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Bush Trading Away Women's Rights at UN World Summit: Statement by the U.S. Gender & Trade Network (USGTN)

Global Women's Project | Mon, Sep 19, 2005

By Kristin Sampson; Nadia Johnson
"As the 2005 World Summit culminates today at United Nations headquarters, the U.S. Gender and Trade Network expresses its outrage and disappointment with the Bush Administration and its deplorable role in influencing the trade agenda emerging from the Summit. It was our hope that the World Summit outcomes would ensure that trade rules are dedicated to poverty eradication and bound by existing UN agreements that promote and protect human rights, including women's rights, and the environment. But the Bush Administration effectively used the Summit to push its market fundamentalist approach to development that prioritizes profits above people."
As the 2005 World Summit culminates today at United Nations headquarters, the U.S. Gender and Trade Network expresses its outrage and disappointment with the Bush Administration and its deplorable role in influencing the trade agenda emerging from the Summit.

Women's rights and economic justice advocates have viewed the UN as a necessary arena to pressure governments to address trade regimes that have had devastating consequences on women, workers and the environment. We have pushed for trade policies and norms that place human rights and environmental protection standards at its center; for elimination of agricultural subsidies that adversely affect small-scale farmers, the majority of whom are women; for regulatory systems on property rights that promote people's access to and ownership of knowledge and the protection of environmental resources; for protection of essential services from the trade liberalization agenda.

It was our hope that the World Summit outcomes would ensure that trade rules are dedicated to poverty eradication and bound by existing UN agreements that promote and protect human rights, including women's rights, and the environment. Thus negotiations of its Outcome Document must reflect these commitments, understand the impact of trade liberalization, and avoid jumping on the coattails of imbalanced trade rules under the mantel of ""development"" in the so-called Doha Development Round of the WTO.

But the Bush Administration effectively used the Summit to push its market fundamentalist approach to development that prioritizes profits above people, successfully getting issues such as agricultural subsidies and corporate accountability off the table, and weakening the role of the UN in the global trading system. While Bush talks about trade as a critical strategy in poverty eradication, the U.S. continues to spend millions of dollars for agricultural subsidies to their own agri-business corporations. It continues to use patents to prevent affordable access by poor countries to essential drugs. It continues to play spoiler to efforts to strengthen the UN to effectively address unjust trade regimes that deny poor countries access to markets and pit the interests of powerful corporations against those of small farmers and producers cannot contribute to eradicating poverty or achieving gender equality. We will continue to demand that the U.S. keep their development promises and stop trading away women's rights!