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The Treaties - 41 - Youth Treaty


Preamble

1. We, the undersigned youth - non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social and political movements - gathered in Rio de Janeiro so as to participate in the International Forum of NGOs and Social Movements, the Global Forum and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), assert our position in protest against the festival of the powerful in Rio 92, which was not interested in offering concrete responses to global problems. We also confirm that youth are indeed the present and future of the planet. We recognize the explicit need to collaborate amongst ourselves so as to realize our visionary work and to participate within our societies to foment global, social and environmental change. Uniting our creative and intellectual resources and consolidating the principles elaborated in preparatory process documents, we commit ourselves to the following principles and actions:

Commitments

2. We consider that as youth of the world we are a strong force that can be channeled through unity in diversity. This implies economic and social justice; equal participation in decision-making; peace and collective security; equal rights and education. We commit ourselves through this unity to ensure for all people a lifestyle directed toward development which is responsible to future generations.

3. The inequitable relations between North and South (and between power elites and peoples) is a result of the politics of domination and discrimination, applied through the policy of the great powers, which affect the quality of life of the other countries, along with the enormous burden of the external debt. It is necessary to alleviate the vast extremes of wealth and poverty and to eliminate all prejudices, be they racial, nationalist, cultural, religious, gender-based or class-based, as these are causes of social violence. We commit ourselves to the sincere respect of each person as an integrated part of humanity. We adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

4. The economy can no longer be a discipline independent of ecology. We reject the current economic system based on the free market, the maximization of profits and over-consumption, which are the principal roots of human and environmental degradation. We also consider it necessary to satisfy the basic human necessities. To this end, we accept the responsibility of supporting local sustainable development alternatives in all nations, taking into account respect for the environment and the needs for a culturally diverse society.

5. We recognize that grassroots organizations are fundamental to the achievement of sustainable development at local, regional and global levels. In order to enhance the power of grassroots organizations we encourage international support groups and networks. We commit ourselves to assuring free and democratic access to information, sharing with those groups that have more difficult access. We accept the responsibility to influence and cooperate with governmental institutions so long as the actions are approved in a democratic manner by the community.

6. We recognize education as an inherent right of each human being. We defend the principle of free and public education so as to guarantee the accessibility of education to all in order to impede the privatization of knowledge, which is amply defended by neo-liberal ideas. We commit ourselves to promoting an integrated education - scientific, cultural and spiritual - with a non-competitive aspect as the basis of a change in consciousness that will manifest itself in action. We accept traditional cultures that have lived in a sustainable manner throughout history.

7. We condemn the open and covert destabilization of national sovereignty and self-determination, including all violations of the most elementary norms of international law, such as blockades, invasions and any kind of aggression, whether it be military, economic, or through the media.

Actions

8. These are some actions based on the previous commitments. The process of creating actions is open to more future proposals.

9. Education and Diffusion. We will:

  1. Distribute through the different media of communication, meetings and debates, the experience of the events in Rio 92, the UNCED process and the Youth Treaty
  2. Work to raise environmental and social consciousness and for environmental education, for example through:
    • courses in capacity-building and youth leadership
    • regional seminars to research methods for maintaining unity and participation in organizations
    • exchanges between members of NGOs, social organizations and political movements
    • grants for North-South exchanges
    • contests for creative ideas and concrete solutions for environmental problems
    • the elaboration of environmental education programs to be implemented by governments, etc.
10. Consumption Patterns. We commit ourselves to:

  1. consciously reduce our personal consumption of products that invade the market and/or harm the environment, as well as adopt strategies to save energy
  2. favor campaigns that promote moderate consumption which is environmentally sustainable and supports regional economies, for example, international boycotts of large polluting enterprises

11. Campaigns. We commit ourselves to jointly promote international campaigns related to the issues that were not addressed adequately at UNCED, for example:

  1. the rejection of the domination of the global economy by an elite based on the external debt of developing countries, transnational enterprises and their institutional accomplices, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), etc.
  2. against militarism, demanding that military spending be re-directed towards social and environmental ends
  3. against the use of nuclear power and the abuse of fossil fuels
  4. against hunger and unchecked over-consumption
  5. against the unnecessary use of pesticides
  6. against nuclear testing and in favor of the dismantlement of nuclear plants
  7. to demand the democratization of the organizations of the United Nations (UN).

Mechanisms

Working in Networks. We will:

12. Open a conference through an already existing electronic mail network - e.g. the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) - and continue and extend an existing network, such as A SEED (Action for Solidarity, Equality, Environment and Development), for information exchange, cooperation in solidarity and the coordination of action.

13. Create regional information centers which are involved in the e-mail network that will:

  1. produce a rejuvenation of existing regional youth NGOs
  2. create a directory which will include different activities, needs and resources of every organization
  3. coordinate a network through fax for periodical communications
  4. elaborate a newsletter to include participation of all the NGOs in the region
  5. coordinate the realization of various joint campaigns at regional levels.

Exchange of Resources. We will:

14. Exchange information through the Network about different sources and mechanisms of funding, and transfer resources between NGOs from the North and South and from governments and private institutions to regional networks for youth environmental activities.

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