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NGO Documents for the Earth Summit, 1992

Non-Governmental Organization Alternative Treaties
at the '92 Global Forum

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Treaty 40. Treaty on Population, Environment and Development

Preamble

Women's empowerment to control their own lives is the foundation for all action linking population, environment and development.

We reject and denounce the concept of control of women's bodies by governments and international institutions. We reject and denounce forced sterilization, the misuse of women as subjects for experimental contraceptives, and the denial of women's free choice.

We affirm and support women's health and reproductive rights and their freedom to control their own bodies. We demand the empowerment of women, half of the world's population, to exercise free choice and the right to control their fertility and to plan their families.

The international community must address problems arising from the relationship between population, environment and development within the framework and boundaries set by ethics, human rights, and democratic principles, and in recognition of the fact that one-quarter of the world's population - predominantly in the industrialized nations - consumes over 70% of Earth's resources and is responsible for most of the global environmental degradation.

Demands and Commitments

Birth rates decline when women's social, economic and health status improves and general living standards rise. The political and economic mechanisms operating within the prevailing world order and within each country, which create and perpetuate poverty, inequality and marginalization of people in the South - and increasingly in the North - must be transformed.

Militarism, debt and structural adjustment and trade policies being promoted by corporations and international financial and trade institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, are degrading the environment, impoverishing the majority of the world's people and perpetuating the inequity of the existing world order. We condemn these policies and call for the immediate adoption of alternative policies and call for the immediate adoption of alternative policies based on principles of justice, equity and sustainability.

Nuclear testing and toxic waste dumping are poisoning the environment, threatening food security and causing sterility, births defects and disease. We demand an end to environmental hazards that deprive women and men of their right to health and healthy children.

Patterns of consumption and production in the North and among the privileged of the South, which are the main threat to the survival of life on Earth, must be changed in order to halt the squandering of natural resources and the exploitation of human beings.

We condemn and call for an immediate end to policies and programs, whether by governments, institutions, organizations or employers, that attempt to deprive women of their freedom of choice or the full knowledge or means to exercise their reproductive rights, including the right to interrupt unwanted pregnancies. We denounce and reject the violence against women, who are victims of racial and class discrimination and suffer from extreme poverty, who are subjected to coercion, sterilization abuse, experimental drugs, and lack of proper medical care and information about health risks and alternatives.

We pledge to expose and oppose any coercive population control programs supported or conducted by governments, funding agencies, multilateral institutions, corporations and NGOs, and to hold them accountable.

We demand women-centred, women-managed and women-controlled comprehensive reproductive health care, including pre- and post- natal care, safe and legal voluntary contraceptives and abortion facilities, sex education and information for girls and boys, and programs that also educate men on male methods of contraception and their parental responsibilities.

We demand child care facilities, parental leave and care for the elderly and disabled, as family support services.

We demand that scientific experimentation related to reproduction, particularly in the fields of genetic engineering and contraception, be transparent as well as accountable to women's concerns and ethical criteria rooted in the defense of the human species and human rights.

We demand that governments honour international law and commitments on reproductive rights, and fulfil their responsibilities in implementing the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies, the report of the 1984 Conference on Population and the UNCED agreements. We also demand the urgent and full ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

We demand that national and international communities act now to support community-based responses to the AIDS epidemic, and provide more research, services and information to women, men and children about the prevention and treatment of HIV infection, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, respecting the human rights of those affected.

These demands embody our commitments, and we pledge to integrate them into our lives and our organizations' practices and policies. We further pledge to see that these demands are met at all levels, locally, nationally and internationally. And we pledge to work together on this treaty, affirming our solidarity and our cultural diversity.

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