I have the honor of speaking on the Trans Pacific Partnership and free prior and informed consent, two subjects that—if you’re not familiar with them—are at the root of global economic policy, and have everything to do with why we are here today.
The TPP is a 12-nation, 28 trillion dollar free trade agreement being led by the United States and represent 40% of global GDP, a third of world trade.
Both the Tar Sands crude as well as LNG, are being sold on the global free-market and shipped from our ports. Now what you have to know is that if ratified, the TPP is a huge expansion of the investor and corporate takeover that NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement had paved 20 years ago.
Right now there are thousands of investment treaties signed between corporations and countries locked in these free trade agreements like NAFTA. And there are hundreds of disputes, where millions of tax-payer dollars have been rewarded to investors and corporations compensating them on not only their losses, but “future anticipated losses” as well.
These investments—like the Keystone XL pipeline—have investor rights that trump our federal environmental and labor protections under NAFTA in international law and the TPP wants to expand those rights. We should all be working to stop this. A lot of individuals and groups have been organizing calls to our representatives trying to make sure that Obama does not get the authority to pass what is called fast-track legislation, the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to sign these secret treaties without public or congressional review.
What separates the TPP from NAFTA, is not only the size of this agreement…
It is not only because the 12 TPP countries encircles the Pacific as a military and economic partnership, an area 1/3rd the size of our planet;
It is not only because the TPP seeks to control investment and trade rules to benefit the Wall St. 1%;
It is not only because the TPP negotiators are being advised by 600 of the largest corporate advisers whose assets and revenues are larger than most countries’ GDP;
What separates the TPP from NAFTA is that the sheer strategic economic weight and influence of this partnership is a death star aiming to control new binding global rules for trade and investment, rules that favor Wall St. and guide the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.
Already, the US is proposing to move us even further away from our international commitments made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, towards a “low-emissions economy.” This change of language to “low emissions ” benefits LNG and Keystone XL as being “clean energy” or “clean transport,” but it strips away biodiversity, and does nothing to reduce factors contributing to Climate Change
Already, the US is proposing to move us even further away from our international commitments made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, towards a “low-emissions economy.” This change of language to “low emissions ” benefits LNG and Keystone XL as being “clean energy” or “clean transport,” but it strips away biodiversity, and does nothing to reduce factors contributing to Climate Change.
Internationally, indigenous peoples have a tool called Free Prior and Informed Consent that came out of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples , a tool that by the necessity of the fate of our planet, needs to be enshrined. Free prior and informed consent is a tool that can be used to defend our lands, oceans, water and resources, a tool that should be seen as the antidote to the plague that we call neo-liberalism;
This tool– Free Prior and Informed Consent—is already trying to be dismantled by not just TPP negotiatiors, but the World Bank, the G8, and the Mineral and Mining Consortium, are trying to weaken the consent process so that it becomes merely a consultation process.
Coming out of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, free prior and informed consent is an internationally recognized right that guarantees indigenous peoples the right to give or withhold their consent to projects that affect their land, territories and natural resources.
It is a consent that is FREE from force, intimidation, manipulation, coercion and pressure.
It is a consent that must be asked for PRIOR to governments allocating land for particular land use and PRIOR to approval of specific projects
It is a consent that must be an INFORMED decision based on having all the information about the project that is understood by the community.
For both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, we must demand that this free prior and informed consent decision-making process be recognized in the same binding treaty-making agreement upheld in normative international law. Recognizing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples free prior and informed consent is a tool that can be enshrined to protect our lands, oceans, water and resources.
Before I lose you, you should know that today across the Pacific, we are observing the 60th anniversary of “Castle Bravo” the first thermonuclear hydrogen bomb the US exploded in Micronesia in 1954.
Since these tests began, there have been over a thousand nuclear tests in the Pacific. Fallout from these tests have had tragic consequences on the lives of the Rongelap and Bikini Islanders–Micronesians and Marshallese, tragic health factors, infant mortalities high levels of radiation in food and loss of regional bio-diversity that the US continues to downplay. All that nuclear radiation is like a Fukushima before Fukushima. In 1983, Nuclear Free Independent Pacific issued its People’s Charter and we now recognize March 1st as a Nuclear Free Independent Pacific.
Here we are, thirty years later, and Obama announced his “Pacific Pivot.” An Asia Pacific Rebalance, transferring 60% of US military resources to the Pacific. We’re still launching our ICBMs from Vandenberg and tracking them from the Air Force base by LAX. And now we are witnessing degrading ecological destruction with the military base buildup on Jeju Island in Korea, in Guam, in Pagan, in Okinawa, and Pohakuloa, one of the spiritual centers in the Pacific on the big island of Hawaii.
This Pacific Pivot cannot be separated from the TPP.
In closing, this statement was conjured at the Moana Nui 2011 conference, a gathering of peoples of the Pacific to connect and grow our relations with each other.
We, the peoples of Moana Nui, connected by the currents of our ocean home, declare that we will not cooperate with the commodification of life and land as represented by predatory capitalistic practices, distorted information and secret trade negotiations and agreements.
We invoke our rights to free prior and informed consent. We choose cooperative trans-Pacific dialogue, action, advocacy, and solidarity between and amongst the peoples of the Pacific, rooted in traditional cultural practices and wisdom.
E mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono. A mama. Ua noa.”
Climate march is personal