Mary Robinson, the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights has endorsed the idea that a legal right to a safe environment should be given the same status as the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

Mary Robinson, the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights has endorsed the idea that a legal right to a safe environment should be given the same status as the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

The plan has also been endorsed by Klaus Topfler, Director General of the United Nations Environment Programme. The idea is just one of many which campaigners hope to get on the Agenda of the second Earth Summit, to be held in Johannesburg in August, the tenth anniversary of the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, to give it its full title, is expected to be the biggest meeting of all prime ministers, presidents and representatives of civil society ever held with some 60,000 expected to attend. It is hoped that it may be a turning point in history ñ when the majority of the world truly commits to putting the care of our planet and her people at the heart of the global agenda.

In New York, Tony Juniper, for Friends of the Earth International, said, ‘We want corporations to be held accountable for their impact on people and the environment and for this to be discussed at the Earth Summit.’ In London, Environment Minister, Michael Meacher said, ‘This time we have to rise to the challenge. We need a real partnership between government, business and civil society.’

Speaking at a pre-Summit meeting, organised by the United Nations Development Programme, Mr. Meacher said, ‘Government needs to address the wider issue of how we make globalisation work for all. A key part is that the North has to put its own house in order. Unfettered globalisation and unfettered free trade is, in many ways, clearly contrary to sustainable development.’

The 50,000 strong World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in Brazil, rejected ‘globalisation that has at its centre the search for profit.’

The Porto Alegre Declaration: A Sustainable World is Possible states: ‘Nature is a fundamental value in itself and life and its protection should be above international commercial agreements. We reject the position of the United States government of not signing the Kyoto Protocol, by putting its economic interests above the collective interests of all Humanity.’ The World Social Forum also called for The Health of the People’ to be one of the central themes of the Summit. Meanwhile, in London, the New Economics Foundation are being advised by lawyers about the best strategy for suing the US for not signing the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

‘Since the US is the largest single polluter, I thought it should be possible to take legal action,’ says the Foundation’s Andrew Simms. Prof-essor of international law, Professor Andrew Strauss has advised that his hunch is well grounded.

FURTHER INFORMATION : To participate in the Earth Summit debate contact: UNED UK, 3 Whitehall Court, London, SW1A 2EL
Tel: 020 7839 1784, Fax: 020 7930 5893
WEB SITE : http://www.earthsummit2002.org EMAIL: [email protected]

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