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Reclaim the UN from Corporate Capture
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As the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) turns 20, there are real concerns about the increasing influence of major corporations and business lobby groups within the UN. A report by Friends of the Earth International.

Link to full report: Reclaim the UN from corporate capture 


21st June 2012 - Published by Friends of the Earth International

On June 19, 2012, on the eve of a key United Nations Summit due to take place June 20-22 in Rio De Janeiro [1], Friends of the Earth International will launch a new report exposing the increasing influence of major corporations and business lobby groups within the UN. [2]

“Governmental positions have been increasingly hijacked by narrow corporate interests linked to polluting industries and business sectors seeking to profit from the environment, the climate and the financial crises,” said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.

The report presents a number of cases that clearly expose how UN policies and agencies have been excessively influenced by the corporate sector.

It also shows how this damages the ability of the UN to solve the various problems it is tasked with, removing its willingness to address the role of major corporations in causing many of the environmental, social, food and economic problems that the world faces today.

According to the new report, the positions of national governments in multilateral negotiations are increasingly influenced by business; business representatives dominate certain UN discussion spaces and some UN bodies; business groups are given a privileged advisory role; UN officials move back and forth to the private sector; and – last but not least – UN agencies are increasingly financially dependent on the private sector.

The new report also states that the UN has been working very closely with big business in developing and promoting the concept of ‘Green Economy’ which is selling out nature and people, and greenwashing a broken and unfair economic system at the expense of sustainable development.

More than 372 civil society organizations representing millions of people from around the world signed a statement -initiated by Friends of the Earth International and nine other organisations- denouncing the corporate domination of the United Nations. [3]

“The fact that the UN is increasingly catering to the demands of corporate interests diverts the UN from tackling the root causes of environmental, social and economic problems. The UN and this Rio+20 Summit should listen to the demands of the alternative Peoples’ Summit in Rio and take measures that will hold corporations accountable for their negative impacts,” said Lucia Ortiz, Economic Justice International Program Coordinator at Friends of the Earth International.

“The many examples of corporate capture are detrimental to the good work being done by many UN agencies and officials worldwide for the protection and empowerment of people. Allowing this to happen is putting both the UN’s and its member states’ credibility and integrity at risk. In fact this threatens to undermine the mission of the entire UN system and must be stopped, “ said Paul de Clerck, Corporates Campaign Coordinator at Friends of the Earth International.

WHAT THE CASE STUDIES SHOW :

- The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative is being decided by an unaccountable, handpicked group, dominated by representatives of multinational corporations and fossil fuel interests, virtually without any involvement from or consultation with global civil society. Friends of the Earth International believes SE4ALL will not deliver its stated objective of doubling the share of renewable energy.

- Support for agriculture and food policy appears to be compromised by corporate links at the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It is promoting technologies that endanger peoples’ rights and access to food.

- The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is increasingly driven by corporate actors interested in the financialization of nature and not by the need to conserve biodiversity.

- Private sector interests are increasingly seeking ways to treat water as a tradable commodity while depriving people of their universal right to water and endangering access to water and sanitation for millions of people worldwide.

- The UN Global Compact allows companies to boost their image by (mis-)using the UN flag for their own benefit, yet fails to deliver real improvements in business behaviour.

- The UN has been working very closely with big business in developing and promoting the concept of ‘Green Economy’ which is selling out nature and people, and greenwashing a broken and unfair economic system at the expense of sustainable development.

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