FSE/ESF Forum social européen/European Social Forum - The consequences of the WTO for the environment
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Memoria Viva // Paris 2003 Reports // Against the logic of profit //

The consequences of the WTO for the environment [en] | fr
11 December 2003

 

I will use two developments in the WTO to demonstrate this:

1. Negotiations on services (GATS-General Agreement on Trade in Services) and the consequences for local government and essential services such as water and energy. The great risk of GATS is that it will liberalise public services. This means that local communities will not be able to regulate their own services, such as local transport, waste management or water supply. These negotiations have so far been discussed in secret, and civil society nor local governments have been able to participate. I would like to highlight a campaign by several European groups aimed at local governments. So far, hundreds of local governments in Europe have adopted statements on GATS

2. The second part of my speech will focus on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s). The US, together with Canada and Argentina has launched a complaint at the WTO against the European moratorium on GMO’s. A panel will decide next summer whether or not Europe should allow new GMO products. A campaign is launched in Cancun against this complaint, saying that the WTO is not the competent body to decide on health- and environmental issues. In short: the WTO is not the right forum to decide on how we want to regulate our public services or to decide what we should eat.

Alternative proposals

There are several alternatives that we could discuss. The most important one is that the WTO is no longer the dominant body when it comes to conflicts between trade rules and environmental or health regulations. The United Nations should be the competent organisation to deal with these issues. More specifically I would like to discuss the following alternatives:

- binding rules for corporations
- the right of food sovereignty of countries
- MEA’s should be given priority over trade rules

Implementation

We should continue our struggle against the WTO. More specifically:
- we should also campaign for binding rules for corporations to be dealt with in the United Nations
- The right of food sovereignty of countries should be an international acknowledged right
- MEA’s should become stronger in relation to WTO agreements






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ORGANISATIONS
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SPEAKERS
- Van SCHAIK Anne
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THEMES
- ENVIRONMENT
- WTO
- GATS
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COUNTRIES/REGIONS
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