NGO heads develop proposals for G8 leaders
Moscow, 4 July, RIA Novosti. Several leaders of international NGOs have developed proposals for the G8 leaders, and are asking President Putin to bring them to the attention of the participants of the Saint Petersburg summit.
The Civil G8 2006 international NGO forum took place in Moscow on 3-4 July on the eve of the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg. The number of Civil G8 participants exceeded 500. The purpose of the summit was discussion of problems of public concern in connection with the forthcoming G8 summit, specification of NGO recommendations on agenda issues, and preparation of proposals which could be taken into account during agenda formation for subsequent G8 summits.
The NGO heads believe that it is international terrorism that poses a growing threat to the people of the G8 countries.
“We, the heads of international NGOs, support efforts to detect, arrest and initiate criminal proceedings against those who deliberately kill peaceable people for political purposes. But we are concerned by the fact that practically all the G8 countries are waging their War on Terror in violation of international human rights and humanitarian regulations”, states the NGO leaders’ address, which has been placed on the official website of Russia’s G8 presidency.
The document also notes that the US authorities subject those suspected of terrorism to torture, secretly detain dozens of people in secret prisons, to which Red Cross delegates are not granted access, deprive those detained in connection with the events of September 11 of their procedural rights, deprive those detained as part of the global War on Terror of the protection afforded by the Geneva Convention, and also hand arrestees over to countries where they may be subjected to torture.
“The European members of the G8 are also attempting to limit civil freedom. Some are complicit in returning people to countries where there is a risk of torture”, states the address.
In the opinion of the NGO heads, these policies and practices are seriously damaging the promotion of worldwide human rights standards, which is an important agenda issue for many of the G8 countries.
Climate change also poses a threat to civilisation, note the NGO leaders.
“Its main cause is unregulated production and consumption of energy from fossil fuels. Serious changes to the climatic system are inevitable unless decisive action is taken within the next decade. Respect for the boundaries set by nature should form the key motif of energy strategies at all levels”, states the address.
The NGO leaders believe that energy and climate security require strategic transformation of the global energy system, in other words drastically raising effectiveness of energy use and moving toward the switch to diversified, decentralised and predominantly local renewable sources.
“Economic growth and development can and must be separated from growth in energy production, and reoriented toward effective provision of consumers with necessary energy services – on a fair and equal basis for all”, states the address.
“We call on the G8 to take the lead in this process, starting by acknowledging the urgent necessity of acting and taking specific steps to reduce our dependence on fossil and nuclear energy resources and global market conditions for these resources, which is fraught with political implications, the risk of nuclear proliferation, debt, corruption, as well as leading to atmospheric pollution and causing climate change”, note the NGO leaders.
They ask the G8 to act as initiator for a global initiative in the field of mass movement toward renewable energy sources and energy-saving technologies, supporting this with corresponding regulatory reforms, to state its intention to adopt the 2 degrees Celsius maximum permissible limit for global warming this century as set by the European Union, and to state its intention to redirect large-scale state subsidisation away from fossil and nuclear resources in favour of renewable sources and energy-saving technologies, including for transport.
Specifically, the NGO heads ask the G8 to put before the USA, the world’s largest producer of emissions, the issue of the necessity of setting an example in the area of resolving the problem of global warming by drastically cutting its emission levels.
As regards the fight against poverty, the NGO heads call on the G8 to confirm their commitment to increasing yearly aid to $50 billion by 2010, as well as “to state its intention and further develop aid in order to increase assistance for development purposes to 0.7%, and to ensure full coverage of its share of share of expenditure on the Millennium Development Goals”.
According to the NGO heads’ proposal, the G8 must expand the multilateral initiative on partial debt cancellation to all the world’s poorest countries without any external conditions but with the mandatory condition of openness and accountability of state finances, as well as taking urgent measures to annul ‘unjustified’ indebtedness arising due to irresponsible financing by military regimes and undemocratic governments, which is often used for goals far removed from the battle with poverty.
“Any programme for easing the debt burden – both through provision of aid and through use of returned resources – must include transparency criteria, such as participation in monitoring of use of funds by local NGOs and those for whom the aid is intended, as part of a general policy of openness of state finances”, notes the address.
In the sphere of education and healthcare, the NGO leaders propose that the G8 member states agree to fully cover their shares of expenditure under the fast-track initiative for ensuring primary education for all, including obligations to immediately extinguish financing debts of $420 million in 2006, to analyse progress in achieving the goal set at Gleneagles of ensuring universal access to HIV/AIDS medicines by 2010, and to fully agree to finance their share of the 6th round of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
As regards trade and economics, the NGO leaders call on the G8 to immediately fulfil the promises made in 2005 to significantly reduce subsidisation of national agriculture, which leads to negative consequences, to cancel export subsidisation for agricultural production, to fully open up its markets to goods from the poorest countries, and to unconditionally support the statement made at Gleneagles that countries will not be compelled to open up their own markets.
“To analyse progress in fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals with regard to halving hunger by 2015, and to evaluate steps which must be taken by the international community as a whole and the G8 particularly to ensure halting the trend toward growing hunger and declining agriculture in Sub-Saharan African countries, including decisive elimination of dumping and non-selective liberalisation of agriculture” is one point in the list of proposals.
The NGO leaders call on the G8 to cease the practice of imposing conditions on countries considered for World Trade Organisation acceptance (including Russia) that go beyond the obligations agreed on by the existing members on a multilateral basis.
The G8 countries should ensure that the fight against corruption is waged at national level, including through initiation of criminal investigations under the relevant OEDC conventions and cooperation in return of misappropriated assets. “Passivity in this area, particularly when developing countries are expected to follow strict anti-corruption standards, appears unacceptable”, states the address.
The NGO leaders also draw the G8’s attention to humanitarian security.
“Humanitarian security is connected with the obligations of states to protect people from poverty, illness, corruption and violation of their rights. For billions of the world’s people it is these problems that are the main source of fear in everyday life. The obligation of the G8 is to use its political and financial weight to improve the humanitarian security situation at global level”, states the document.