OVER 400 civil society organizations around the world are currently locked in a fight-to-finish to reclaim the United Nations (UN) from what they described as ''corporate hijack''
The more than 400 groups which represent millions of people globally, have already signed a statement -initiated by Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) and nine other organisations- which will be delivered in the sidelines of the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit.
Nigeria's Nnimmo Bassey, who is the Chair of FoEI will was billed to meet the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, during a meeting with the organisers of the alternative Peoples Summit, which include FoEIl.
AkanimoReports gathered on Wednesday, from Bassey, who is also the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action (ERA), the Nigeria wing of Friends of the Earth that the statement is part of their campaign 'Reclaim the UN' which features the launch on June 19, of a new report exposing the increasing influence of major corporations and business lobby groups within the UN.
The report 'Reclaim the UN from Corporate Capture' presents a number of cases that clearly expose how UN policies and agencies have been excessively influenced by the corporate sector, for instance oil company Shell, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, the Coca Cola company, and the Chinese oil giant PetroChina.
“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 Bassey.
The report 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.
“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 FoEIl.
“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 F0EI.
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. FoEI believes that in its current form, SE4All will
spectacularly fail in its goal of tackling climate change and poverty.
- 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. ENDS