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Civil G8 NGO Forum

International NGOs' Address to
President Vladimir Putin

Moscow, July 4, 2006

We, the people responsible for making decisions at international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have signed this address to convey our individual and shared concerns to President Vladimir Putin and ask him to communicate these concerns to his partners as he takes the mantle of host of the 2006 summit of the Group of Eight on July 12 in St. Petersburg.

Climate change, energy and energy security

Climate change, a result of the excessive production and consumption of fossil fuels, is a major threat to mankind. Should there be no action on this within the next decade, the global climatic system will inevitably change. Energy strategies at all levels should be primarily motivated by an awareness of the Earth's limits.

The G8 should redefine energy security to cover climatic as well as energy issues, with an important emphasis on strategies for energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. The G8 should also link the two types of security together to incorporate them into the day-to-day practice of international politics.

To provide energy and climatic security, the global energy system should be transformed now, which means that energy efficiency should be dramatically improved, and the whole system should move toward using diversified, decentralized, and mostly local renewable energy sources.

Apart from being a precondition of climatic security and stability, such a strategy would also ensure energy security, since it would make energy supplies more reliable. This is particularly important for the least developed economies, many of which still lack access to clean, dependable and affordable energy.

The growth and development of economies can and must cease to be linked to the growth of energy production. Instead, economies should focus on providing an efficient and fair supply of energy to all consumers. This turnaround, while critical in avoiding the worst consequences of global warming, would also help create millions of new jobs worldwide. It is, we believe, exactly the area where the Group of Eight should take the lead.

To do this, the G8 should begin by declaring its awareness of the need for action. It should also recognize that there is a need for practical steps to reduce our dependence on the global markets for fossil and nuclear energy, because such dependence brings about political tension, nuclear proliferation, debt, corruption, and air pollution that ultimately results in climate change.

We call upon the Group of Eight to:

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G8 2006 action to eradicate poverty and provide sustainable development

Poverty

The world has the potential to eradicate poverty. Failure to act on poverty, inconsistent with the human rights commitments of many nations, would be ethically as well as politically unacceptable. Poverty, famine, and the deaths of thousands of children every day deaths that could be prevented result from imbalances in the distribution of income, assets, and such human rights as power distribution, access to information, and political involvement. These imbalances are particularly acute for women.

As a gathering of leading world powers, the Group of Eight should recognize that its members are individually and collectively responsible for strategies to eradicate poverty and provide sustainable development, an issue on which the G8's record is still very controversial. According to a recent independent study, the G8 nations have been noticeably long on words but short on action where poverty is concerned.

We call upon the G8 to act in the following areas:

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Aid

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Debt

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Education and health

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Conditions and governance reforms in international financial institutions

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Trade and economy

The G8 nations should make efforts to fight corruption at the national level, including criminal prosecution in accordance with the relevant conventions of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and cooperation in the restitution of misappropriated assets. Failure to do so is unacceptable, especially since developing nations expect others to meet high anti-corruption standards.

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Humanitarian security

Respecting and promoting human rights does nothing to weaken security; rather, it sets the stage for it.

Humanitarian security means the obligation of a government to protect its people from poverty, diseases, corruption, and abuse of their rights problems that impose fear in the daily lives of billions of people. It is therefore the G8's duty to use its political and financial authority to improve humanitarian security across the globe.

As international terror poses a growing threat to the peoples of the G8, we, the leaders of international NGOs, support efforts to identify, detain, and persecute those who deliberately kill innocent civilians in order to promote political agendas. At the same time, we are concerned that almost all G8 nations violate international human rights norms and humanitarian law in their "war on terror."

The U.S. government tortures terrorist suspects; keeps scores of individuals in clandestine prisons, refusing the International Committee of the Red Cross access to them; denies 9/11 suspects their basic legal rights; denies individuals detained in its "global war on terror" the protection of the Geneva Conventions; and hands over detainees to governments that practice torture.

European G8 members also try to restrict civil liberties; some of them have also been implicated in handing over detainees to countries where they run a high risk of torture.

We also question Russia's methods of fighting terror, especially in the North Caucasus. The clear security threat posed by armed groups based in Chechnya does not justify torture, mistreatment, arbitrary detentions, abductions, and extra-judiciary executions of individuals captured by federal forces in this armed conflict.

These policies and practices severely hinder the worldwide promotion of human rights, which ranks high on the list of priorities professed by many G8 nations.

Therefore, we, the decision-makers at international NGOs, call upon G8 leaders:

Measures taken by governments in the name of security that undermine democratic institutions, and in some cases threaten to put civil society under government control, are in fact a major threat to the people of the G8. This calls into question some of the latest amendments to Russian legislation on NGOs, which we think should be discussed separately.

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Source: Official website of the G8 presidency


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