The Southern Peoples' Ecological Debt
|In Prague, at the City Library, during the Public Forum on 25th September
(the day before the big successful demonstration against World Bank and IMF), there was a
public meeting at which a promoters' group decided to launch publicly this Alliance, in
order to ask for recognition of the Ecological Debt the North owes to the South. The main
speakers were Aurora Donoso (Acción Ecológica, Ecuador), Ricardo Navarro (President,
Friends of the Earth International), Sathyu Sarangi (of the movement in Bhopal which
demands responsibilities of Union Carbide), Emmy Hamfield (of Wahli, Indonesia), Lorenzo
Muelas (Colombia) and Toribio Aguinda (Ecuador) as representatives of indigenous peoples,
Chris Albertyn (from Ground Work, South Africa), Noble Wadzah (from Ghana), Jose Augusto
Padua (from Brazil), Alejandro
Bendaña (from Jubilee South), Grazia Francescano (from the Italian Greens).
This public meeting followed a workshop on Saturday 23 in the INPEG programme, on concrete cases of Ecological Debt (biopiracy of human genes in Latin America,
mining cases such as FreeportMcMoRan in West Papua, toxic waste cases such as Thor Chemicals in South Africa, oil extraction cases such as the U'Wa in Colombia).
John Dillon, of the Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice, Canada, presented a
new paper, Ecological Debt: South tells North "Time to Pay Up" (vol. XI, n. 3 of
Economic Justice Report, Sept. 2000, available at http://www.ecej.org).
It is foreseen that a large world meeting on the recognition and claim of the Ecological Debt under the auspices of Friends of the Earth (IFI and Ecological Debt campaigns) and other organizations, will take place in Benin, West Africa, in August 2001.