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N. 33 - December 2000

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* Russia: Moscow conference on harmonizing environmental legislation in CIS countries.


* World: Mr. Bush, the World Doesn't Want to Be American.
* Georgia: Orthodox Church and Jewish community sign an agreement of mutual support.
* Eastern Europe: Bibliography on east european ethnic relations.
* Russia: Only future is "Democracy from below".


* Algeri: Ethiopia - Eritrea: Peace Treaty Signed.
* Italy: Global petition puts pressure on US to abolish death penalty.
* Russia: Ongoing demonstrations in Moscow for the rights of disabled people.
* Nicaragua: Sewing Co-op Project in Nicaragua..



Moscow conference on harmonizing environmental legislation in CIS countries.
Moscow, January 18-19,2001
Edited by: Rocío Valle
A project of the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) to harmonize legislation in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and based on the UNEP- developed innovative approach to legal protection of the environment, concluded with a conference in Moscow at the President's Academy of Sciences. "The CIS countries were considered as the region with conditions conducive to our innovative approach that aims at creating a legal system where all norms would be correlated with ecological imperatives and where the environmental legislation and other laws regulating the economic and social sectors would function in a harmonized and mutually
supportive manner.", said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director. "Many branches of legislation were still in a formative stage, and an integrated cross-sectoral approach to harmonization was feasible.", he added. The conference adopted the Moscow Manifesto, which calls upon parliaments, governments, the judiciary, civil society and international organizations to pursue environmental protection and sustainable development.



Mr. Bush, the World Doesn't Want to Be American.
International Herald Tribune
December 30, 2000
By Mikhail Gorbachev

Dear Mr. Bush:

I am writing to you as a citizen of our planet and someone who beholds the last remaining superpower. Can there be any doubt that the United States plays a major role in guiding our world? Only a fool could disregard that fact. To acknowledge this is a given, even though American spokesmen are perhaps somewhat overly inclined to press the point home to the rest of the world.

For while America's role is acknowledged throughout the world, her claim to hegemony, not to say domination, is not similarly recognized. For this reason, I hope, Mr. Bush, as the new American president, that you will give up any illusion that the 21st century can, or even should, be the "American Century." Globalization is a given - but "American globalization" would be a mistake. In fact, it would be something devoid of meaning and even dangerous.

I would go even further and say it is time for America's electorate to be told the blunt truth: that the present situation of the United States, with a part of its population able to enjoy a life of extraordinary comfort and privilege, is not tenable as long as an enormous portion of the world lives in abject poverty, degradation and backwardness.
For 10 years, U.S. foreign policy has been formulated as if it were the policy of a victor in war, the Cold War. But at the highest reaches of U.S. policy-making no one has grasped the fact that this could not be the basis for formulating post-Cold War policy.

In fact, there has been no "pacification." On the contrary, there has been a heightening of inequalities, tension and hostility, with most of the last directed toward the United States.

Instead of seeing an increase in U.S. security, the end of the Cold War has seen a decline. It is not hard to imagine that, should the United States persist in its policies, the international situation will continue to deteriorate.

It is also difficult to believe that, under present circumstances, relations between the United States, on the one hand, and China, India and all the rest of the earth that lives in abject poverty, on the other, could develop in a positive direction. Nor is it possible, on the basis of its present posture, for the United States to establish effective, long-term cooperation with its traditional allies, Europe first
and foremost.
Already we see numerous trade disputes, evidence of the conflicting interests separating the United States and the European Union.
At the recent conference in The Hague, where the participants were supposed to come up with a common policy on limiting greenhouse effects, U.S. positions were far removed from those of all others. As a result, no decision was taken. This is clearly an example of a failure of "world governance."
From the standpoint of the Old World, the post-Cold War period ushered in hopes that now are faded. Over the past decade, the United States has continued to operate along an ideological track identical to the one it followed during the Cold War.
Need an example? The expansion of NATO eastward, the handling of the Yugoslav crisis, the theory and practice of U.S. rearmament - including the utterly extravagant national missile defense system, which, in turn, is based on the bizarre notion of "rogue states."
Isn't it amazing that disarmament moved further during the last phase of the Cold War than during the period after its end? And isn't that because U.S. leadership has been unable to adjust to the new European reality? Europe is now a new, independent and powerful player on the world scene. To continue to regard it as a junior partner would be a mistake. Europe's experience must serve as a lesson for future relations, but it can do so only if America and Europe build a genuine, equal partnership.
Finally, it is hardly a secret that relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated over recent years. Responsibility for this must be shared between Russia and America.
The present leadership of Russia appears ready to cooperate with the United States in framing a new agenda for relations. But it is unclear what your orientation will be. What we heard during the electoral campaign did not sound encouraging.
If we truly want to build a new world order and further European unity, we have to recognize that this will not be possible without an active role for Russia. This recognition is the necessary basis for setting future Russian-American relations on the right path.
The world is complicated, it contains and expresses a variety of interests and cultures. Sooner or later, international policy, including that of the United States, will have to come to terms with that variety.
The writer, the last president of the former Soviet Union, contributed this comment to the Washington Post.


Orthodox Church and Jewish community sign an agreement of mutual support.
Georgia, 31 January 2001
Source: RFE/RL Newsline
Edited by Juha Uski
Representatives of the Georgian Orthodox Church and Georgia's Jewish community signed an agreement on 31 January at the Georgian parliament pledging mutual respect and support, Caucasus Press reported. The two denominations also vowed to cooperate in furthering democratization and peace and stability in Georgia and the entire South Caucasus. The Georgian Orthodox Church has signed similar agreements with the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Catholic Church in Georgia and the All-Caucasus Muslim Religious Board.


Bibliography on ast uropean ethnic relations.
Eastern Europe, January 31, 2001
Edited by: Rocío Valle
This second volume is the updated and enlarged version of the Bibliography on Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe and covers ethnicity, nationalism, ethnic conflict, conflict resolution, institutions, political participation of minorities, and managing multiethnic coexistence. This new version is a selection of post-1989 literature in English, Russian, German, and local languages with material
drawn from local contributors, the library of the Central European University in Budapest, and the Sociological Abstract and other bibliographies. For more information, see: or e-mail Petra Kovacs at:


Only future is "Democracy from below"
Russia, January 18, 2001
Edited by: Rocío Valle
Professor G.G. Dirigensky, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of World Economics issued the following statement: "We can confidently assert: the time of "democracy from above" in Russia ended together with the era of Boris Yeltsin and is unlikely to return again. From now, only "democracy from below" is possible, and the present weakness of the democratic
tendencies in Russia can be overcome only as a result of radical changes in society itself: in the consciousness and social and political behavior of the presently passive, fragmented, and disorganized masses of its citizens."



Ethiopia - Eritrea: Peace Treaty Signed.
Algeri, 12 December 2000
Good News Agency
Ethiopia and Eritrea finally signed a peace treaty putting an end to a war which lasted from May 1998 to June 2000 causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and over a million refugees. The treatise obliges the governments to cease permanently all military action along the 600 kilometre border which separates the two countries.


Global petition puts pressure on US to abolish death penalty.
Rome, Italy, December 19, 2000
By Rory Carroll
Opponents of the death penalty opened a political front against the next US president, George W Bush, yesterday by presenting the United Nations with a petition of 3.2m signatures from 146 countries.
A coalition of intellectuals, entertainers and religious and human rights groups said the petition marked a stepping-up in the campaign for moratoriums on capital punishment.
The petition was handed to the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, in New York, but its focus was on Mr Bush, who has approved more executions than any other US governor in modern times during his tenure in Texas. The objective is to exploit America's growing fear that innocent people are ending up on death row.
The signatories include the Dalai Lama; the Indonesian president, Abdurrahman Wahid; the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey; the writer Umberto Eco; the film director Roberto Benigni; and the World Methodist Council president, Frances Alguire.


Ongoing demonstrations in Moscow for the rights of disabled people.
Moscow, Russia, winter 2000-2001
RSDP Perspektiva
By: Juha Uski
Groups of disabled people are arranging demonstrations in Moscow to protest the way city structures are built so that it is difficult for people with disabilities to move. They want equal possibilities for movement as other people, they want to be treated as human beings and not as problems.
According to the activists and the press, about one in ten of Muscovites have some kind of disability and so there are about one million disabled people in Moscow, tens of thousands with serious disabilities.
More information can be obtained from one of the organizations, RSDP
Perspektiva: address: 30, entry1, Martenovskaya str., Moscow, 111394,
Russia. tel:7(095)301-1810; fax:7(095)301-72-04. internet: <>. email:


Sewing Co-op Project in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua, spring 2001
Source: Grassroots Good News (
Edited by Juha Uski
Maggie's Organics ( has announced a project that will improve the lives of garment workers in Nicaragua.
Maggie's is partnering with a foundation that will have initial ownership of a newly constructed sewing facility. Workers will acquire ownership over a five-year period. "We hope this project will serve as a model of social responsibility for companies doing business in third world countries," said Maggie's President Bená Burda.
The sewing co-op will be located 20 miles outside of Managua, in a village entirely devastated last year by hurricane Mitch.


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