How APEC Harms

July 28, 2011
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How Does APEC Benefit or Harm Hawaii and other Pacific Islands?

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The impact of the APEC forum will provide Hawaii’s business and finance community with some economic gains, but it will do so at the expense of long-term environmental consequences while furthering economic disparities.

Behind the friendly appearance of its website and the aloha welcoming committee, is there anyone asking who APEC is and what these new investment agreements mean for our future. There will be many people gathering to protest the APEC forum, many of them representing the millions of people who have been negatively impacted by APEC, and we need to ask why the U.S. host country has put on an aloha shirt to say, “E komo mai.”

This November 8th to the 13th, APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation will be holding a 21-nation forum in Hawaii that expects to draw over 10,000 visitors under the big tent of the Convention Center and Ko Olina. There you’ll find trade ministers, government leaders, CEOs of transnational corporations, the banking and financial institutions, representatives of the IMF, the World Bank, government and private equity stake-holders, chambers of commerce and manufacturing, development and aid NGOs, investors of the various trade sectors in agriculture, mining, investment, insurance, tourism, telecom, e-commerce, textiles and apparels, energy, pharmaceuticals, military procurement, housing, and development, the entire circus.
The APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee is promoting this as an economic opportunity   that will benefit Hawaii and increase state revenue by a projected $120 million for 2011.  Considering that $45 million dollars are going into the security alone, Hawaii is spending big to ensure that there will be favorable opportunities created for attracting the large transnational investments in agricultural development, energy, tourism, and other environmental or service sectors that exploit the use of Hawaii’s environmental and human resources.

APEC Countries descending upon Hawaii

WHO IS APEC?

Currently, APEC is a 21-nation club of primarily industrialized or emerging economies.  It was conceived in 1989, just as free-market deregulations and trade liberalizations were fostering economic advantages to industrialized nations—and it began at a time when we began to see a greater consolidation of corporate power across nations, creating international legally binding policies that asserted less government regulations by weakening the labor force and dismantling environmental protections.

The “Washington Consensus” and the “Uruguay Rounds”

As economic policy, free-market deregulations and free-trade liberalization were created in Washington in the late 1980s, in what some refer to as the “Washington Consensus.” This consensus established neo-liberal economic policy in all market sectors among cooperating nations, and it was done so in cooperation with international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank. In 1995, this policy known as the “Uruguay Round,” reformed the General Agreement of Tariff and Trade’s (GATT) into the World Trade Organization. The Uruguay Round expanded far beyond the reach of tariff and trade, as it was understood at that time, as it included non-tariff measures like intellectual property, new rules in agriculture, the environment, investment, dispute settlement, etc.  The results of this agreement was a multinational endeavor that motivated the massive outsourcing of manufacturing to developing countries, further weakening their environmental, financial and labor regulations and established conditions of trade that demanded less government restrictions while creating opportunities for more private investment by corporate stakeholders.

APEC COUNTRIES

APEC was conceived when Australia hosted the first annual meeting of Foreign and Trade Ministers from 12 Asia-Pacific economies which at that time included, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.  Three years later, in 1993– at the first official Leaders meeting—the Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico, Papua/New Guinea and Chile also became full members, and since then added Peru, Russia and Vietnam. If approved, APEC membership may soon include India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Laos, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Columbia, Panama and Ecuador, which would bring APEC membership to 30.

ARE PACIFIC ISLANDS PART OF APEC?

Besides New Zealand and Papua/New Guinea, there is a noticeable absence of Pacific Island Countries in this Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.  The smaller, politically independent Pacific Islands, are represented by the Pacific Island Forum, a non-voting member, while Hawaii, Tahiti, Rapanui, West Papua, Guam, American Samoa etc, are still under various forms of occupation and/or colonial administration.

The Pacific Islands are an important and resource rich region of the global economy, and the fact that a single Inter-Governmental Organization, like the Pacific Island Forum/Secretariat represents the Pacific Islands to APEC simply does not reflect the best interest of the people, the environment, or the overall biodiversity of our region.

Besides the Pacific Island Forum, there are two other official observer organizations, PECC, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, the only official NGO observer of APEC, which is a business/government think tank; and ASEAN, the Association of S.E. Asian Nations.

APEC, EU, NAFTA, WTO

Now just to give APEC some context— in 1993 when APEC held its first meeting, it was also the same year the Maastricht Treaty was signed, officially creating the European Union, which standardized a supra-national system of trade laws which applied to all the member-states, and then following, eventually created their single currency. A year later in 1994, the North American Free-Trade Agreement  (NAFTA) was signed between Canada, Mexico and the US, and in 1995, the World Trade Organization was established.

Conspiracy mantra, “New World Order”

APEC, like NAFTA and the EU, was established under a shroud of U.S. led free-market/free-trade principles, which went to benefit large corporations, banking and financial institutions, key stakeholders in both government and private sectors. These government deregulations and trade liberalizations policies were other wise known as neo-liberalism. The foundation of this belief, asserted that the market was the grand democratizer and if businesses were allowed to flourish without government regulations and fewer tax burdens, then this “free-market” would be able to invest in greater opportunities for the working and middle class.  Assumptions were made that corporations were actually concerned about the general welfare of the state, which this financial collapse proved indisputably wrong when we saw that the CEOs of too-big-to-fail industries would sooner abandon the welfare of its people than surrender their golden parachutes.

NEO-LIBERALISM

Neo-liberalism only widened the gap between rich and poor, and pulled the rug out from under the middle class.  In its wake, these policies created a series of credit-based financial bubbles that have led us to where we are now—a global economic downturn for the US and its economic partners.  To not connect the free-market/free-trade system with the collapse of global financial institutions is like not connecting gravity with the proverbial apple that fell on Newton’s head.

For APEC proponents to insist upon the viability of this economic system, these free market/free-trade adherents might argue that the economic downturn is temporary. Of course, their predictions could very well be realized if indeed—and only if—these free-market/free-trade advocates are allowed to liberalize all government regulations and continue to exploit all the environmental and human resources it wants. However, even that won’t last long, because as we have seen, particularly in regard to developing economies, this system consumes what it needs and abandons the carcass when it is through.

NAURU AND RESOURCE DEPLETION

NYTimes article image

For Pacific Islands, we only need to look as far as Nauru to see how the system has failed. On July 18, Marcus Stephen, the president of Nauru, published an appeal in the New York Times Op-ed, where he addresses two sides of a crisis facing Pacific Islands: one on “climate change and security,” and the other on “mining.” Nauru was a partner to early private/public partnerships in guano mining, and when the resource was exhausted, it left Nauru with few economic alternatives and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Stephens writes, “Nauru has begun an intensive program to restore the damage done by mining, and my administration has put environmental sustainability at the center of our policymaking. Making our island whole again will be a long and difficult process, but it is our home and we cannot leave it for another one.” This sentiment is echoed throughout many of the smaller Pacific Island nations.

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As we begin to identify what the APEC forum is and why all people, not just Pacific Islanders, advocates and environmentalists need to resist it, arguments of development and aid packages providing for jobs, health benefits, and opportunities surface.  It may be legitimate and true to suggest that many Pacific Islands are economically under-developed and are in need of aid and opportunity. But it is also important to understand that many of those investment packages negotiated inside regional forums like APEC are responsible for perpetuating debilitating social and environmental conditions in the first place.

ADB, STRUCTURAL  ADJUSTMENT, AUSTERITY MEASURES

ADB, the Asian Development Bank for example, has been a leading donor to Pacific Islands and along with the IMF, development banks promote a kind of loan program to Pacific Island governments, technically called “Structural Adjustment loans.” Structural Adjustment loans are conditional loans provided to countries that open themselves up to the free-market, in other words, receive aid on the condition that governments enact austerity measures that deregulate protections on sectors like labor, energy, water and the environment, creating opportunities for foreign investment to overreach upon the acquisition of labor and resources.

TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AND INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS

These negotiations that take place in APEC, like the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreements or other bilateral or regional free-trade agreements like PICTA (Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement), exert tremendous influence on smaller nations. One example of how this system exacts profits for its stakeholders, is that transnational corporations franchise industries within regions, the same way fast-food or mini marts are franchised in neighborhoods, and so because countries are led to believe that they need to compete for investment with other countries in the region, governments are often willing to compromise long term environmental security or in some cases, the traditional needs of its people.
Unfortunately, these arrangements are held together by legally binding investment agreements, and the impact of these agreements often alienate peoples from their traditional livelihoods, often jeopardizing food and water security, housing, health, and other economic securities. As a result of labor disputes for example, corporations might demand that governments open their borders for cheaper labor from other countries, destabilizing security and undermining any kind of long-term, meaningful equitable solutions that actually benefits workers and families. This is a system that rewards consumption while strangling meaningful job creation. There are many alternative and viable economic strategies worth examining, yet it is these entrenched free-market /free-trade advocates that refuse to abandon their stakeholder shares.

As if this were not bad enough, there is what are called “Implementing Arrangements” written into trade frameworks or treaty agreements, and these are the investment protections written in to protect investments, which not only include the building and maintenance of infrastructure, but security as well.

WTO ENFORCEMENT

How this is justified in the eyes of the investment regimes is that these investment agreements are heard in the supra-national WTO court in Geneva and these courts generally rule in favor of the agreement.  Locally, these conflicts can take a long time to resolve and sometimes stop production. Investments in large-scale mining or port projects require tremendous coordination and commitments of support by equity stakeholders, even though these investments often displace peoples and destroy environments as is the case in the current mining development in West Papua. Investment regimes require these implementing arrangements to protect the investors, and if disputes cannot be resolved, then military or private military contractors may intercede on behalf of the corporations.

In the case of West Papua, it is the Indonesian army that is brutalizing our Pacific Island brothers.

Locally, when there are disputes between tenants and landlords for example, this dispute may be heard in a local court and landlords could be fined, or new laws could be legislated.  There is a semblance of accountability. International trade or investment disputes take place in foreign courts, behind closed doors, and often result in massive settlements that are disadvantageous to smaller countries.  Also, now as a result of these new U.S. led Free-Trade agreements, of which the Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership Agreement (TPPA) represents, it makes it easier for corporations to sue governments.

As this system evolves, it is the transnational corporation who is gaining the greater power.

 

WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN

If you will, imagine that the APEC forum is a circus of hucksters that are invested in perpetuating free-market and free-trade, despite the unsustainability of this kind of unbridled growth of our environmental and human resources.  Under the big tent of the Convention Center, you’ll find Trade Ministers, government leaders, CEOs of transnational corporations, the banking and financial institutions, representatives of the IMF, the World Bank, government and private equity stake-holders, Chambers of Commerce and manufacturing, Development and Aid NGOs, investors of the various trade sectors in agriculture, mining, investment, insurance, tourism, telecom, e-commerce, textiles and apparels, energy, pharmaceuticals, military procurement, housing development—you’ll see the entire circus.

You won’t see the farmers, fisher people, laborers, indigenous peoples, tax paying citizens, consumers etc, or all the people who are supporting this narrowing consolidation of wealth, either unwittingly or against their will. So if not for the very real human and environmental impact, the circus might provide for some entertainment, but because of the “Implementing Arrangements” of the military and the very real impoverishing effects caused by free-market/free-trade policies, these regimes often result in tragic consequences.

Now, by no means am I prescribing a xenophobic closed-door economy, shut off from the rest of the world, but rather recommending something quite reasonable: slower economic growth, more equitable distribution of wealth, greater control of environmental resources, and a shared interest in the bio-diversity of our region. Indigenous peoples stewardship of these resources must dominate any and all regional economic negotiations, particularly since the tactic for asserting regional economic hegemony is usually based upon corporations often violently displacing the traditional stewardship of these resources and placing them under the management of bureaucratic accountants and policy resource analysts.

HAWAII STRIPS FOR APEC
Specific to APEC and the Pacific Islands, Hawaii is competing for many of the same regional investment capital as the other Pacific Islands.  It does not matter so much that Hawaii is a state of the U.S, it’s about Pacific resources—and at the moment, international investment is focused on mining resources, agriculture, fisheries, bio-fuel, and government procurement—military contracts. Being a state provides for some protections, but that generally also means that it is more restrictive to do business, so in order for Hawaii to make itself a better investment, a certain amount of de-regulation and liberalization needs to occur.

SB one-triple-five: Public Land Development Corporation
For example, last month in the beginning of July of this year, Governor Abercrombie signed SB1555 “the Public Land Optimization Plan” into law, which created a for-profit arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources called the PUBLIC LAND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to manage public/private investment of Hawaii public lands, including the disputed “ceded” crown lands.  DLNR, is a public-funded state agency which along with the heads of other state agencies, DBEDT, the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism, the head of the Department of Budget and Finance, as well as two business/finance appointments from the Senate and House each. These five government appointees would manage the commercial development of Hawaii’s public lands.  Now the rules of this corporation have not yet been defined, but there are no administrators of this corporation representing native Hawaiians, the environment, or the public health, education sectors.
Signed into law about the same time were a potpourri of other feel-good measures that by itself and at face-value seem like good policy for small local farmers or mom and pop entrepreneurs—but applied to transnational regional development, which it will be, these measures will likely create hugely disproportionate barriers for families to carve out a niche for the dream of owning a local small business.
Some of these new laws allows for DLNR to modify state land leases to 65 years; allows the extension of state land leases for hotels and resorts planning “substantial improvements” to 55 years; laws that reduce landowner liability which establish criminal trespassing on used or unused Ag land; limiting liability to lease holders for trespassers sustaining injuries; exemption of building permits for agricultural and aqua cultural services for low-risk non residential structures; extending commercial aquaculture leases for aquaculture projects from 35-65  years, there are many more agricultural and land related measures signed into law.

There is even the passage of SB2, which requires that DLNR inventory all public land trusts, including “ceded” lands, to inventory all land titles, and submit a description of all natural resources, including minerals and water found on or appurtenant—“passing though”—each parcel to be submitted into a database.
Again, all these bills, on the one hand, that deregulate liabilities are wonderful if they pertain only to local farmers or families.  On the other hand, applied to transnational agricultural or aqua cultural investors, these new deregulations are Trojan horses used to create huge investment opportunities that could ultimately make it very difficult for local farmers to compete and could actually further remove us from the food/water/housing security which we are led to think these bills provide.

If these bills had been passed any other time, it may have well slipped beneath anyone’s notice, but so soon to the APEC forum, it suggests that the Hawaii state and business community is creating as many opportunities for itself as it can in this transnational market.

Just as Hawaii is presenting itself as a viable place for big agricultural investments for international stakeholders, it should be noted that just last week, Goldman Sachs raised the Monsanto price target to $96, from $80 a share and added it to its prestigious “Conviction Buy” list, a list of stocks the investment banks research team expects to outperform. Now, I’m not saying that this APEC forum is what is causing the stocks to rise, but to show how stakeholders are aggressively investing in Monsanto projects internationally. Whatever you feel about Monsanto, Cargill, Nestlé’s, Syngenta or the other multinational food/bio-fuel/farm conglomerates, these new bills further open up Hawaii to transnational development, ultimately making it far more difficult for local independent food producers. Further, what is debilitating about GMOs are not simply the development of patented genetically modified strains, but it is the repercussions of these large scale industrial patents held by powerful transnational corporation s that are more insidious, as they reduce our capacity for food sovereignty.  Big-Ag seed, pesticide and fertilizer technologies can ­prevent local viable agricultural land use for as long as their patents hold—in other words, for a really, really long time.

UPRISINGS

Some might look at this one scenario and accuse me of being an alarmist, but this is a systemic process that has been replicating itself like a mutant strain on local economies since NAFTA, which sparked the revolutionary Zapatista uprising the very next day in Mexico when it went into effect in 1994.  Since 1994, these types of free-trade agreements have only grown more insidious, more entrenched in our day-to-day lives so that many of us have grown accustomed to them. And as one might suspect by being attentive to the continued uprisings against economic hegemony throughout the world, the Middle East and North African countries are in the midst of revolutions. Through these uprisings, we have heard little to nothing about GAFTA, the Greater Arab Free-Trade Agreement signed in 1998 and that came into force in 2005. All of the regimes that had been overthrown had ratified GAFTA, regimes that fanned the fuel of labor and resource exploitation in collaboration with transnational corporations. These transnational corporations were spurred on to the region by the U.S and their trade partners, despite concerns and warnings by advisors that trying to force privatization and economic integration in the region could exasperate the intended results of liberalizing market regulations for the global market.
Previous to the MENA uprisings, nearly all the countries of South America, except for Chile and Peru (who are also APEC members), engaged in regime change as a result of these free market/ free trade policies, and Peru after decades of fighting, has of just a few months ago, overturned the rightwing regime to join the regional coalition of left-wing “Socialist” or “Socialist-lite” leadership in the region. President–elect Humala has now joined the coalition of Castro, Chávez, Morales, Correa, Roussef, de Kirchner, and Lugo. In June, the largest protest in Chile since Pinochet, against cuts in public education, sparked concerns that even the right wing Piñera government in Chile, might fall.   For all of these uprisings, the root has been corporate privatization in a variety of trade sectors, whether, water, energy, education, banking and finance or other sectors.  As a result of these regime changes, transnational corporations often took huge losses over their investments, and now, many of these large corporate investors rely upon investment treaties that protect investors with a means of redress should “problems” arise.

Quickly, treaties are defined as agreements between two or more nations, however Investment Treaties, negotiated by governments, give investors the right to submit disputes with other governments to international arbitration, with no requirement to use that country’s domestic courts.  This is a destructive system and countries that have had the revolutionary will to resist it have won through regime change. But one of the disadvantages of small island nations is that although we are resource rich, our populations are small and isolated. This allows corrupt governments greater control over our populations, because history has shown that the military can exert tremendous influence in our region without ever firing a shot.
Because of our geographical realities, placing Pacific Islands Nations alongside the South American and MENA examples for economic change may seem less than desirable, but it is also important to understand that APEC is a different monster. For one, APEC is a forum where trade agreements, or if not agreements, then “Frameworks” or lesser pathfinder agreements are signed.  For the Pacific and Pacific Islanders, because of our varied political histories, trade has been determined by colonizing influences and so we are faced with great disadvantages within these negotiations.

SEABED MINING

Currently, seabed mining, which is a relatively new technology, is coming under a lot of resistance by activists in Papua/New Guinea. Nautilus, a Canadian mining firm, has leased from the PNG government, mineral-mining rights in their EEZ—their Exclusive Economic Zone.  There is speculation of gold, silver, nickel, REMs—rare earth minerals used for the manufacturing of computer and high-tech devices, and mining is being rushed into the deep seabed without the proper environmental impact studies to the biodiversity of reefs and ocean-life.
The PNG government has already signed the investment agreements, so even if this mining impacts fisheries in the region, should accidents occur, like with the Deepwater Horizon vessel in the Gulf last year, it will be the PNG government—thus its people—that will be responsible for its cleanup. Does Papua/New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, the other islands negotiating deep-sea mining agreements, have the expertise and management in place to follow through with environmental and technological regulations? Can small island nations safeguard potential risks imposed by transnational industrial firms that have no stake in the region, other than its profit share? Again, we just need to look at the handling of the Deepwater Horizon disaster to see that governments are ill prepared, and that these corporations do not have the capacity to prioritize the environment in its cleanup.
Despite protests, Pacific Island governments are signing environmentally unfavorable lease agreements with transnational mining corporations and it is creating an atmosphere of competition with neighboring island nations, driving fears that they will lose franchise opportunity, as well as adjoining economic benefits to the next island nation these investors come knocking to.  Mining, again, is just an example, because there are many other trade sectors to consider.

AIrcraft carrier as reef replacement

There are military dredging projects in Guam and Jeju, massive housing developments to support military and private sector infrastructure, there are the ongoing struggles over water privatization, struggles over the leasing of public lands to private industrial/agricultural/bio-fuel development– all these industries further displace peoples, affecting every facet of our lives, from what we eat, our education or health options, as well as limiting our labor opportunities. Whether we like it or not, we are in the midst of colonialism 4.0.

CHINA

What makes this new colonialism a steroid driven monster, is not only because of these transnational investment agreements. China is a unique player, and they have grown their economy—as well as their middle-class—as a result of having been that country that lowered labor and environmental standards to become the manufacturing export giant it is.  Now China is applying that development ethic to smaller Pacific Islands and China’s success threatens US regional influence as China has developed partnerships with other US cooperating partners, creating further competition over resources.

Although this is another discussion entirely, I believe it needs some attention. The conditions that are driving the competition with China, as well as China’s aggression towards the Philippines and Vietnam over seabed mining rights in the South China Sea is, in part, the Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership.  The TPPA, excludes China, and claims the sea territories around Brunei and “beyond” Singapore. Vietnam and the Philippines have committed to signing the TPPA at APEC, and China, in lieu of not formally claiming any position regarding this anti-China strategic and economic agreement is in my opinion, simply flexing muscle.

Here are three scenarios as to why the geo-politics of China’s power appears to be threatening U.S. hegemony in the Pacific.  First off, is the success of the BRICS partnership – Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa—which are the fastest growing emerging markets making up a sizable percentage of the global GDP, while bringing up other emerging markets as well.

Second, the recent 2010 China-Russia deal alienates the US economic cooperation as it undermines the very fundamental of our economic base, because for the first time since essentially the Marshall Plan in 1948, there is a major international trade agreement of this magnitude between non-dollar local currencies, the RMB and the ruble. Led by China, it is likely that BRICS will create an alternative international trade currency.

Thirdly, the new shipping port in Najin in North Korea’s Rajin-Sonbong Economic Zone, near the border where China, North Korea and Russia intersect will give China unbridled manufacturing advantage by quickly and efficiently shipping commodity resources down through the East Sea between Japan and South Korea—”coincidentally” near Jeju island where the US/South Korea partnership are investing in a new military base—straight into the manufacturing corridor of Guangzhou province. This by itself will exponentially increase China’s productivity, which South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. would like try to contain.

THE “PACIFIC PLAN”

As a result of China’s success, competition in the region has accelerated over mining and manufacturing.  Regionally, Vietnam and the Philippines are two of those nations that have the infrastructure and human resources to compete with China in labor costs, and I’d argue that many of these and related geo-political factors with China have shaped US strategic policy with the Pacific Islands by developing a regional interest in keeping the US dominant in the Pacific.

How this economic and strategic hegemony is being negotiated for Pacific Islands is through bilateral or regional trade agreements or frameworks—like PICTA and PACER, the Pacific Agreement of Closer Economic Relations. All are part of what Asst. Secretary of State Kurt Campbell refers to as the “Pacific Plan,” and is being promoted by the Pacific Island Forum/Secretariat and powerful Pacific Islanders like U.S. Congressman Eni Faleomavaega, representing U.S regional interests in security and trade.

By themselves, there may be good intentions contained within the Pacific Plan and the trade agreements pertaining to economic integration, but its brilliance is only as bright as the integrity behind them. Unfortunately this brilliance is tarnished by a broken system that began in the early 1990s and has now run its course.  The neo-liberal free-market, free-trade proponent of APEC and this investment regime, cannot possibly deliver on its promise of prosperity for Pacific Islands, particularly since the risks far outweigh the benefits.

These investment agreements have only:

1) undermined a key source of revenue for locl governments through the unfair reduction of tariffs;
2) have been responsible for local business closures and loss of jobs;
3) have undermined any alternative economic relations that could have been developed; and
4) undermined land tenure and management systems, putting it into the hands of private stakeholders.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Most importantly, this neo-liberal agenda that APEC represents, is guilty of preventing the world from adopting stricter environmental standards that could have reduced greenhouse gas emissions, minimized climate change, and invested in our economies and technologies to prioritize environmental stewardship and resource management over degradation and depletion.  For those who claim that the opening of global markets was a necessary step to attain the technologies for a global green or blue economy, I would argue that this policy has instead stunted global markets by limiting our capacity to steward our resources in an equitable and sustainable way.

Further, as the neo-liberal regime appears to have now embraced environmental strategies by now acknowledging the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is mostly lip service, as the machinery for these investment arrangements is already firmly entrenched. Green investments aim to privatize and profit from this loss. As a result of this arrangement, will the leadership for confronting climate change come from partnerships between environmental justice groups and indigenous movements?

The very same institutions that helped shape and define the neo-liberal agenda are the same to have rejected the UN Framework on Climate Change.

MOANA NUI

For Pacific Islands and fair-trade, slow growth advocates, there is an alternative conference preceding APEC, called Moana Nui that will discuss how an alternative people’s economy might develop, and what a free and independent Pacific might look like if indigenous peoples were to steward their own environmental and human resources.

The main perspectives being discussed are Pacific Island Economic Independence, Environmental Degradation and Resource Depletion and Demilitarization. From these perspectives we’ll be engaging in local issues relevant to fisher persons, farmers, food sovereignty practitioners, energy independence advocates, those in the public education and public health sectors, and we’ll explore how that applies to Human Rights and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change, Pacific Island economic indicators, Decolonization, Militarization and Resistance in the Asia Pacific, Globalization, Transnationalism, APEC, the TPPA, PACER-Plus/PICTA and other trade agreements. Although there is so much to cover and much of it will be a broad overview, many of the local and international experts will be exploring these issues with the public.

We aim to construct some Guiding Principles towards asserting a Moana Nui Declaration

To reiterate, the impact of this APEC forum will provide Hawaii’s business and finance community with short-term economic gains, but it will do so at the expense of long-term environmental consequences while furthering economic disparities. What can we do to let transnational investment regimes know that they are not welcome—not just for Hawaii – but for the Pacific and all the peoples of our liquid nation, Moana Nui?
Ideas, anyone?

Moana Nui is sponsored by an independent partnership between the International Forum on Globalization and Pua Mohala I Ka Po.  You can find out more information at MoanaNui2011.org or find us on facebook.

The views contained in this pamphlet are assembled by and are of Imi Pono Projects, and are neither the views of Pua Mohala I Ka Po and its members, nor the International Forum on Globalization and their associates.

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