Published on Friday, July 19, 2002 by
Agence France Presse
Breaking from Protocol
World's Poorest Nations Lash Out at Globe's Richest
NADI, FIJI -- The world's poorest nations unleashed a
barrage of complaints against the globe's richest countries
here, voicing anger over globalization, migration, nuclear
waste and unilateralism.
Delegates to the 78-nation African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)
summit, which normally restricts its agenda to trade and aid
issues with the European Union (EU), broke from protocol to
address political concerns with the developed world.
A statement at the end of the summit acknowledged poor
nations did benefit from globalization, such as through
reduced trade barriers, but said the process still
discriminated against them.
"The envisaged benefits have not materialized for most of
the poor countries and even when they have, these are not
equitably shared while the costs are borne by all," the
ACP states enjoy preferential trade access to the EU but
these are to go by 2008 in a new deal to be negotiated over
the next five years.
Delegates to the summit opposed the changes, saying poorer
countries needed special treatment and policy flexibility to
enable them to develop their economies and protect their own
The summit also strongly condemned nuclear waste shipments
across the world's oceans by EU member states and Japan.
The criticism came as British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. shipped
low-level radioactive waste from Japan to Britain on two
ships, currently believed to be in the exclusive economic
zone of Vanuatu, west of here.
The shipments, part of regular traffic between Britain,
France and Japan, have for several years outraged Pacific
nations who fear they are an environmental and security
The communique on nuclear waste included unexpectedly tough
language after objections from African nations were
"We express our strong objection to the transport of nuclear
and other hazardous materials through the waters around ACP
states," the communique said.
"We call for the immediate cessation of such practice, in
order to prevent any occurrence of accidents that could
seriously threaten their sustainable development and the
health of their peoples."
One government leader told AFP at the summit that nuclear
shipments were a delicate issue with African nations
unwilling to condemn EU members.
"But we told them that this is an issue which affects
everybody, and they (the nuclear powers) will take their
wastes through their waters some day," the leader said.
The communique also expressed concern at European policies
on migration, calling on EU nations to enter into bilateral
negotiations to protect immigrants from the developing
"We note that while ACP migrants in industrialized countries
contribute significantly to economic development, they are
often marginalized," the delegates said in the statement.
"We reject recent developments implicitly linking migration
to aid by some donor countries."
The statement also expressed concern at what it said was a
growing trend towards unilateralism in international
It expressed condemnation of the September 11 terrorist
attacks in the United States but called for the fight
against terrorism to take place through the United Nations
charter and within international law.
The statement said the fight against terrorism would only be
won with appropriate treatment of its root causes, including
poverty, under-development and oppression.
Global warming was another concern raised by the ACP, saying
the existence of some member nations was in danger because
of the phenomenon.
However not all anger was directed at the developed world,
with the statement voicing concern over internal violence
within their own countries.
The statement highlighted "the wanton acts of destruction
and massacres committed against innocent civilian
populations by armed troops and militias in ACP countries".
Copyright 2002 AFP