UN, Kung's Ethics Cover Bayer and PetroChina, Some Say, Copenhagen
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 6 -- The UN Global Compact, which has already
rebuffed activists' complaints about PetroChina and its dealings in
Darfur and seems ready to reject complaints against Bayer and its
pollution in West Virginia, on Tuesday embraced an ethics manifesto
by theologian Hans Kung.
a heady and surreal session in a 4th
floor dining room at the UN, Hans Kung spoke against casino
capitalism, but said there was still no consensus against the
charging of interest. Along with
former IMF chief Michel Camdessus and four others, he has launched the
six page "Global Economic Ethic" manifesto.
asked Global Compact chief Georg Kell how this manifesto relates to
the Global Compact, which rejected complaints
membership by saying that the wrong subsidiary was named. Might
principles require less legalism and more engagement on the
substance, for example on the pending complaint with the Compact
"our colleague from the UN press corp," was that "there
are no silver bullets." He directed the Press to the Compact's
web site's presentation of a project -- sponsored, he noted, by
General Electric -- showing how complicated the world is, using
sample "dilemmas" about doing business in emerging markets.
To those who think this sounds like a defense of PetroChina, or even
of employing child labor -- they
need the money, don't they? -- we
refer to this
Compact press release.
Bayer, West Virginia pollution and Compact answer not shown
ceremonies of the event was Swiss Ambassador Peter Mauer, who called
Kung "the best that Switzerland has to offer the world."
Not raised was sponsor Norvartis' position against donating any of
its research into H1N1 swine flu vaccine to even the poorest
countries. Is that the best
that Switzerland has to offer the world?
Back to Camdessus, some say Switzerland is about to lose its IMF
seat. But that's another story.
also at the event, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's advisor Jeffrey
Sachs spoke of climate change, and said that "we probably will
not complete negotiations at Copenhagen." Inner City Press went
down to the
day's noon briefing and asked:
City Press: Jeffrey Sachs, speaking at this event, the Global Compact
event, said that probably negotiations will not be completed before
or at Copenhagen. So I wanted to know is he, is this the
Secretariat’s view? Is the seal the deal…?
Michele Montas: No, it’s Mr. Sachs’ view.
City Press: It’s his own personal view?
the event, one of Inner City Press' table-mates said of Sachs, never
forget the debilitating orders he gave to Russia. Another wag mused
that since Ban's deputy envoy to Afghanistan got fired for
disagreeing with his boss(es) about fraud in the Afghan election, why
would another Ban advisor so casually disagree with Ban's "seal
the deal" mantra? Watch this site.
* * *
At UN, BASF Dodges W. Sahara
Phosphorus Fall-Out, Global Compact's PetroChina Denial
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, March 2 -- When
the UN Global Compact held a meeting on "current anti-corruption
by its corporate participants" last week, there were more than a few
ironies. Chosen by the Compact as its corporate participant and thus
poster-child was the chemical firm BASF. But when Inner City Press
chief compliance officer Eckart Suenner about alleged irregularities in
firm's export of phosphate from the contested territory of Western
the firm's refusal to make public an expert opinion it claims
transfer, Suenner dodged the question.
Not only at
the press conference on
February 26, when he said while he hadn't heard about, BASF has
"dual use and stuff," but in the three days since Inner City Press
sent him evidence of the refusal of Anne Forst of BASF's
Center" to provide the expert opinion, no response from BASF has been
received. Video here,
from Minute 24:44. The
inquiry focused on a shipment of 25,000
phosphates from the Bu Craa mines in Western Sahara, carried by
the ship Novigrad to the harbor
the Global Compact claims to be moving toward
transparency and credibility, its board recently
dismissed a detailed complaint
against PetroChina and subsidiaries for their activities in Sudan.
of the dismissal, the Compact's Sir Mark Moody-Stuart has
written that the issue will be re-visited at an upcoming meeting of the
Inner City Press
on February 26 asked when this will take
place, and for the views on the matter of another participant, Jermyn
Brooks, head of Global Private Sector Programs of Transparency
Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell argued that PetroChina is
member of the Compact, only its subsidiary CNPC is. Video here,
UN's Ban and Global Compact, BASF's W. Sahara
phosphates not shown
In fact, the opposite appears to be
true. In any
event, should Compact participants
be hiding behind a shell game of subsidiaries, in which all members of
conglomerate can cite an affiliate's membership in the UN Global
the most controversial parts of the company can say it was not them who
TI's Jermyn Brooks, who gave a detailed
Inner City Press'
question about gray money being used to bolster the reeling banking
least admitted he was "ducking" the PetroChina question, saying he
doesn't have enough information. When he does, and when the Compact
revisits the question -- Kell would not give a date -- we will have
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
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News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
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