a) The Future of Human Diversity and Specificity
"Diversity" like "globalisation" is a new term used to describe the
complexity of the lived experiences of human beings on this planet. Like
"biodiversity" we are coming to understand the critical importance of
maintaining a healthy diversity of expression of human thought and behaviour.
The forces of globalisation, economic, technological, cultural and political, are
working in paradoxical ways. Firstly, with the greater capacity for communication and
exchange taking place, we are able to find out about each other, about our similarities
and differences. Through global migration we settle in countries other than the one of our
birth, we are still learning to manage our differences as we live together. Secondly,
there exists a very real danger of cultural homogenisation as the result of contemporary
"western" driven models of globalisation and the current supremacy of the market
in our global society.
Economic globalisation in its current form has the potential to radically reorganise us
as human beings. Land, water, sexual orientations, indigenous knowledge and cultural
artifacts can now all be commodified. Different cultures need the opportunity to examine
their own responses to globalisation in order to relocate themselves into this current
reality. Among the most urgent needs are a reshaping of educational systems to foster
knowledge and love of local ecological and cultural diversity, and the integration and
development of mother tongues in basic education and local administration. There is also a
need to develop more equitable and effective means of communication and cooperation across
the differences, so that it is not always the voices of privileged groups that are heard.
As yet, we do not really know the impact of globalisation on our human diversity and
specificity. The delegates at this forum express deep concern about how to protect and
support the value of human diversity in the face of the powerful negative potential that
b) Sustainable Human Development
We should pursue sustainable and equitable human development rather than place so much
emphasis on economic growth and liberalization. The profit motive and pursuit of
efficiency alone do not bring us equity and justice. We need to create a different
paradigm that subordinates narrow efficiency to the values of equity, justice,
sustainability and diversity. Values like equity, freedom, solidarity, tolerance,
democratic adaptability, non-violence, respect for nature, and shared responsibility
should be shared by all nations and all peoples.
c) Achieving Fair Trade and an Equitable Global Trading System
Free trade, understood as liberalised, privatised and deregulated trade, has been
over-emphasised at the expense of fair trade. Fair trade implies regulation and includes,
equitable terms of trade, respect of human rights, recognition of collective production
and ownership, people centred development, humane labour conditions and environmental
protection. All countries need to cooperate together in the development of a just economic
order that understands communities, not corporations as the centre of economic life.
Wealthy countries, that currently dominant and benefit from the existing trading system
have a responsibility to move from free to fair markets as a basic principle of operation.
Developed countries should examine the social impact of their own subsidies and
protectionisms and practices of enforcing liberalisation on their own people and people in
other parts of the world. Application of these tools must be broadened so that these tools
are used to achieve equitable trading systems. For example, it is necessary to promote
better world market access for agricultural and textile products from developing
Considering their influence on the lives of billions of people as well as on the
national and international policy making, there is a need for global regulatory bodies to
hold TNCs accountable to the public interest, internationally recognised human rights and
The principles of applying universally accepted standards contained in the Secretary
Generals Global Compact with Corporations are laudable, but the initiative relies on
voluntary observance and does not have monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. While there
is a global move of corporations towards adopting triple bottom line reporting (economic,
social and environmental costs of their company's activities) and corporate social
responsibility programmes, these moves need to be seen in the context of broader
principles of human rights and accountability.
We urge the Secretary General to use his good offices to engage in the process of
entering into the Citizens Compact on the UN and Corporations that will safeguard the
image, mission and credibility of the UN as it deals with the private sector. The
Citizen's Compact includes provisions for creation of a legally binding framework for
controlling global corporations on the world stage, assistance to civil society and
governments in implementing national and local legislation to protect human rights and the
environment from corporations, avoidance of any public association with companies engaged
in widespread abuse of human rights or the environment and full transparency in all UN
dealings with the private sector.