3 August 2015
In the face of overwhelming evidence of persistent poverty, deepening inequality, ecological destruction, unprecedented loss of biodiversity and accelerating climate change governments have set 2015 as the year when they chart a new course for humanity – a path toward “sustainable development” that “leaves no one behind” and protects the planet.
At the same time however many of these same governments, particularly the more powerful ones among them, are also currently negotiating new “free trade” deals across regions such as the Transpacific Partnership Agreement, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Trade-in-Services-Agreement and Economic Partnership Agreements, that will have far-reaching implications and that are likely to further concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the 1% that currently own almost 50% of the world’s wealth.
Edmund Rice International (ERI) recently added its name to a letter to all government leaders demanding that governments
- Uphold the primacy of human rights
- Tackle inequality and the over-concentration of wealth
- Rein in corporate power, and
- Address the climate crisis
The full text of the letter can be seen here
In a separate but related issue, the first UN Intergovernmental working group meeting on a proposed business & human rights treaty took place in Geneva in July. The working group is mandated "to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights."
Parallel to this meeting Franciscans International joined with a number of partner organisations staged an event to enable affected communities to have their perspectives taken into consideration.