Friends of the Earth meet in Ecuador


Friends of the Earth meet in Ecuador

Leanne McLean and Cam Walker have recently returned from the Friends of the Earth (FoE) International annual meeting, held in Quito, Ecuador. Having admitted three new members — from Colombia, Cameroun and Nicaragua — FoE International is now active in 61 countries, making it the largest federation of environmental groups in the world.

At the AGM, it appointed a new chair, Ricardo Navarro, of FoE El Salvador.

Navarro has been a Goldman Prize winner (the "Nobel Prize" of the environment movement) and was a human rights lawyer during the El Salvador civil war. His appointment is significant in terms of environmental politics on the global level, as FoEI is the only international green group chaired by a representative of the south.

Debate at the meeting focused to a large degree on how to make environmental activism truly international and considered the difference between the "environmentalism of the poor" and first world activism.

McLean and Walker will report to FoE members and other interested people on Thursday, December 2, at 7pm at Friends of the Earth, 312 Smith St, Collingwood (enter via Perry St).

They will cover significant decisions from the meeting, and trends within both FoEI and the broader global environment movement, as well as reporting on two conferences held in Quito immediately before the AGM:

  • the Latin American workshop on the impacts of the Millennium Round of the World Trade Organisation on forests, and

  • "Resistance as a path to sustainability". This conference brought together environmental, indigenous, progressive and farming communities from Latin America and all other inhabited continents, giving a southern perspective on environmental activism and a necessary counterbalance to the generally conservative environmentalism of countries such as Australia.

Campaigns for FoEI for 2000 include: genetically modified organisms, sustainable agriculture and food security; forests; ecological debt; trade, environment and sustainability; mining; wetlands; sustainable societies; gender; climate change; international financial institutions; marine issues; Antarctica.