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The Treaties - 39 - A Global Women's Treaty for NGOs Seeking a Just and Healthy Planet


1. We pledge our commitment to the empowerment of women, the central and powerful force in the search for a safe environment, economic and social justice, equitable reallocation of resources, the survival of all species and our common goal of a healthy planet in which future generations can flourish.

2. The participation of women - half the world's population - is indispensable in the conduct of daily life and policy-making, from the community to the national and international level. Everywhere, women are initiators and catalysts of environmental and developmental activism. Their perspectives, values, skills and diverse experiences must be brought into leadership and policy-making, but their virtual exclusion from leadership and the disregard for their needs and views are among the major factors responsible for environmental degradation, worsening poverty, pervasive militarism and violence against people and nature.

3. As activists in non-governmental organizations, we pledge to demand and work for gender balance in public policy analyses at senior levels in governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and at international, regional, national and local levels in decision-making, implementation, administration, evaluation and funding at all levels. We call for the adoption of forms of governance which are decentralized and in which arrangements for natural resource management are centered on people and communities.

4. We call on all NGOs, where applicable, and all governments to comply with the requirements of the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women - approved by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1985 - and to ratify and implement the UN Convention on The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the UN Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on The Rights of the Child.

5. We recognize the failure of governments to either address the true causes of the planetary crisis or reach agreement on urgent actions to save our planet. We believe that the chief causes lie in militarism, debt and structural adjustment and trade policies being promoted by multinational corporations and international financial and trade institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The policies of these institutions are causing the degradation of human and natural environments, leading to the growing impoverishment of the majority of the world's people, perpetuating the inequity of the existing world order and contributing to continuing and intensified pressure on natural resources. We condemn these policies and call for the immediate adoption of alternative policies based on principles of justice equity and sustainability.

6. We ask for cancellation of the so-called "debts" allegedly owed by countries of the South that have been more than repaid by the inequitable prices paid for their labor and resources, the exorbitant interest charged and the consequent impoverishment of their peoples and environments and insist that the benefits of such cancellation reach the people at the grassroots.

7. We pledge to promote the adoption of a model of sustainable development based on sustainable livelihoods for all peoples with full human rights including access to clean air and water, food, shelter, health, education and information and the enjoyment of civil liberties and spiritual and cultural integrity.

8. We affirm our belief that a healthy and sustainable environment is contingent upon world peace and an end to militarism; on the immediate cessation of the production and testing of nuclear weapons and the unjustifiable generation, dumping and incineration of wastes whether nuclear, toxic, or non-toxic; on a more equitable redistribution of the world's wealth to end the disproportionate consumption patterns of the affluent the world over; on the self-determination of peoples and respect for indigenous peoples and their lands, cultures and traditions; and on a global common effort to protect and repair our naturally diverse heritage.

9. We insist that raising the social, economic, political and health status of women requires policies and actions to assure them equal access to education, information, fair wages and safe working conditions, inheritance rights, credit, appropriate technology, environmentally-friendly consumer products and health care. We oppose discrimination on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, differential ability and sexual orientation; and we demand that society condemn domestic and sexual violence.

10. We cannot accept any attempt to deprive women of reproductive freedom, the knowledge required to exercise that freedom, the provision of comprehensive reproductive health care and family planning, including the right to prenatal care, safe and legal voluntary contraceptives and abortion, sex education and information. There must be recognition of the existence of a global cancer epidemic which demands the removal from the environment of carcinogenic substances which have particularly adverse effects on women and children, the systematic alerting and education of all to the danger of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and the enhancement of efforts to eliminate occupational hazards in factories, offices and on farms.

11. We abhor the harm that may be caused by genetic engineering of people and plants and the release of genetically manipulated organisms into the environment; demand the full participation of citizens' boards in the process prior to any approvals and that any resulting life forms or life form technology should not be patentable.

12. We pledge and urge the adoption and implementation of codes of ethics respectful of all peoples and the environment and that technology transfers be appropriate and sustainable.

13. We appeal to all women and men to join in this call for profound and immediate transformation in human values and activities and we pledge, as NGOs, to integrate into our consciousness and work the programmatic demands of the Women's Action Agenda 21, first adopted at the World Women's Congress for a Healthy Planet, and now by the heads of government attending the Earth Summit held in Rio, June 3-14, 1992.

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