The Green Cross Legacy of War Programme
in Russia: Support for the G8 Global Partnership Against
the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (Kananaskis,
I am delighted that Italy is actively participating
in the G-8 Global Partnership to help Russia secure and eliminate
its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and related
systems. Green Cross has actively promoted threat reduction
since 1994 through its "Legacy of Cold War Programme"
and facilitates the timely, safe and environmentally-sound
destruction of chemical weapons in Russia, the United States,
It is already greatly to your credit that Italy, as part of
its generous Global Partnership pledge of one billion Euros,
has promised 360 million Euros for Russian chemical weapons
destruction, 2004-2008, focusing primarily on construction
of a destruction facility for the chemical weapons stockpile
at Pochep, Russia's largest stockpile with 7,500 tons of deadly
nerve agent, about 19% of the total Russian arsenal. Italy
could play a crucial role in ensuring the timely and safe
removal of this potentially lethal stock under auspices of
the Chemical Weapons Convention by 2012. For this, I urge
you to make the following two steps:
" Swift ratification of the bilateral
agreement with Russia, signed 5 November 2003 to provide construction
assistance for the Pochep nerve agent destruction facility.
The planning process for the Pochep destruction facility is
nearing completion. Construction, which Italy intends to support,
must start in 2006 so that Russia can meet the Chemical Weapons
" Support for the outreach efforts of Green Cross' "Legacy
of Cold War Programme," as part of the Pochep assistance.
Green Cross already operates two outreach offices in the Pochep
region funded by Switzerland and Sweden. These efforts however
need to be expanded as construction and operations begin.
The independent facilitation and mediation efforts of Green
Cross are highly appreciated within Russia and the Global
Partnership. Support is needed for a variety of information
and training programs for schoolteachers, emergency response
services, local officials, and media representatives, and
for educational activities with the population at large, particularly
for emergency preparedness and evacuation training.
There is no need to stress to you that the work of the Legacy
Programme has taken on new urgency since the recent terrorist
attacks around the world, and constant terrorist threats to
obtain and use nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in
future attacks. I would warmly welcome Italy joining the other
Global Partnership members who currently support the Green
Cross Legacy Programme.
International Campaign for a Global Framework Convention
on the Right to Water
Green Cross International and a group of partners have
responded to calls from citizens, experts and officials around
the world to launch a global public campaign for the adoption
of a Global Framework Convention on the Right to Water. There
is currently no international legally binding tool dedicated
to protecting people's rights to the water they need to survive.
In the meantime, millions continue to suffer and die as a
direct result of these rights being denied. Clearly, a breakthrough
is needed. Green Cross and its partners believe that a binding
Convention could provide just such a breakthrough and has
launched a worldwide campaign calling for its adoption, to
which thousands of people have already pledged their support.
Elevating the Right to Water to the status of an international,
legally-binding Convention would prioritise the water needed
for the well-being of all people and the health of natural
ecosystems in economic policies and development agendas. A
Global Convention would ensure that water becomes a powerful
source of cooperation rather than remaining a latent cause
of conflict between communities and even countries.
I presented this campaign in person at the
United Nations in April this year, and was heartened by the
interest expressed by many governments. The Right to Water
is already included within the constitutions of several countries,
and there is a growing international discourse to confirm
at the highest level and in the strongest terms that access
to safe water is not a privilege, it's a right!
Green Cross Italy has been actively
promoting this campaign for a Global Convention on the
Right to Water amongst citizens and local authorities
in Italy and has been met by a very positive response. I sincerely
hope that Italy will join the growing ranks of nations that
support the global recognition and legally binding protection
of this most vital human right. I would be grateful if you
designated a focal point in your administration, with whom
Green Cross International and Green Cross Italy could follow
up this effort. On our end, we shall regularly inform you
on the progress of the campaign.
Chairman of the Board, Green Cross