ENB:05:74 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

DIALOGUE WITH MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN: Bella Abzug, WEDO, recalled how women have advanced recognition of their essential role in sustainable development. She highlighted poverty, globalization, free trade and biotechnology. Chief Bisi Ogunleye, Country Women Association, recalled UNCED’s commitment to allow the poor to voice solutions to poverty. The Micro-Credit Summit (1997) set the goal of using $21.7 billion to help 100 million families out of poverty. She suggested that UNGASS call for 1-2% of developed country aid and World Bank funding to be set aside for micro-credit.

On food security, women have been forced to become unwilling partners in destructive agricultural processes. Delegates were asked to resist the language of “agricultural sustainability” associated with export-driven agriculture and to uphold the right to food rather than its commodification. Jocelyn Dow, Red Thread and WEDO, described the negative consequences for sustainable agriculture when trade rules change. Eva Charkiewicz, Central and Eastern European Network for Sustainable Development, said the CSD could identify “hot spots” of industrial contamination and proposed that the CSD address the effect of commercial advertising on unsustainable production and consumption. Thais Corral, REDEH, provided examples on the integration of women into local Agenda 21s and urged the CSD to examine practices to better integrate women into local councils in cities and towns.

Topics addressed during the dialogue included: changing the way men perceive their roles in society; links to the Commission on the Status of Women; nuclear contamination and women’s reproductive health; the precautionary principle; human rights abuses; transboundary movements of hazardous materials; national efforts to include women in government; and reflecting the “paradigm shift” of the Beijing Conference at UNGASS.

TRADE UNIONS: Clayola Brown, Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, said that sustainable development can be achieved through “collective engagement,” a process of education and action that puts workers at the center and promotes action. Nilton Frietas, Central Unica Dos Trabalhadores, described a national accord reached through consultation that helped thousands of workers who were suffering from benzene contamination. Bertil Grahn, Graphical Workers Union, presented a case study on workplace and community partnerships that incorporated environmental concerns into all aspects of production.

Paul Hackett, OECD, announced plans to publish a guide on cleaner production across Europe. Vlastimil Altner, Mine, Geological and Oil Workers, builds environmental awareness into health and safety training programmes and promotes eco-audits. Michael Boggs, Laborers’ International Union, called on donor organizations to fund environmental remediation programmes and recycling and recovery of urban waste to build housing. Isaac Mudyandaruva, Zimbabwe Council of Trade Unions, described cooperation with local authorities and local communities to research and address housing, local environments, unplanned urban growth and poverty. Else-Marie Osmundsen, ILO, recommended that governments ratify ILO conventions and develop national reporting and trade union participation. Per Erik Boivie, Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees, described initiatives on eco-labelling for computers and green and ergonomic offices.

David Bennet, Canadian Labour Congress, focused on controlling chemicals through harmonization and standard setting and the work of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety. Owen Tudor, Trades Union Congress, spoke about EU eco- management and audit schemes and the campaign for international codes of conduct. Kalpona Akter, Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union, described a complaint made to the ILO involving violations of workers' rights in Bangladesh. She called on the CSD and the international community to get rid of inhuman working conditions. The dialogue session focused on a number of topics, including: the relationship of eco- auditing and the ISO 14000 approach to environmental management; the adaptability of the auditing system to developing countries; and “informal” economies. Also discussed were: deregulation of national systems; trade unions in UN and EU deliberations; global targets for management; and funding for worker participation.

[Return to start of article]