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Friends of the Earth International
JANUARY 21, 2004
6:55 AM
CONTACT:  Friends of the Earth International
Tony Juniper, +44 7712 843 207
Davos Alternative Conference calls for Corporate Accountability Through Binding Rules
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND - January 21 - Today the alternative conference ‘The public Eye on Davos’ was opened by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who said in her keynote speech „Whether it is at the World Social Forum in Mumbay, here at the Public Eye on Davos or on the different Panels I will attend at Davos, my message is ‘it’s accountability, accountability, accountability, stupid’.“

The main theme of the Public Eye on Davos is bringing about corporate accountability.

For the fifth consecutive year, the development NGOs the Berne Declaration and Pro Natura - Friends of the Earth Switzerland are organising the alternative conference to the Forum’s annual meeting, to provide critical analysis of corporate-driven globalisation. This event will offer a truly open forum in which victims of the current one-sided economic globalisation are given the opportunity to voice their concerns.

The Public Eye calls for the creation of global social justice and of an environmentally sustainable world economy, in contrast to the current economic model promoted by the members of the World Economic Forum.

“The Forum’s motto ‘Partnering for Security and Prosperity’ suggests that governments work with large corporations as partners. But democratically elected governments should instead establish the laws and rules which private enterprises must follow in order to promote the common good,” Matthias Herfeldt of The Berne Declaration, Coordinator of the Public Eye on Davos said today.

“Corporations spend fortunes on fostering a responsible public image. In the real world, however, private sector companies cannot be trusted to protect the environment or the interests of people voluntarily: they need to be regulated. If governments continue to place their faith only in the good intentions of companies, whose priority is to make a profit, then the rights of those who suffer the effects of pollution, degraded land, stolen resources and poverty, will continue to be abused.” adds Tony Juniper, Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International. Participants of the ‘Public Eye’ highlight the urgent need for international and nationa l binding rules to secure corporate accountability.

“We have to work on in rigorous disciplined way to to ensure corporate accountability and build on the work of the Sub Commission on human rights and their norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other Business enterprises with regard to human rights,” said Mary Robinson in her keynote speech. She reminded governments, that it is their duty to establish the necessary legal framework to ensure that transnational corporations respect the UN human rights norms for business.


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