cr> Communication “Treaty”


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996
From: •••@••.••• (Marsha Woodbury)
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: CPSR-I Charter (@)

Sender: •••@••.••• (Clyde B. Forrest)

Hi CPSR-Global members.  Many thanks to Massismo Mauro for his first cut on
a draft Charter for CPSR-International.  There are many good issues
identified in there, but I feel they need to be re-phrased from rather
negative/reactive to positive/proactive.  Also, I'm getting confused over
the use of 2 different names for our efforts -- are we CPSR Global or CPSR

Perhaps another good starting point for our Charter is the attached
"Communications Treaty" which was developed by a cool bunch of activists at
the Earth Summit in Rio way back in 1992.
/* Written  8:17 pm  Jun 10, 1992 by ax:mclements in web:en.unced.infox */
/*            "Communications Treaty"            */
This is the FINAL DRAFT, to be submitted to the group at 1:00 PM, Thursday
11th at the "small" swimming pool of the Gloria Hotel in Rio.
                  Communication, Information,
                 Media and Networking "Treaty"

Role of Communication & Information

The right to communicate ideas is a basic human right. Access
to information is essential for informed decision making at
all levels.

The "Green Press" International Meeting of Journalists on
Environment and Development (Belo Horizonte, May 20 24, 1992)
identified as threats to democratic communication unequal access
to the media, the concentration of information resources in the
hands of economic groups, censorship and other forms of government

Governments and international institutions should garantee the RIGHT to
communicate (that is to say collect, put in proper shape, spread and
exchange all informations they choose without any risk for their
security) and the MEANS, material and cultural, to do it, including the
basic mail and telephone facilities that are deteriorating in many
Southern countries because of budget reductions or transfer to private

Chapter 40 of Agenda 21 declares that "in sustainable development,
everyone is a user and provider of information considered in the broad
sense that includes data, information, appropriately packaged experience
and knowledge."


Networking and sharing of information has been repeatedly
emphasized by NGOs throughout the UNCED process as essential to
work effectively together. Networking involves face to face
meetings, formal organizations, informal meetings, telephone,
fax, mail, newsletters and electronic communications. All are
significant, all are to be used in the different circumstances
of life and  cultural arrangements. Monolithic, monopolistic.
structures of the mass media in most countries are not sympathetic
to NGO issues.

Networking involves:
 communicating across organizational and sectoral boundaries
 using all media technologies that enhance the dissemination of ideas.
 foster the development of public and media relations to raise public
 sharing information.
The promotion of networking is a primary objective of the Communication

The Challenge to NGOs

The challenge to all NGOs who sign this Communications "Treaty"
is to take up the responsibility, and the opportunity to
share with others accounts of the tasks in which they are engaged,
the issues which they are facing, and the successes which they
have achieved with the view to develop a civil society that is
informed, engaged, and responsible. Both the nation state and
unconnected NGOs are obsolete institutions in light  of the global
character of the global environment. We invite you to join a
discussion on these issues on the APC network conference called


The following principles direct this communication effort:

     a.  support NGO efforts to expand community participation
         in decision making at all levels.

     b.  establish and strengthen existing interconnected,
         decentralized networks, that provide a capacity for
         "thinking globally, acting locally"

     c.  enable NGOs from the South and the North, grassroot
         organizations, women's groups and indigenous people to
         monitor government and business activity that relates to,
         supports or undermines sustainable development. This effort
         must include:
           an early warning system on projects to be implemented by
           governments and multilateral agencies.
           alert systems on environmental threats.

     d.  encourage governments and information providers to
         understand that access to information (including information
         about government and business activities) is an important part
         of community education.

     e.  encourage governments to provide, free of added charges,
         information about government activities, and information
         that government agencies develop that relate to
         sustainable development. Governments  should subsidize
         NGO and educational information networks that make informed
         public discussion and political activity possible.

     f.  recognize that everyone is a decision maker, provider
         and user of information. Technical data, reports of
         scientific work are not merely the domain of "specialists."
         Science and technology are not the exclusive property
         of the technologically advanced Nations.

     g.  make use of Indigenous knowledge, local experience, and
         community heritage as key sources of information.
      h.  to promote and strengthen alphabetization and education
         in order to support the expression of cultural diversity.

     i.  give expression to artistic communication and expression
         techniques as well as other means of popular expression.
         which are used by local communities.

     j.  provide communications facilities in different languages
         in order to support expression of cultural diversity.

     k.  to promote establishment and access to free and local
         radio, considered as appropriate means of expression,
         as well as to support to democratic movements in urban
         and rural areas and to implement training programs in
         order to allow populations to master the above means of

     l.  support and recognize women's media networks worldwide,
         both those that supply news on women's activities and
         concerns to mass media outlets and those that utilize
         alternative media channels to reach women and women's
         groups with information that assists and supports them
         in their community activities.

     m.  support efforts by NGOs to provide technical assistance
         and training in communication methods and technologies
         to local and national groups that are attempting to reach
         out to otherwise isolated communities, using appropriate
         languages and channels not available to regional and
         international networks.

     n.  support efforts by NGOs to set up resource centers of
         information and resources for community activities,
         especially in the area of environmental concerns. These
         resource centers should contain audia and visual materials
         in addition to printed publications, and cover all of the
         languages most common in the area being served.


   The signatories commit themselves to contribute to NGO information
   networking and act as two way communication channels, sending,
   processing and receiving information to and from their constituencies
   on a collaborative, fair and non discriminatory basis.

   Following actions will be taken, to the extent of their means,
   by the signatories:

     establish (or strengthening the existing) communication
     channels and networks and their connectivity

     build and share databases on environment and development issues
     that will provide the basis for a new set of indicators of
     sustainable development able to challenge the established (World
     Bank promoted) view that GNP is the only measure of success

     develop an international directory of NGO's and individuals
     engaged in networking, communication, information activities.

     develop mechanisms to attach a monetary value to networking and
     communications work.  Some sort of indicator for valuation must be
     established for this work, which currently is not profitable on
     paper, but which is essential to ensure our common survival.

     build mechanisms to link universities and students in
     communication activities.

     expand the human resources currently working on these issues by
     organizing people with time on their hands, and a desire to
     contribute such as elderly people, unemployed, and others.

     promote electronic networks, particularly by undertaking
     following actions:

     a.  develop software that is friendly, allows for connectivity,
         portable to the unsophisticated computers of Southern and
         grassroots users.

     b.  provide access to information on available/appropriate
         technologies, costs, etc.

     c.  make hardware available to NGOs, grassroots, community based

       Bridge the technology gap by:
     a.  developing training materials, training the
         trainers, and organizing workshops, and seminars.
     b.  establishing nodes in different countries, particularly
         in the South.

       Bridge the data gap by:
     a.  developing mechanisms to "upload" and distribute
         information originated locally from non electronic
     b.  creating mechanisms to distribute information available
         electronically in appropriate formats (e.g. radio,
         video, newsletters. etc.)
     c.  translating data and information into different
         languages and formats.

The signatories of the Communication, Information and Networking
Alternative Treaty include NGOs with expertise in journalism,
community based media, education, information processing and electronic
networking. They are committed to work for these goals and to
address the networking and information sharing needs of the
other Alternative Treaties.


Clyde Forrest, Communications Director     Phone/Fax: 604-595-7885/7805
British Columbia Internet Association      E-mail: •••@••.•••


 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
 Materials may be reposted in their entirety for non-commercial use.