We, 1,350 representatives of over 1,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society organizations from more than 100 countries, have gathered at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York from 22 – 26 May 2000 to build upon a common vision and the work begun at civil society conferences and the UN world conferences of the 1990’s, to draw the attention of governments to the urgency of implementing the commitments they have made, and to channel our collective energies by reclaiming globalization for and by the people.
Our vision is of a world that is human-centered and genuinely democratic, where all human beings are full participants and determine their own destinies. In our vision we are one human family, in all our diversity, living on one common homeland and sharing a just, sustainable and peaceful world, guided by universal principles of democracy, equality, inclusion, voluntarism, non-discrimination and participation by all persons, men and women, young and old, regardless of race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or nationality. It is a world where peace and human security, as envisioned in the principles of the United Nations Charter, replace armaments, violent conflict and wars. It is a world where everyone lives in a clean environment with a fair distribution of the earth’s resources. Our vision includes a special role for the dynamism of young people and the experience of the elderly and reaffirms the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural.
begin the new millennium facing grave and interconnected challenges.
As actors in the struggle for peace, justice and the eradication of
poverty, NGOs encounter daily the human impact of rising violence and armed
conflicts, widespread violations of human rights, and unacceptably large
numbers of people who are denied the means of a minimal human existence.
At the same time, new and emerging diseases such as HIV/AIDS threaten
to devastate entire societies.
Globalization and advances in technology create significant opportunities for people to connect, share and learn from each other. At the same time, corporate-driven globalization increases inequities between and within countries, undermines local traditions and cultures, and escalates disparities between rich and poor, thereby marginalizing large numbers of people in urban and rural areas. Women, indigenous peoples, youth, boys and girls, and people with disabilities suffer disproportionately from the effects of globalization. Massive debt repayments are still made by the poorest nations to the richest, at the expense of basic healthcare, education and children's lives. Trafficking in women, sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and the flow of small arms promote insecurity. States are becoming weaker, while an unaccountable, transnational private sector grows stronger. A single-minded focus on economic growth through uncontrolled free markets, combined with the adjustment and stabilization policies of international financial institutions controlled by the rich creditor nations are crippling many national economies, exacerbating poverty, eroding human values and destroying the natural environment.
should be made to work for the benefit of everyone: eradicate poverty and
hunger globally; establish peace globally; ensure the protection and promotion
of human rights globally; ensure the protection of our global environment;
enforce social standards in the workplace globally….
This can happen only if global corporations, international financial
and trade institutions and governments are subject to effective democratic
control by the people. We see a strengthened and democratized United Nations
and a vibrant civil society as guarantors of this accountability.
And we issue a warning: if the architects of globalization are not held
to account, this will not simply be unjust; the edifice will crumble with dire
consequences for everyone. In the
end, the wealthy will find no refuge, as intolerance, disease, environmental
devastation, war, social disintegration and political instability spread.
wish to put forward a series of concrete steps to strengthen cooperation among
all actors at the international, national, regional and local levels to make
this vision a reality. Our Agenda
for Action includes steps that should be taken by civil society, governments,
and the United Nations.
ERADICATION OF POVERTY:
INCLUDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND DEBT CANCELLATION
is a violation of human rights. With some 1.3 billion people living in extreme
poverty, it is the most widespread violation of human rights in the world.
Poverty exists not only in the developing countries, but is also a dramatic
and hidden reality in the industrialized countries. Particularly affected are
disadvantaged and underrepresented groups - indigenous people, people with
disabilities, women, children, youth, and the elderly. Hunger and the HIV/AIDS
pandemic are also highly related to poverty.
Processes of impoverishment inherent in the global economic system are
resulting in increasing inequity, social injustice and violence worldwide.
of poverty has become a matter of urgency. Poverty eradication is not an
automatic consequence of economic growth; it requires purposeful action to
redistribute wealth and land, to construct a safety net and to provide
universal free access to education. We call on our governments, and the United
Nations to make poverty eradication a top political priority.
To act as an independent arbitrator to balance the interest of debtor
and creditor nations and to monitor how debt cancellation funds are spent.
To introduce binding codes of conduct for transnational companies, and
effective tax regulation on the international financial markets, investing
this money in programmes for poverty eradication.
3. To immediately establish at the United Nations, a Global Poverty Eradication Fund, which will ensure that poor people have access to credit, with contributions from governments, corporations, and the World Bank and other sources.
To adopt cultural development as the focus theme of one of the
remaining years of the International Decade for the Eradication of Poverty
1. To implement fully the commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development in 1995, in partnership with all actors of civil society in an integrated and holistic framework. Governments should focus their efforts and policies on addressing the root causes of poverty and providing for the basic needs of all, giving special priority to the needs and rights of disadvantaged and underrepresented. We further call on the governments to anchor the Copenhagen goals in their national statutes and to introduce national anti-poverty strategies that provide safety nets and basic livelihood allocation as a right.
2. To strengthen the entrepreneurial capacity of women, indigenous people and people in the informal productive sector, ensuring access to credit, to enable them to become self-employed. This is the sure way of creating jobs for all and a sustainable way of eradicating poverty.
3. To support the efforts of the poor to keep families together, with particular attention to disadvantaged and underrepresented groups including indigenous people, people with disabilities, women, children, youth, and the elderly. Effective action and resources are essential for those affected by migration.
4. To address the incidence, impact and continuing human costs of HIV/AIDS. To increase spending for health research and to ensure that the fruits of this research reach the people.
5. To recognize the special potential of people with disabilities and ensure their full participation and equal role in political, economic, social and cultural fields. To further recognize and meet their special needs, introduce inclusive policies and programmes for their empowerment, and ensure that they take a leading role in poverty eradication. To urge all states to apply the UN standard rules on the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities.
6. To review, adopt and maintain macro-economic policies and development strategies that address the needs and efforts of women in poverty, particularly those with disabilities. To develop gender-based methodologies to address the feminization of poverty and to recognize the leading role of women in eradicating poverty, as outlined in the declaration of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
7. To provide universal access to "education for all," prioritizing free basic education and skills training for poor communities to improve their productive capacities. We call on governments to increase budgets for education, to reduce the technology gap, and to restructure educational policy to ensure that all children (girls and boys) receive moral, spiritual, peace and human rights education, while acknowledging, through programmes for families, adult literacy and the elderly, that education is a lifelong process. Special attention must be paid to the girl child. And higher education must be attainable on merit and not only on ability to pay.
8. To move towards economic reforms aimed at equity: in particular, to construct macro economic policies that combine growth with the goal of human development and social justice; to prevent the impoverishment of groups that emerged from poverty but are still vulnerable to social risks and exclusion; to improve legislation on labor standards including the provision of a minimum legal wage and an effective social system; and to restore people’s control over primary productive resources as a key strategy for poverty eradication.
9. To introduce and implement programmes to eradicate corruption in governments and civil society at large, and to promote good governance, accountability, democracy and transparency as the foundation for public ethics.
10. To adopt comprehensive, integrated policies so that priorities of such government departments as trade and defense are in line with the policies for international sustainable development.
11. To promote the use of indigenous crops and traditional production skills to produce goods and services.
12. To explore the feasibility of a legally binding Convention for Overcoming Poverty, to be drafted in effective consultation and partnership with people living in poverty themselves.
13. To cancel the debts of developing countries, including odious debts, the repayment of which diverts funds from basic needs. To improve measures to ensure that funds from debt cancellation are spent in consultation with the impoverished sections of society within the indebted nations. To direct international financial institutions to cancel 100% of the debt owed to them and to establish an arbitration process that balances the interests of debtor and creditor nations, with an independent arbitrator who will ensure discipline and transparency.
14. To call the World Trade Organization (WTO) to rectify urgently, the agriculture agreements that put pressure on developing countries to liberalize food imports, threatening their rural livelihoods, employment, natural resources, indigenous knowledge and food production and security in general.
To monitor and pressure governments to ensure that all the ten
commitments made at the World Summit on Social Development become a reality
for all. To assume our own responsibilities to help formulate and implement
the national strategies for poverty eradication and to ensure the
participation of the poor and marginalized communities. To create or
strengthen mechanisms to monitor organizations that work against the interests
of the poor.
To develop new relations and partnerships among community institutions,
educators, scientists, researchers, local authorities, businesses, labor and
NGOs in a constructive dialogue and planning process so that all can
contribute their best. To pay special attention to those who have suffered
most from poverty and to those who have the least opportunity to be heard by
others. The poor must see themselves as real partners and must be empowered to
enhance and employ their own abilities and resources in order to be of service
to themselves, their families, their communities and their common home.
3. To exert our best efforts to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - affirming the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of ALL rights, civil, political, social, economic and cultural - and to join the global movement for human dignity.
To improve conditions for decent work, capacity building and
participation. To encourage the
media to help monitor the commitments that governments have made.
To dedicate attention to the special needs of the young and the
elderly, especially those from the South, and to provide opportunities for
them, including access to information, and all forms of health care and
education, which are essential to the eradication of poverty.
To direct special action to decrease high levels of youth unemployment
to all global stake-holders at local, national, regional and international
PEACE, SECURITY, AND DISARMAMENT
UN and its member states have failed to fulfill their primary responsibility
of maintaining peace and preserving human life. Organized armed violence is
depriving millions of people all over the world -- 95% of them civilians -- of
their lives, and many millions more of their right to peace.
victims of Hiroshima/Nagasaki A-bombs and of the century's other warshave
vehemently warned us that the errors of the 20th century must not
be repeated in the 21st. However, the killing is continuing.
Six million people have died in over 50 wars in the last decade. There
have been some successes, but many of these conflicts have lasted for decades
with millions of dead. The cycle of violence begins with cultures that glorify
violence and warrior virtues, and may be manifest in domestic violence.
over fifty years of effort, no decisive progress has yet been made in
eliminating nuclear weapons, still capable of destroying all life on this
planet, and the circle of their possessors is expanding.
For mainly commercial reasons, there is no adequate verification for
treaties prohibiting biological weapons, while knowledge of how to produce
them spreads. Rape continues to
be used as a weapon of war. Space
has been militarized, and space weapons are being actively developed.
For the moment, the problem is centered in a small group of eight
states that are claiming for themselves the right to possess weapons that
could destroy all of humankind.
alone is not the way to peace; it must be accompanied by genuine human
security. It is imperative that NGOs be included in the dialogue for peace.
The world community -- civil society, including younger and older
people, and governments -- has the resources and knowledge to move from a
culture of violence to a culture of peace.
time has come to carry out the primary mission set forth in the United Nations
Charter, “to preserve future generations from the scourge of war,” and to
apply the principle of non-use of force, which is fundamental to the UN
Charter. Working together, both
civil society and governments can make armed conflict increasingly rare and
can move, step by step, to the abolition of war.
The Forum urges
To carry out the objective of moving toward the abolition of war by
practical means, the UN Secretariat and interested governments, or a separate
group of governments, should develop a draft proposal for global disarmament
to be discussed in a fourth Special Session of the General Assembly for
Disarmament. This proposal would
be aimed specifically at reducing the level of armed violence throughout the
world through continuing improved conflict prevention, peace keeping,
conventional disarmament, and nuclear weapons abolition, in a program designed
to be promoted by a broad coalition of civil society organizations,
particularly youth organizations, as well as by interested governments.
To establish a corps of at least 50 professionally trained mediators
for more effective conflict prevention, to assist in conflict warning,
mediation, and conflict resolution.
To authorize, through the General Assembly, the establishment of an
international, non-violent, inclusive, standing Peace Force of volunteer women
and men to deploy to conflict areas to provide early warning, facilitate
conflict resolution, protect human rights, and prevent death and destruction.
To draw on legal systems for conflict prevention and resolution, such
as those of indigenous peoples which have conflict resolution mechanisms of
To ensure that no “non-discriminatory” weapons, such as landmines
and sub-munitions, are used by any military force, in particular by any force
or coalition acting under a UN mandate.
To assist the Security Council on conflict prevention in a more
flexible way, the General Assembly should establish an open-ended Conflict
Prevention Committee to serve a rapid action conflict prevention and early
warning function. It should give
the world public, civil society, the UN, and national governments balanced,
timely information on potential conflicts and promote possible solutions.
To respect national sovereignty and the prohibition of the use of
force, which are fundamental in the UN Charter.
This principle must not be undermined.
In the solution of conflicts, all peaceful methods in accordance with
Chapter 6 of the UN Charter must be tried before measures of force are
undertaken in accordance with Chapter 7.
The UN General Assembly should set up a broad commission to analyze
standards for forceful action in cases where crimes against humanity, war
crimes, or genocide are committed.
To expand the UN Arms register in order to show production and sale of
small arms and light weapons. It
should include specific names of their producers and traders.
To reopen the Peace Education Unit in the Department of Political
Affairs (UN-DPA) with provisions for continuous liaison with NGOs.
To establish a humanitarian commission composed of independent experts
to work with the Security Council and Secretary General and other UN agencies.
The mandate of this commission would be to assess humanitarian needs
and recommend protective measures for civilian populations in times of armed
To establish ready police and peacekeeping forces.
Sensitivity and respect for civilians, especially women and children,
should be included in the training of all peacekeepers.
To establish an annual youth peace prize for signal accomplishments in
1. To promptly carry out their obligations in the Non-Proliferation Treaty to eliminate all nuclear weapons and to ban them. For this purpose, governments should, by the beginning of the year 2001, convene the conference to eliminate nuclear dangers, as proposed by Secretary-General Annan. Governments should immediately undertake to close laboratories that research and develop new nuclear weapons, to de-alert nuclear weapons, and to withdraw nuclear weapons from foreign states.
2. Together with nearly all governments that participated in the recent Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference, Forum participants consider that unilateral deployment of nationwide missile defense by any country could have dangerously destabilizing effects and create pressures to permanently retain high levels of nuclear weapons or even to increase existing levels. The deployment of theater missile defenses in Asia or other regions could have serious regional destabilizing effects. Such plans should be relinquished in favor of a worldwide missile launch warning system and a conference to review methods of ending production of long-range surface-to-surface missiles and long-range bombers.
3. To expand the network of nuclear free zones until they cover all areas other than territory of weapons states and to complement that network by maritime measures that close ports to naval vessels unless they certify that they are not carrying nuclear weapons. Civil society should energetically promote all these measures to control nuclear weapons.
To initiate a worldwide freeze on armed forces and a 25% cut in
production and export of major weapons and small arms, and, to this end, to
adopt an international Code of Conduct on arms exports, as the beginning of
worldwide build-down of conventional forces.
To implement the International Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention of
1997, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, to ban antipersonnel landmines.
To establish a commission at the UN to devise ways of stopping the
technological development of new and more advanced weapons that create new
imbalances in global power relationships.
The Conference on Disarmament should also establish a working group on
To establish peace education, including coping with domestic conflict,
covering all ages from young children to older adults, at all levels from
pre-school through university and non-formal community education.
Education for peace and conflict avoidance is essential for moving
toward sustainable peace. Implementation of this obligation of each national
government should be assured by an appropriate treaty.
To increase their efforts to promote and to comply with international
humanitarian laws, limiting the methods and means of war and protecting
non-combatants, civilian populations and humanitarian personnel.
9. The international community -- civil society, governments and the UN -- has a responsibility to stop promptly any genocide, war crimes, or any massive violations of human rights. All those involved should seek to avoid any confusion between humanitarian help and military intervention.
To immediately adopt measures to implement the Optional Protocol to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, so that children up to the age of 18
will be prohibited from participation in armed conflict.
To give special attention and support to those disabled and injured by
violent conflict, to children, and the elderly, and to the re-integration into
society of former combatants. Protection
of war-affected children in conflict zones must become a world-wide campaign.
To maintain the impartiality and independence of all NGOs working for
peace, security, disarmament and humanitarian issues from political, military
and economic powers and institutions. At
the same time NGOs should organically link with popular movements promoting
equity, justice, and diversity (such as the labor movement, women’s
movements, and civil rights movements).
To protect the humanitarian principles that are linked with human
rights and reject all attempts to transform the field of humanitarian
assistance into a new market open to private companies.
FACING THE CHALLENGE OF GLOBALIZATION: EQUITY,
JUSTICE AND DIVERSITY
"Globalization" needs defining. To some, it is an inevitable process driven by new technologies in electronic communication and transport, enabling information, persons, capital and goods to cross borders and reach the most remote corners of the globe at unprecedented speed. It is transforming our world into a global village with consequent political and economic changes that open unprecedented possibilities of prosperity to all its inhabitants.
To most, globalization is a process of economic, political and cultural domination by the economically and militarily strong over the weak. For example, the combined assets of the top 200 corporations in the 1960s were 16% of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This increased by the early 1980's to 24% and in 1995 had risen to 34%. In this process not only does the gap between the "have's" and "have-nots" widen, the ranks of the poor are swelling, civil societies are being threatened, pushing an increasing number into extreme poverty, and governments are becoming dependent. The present globalization process is not inevitable; it is the result of decisions taken by human beings. It can and must be redirected to become a democratic process in which the people are at the center as participants and beneficiaries. We, of all ages - in particular our future generation the youth - claim a space for that transnational civil society that even now is rising on the world scene with unprecedented ties, networking, exchanges, and common action among peoples, groups, communities, and organizations. Before us is an emerging new consciousness worldwide that affirms shared values of peace, equity, social justice, democracy, and human rights.
peoples are deeply concerned that the on-going process of globalization and
trade liberalization is, in many instances, leading to the denial of
indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral territories and violating
their rights to the security of their land tenure, including their spiritual
perspective on land and development, their traditional knowledge, their
culture, and their political and socio-economic systems.
The United Nations
To reform and democratize all levels of decision making in the Bretton
Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and integrate them
fully into the United Nations system, making these institutions accountable to
the Economic and Social Council.
To develop a legally binding framework for regulating the actions of
transnational corporations (TNCs), respecting the international labor, human
rights, and sustainable environmental standards set by the United Nations and
its relevant Specialized Agencies. The regulatory mechanism should include the
active participation of workers and communities directly affected by TNC
operations in order to prevent abuses and to subordinate TNCs to democratic
civil authority and community-based modeling of socio-economic systems.
To exempt developing countries from implementing the Trade-Related
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) from the WTO and to take these rights out
of any new rounds of negotiations, ensuring that no such new issues are
To examine and regulate transnational corporations and the increasingly
negative influence of their trade on the environment.
The attempt by companies to patent life is ethically unacceptable.
To move towards democratic political control of the global economy so
that it may serve our vision.
To recognize and enshrine legislatively the right of self-determination
of Indigenous Peoples and to acknowledge their sovereign right to their
languages, knowledge, educational systems, living spaces, intellectual
property and biological security.
To recognize that aspects of globalization seriously threaten
environmental sustainability, and cultural diversity and heritage, as well as
the common good.
To exclude fresh water, food, education, health care and other human
essential common goods from private monopolization and to regulate them with
the view to protecting and expanding the global commons.
To educate all people, particularly youth, about the dynamics of
globalization and how their behavior, for example consumption and purchasing
habits, can affect them and their country’s economy and perpetuate the
negative effects of globalization. To support this education with measures to
reduce the market practices aimed at inducing resource-intensive consumption.
4. To protect Indigenous peoples' rights through legislation, in the face of corporate transgressions of these rights.
To develop migration policies, both emigration and immigration, in
conformity with human rights standards, particularly, to respect the global
principle of freedom of circulation for all.
To make serious commitments to restructure the global financial
architecture based on principles of equity, transparency, accountability, and
democracy, and to balance, with the participation of civil society
organizations, the monetary means to favor human endeavor and ecology, such as
an alternative time-based currency. To
give particular attention to eradication of unequal taxation, tax havens, and
money-laundering operations and to impose new forms of taxation, such as the
Tobin tax, and regional and national capital controls.
To direct the international financial institutions to eliminate the
negative conditionalities of structural adjustment programmes (SAPs).
To reform the international financial institutions (IFIs) and the World
Trade Organization to ensure greater transparency and democracy and to support
the establishment of a consultative mechanism with civil society.
To ensure that the IFIs provide capital for sustainable development to
vulnerable people. Sustainable
funds could be raised through a currency transfer tax, which could also help
to reduce currency speculation, and a tax on the rental value of land and
To endeavor to stop the globalization of education among children and
youth where large corporate entities are allowed to compromise or control the
education system and marginalize the role of local and national governments.
To exclude from commercial exchange the human body and parts of the
To support community self-reliance and democracy by ensuring
people-centered, free and independent non-commercial media infrastructures,
including community radio, telephone, and personal computers.
2. To support the development of a concept of globalization defined from a polycentric and pluri-cultural perspective, assuming and respecting, preserving and developing the cultural diversities.
3. To mobilize public support and proactively organize periodic conferences on globalization, both nationally and internationally, benefiting from the new and available research of the scientific community. To encourage the building and strengthening of local communities and make their concerns known at these events and through other initiatives.
the new millennium, the fulfillment of human rights is threatened by numerous
challenges. The increasing
economic gaps and the unprecedented increase in poverty that are the result of
the existing world economic order, constitute the greatest and most unjust
violations of human rights: the misery and death of millions of innocent
people every year. We are
witnessing some of the worst violations of human rights, including the use of
food as a weapon, in the context of the armed conflicts and civil wars, which
have been erupting with increasing frequency. Moreover, civilians are bearing
the brunt of the deployment of weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction
in such conflicts. We are also
witnessing a resurgence of racism, fascism, xenophobia, homophobia,
hate-crimes, ethnocide and genocide, which impact most greatly on indigenous
peoples and other disadvantaged or under-represented groups; the resurgence of
patriarchy that threatens to erode the gains made by women; the persistence of
the worst forms of child labor; the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of
massive and systematic violations of human rights; the on-going and deepening
process of globalization which undermines internationally recognized human
rights, labor rights and environmental standards; the continued insulation
from human rights accountability of non-state actors, ranging from
transnational corporations and international financial institutions to
fundamentalist civil society organizations and criminal syndicates; an upsurge
of violence, militarism and armed conflict; the increase and growth of
authoritarian regimes; and the
fact that human rights defenders continue to be highly vulnerable targets of
repression in many areas of the globe.
The United Nations human rights treaty regime, composed of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenants and Conventions, is acknowledged to be one of the three core objectives of the United Nations -- Human Rights, Development and Peace. In the 21st century we must make advances on all three fronts simultaneously or we will put our world at great risk.
Indivisibility, interdependence and inter-relatedness of human rights
indivisibility, interdependence and inter-relatedness of all human rights have
been repeatedly reaffirmed at the level of rhetoric.
However, in practice civil and political rights have been given a
higher priority than economic, social and cultural rights, often to the
detriment of both sets of rights.
The Forum calls on
review its own human rights institutions and practices to achieve balance in
the allocation of resources to both sets of rights, and to conclude
expeditiously the negotiations on the Draft Optional Protocol to the Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
expeditiously adopt binding international instruments on the rights of
indigenous peoples, minorities, older persons and the disabled.
justify neglect of one set of rights over the other; but to ensure that all
individual and collective human rights are safeguarded in the pursuit of
sustainable development, investment and trade.
society and especially human rights organizations
· To fully appreciate the indivisibility of human rights.
2. The human right to development
states, by consensus, at several United Nations global conferences have
reaffirmed the right to development as an inalienable human right and an
integral part of fundamental human freedoms.
Moreover, development is essential for the realization of the
capacities of boys and girls. However,
obstacles continue to impede the effective realization of the right to
The Forum urges
governments, the United Nations and civil society
cooperate in appropriate actions to effectively realize the right to
development as a matter of utmost urgency so that the basic needs of all
peoples, including indigenous peoples, the disadvantaged and the
under-represented, are fulfilled. In
this context, the immediate cancellation of poor country debt is imperative.
Universal ratification, without reservations
ratification of international human rights treaties, which are the result of
already completed international negotiations, is essential if they are truly
to provide a common human rights standard for humanity.
and national human rights instruments have a vital contribution to make to
strengthening and complementing international human rights standards.
· To strengthen its technical cooperation enabling governments to ratify human rights treaties and fulfil their obligations thereunder.
ensure that no new international or regional treaties be adopted which
contravene existing human rights instruments.
fulfil their commitments already made in this regard at the 1993 Vienna World
Conference on Human Rights and to set specific time frames for reviewing
reservations and initiating national processes for considering ratification.
continue to press governments to ratify and remove reservations and to raise
public awareness of the importance of doing so.
Forum is concerned about the hypocrisy of states that fail to incorporate into
their national laws the international human rights treaties they have
ratified. Moreover, even where
national laws exist, implementation leaves much to be desired.
Forum calls upon
United Nations Agencies
ensure that governments fulfill their treaty obligations, including their
reporting and implementing obligations, providing if necessary, the technical
cooperation needed to do so.
effectively incorporate and implement the human rights treaties that they have
eliminate prostitution of boys and girls, and the worst forms of child labor.
draw attention to failures in implementation, and identify obstacles and ways
of overcoming them. Moreover, they are entitled to full protection in doing
International implementation of human rights standards
Forum expressed concern about continuing selectivity and double standards in
the international enforcement of human rights.
The Forum stressed the need for the more effective adherence to
international human rights standards, especially by the governments of the
permanent members of the Security Council and all other members, as well.
At the same time, it is essential for international organizations of
trade, finance and investment, as well as transnational corporations to be
held fully accountable for their policies and actions that impact on human
rights and workers’ rights.
The Forum insists that
its leadership role in spearheading negotiations towards a binding
international code of conduct for transnational corporations.
that all international organizations are fully compliant with international
human rights standards and core labor rights.
and adopt an international convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities to promote and protect the human rights of persons with
imposing economic sanctions, which deprive people of their basic economic,
social, and environmental rights and which make their struggle for survival,
as well as for civil and political rights, more difficult.
and implement national policies and laws to effectively protect their peoples
from violations of their human rights resulting from the actions of such
and not repress civil society organizations, particularly human rights
defenders and others monitoring violations and working towards redress.
governments to their obligation to protect human rights defenders.
Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Women and Girls
The goal of ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls also remains unmet. The forum affirms the universality and indivisibility of women’s rights as human rights and calls for an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls. The forum recognizes the human rights of all women and girls as an unalienable, integral and indivisible part of human rights that must be promoted and realized at all stages of the life cycle.
forum calls on the United Nations, governments and civil society to recognize
and assure equal opportunity and full participation of women in all aspects of
society, including leadership, the economy and decision making.
Forum calls upon
ensure that gender mainstreaming effectively brings women into leadership
positions throughout the system and a gender perspective into all its
programmes and policies; to provide gender training; and to strengthen its
mechanisms for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and
allocate more resources and create an enabling environment for implementation
of their commitments to women’s and girl’s human rights, including
promotion of women into decision-making positions, repeal of all
discriminatory laws, introduction of effective legislation to prevent violence
against women and girls, protection for the full diversity of women,
enforcement of legislation promoting women’s and girls' equality, gathering
of sex disaggregated data, and guarantee of women’s and girls' rights to
development, education and health.
fully incorporate women into leadership at every level and gender perspectives
into all its operations; to hold governments accountable for their obligations
to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls; and to act as
monitors of the implementation of commitments to end discrimination and
violence against women and girls.
Promoting awareness of and support for asserting human rights
participants reiterated the importance of human rights education in building a
culture of human rights and empowering people to claim their rights.
Forum advocates that
effective steps to make meaningful its Decade on Human Rights Education (1995
-2004). The historic and economic
roots of racism must be brought to the attention of the United Nations World
Conference on Racism in order to advance the struggle against racism.
more attention on the protection of human rights of older persons and adopt
effective measures for full respect and implementation of their rights.
awareness of the human rights of peoples in disputed territories and conflict
areas where freedom of speech and movement
is severely restricted.
should refrain from exploiting the images of victims in conflict areas because
this dehumanizes them.
the removal of all obstacles impeding civil society in such activities and
advocate human rights education for all.
and strengthen its activities in promoting human rights awareness across all
sectors of society.
Universal realization of human rights
Human rights will not be truly universal unless they are realized for all, including neglected or excluded groups and groups at risk, notably children, youth, older persons, women, minorities, indigenous peoples, refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants, immigrants, the disabled, the mentally ill, the unemployed, the homeless and those subject to discrimination on grounds of race, religion, caste, sex, place of birth, language, age, nationality, sexual orientation or other grounds. Economic exploitation, cultural practices and other factors continue to impede the realization of human rights for many and diverse groups.
unequal economic development between countries promotes forced migration to
developed countries. The human rights of these economic migrants, especially
those labeled as alien or undocumented, are systematically violated without
consideration of their significant contribution to the host country economy.
goal of ending all forms of colonization in the world remains as yet
unachieved and the right to self-determination is far from universally
realized, especially for peoples living under occupation.
in the context of the right not to be complicit in killings, we call for full
legal recognition of the rights of conscientious objectors.
strengthen the existing international human rights system to ensure full
recognition, respect for and realization of human rights for all; and
implement all those UN resolutions calling for self-determination and an end
to military occupation.
protect the rights of people under military occupation.
strengthen the monitoring of human rights violations of migrant workers and
establish a fair and effective International Criminal Court (ICC).
take all steps, including affirmative action where necessary, to remedy the
continuing neglect of people whose human rights are yet unrealized; and move
urgently to sign and ratify the ICC treaty.
provide effective redress and remedies for the victims of human rights
violations, ensuring that the burden of proof does not fall on the victim.
fortify its advocacy role in pressing for recognition and realization of human
rights for all and to encourage all states to sign and ratify promptly the ICC
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT
development is the recognition that environment and development issues should
be addressed in an integrated manner. Agenda
21 also promoted the concept of major groups wherein sectors of society,
including local governments, are acknowledged as important players in bringing
about sustainable development.
years have passed since Rio, and there is a feeling of frustration by civil
society over the slow progress or non-implementation of commitments by
national and international bodies. The
spirit of Rio is diminishing. The
commitment of developed nations to allocate 0.7% of their GNP to overseas
development assistance to developing nations has been met by very few
countries. The transfer of
environmentally sound technology from developed countries to developing
countries is hampered by intellectual property rights demands.
The balance between environment and development is tilted towards the
environmental concerns favoured
by the governments of developed countries.
dominant patterns of production and consumption are being globalized, causing
more environmental devastation of life-supporting ecosystems and massive loss
of bio-diversity. The Brundtland
Commission recommended that sustainable development be considered on an equal
footing with economic, ecological and social development.
Currently, globalization is giving priority to economic development at
the expense of social development and ecological conservation.
The effects of such unsustainable development has marginalized and
impoverished many, including the owners and custodians of traditional
knowledge and bio-diversity, indigenous peoples, older persons, farmers and
women. Globalization must incorporate local sustainability. Due to the efforts
of some civil society organizations (CSOs) together with some countries from
the south and the north, the issue of bio-safety has occupied centre stage in
the Convention on Biological Diversity. The
adoption of the Bio-safety Protocol late last year is a major breakthrough in
regulating the trans-border transfer of genetically modified organisms.
1. To strengthen its capacity to monitor governments and require their compliance with Agenda 21, their commitments in Rio, commitments made during the CSD meetings, the Copenhagen Declaration, and the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on Climate Change.
2. To make a global assessment of unsustainable development and its impacts on environment, human settlements and social development, thereby building upon the studies made by UNDP, UNCTAD, and other UN agencies and CSOS. On the basis of these studies and policy proposals, it should play an active role in promoting a world solidarity fund and in regulating international financial institutions, trade bodies and corporations to ensure that they adhere to principles and programmes adopted in Rio and Copenhagen.
forge stronger partnerships and broader cooperation with major groups,
including local governments and those sectors that are actively involved in
bringing about sustainable development, especially at the local levels.
It should also coordinate and harmonize the policies and programmes of
the various UN agencies and bodies to ensure that duplication is avoided and
synergy is achieved.
To encourage its organs, especially UNEP and UNDP, to actively support
the establishment of sustainability centres to advise local governments on the
implementation of Agenda 21 in local communities through comprehensive,
integrated development policies and strategies.
Such centres to be part of international
networks for the exchange of knowledge and experience.
To support positive action for indigenous peoples and other groups who
experience discrimination as a barrier to progress.
Such groups include women, youth, children, older persons, people with
disabilities, occupied peoples, refugees, minorities, displaced persons and
To establish a Global Habitat Conservation Fund to purchase
comprehensive protection of threatened, critical ecological habitat world
wide. The fund should accrue
revenues from a nominal (0.5%-1.0%) royalty on worldwide fossil energy
production -- oil, natural gas, coal -- collecting at least $5 billion to $10
To examine how it should restructure to implement the changes necessary
to give clear priority to sustainable human development.
To encourage UNEP and the International Union for the Conservation of
Nature (IUCN) to create an appropriate legal framework for the protection of
comply with and implement the declarations, conventions, and treaties
they have signed and meet the commitments they have made, including
those in Agenda 21. They should
ratify the important protocols of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements,
- Agreements which set frameworks for the reduction of global warming (These should be ratified by 2002);
the Biosafety Protocol; and
the agreement by donor governments to allocate .7% GNP for official
examine their economic models of development for sustainability and strive to
restructure away from export-oriented, import-dependent and debt-driven
models, if these are unsustainable. To move toward patterns of production and
consumption that are sustainable and centred on the health and wellbeing of
peoples and the environment.
assess negative environmental and social impacts of unsustainable development
and focus on how these could be redressed.
Their development programmes should promote sustainable development,
such as the conservation of water resources, sustainable agriculture,
development of renewable energy sources, and support for the sustainable
development knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples, women, and farmers,
while eliminating military and unsustainable infrastructure projects.
To support the establishment of sustainable development training
centres, owned, operated and managed by youth for youth. To support their
involvement, especially youth from the South, in all fora and at all levels as
integral partners and leaders in these processes, giving them ownership. To
encourage the development of a global youth fund co-financed by donor
governments and/or agencies and managed by the CSD NGO steering committee.
endorse the Earth Charter in the UN General Assembly.
establish and strengthen multi-stakeholder mechanisms such as National
Councils for Sustainable Development (NCSDs) to facilitate the implementation
of Earth Summit agreements.
To promote the establishment of micro credit facilities, especially for
farmers and women, and to promote their access to forms of land tenure that
facilitate access to and ownership of land.
To increase interactions between central and local government
organisations for the common goal of improving living conditions in urban and
To adopt comprehensive, integrated development policies and strive to
enable local communities to achieve self-sufficiency and management of local
natural resources, achieving sustainability through land use control and
through measures that reduce resource-intensive forced consumption.
To recognise and enshrine in legislation the right of
self-determination of indigenous peoples, and their right to be guided by
their own principles and perspectives, as expressed in their draft declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that has been submitted to the UN.
To continue challenging the governments and international institutions
to adhere to the agenda for sustainable and social development.
It should also monitor the way governments are implementing Agenda 21
and the Copenhagen Declaration.
To broaden and strengthen the involvement and action of various sectors
of civil society involved in developing and nurturing sustainable patterns of
production and consumption. Documentation
of best practices by civil society in the area of sustainable and social
development should be shared.
To enhance networking between civil society organisations and
movements. The diverse
perspectives and experiences of different sectors -- women, indigenous
peoples, farmers, and others -- should be widely disseminated and integrated
in the formulation of development models in the local, national, and
To actively promote awareness of the fact that once basic needs have
been met, human development is about being more, not having more.
Fundamental changes in human values are the best means to transform the
culture of consumerism.
To adopt and disseminate the Earth Charter as a tool for promotion of
values and actions which will create sustainable development.
To ensure that an appropriate liaison be developed between the CSD/NGO
Steering Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sports and
Environment Commission to harmonise implementation of the IOC’s Agenda 21
for Sports and the Environment within the UN system.
To welcome the concept and support implementation of the Internet
Global Environmental Fund proposed by Global Environmental Action, by which
global citizens can participate in funding CSOs implementing sustainable
STRENGTHENING AND DEMOCRATIZING THE UNITED NATIONS
AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
major task of the world community in the twenty-first century will be to
strengthen and greatly enhance the role of the United Nations in the global
context. Governments must recommit themselves to the realization of the goals
and mandates of the United Nations Charter.
A challenging task is to firmly protect the integrity of the United
Nations, counter the erosion of its role and to further strengthen and augment
international institutions capable of implementing and enforcing international
standards, norms and law, leading toward the formation of a new political and
world community must be particularly concerned over the ongoing trend toward
diminishing the influence of developing countries in the governance of
international institutions, which will only undermine their credibility and
and democratizing the United Nations and other international institutions will
require the broad support and involvement of member states, regional bodies,
civil society, and citizens everywhere, including young and older people.
The Forum urges
To strengthen the coordinating role of the UN General Assembly to ensure that it can fulfill the mandates it already has according to the UN Charter.
To make the Security Council more representative of the world. Permanent membership in the Security Council is problematic because it blocks change and fails to accommodate evolving realities. Thus, the UN should begin to phase out the existing permanent membership in favor of a more flexible and accountable system. The Council should be immediately enlarged with newly elected members drawn from the member states from different regions of the world on a rotational basis.
To limit and move toward eliminating the use of the veto. The UN must move towards veto restriction. First could be an enlargement of the area of "procedural votes" for which the Charter excludes the veto. The veto must be restricted to Chapter VII peace issues only. It is unacceptable that the veto would apply to matters such as election of the UN Secretary-General. Complete veto abolition should be sought as a step towards the elimination of permanency.
To develop more effective means not requiring the use of force to prevent the outbreak of war and other threats to the peace and security of people. This will require a far more institutionalized and analytical approach to the causes of war and the ways to prevent conflict. Among other things, the Security Council must take more action to prevent conflict over raw materials and other basic resources. A greatly expanded Secretariat office on prevention and resolution of conflict is required, as is a fund that can quickly be deployed to mitigate conflict-producing social and economic crises.
To make the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the locus of a more effective, integrated system of international justice. The compulsory jurisdiction of the World Court must be accepted by all states. In the absence of voluntary compliance, the Security Council should enforce ICJ decisions and other international legal obligations under Article 94 of the UN Charter.
To consider the creation of a UN parliamentary body related to the UN General Assembly. One proposal that should be considered is the creation of a consultative Parliamentary Assembly. Any parliamentary body established at the United Nations should have its membership selected through an election process, and should conduct its business in an open, democratic manner.
To act on the resolution of the Commission on Human Rights calling for the establishment of a permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples.
To provide a key role in arbitrating between the interests of creditors and debtor nations and in monitoring how funds released by debt cancellation are spent.
To recognize and support young people and youth organizations as active participants and equal partners in all UN processes. The independence and integrity of their work must be protected. The UN and governments are urged to support the initiatives and efforts set up by youth organizations themselves.
To strengthen information exchange and coordination among international organizations and specialized agencies so that the work developed by bodies like the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights shall be taken into account by the other organizations and bodies within their own policies.
To guarantee that international meetings and information documents involving civil society representatives shall be translated into the main international languages: English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.
To take measures to guarantee and to facilitate the participation of NGO representatives based in developing countries, Eastern Europe and indigenous peoples.
To strengthen the United Nations' contact with citizens by providing increased resources for NGO relations offices throughout the UN system and by enhancing the United Nations network of information centers, as an indispensable resource in mobilizing support for the United Nations among the world's peoples.
To support the creation and funding of a Global Civil Society Forum to meet at least every two to three years in the period leading up to the annual session of the General Assembly, provided that such a forum is conducted democratically and transparently and is truly representative of all sectors of civil society and all parts of the world.