Earth Day Network urges global grassroots movement to monitor World Summit goals

provided by Earth Day Network

ot losing ground from earlier Earth Summits seems to be the best outcome secured at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, according to a consensus of Earth Day Network's member organizations.

    “Nongovernmental groups walk away from this summit sadder but wiser about the lack of genuine progress at the Summit and the challenges ahead,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “If the Summit made one thing crystal clear, it is that activists in virtually every nation must redouble their efforts to build powerful new constituencies and reinvigorate current supporters for genuine sustainable development policies,” Rogers added.

    “It is clear that citizen monitoring will be the key to making sure nations honor the promises they make at this Summit,” said Serryn Janson, director of the worldwide program at Earth Day Network. “Without effective monitoring, there is a real risk that corruption will replace compliance, end-runs will displace enforcement, and avoidance will supplant accountability,” said Janson.

    “Our role will be to help our network's members build the capacity they need to become even more active players in ensuring their own countries take positive and productive steps to meet the goals of the World Summit,” continued Rogers.

    Earth Day Network began that process with a series of four workshops for its network members at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. “Our training workshops for grassroots groups included some of the world's foremost experts on development issues, environmental protection, political and international advocacy, community health, and grassroots organizing,” said Janson.

    Some of the speakers at the Earth Day Network workshops included Khaled Irani of Jordan's Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature; Senator Tim Wirth, head of the United Nations Foundation; Rt. Hon. Simon Upton, Chair of the OECD Roundtable on Sustainable Development; Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan, First Minister for Wales; Yolanda Kakabadse, former president of the World Conservation Union-IUCN; and Dr, Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resources Policy, India.

    “Communities simply cannot rely on the good faith of polluters, traders, and developers to do the right thing,” declared Rogers. “The success of initiatives launched at the Summit depends in large part on continuing pressure from citizens' groups. We will arm our vast network of grassroots groups with tools and information to enable them to become more effective social and political forces in their countries,” she said.

    Founded by the organizers of Earth Day 1970 and 1990, Earth Day Network's mission is to promote environmental awareness and stewardship by engaging grassroots organizations worldwide in environmental education, citizen action and organizing, capacity building, coordinated global campaigns, and annual Earth Day celebrations. Earth Day Network consists of 5,000 groups in 184 countries