperation among cities

Cities foster peaceful interaction between citizens of different origin, religion and lifestyle, enable a vibrant cultural life and drive social and economic innovation that will play a key role in the battle against climate change. Greens believe that the utopian view of zero emission cities is possible. However, unless cities promote the social integration and political participation of all their inhabitants while improving the conditions of the poor and involving all citizens in creating the future, there will be no solution to the climate crisis.
Greens support city policies that combat urban sprawl and fight social, economic and cultural disintegration. These policies must:

• Improve the quality of life for the population in general;

• Protect non-commercial spaces and public property from private exploitation;

• Rebalance the equilibrium between cities and nature.

Cities hold the key to solving two of humankind’s most pressing problems: climate change and poverty. For these reasons Greens support the development of stronger cooperation among cities on a wide range of issues, including:

• Sharing of best practices;

• Exchange of civil servants;

• Common cultural projects and creative city initiatives;

• Improving low-carbon mobility schemes;

• Reducing CO2 emissions;

• Health, water and waste management.

Sustainable city development requires that ecosystem needs be prioritised and that a balance be found between the needs of cities and rural areas. Today cities are exercising enormous pressure on the countryside by occupying ever more green lands, absorbing all kind of resources from rural areas and using them as a dump for urban emissions and waste. Sustainable cities must reduce their ecological footprint by becoming more self-reliant and resource-efficient.

17) Promote sustainable cultural policies

Greens support the development of the highest level of cultural diversity. This ranges from the preservation of different languages and cultural traditions to the most diverse range possible of cultural, visual, musical, written and oral expressions. We will promote a permanent and active dialogue among the different cultures. Greens support multicultural activities that lead to improved mutual understanding and communication among people coming from different cultural backgrounds.

Greens will work to enhance the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions approved by the General Conference of UNESCO in October 2005. However the UNESCO Convention is a toothless tiger compared to the WTO and the TRIPS agreements. Not only that the WTO prevails over the UNESCO because the hierarchy of norms is not established but also because the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) gives the priority to the legal framework of the WTO.

Greens will work to reverse the hierarchy of norms and to promote the creation of a Dispute Settlement Mechanism that gives the UN Conventions priority over WTO and TRIPS agreements. Cultural goods (films, books, music, etc) must not be dealt with from a pure market standpoint. Greens favour a multilateral approach over a pure bilateral one.

Property rights must be balanced with conditions that assure cultural diversity and allow for a rich and varied creativity that reflects such cultural diversity. To achieve this, the UNESCO Convention must become robust enough to gain legal primacy over WTO rules.

18) Support an open and structured dialogue among world religions including atheists

Greens call on the leaders of the main religions as well as the representatives of agnostic, secular and atheist groups to deepen the dialogue among them with the aim of overcoming hate and misunderstandings in order to reduce the conflict potentially related to religious intolerance. We support the efforts made in the context of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Greens firmly condemn all violence in the name of religion, and any discrimination, especially against women, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and intersex people based on religion.

19) Expand and improve the rights of the youth

Greens support empowering of young people. Unfortunately, in many countries and institutions youth are not fully integrated in the decision-making process and thus feel alienated. Engaging youth in political life helps to develop new ideas and to tackle urgent topics. Greens endorse young people in their request to get:

• Access to free, adequate and high-quality education and training;

• Access to free public transport;

• Access to sustainable jobs and life-styles;

• Access to sexual and reproductive rights including education and protection;

• Rights of young women;

• No compulsory military service; and

• Free access to information and opportunity to circulate it.

20) Improve access to medicine, for pandemics and neglected diseases

Universal access to medicine and medical treatment is a human right.

People in developing countries must have access to medicine beyond the restrictions of corporate patenting systems. Patents that hinder the fight against diseases should be subject to compulsory licensing.

Since the economics of medical technology makes research and development into non-patentable medical techniques uneconomic for corporations, state funding needs to be made available to test the effectiveness of non-allopathic remedies. Furthermore, Greens propose a global fund for financing research on neglected diseases.

Greens favour the recognition and the establishment of a legal status for complementary medicines and practices, and recognize their legitimacy in preventing and alleviating pains and illnesses, as well as therapies that work alongside allopathic treatments.

21) Promote peace, conflict prevention and disarmament

Every two weeks the world spends on arms the same amount of money that could satisfy the basic needs of the world’s poor for water, food, and education for one whole year. This situation shows clearly that the collective mind of the world’s present leadership is completely divorced from reality.

Greens support a peace policy for the 21st century which focuses on providing security for all human beings. World security is under constant threat from terrorism, regional military conflicts, nuclear weapons proliferation, failed states, competition for raw materials, organized crime, nationalism, non-recognition of minorities as well as attempts to impose cultural uniformity. However this list does not include the root causes behind the eruption of violence and military conflicts.

Peace in this century can only be achieved if security takes into account:

• Tensions created by environmental problems;

• Agriculture shortages;

• Water stress;

• Depletion of fisheries;

• Destruction of biodiversity;

• Social injustice; and, last but not least,

• Violation of human rights.

An increasingly dramatic cause of destabilization is linked to diminishing oil reserves and increasing oil prices. In this context Greens are not embarrassed to say that Green politics is a policy for peace. Our strategy of moving away from oil and gas and against nuclear energy responds also to concerns regarding security of energy supply and therefore has a conflict prevention character.

The Greens’ unconditional support for democracy and human rights also contributes to reducing conflicts. Greens strongly condemn any deployment of armed forces to take the control over raw materials. They also reject the revival of nuclear power in part because there is no wall between peaceful and military use of nuclear energy.

The failure of disarmament initiatives in 2005 at the UN Millennium Summit and the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference was shameful. Greens call for nuclear disarmament all over the globe in full respect of the NPT. Greens will work to promote the expansion of nuclear-free zones, and a strict ban on chemical and biological weapons.

Greens are concerned that worldwide arms exports increased by 50% from 2003 to 2007. Arms production and international arms export must be severely curtailed. Greens favour a global code of conduct that forbids the sale of arms to crisis regions. Cluster bombs and depleted uranium ammunitions must be banned, together with land mines and white phosphorus munitions.

Greens also consider that any kind of military use of space, including the Missile Defense System, accelerates militarisation all over the world and may cause a new Cold War in Europe, Asia and other regions. Greens acknowledge that the space does not belong to human beings, but that human beings belong to the universe. Greens reject the militarisation of space in the name of defence. All kinds of resources and technologies have to be used for the well-being of human beings, conservation of biodiversity and prevention of climate crisis and not for militarisation.

Non–military instruments must be the main means of overcoming political tensions. Conflict prevention, reconciliation and civilian crisis intervention must be fostered including by financial means. The involvement of women in civil crisis prevention and civil conflict management as well as post conflict resolution has to be instrumental at all stages and at all levels, as stipulated in UN Resolution 1325. Greens commit to lobbying their respective governments for implementation of National Action Plans according to UN Resolution 1325. Greens will work for the development and reinforcement of civil Peace Corps.

The development of the non-violent culture, the peaceful management of conflicts or disagreements, the basic confrontation of every nationalistic, racist, militaristic and violent policy or behaviour, remain a key Green principle.

The responsibility to protect populations against genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing was clearly and unequivocally acknowledged by the UN member states at the 2005 Millennium Summit. Such protection becomes an international responsibility only in case of the failure of a nation state. The Millennium Summit requires that all preventing measures be exhausted before deploying the military as the ultimate step in preventing genocide. Inevitable intervention mandated by the UN Security Council must always remain a last resort.

A peace building process must follow any military intervention. Criteria for the legitimacy of the peace building process should include:

• The neutrality of those overseeing the peace-building process;

• Compensation for damages, especially those incurred by civilians;

• Reconciliation among the actors and victims of the conflict and their integration into the post-conflict society;

• Social and economic justice in the process of rebuilding society;

• Full compliance to international human rights law.


Making the 21st Century a Green Century

The world urgently needs a solid Green movement, based on strong Green Parties and an active international young green organization, a movement able to take on governmental responsibility at the national as well as at the international level. This is a condition to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable international order that at the same time is peaceful and democratic and respects the rights of future generations. Greens will do their utmost to work in this direction and to make the 21st century a Green century.

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