Kenyatta International Conference Centre
December 3-5, 1998
The Nairobi commitment for Green action
Over 200 representatives and observers from 25 African countries, representing 11 Green parties of Africa and African NGOs from 12 countries, and from the European Federation of Green Parties and the Green Group in the European Parliament, gathered in Nairobi (Kenya) between 3 and 5 December 1998, in the first Euro-African Green Conference, entitled ‘The challenge of globalization and the environment’.
During the three days of the conference, the delegates from both continents, joined by solidarity delegations from the Association of State Green Parties of the USA and the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas, shared information and experiences on issues which present a challenge to the Greens as we enter the 21st century in a world which is rapidly becoming globalized at the economic, social and political levels. During the three days, the participants also explored the possibilities for networking and cooperation at regional, continental and global levels.
At the end of the conference, the delegates adopted the following ‘Euro-African commitment for Green action’.
As we enter the 21st century, humankind has made tremendous technological progress.
Until very recently, the kind of agenda associated with our Green movement was considered a fringe occupation, largely of interest to young people without responsibility. It is to our merit and the result our relentless efforts that today Agreening@ has become a verb, and connotes not only caring for the environment, but commitment to the Earth=s survival. Thanks to the Greens, there is now widespread agreement that global survival can not be achieved without significant changes in production and consumption patterns. Today, under the pressure of our Green movements and parties, most Governments accept that they have a duty not only to promote employment and growth, but also to assure citizens that their children and grandchildren will inherit a clean and viable environment.
In the course of their struggle for high standards of ecological, social and democratic rights, the Green movement is faced with many challenges, compounded by the prevailing neo-liberal philosophy.
I. Think globally, act continentally: the Green movement in Africa
It is in the name of this neo-liberalism that the international financial institutions (IMF, World Bank and others) are putting an unbearable pressure on the African countries. This pressure is further intensified by the profit maximization tendencies of multinational companies, supported by international organizations and agreements (WTO, Multilateral Agreement on Investments, …), and constitutes a direct and serious threat to the environment and sustainable development.
At the political level, the struggle of the African Greens for their ideal is particularly difficult because of the violation of basic human rights, the lack of participation in decision making and the lack of accountability, which prevail in many African countries.
It is our conviction that citizens must be informed and involved in the decision making process at all levels. Therefore we are committed to support the forces and organizations of civil society in their activities as regards development, education, sustainable consumption, health, human and consumer rights. Power must rest with democratic institutions, rather than with individuals or economic actors. Permanent efforts must be made to adapt these institutions to geographical, social and cultural realities.
Women in Africa are bearing the brunt of environmental destruction. At the same time, they are the main custodians of the environment. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve the status of women in many societies, as well as in the emerging African Green Movement.
Parliamentarians must be elected in regular, free, fair and transparent elections. They must be able to fully perform their role as legislators and representatives of the people, and they must have the means to exercise effective control over the actions of their government and the economic operators of their country.
Citizens must be free to meet and to organize themselves in parties, movements and other forms of association, and must enjoy full freedom of expression.
II. Putting Africa on the international agenda: a challenge for the European Greens
The Greens consider that the ongoing globalization process constitutes a serious threat to world peace, democracy, social, economic, cultural and ecological rights on our planet.
Green parties are now sharing power in several countries in the EU and the rest of Europe. The ascension of Green parties to power sharing does not only constitute a new and historical phase in the development of the Green movement, but also an important challenge. We call on all Green parties in government coalitions or which form part of parliamentary majorities to maintain a true and active solidarity with Third World countries, and especially with Africa: the true greening of Europe must never imply further impoverishment and depletion of natural resources of Africa.
The disruption of African societies provokes ever-stronger migratory movements and immigration policies, which are a direct consequence of the prevailing free market economic model. The consequences of this model are obvious:
– in the South, increasing poverty and threats to their physical, moral, social and cultural integrity, are forcing more and more people to try to build a viable future in the industrialised countries of the North;
– in the North, because of the strict limitations on immigration, national governments are applying an inhumane asylum policy by an extremely restrictive interpretation of the Geneva Convention.
Therefore, it is our conviction that the governments of Europe and the industrialised countries must assume their responsibilities by:
– introducing social and ecological rules and conditions in the international agreements and treaties;
– development cooperation programmes based on partnership and solidarity;
– a flexible application of the Geneva Convention in the field of political asylum;
– a humane reception of asylum seekers and refugees.
In this way, the Greens are committed to development cooperation that permits the local population to democratically define their own development models.
III. Green networking: towards a global Green movement
The Greens are committed to work for a just world, in which conflicts between individuals and communities can be solved in a peaceful way, and in which human communities can live in harmony with all elements of the global ecosystems of which we are part. Therefore, ecological crimes should be considered crimes against humankind and may no longer remain unpunished. In this respect, the Greens will consider and explore the possibility of creating an international tribunal with the power to condemn crimes against the environment.
In addition, the Greens expect their representatives in the European institutions to take or support all initiatives (in particular in the framework of the Lomé Convention) aiming at establishing a binding code of conduct for European multinational enterprises. The national jurisdiction of their country of origin must have the competence to condemn these enterprises in case of breach of their commitments with regard to the protection of the environment and social rights.
The African Green political parties and NGOs will establish an inclusive all-African network, based on their work around specific issues such as the renegotiation of the Lomé Convention, biodiversity, climate change, debt, and others. Therefore, a coordination committee will be formed, comprising representatives of the Federation of African Green Parties, Non Governmental Green organizations and political parties not affiliated to the Federation.
Greens from the industrialized world are committed to develop, maintain and enhance the ongoing solidarity in order to empower African Greens, NGO and institutions in their struggle against all those (international financial institutions, transnational corporations, corrupt and dictatorial governments of the South, supported by governments and institutions in the North) who threaten their societies, populations, natural resources, cultures…
In order to increase European interest for these issues, the African and European Greens are determined to increase the exchange of information and expertise, wage common campaigns, discuss the adoption of common positions, and increase bilateral cooperation between Greens in Africa and the European Federation of Green Parties.
We, the participants in the Euro-African Green Conference of Nairobi, challenge all African and European Greens to participate in the effective implementation of this commitment. Our historic conference is the first?ever Africa?wide gathering to establish a real African Green movement. In transcending national and institutional boundaries and holding a frank and lively debate on the status and the perspectives of such a movement, we have once again demonstrated that the strength of our Green movement lies in our approach of sharing experiences and debate without artificial barriers. We are convinced that by implementing this ‘Nairobi Commitment’, the Euro-African Conference will constitute a powerful boost in our efforts to build a meaningful Green Global Movement.
Nairobi, 5 December 1998.