Environment and Sustainability
The on-going environmental crisis requires accelerated co-operation by all stakeholders, including governments, multilateral organisations, the business sector, academia and NGOs. There can be no sustainable future without a stable natural environment.
Sustainable Development and Consumption
The challenges of sustainability require an urgent shift in consumption patterns, especially with regard to energy and other raw materials. The elimination of unsustainable consumption, enhanced especially by environmentally harmful subsidies, is a pre-requisite to the eradication of poverty and the enhancement of global equity, including inter-generational equity.
The lack of access to public health services and medicines for a large proportion of humankind is unacceptable. Trade interests should be subordinate to public health and equity concerns, and not the reverse.Scientific advice used by regulatory authorities in the fields of public and environmental health must be transparent (including with respect to the sources of funding), and open to public scrutiny.
Consumers and Human Rights
The right-to-know and the right-to-speak-out are still the privileges of a small minority. Even in countries where these rights have been taken for granted for decades, they are being threatened in the name of ‘security’ and free trade. The increasingly gray area between information and corporate-led advertisement further complicates the problem. These rights must be reaffirmed and protected as a pre-requisite for any democratic society.
The multilateral trading system must service environmental sustainability, fair and sustainable trade, and respect the precautionary principle. The elimination of unfair and unsustainable subsidies is the first test case.
Varda views equity at all levels, including inter-generational equity, as a key guiding principle.