Major revision March 2006
Last amendment September 2014
IP100 The Green Party recognises that co-operation is needed at a global level in order to secure sustainable societies in this country. The Green Party also wishes to promote Green principles across the world. The world faces problems that are global in nature or extent, whose solutions require structure, institutions or co-operation at a worldwide level.
IP101 The Green Party's ecologically and socially sustainable vision is one of subsidiarity (see PB302). Policies on, and institutions for, global co-operation are only needed where issues cannot be addressed at a lower level. These issues may include: survival of the human species; combating global climate change; curtailing mass repression and brutality to human beings; provision of the basic conditions of human sustenance to the world's peoples; the promotion and protection of citizen's rights (see PB304); preservation of cultural diversity; protection of the planet's basic natural ecologies and environment.
IP103 The Green vision also involves a fundamental restructuring of the global economy to reverse the unsustainable trend of globalisation (i.e. ever increasing trade between ever distant nations with the primary goal of maximising profit) and a democratisation of the systems of global governance. Multinational corporations benefit from globalisation to the detriment of the poorest in society and to democratic control of each region's economy. Localisation of trade and economies is therefore a goal of the Green Party.
IP110 Global and international structures and institutions should be based on the principle of co-operation. Power should mostly remain at the local, community level with sustainable, localised economies under democratic control (see Public Administration). Power should only be ceded upwards when necessary.
IP120 Existing centralised structures of governance, such as the EU, should be decentralised to appropriate and effective levels, depending on the issue in hand. International structures and institutions need to be transformed from being nationally-based to being based on confederations of (sub-national) regions or localities.
IP122 A General Agreement on Sustainable Trade, under which fair trade rules (where producers are guaranteed a reasonable price for their products before planting, and a portion of the payment is set aside for community development) would become a requisite for international trade and local supply of goods would be preferred, should replace the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). A World Localisation Organisation should replace the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
IP123 A global agreement on investment and ownership should be agreed to enshrine the right of local government to enact legislation to stabilise and protect the local economy, such as "site here to sell here" rules.
IP130 We recognise that in the short-term radical change may not be possible. We will therefore support partial reforms if they are in line with our vision. For example, the deepening and extension of accountability and transparency in existing structures of global governance; making social and environmental sustainability a key concern; and bringing the workings of the global economy (e.g. trade and capital) under international democratic control.
IP131 The United Nations should be reformed and democratised. The current national basis for membership should be extended to include regional (sub-national) representation and all representatives should be democratically selected. The WTO, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and similar bodies should also be reformed, democratised, or replaced. (see IP320-327)
IP200 The current consensus among rich countries' governments is in favour of ever freer international trade and the process called globalisation, which includes the free movement of capital (though not generally of labour) as well as goods and services. This form of globalisation raises profound issues of global equity and environmental sustainability.
IP201 Globalisation has led to the marginalisation of poor countries and of poorer people in the industrialised countries as the material gains from globalisation are mainly secured by the rich, especially in the northern countries, while the poorest people in the global south are getting still poorer. There is now a huge gulf between the majority of the world's people and an extremely rich and pampered global elite.
IP202 The poor countries struggle to gain access to markets in rich countries, while burdened with debt and forced to open up their own economies. The flood of their exports has reduced prices for the commodities on which they depend, accelerated environmental destruction and destroyed the livelihoods of many poor people. For hundreds of millions of people this has meant chronic hunger, and for many of them malnutrition and starvation.
IP203 For the environment, globalisation has meant increasing resource depletion and destruction, with a disproportionate share of the environmental damage, industrial pollution and vulnerability to climate change in the global south - especially as large parts of the global south, in particular India and China, are undergoing a rapid industrial revolution. There is a conflict between global economic equity - the legitimate aspiration to improve material standards of living - and environmental sustainability: the planet simply cannot provide for everyone to live at the standards of resource and energy consumption of the rich countries.
IP204 The primary economic aim of international policy must be to resolve this conflict between the legitimate need for material growth in the south and global environmental sustainability, and lead to greater fairness and equality between people in various parts of the world. The record of globalisation has been quite the opposite of this. The rich countries need to contract their material economies to the point where they use no more than their fair share of the planet's resources, while poor countries could expand their economies to the same point.
IP205 Our policies on international trade and finance are founded on the achievement of such an equitable and sustainable world: they amount to the achievement of our original economic objectives (see EC201) on a world scale.
IP210 To support the establishment and maintenance of ecologically sustainable and democratic communities throughout the world, and progress towards a world in which all people are equal in both their economic potential and their political rights. Development must meet the needs of those alive at present without threatening poverty and vulnerability to those unborn. This means ensuring that everyone on the planet enjoys a livelihood that can be supported by the planet's resources, ecology and atmosphere. Poverty should be defined in terms of people's rights and not their monetary incomes.
IP211 Every country must be permitted the political space to make its own decisions about economic policy and strategy, while living within global environmental limits. For most countries, this has not been the case since the 1980s. Successful development cannot be imposed by powerful institutions outside a country but must be a learning process, in which participatory local, regional and national institutions are free to exercise political and economic self-determination. The task of global institutions should be to enable countries to make their own progress, and not prescribe the methods by which they may do so.
IP220 Development has frequently meant either the attempted eradication of indigenous peoples or colonial assimilation. Their lands have generally been taken from them - a process which continues today. Trans-nationals and governments of North and South have been guilty of many assaults on the rights of indigenous peoples.
IP224 To provide aid to allow demarcation of traditional lands and control over intrusions, where appropriate. Global patenting rights should not override the rights of indigenous communities to genetic and biological resources that are held in common.
IP225 To campaign either for the return of traditional lands sufficient to meet the current needs of indigenous peoples, or for compensatory lands in the case of theft and/or compensation where land rights have been violated, in accordance with the wish of the people concerned.
IP226 To give aid to support cultural, social and ecologically sustainable economic initiatives of indigenous peoples adversely affected by development. This includes protecting languages from extinction, and ensuring that all surviving languages are fully documented and recorded.
IP230 If there is to be any chance of resolving the inequitable relations between rich and poor countries and eliminate the exploitation of global resources, the international debt crisis must be tackled. There must be wholesale writing-off and writing-down of the international debts of poor countries. There is now more money going from poor countries to rich ones (mainly due to debt repayments and the repatriation of profits) than the other way round (in such forms as investments, foreign aid and remittances by migrant workers). Obliged by these pressures, since the 1980s poor countries have been forced into an export drive. Trapped by a system they do not control, the governments of some poor countries are forced to sacrifice the wellbeing of their own people and their environments in order to pay their debts, by, for example, exporting to rich countries like Britain.
IP231 The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative was launched in 1996 to reduce poor countries' external debts to economically sustainable levels. The initiative has led to some debt relief for some of the poorest countries, although subject to conditions, which often lead to privatisation and increased foreign access to their resources. There are others which are yet to receive relief, while many more countries need to be added to the programme in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including for example India and Vietnam.
IP233 All foreign debts owed by countries officially defined as "Least Developed" should immediately be written off by concerted international action, as well as those of all other countries which need such support in order to meet their MDG targets. The British Government should take a strong international lead in pressing for this objective.
IP240 Each country and region should be more self-sufficient on both equity and sustainability grounds. Local supply of goods would be preferred. Poor countries have little prospect of improved material standards without international trade since they need to import goods they cannot make themselves and to do so must export other goods. Nevertheless, international trade is operated by the richest countries and the trans-national corporations (TNCs) for their own benefit. Trade is not fair or benign, nor mutually advantageous in all cases, and does not automatically benefit the poor. Freer trade has meant greater freedom for the TNCs to operate to their own advantage. (See IP400-431.)
IP241 To minimise undesirable forms of trade which waste resources or deprive people of necessities. To ensure that all countries are free to conduct import-substituting strategies. To maintain trade which is mutually advantageous, ecologically benign and facilitates the development of national and regional economic autonomy. All trade must comply with environmental and social legislation.
IP242 Policies will be supported which increase small-scale, local community import substitution, rather than export promotion, support local food growing in place of cash crops for the international market, and encourage forms of economic development which are consistent with the culture and aspirations of the people concerned - involving their effective participation in all areas of development and at all stages of decision-making.
IP243 Trade policies should fully encourage food and energy self-sufficiency in all countries. Every country should be sovereign over its policies for food and other essentials, as well as for energy supplies, including policies for bio-fuels.
IP244 The commodity markets should be radically reformed with a view to reversing the catastrophic decline in prices that has occurred under globalisation. The resulting loss of income for poor countries has seriously damaged their chances of successful economic development; this problem needs to be resolved if there is to be any progress towards economic justice and an end to poverty. Wherever feasible, international commodity supplies should be managed in order to avoid the accumulation of surpluses. Concentrations of corporate power on global supply chains also need to be systematically reduced. More widely, development strategies should move away from export orientation.
IP245 Global institutions should support the development of regional and South-South trade in preference to global markets. They should support countries' integration processes that assure people's welfare and environmental sustainability. There should be an end to bilateral trade and investment agreements between rich countries (or groupings like the EU) that disadvantage poor countries.
IP248 All global organisations, especially those with significant capacity to define the rules of international trade, should firmly adhere to principles of ecologically and socially sustainable development and pursue a governance and capacity-building programme of institutional change to fully realise this goal.
IP250 Aid has often been conceived in a paternalistic and economically colonialist fashion. Instead of serving the needs of the poor in poor countries, it continues to be used by donors as a means of furthering political, economic or military objectives, including the promotion of business interests. The recent history of economic conditionality applied to aid flows, particularly under the so-called Washington Consensus and post-Washington Consensus, has been disastrous, in some cases decimating infant industries and public services, extending environmental degradation and entrenching poverty for millions of people. The preponderance of donors, each with its own agenda, has also tended to reduce coordination and transparency, increasing the politicisation of aid, heightening the risk of corruption and placing a significant management burden on aid-recipient countries. Genuine participation of local people, let alone local control or oversight of aid expenditures, rarely occurs in practice, despite donor rhetoric. Similarly, while 'sustainability' has become a buzzword within the aid system, it is generally framed in terms of 'sustainable economic growth'; defining poverty in terms of income alone and failing completely to prioritise equity and environmental quality, or to address ecological limits in the design and implementation of aid programmes.
IP252 Aid projects sustained by British Government bodies or development agencies should observe the following real aid rules: aid should be aimed at the poorest; should mobilise the poor; should be locally designed and managed; should be subject to local oversight and scrutiny; and should be specific to local communities and environments. Tied aid should remain illegal.
IP253 The Department for International Development should remain a Cabinet-level ministry supporting the distribution of British aid. An independent, publicly accountable body should monitor aid-effectiveness and adherence to internationally agreed principles of good donorship.
IP254 British aid should become 0.7 percent of Gross National Product (GNP) within five years and 1.0 percent of GNP within ten years. Emergency aid, aid to dependent territories and debt relief should be an addition to this.
IP255 The allocation of British development aid should be based on objective, accountable and internationally agreed criteria, independent of other political or economic interests. Its goals should be consistent with global sustainabilty, both social and environmental. Aid agreements should facilitate local ownership and control over policy, while also promoting parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of aid expenditures in recipient countries. British development aid flows should be predictable and timely over the long term in order to enable planning and to ensure sufficient time to achieve objectives.
IP256 British aid expenditures should be coordinated with those of other major donors. Where appropriate, a significant portion of aid should be channelled through a small number of accountable multilateral organisations in order both to reduce the management burden on recipient countries and to enable better coordination and greater transparency of overall global aid flows.'
IP257 Special attention must be paid to the dangers posed by the expansion of direct budget support, especially where it is coordinated and shared among several donors. The nature of this support, and the content of any accompanying advice to recipient governments, needs to be just as transparent as is the case with traditional project aid. Where a coordinated bloc of donors acts in concert, they should be extra-careful not to abuse the dominant position over a recipient government that this affords them.
IP258 British emergency and recovery aid should be allocated in proportion to objectively assessed needs. UK-funded humanitarian action should be guided solely by the principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality, and should be independent from political, military, economic or other objectives. Humanitarian aid should be provided in ways that are supportive of recovery and long-term development, striving to ensure, where appropriate, the maintenance and return of sustainable livelihoods. Beneficiaries of humanitarian aid should be involved to the greatest extent possible in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian response.
IP260 All aid programmes and projects should be based on robust socio-political and environmental analysis and should be designed to ensure social and ecological sustainability. The UK should take the lead on developing expertise in these areas and should actively promote their mainstreaming into both the policy and practice of the global aid system.
IP261 The Department of Education and Science (or equivalent) should fund the establishment of development education centres through local education authorities, in all district council areas. Managerial responsibility should reside with representatives of supporting local groups.
IP270 The Green Party supports the existence of an international legal framework, both treaty-based and customary. We believe that this framework should fully provide not only for civil and political rights but also for social and economic rights, including the provision of the basic conditions of human subsistence.
IP271 The Green Party believes that the international legal framework should include so-called "third generation" rights. These are not individual rights but they concern matters which affect us all. They include the right to a healthy environment and the right to self-determination (which would include judicial scrutiny of global economic activity).
IP273 These rights should have effective mechanisms of enforcement. They should not be limited to inter-state supervision and should be capable of vigilance and enforcement by individual victims or by groups which can prove they have a legitimate interest in the matter. In particular, we believe that as a minimum there should be the right of individual petition to the relevant supervisory body and the availability of legal proceedings before an international court in cases involving the most serious breaches.
IP274 In accordance with our policy on subsidiarity, we believe that international and national rights and laws should be enforced in the first instance and where possible at national level, then at regional level, and only where appropriate at global level. We would therefore ensure that international law was fully implemented in the United Kingdom. We would also fully recognise the existing principle of extra-territoriality (e.g. jurisdiction over cases of child trafficking abroad).
IP300 The creation of United Nations structures, the International Monetary Fund and the various bodies which make up the World Bank dates back to the beginnings of the Cold War. These bodies, and the World Trade Organisation, have been dominated by the USA and allied Western democracies since their inception. They are fundamentally undemocratic in structure, under-funded and conventional in economics. Hampered by variable USA support in resources, frequently obsessed by economic orthodoxy and particularly the maintenance of economic inter-dependence, they are more often an arena of international conflict than co-operation.
IP301 Over recent decades, the powers of the World Bank, IMF and the WTO have been steadily expanded at the expense of the UN system, which has a greater claim to democracy and legitimacy. We believe that reforms to international institutions, including to the UN, should reverse this general process.
IP302 No nation in isolation can resolve the problems of cross-border pollution, exploitation of global resources and inequitable relations between rich and poor countries. Resolution of the global economic and ecological crises requires a new order of cooperation between nations with the development of new international institutions and agreements.
IP303 There is a need to create a world environment where financial and economic institutions and organisations will nurture and protect environmentally sustainable projects that will sustain communities at all levels (local, regional, national and international).
IP320 See 'Europe'.
IP330 The process of reforming the United Nations must maintain the United Nations' power and authority over environmental, economic, social, health and other existing responsibilities rather than narrowing its remit to one of international security.
IP331 Prevention of human rights abuses, conflict prevention and resolution, promotion of sustainable human development, coordination of humanitarian aid, global environmental research and agreements on the conservation and rational use of the planet should be the primary roles of the UN.
IP332 The international community cannot stand back and allow gross human rights abuses to take place. The emergent 'Responsibility to Protect' doctrine promises to legitimise UN intervention in cases of ethnic cleansing and genocide. However, military intervention should always be a last resort, as modern wars inevitably cause death and injury to civilians, and the post conflict situation may be problematic.
Therefore the Green Party will press for the use of a United Nations Index of Human Rights to monitor governments that commit human rights abuses and to provide an explicit basis for seeking to restrain such regimes.
IP333 All governments will have their human rights record continuously assessed by a UN agency set up for that purpose. A scale will be established measuring several indicators of human rights performance. The scale will be finalised by agreement at the UN level, but will be centred on the following abuses:
A score reflecting their performance will be allocated to each state on an annual basis.
IP334 Once the Index is installed, governments with the worst record of human rights as measured on this Index will be referred to the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court. If the Court finds that their human rights performance falls below accepted legal standards, the regimes will be given time and assistance to improve their record. In the event of non-compliance, the matter will return to the Court, and if found at fault, the regime will suffer penalties in terms of its members' privileges in the fields of finance, diplomacy, transport and trade. The severity of the penalties will increase as their human rights performance deteriorates, and decrease as their human rights performance improves. The penalties will be targeted to hurt the ruling elite rather than the general population.
IP340 The Green Party supports the creation of a World Environment Organisation by combining the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) into a single institution, with funding and power to impose sanctions to promote global sustainable development.
IP341 UN agencies working in the economic field, including the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), should be rationalised but with their total budget maintained or expanded.
IP342 The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) should be built up as the only major global body which was founded at the initiative of developing countries and always had their interests in global negotiations at its heart.
IP350 We would seek international agreement to replace the World Trade Organisation by a new General Agreement on Sustainable Trade, which would favour the local over the global and give back to individual states their right to discriminate over the type and quality of trade they engage in. Institutionally, the GAST would:
IP352 The settlement of trade disputes should be removed from the WTO's purview and made part of the broad mechanism of international law, to ensure the due subordination of trade rules to the higher needs of the environment and development.
IP353 All rules on international property rights (IPRs) should be removed from the WTO's remit. Let each country once again determine its own rules for patents, copyrights, trademarks and other IPRs, according to its needs. However, all patents on life forms should be internationally prohibited. A special IPR regime should be introduced to facilitate the production and distribution of medicinal drugs at prices which all countries can afford.
IP360 The IMF and World Bank have been dominated by the Western bloc. They are politically undemocratic and outmoded in their economic practice. We support abolition of the World Bank unless reformed so that membership and decision-making are democratic as between member states, such that a majority always resides with the majority of the world's people and countries, in other words the developing countries. Operations should be made subservient to sustainability principles and to all international conventions on human and labour rights, and environmental protection. The Presidency of the Bank, hitherto always a US citizen and a position in the gift of the US President, should be opened up to people of all countries according to merit.
IP370 The IMF should return to its original role of overseeing the international monetary system, and no more than that. It should aim to limit surpluses in member countries' foreign payment, as well as deficits. The IMF has neither the skills nor the public legitimacy to interfere in countries' domestic policies, and all policy conditions on its loans and standby agreements should be brought to an end without delay.
IP371 The IMF should be reformed so that membership and decision-making are democratic as between member states, such that a majority always resides with the majority of the world's people and countries, in other words the developing countries. No country should have an effective right of veto on any decisions of the Fund, as the USA has had on all decisions since the beginning. The position of Managing Director of the Fund, hitherto always a European citizen, should be opened up to people of all countries according to merit.
IP400 The development of capitalism and of trade led logically to modern TNCs. Many TNCs possess resources greater than the poorest countries. The use of these financial resources to corrupt or remove governments for short-term gain at long-term environmental and human cost has intensified as debts have reached crisis proportions. Freer trade as sought by the IMF and the TNCs has meant greater freedom for the TNCs to operate to their own advantage. These bodies consequently bear a very large responsibility for global environmental damage and for the creation of vulnerability to natural disasters. (see EC980-1)
IP420 The British Government should: institute capital controls to ensure money made by TNCs in Britain is re-invested here. The TNCs should be forced to observe ecological restraints and labour standards, as suggested by the International Labour Organisation, worldwide. Failure to observe these conditions must mean that the TNC concerned should no longer be allowed to operate in the European Union. Transfer pricing activities by TNCs to reduce tax and export duty costs should be made illegal. (see WR681)
IP430 TNCs currently producing chemicals which damage the ozone layer, exporting damaging pesticides which are banned in the country of origin, and exporting nuclear technology, should be the subject of immediate restrictions by Government. Eventually, it should become illegal to export goods which would not satisfy standards required in Britain.
IP500 Given the often fast-moving nature of international affairs, many of the Green Party's policies on particular international regions or countries are agreed as Emergency Motions or other ad hoc policy statements. For international regional policy statements, please therefore refer to the Record of Policy Statements (ROPS) and to statements and articles published on the Green Party (England and Wales) website.
IP520 The Green Party believes that a) the Arctic, as defined by the United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP), should be given 'world nature reserve' status, b) that commercial exploration of natural resources within the UNEP defined zone should be prohibited under all circumstances, and c) the rights of indigenous people living within the Arctic Circle to manage their lands will be protected.
IP521 The Green Party supports the creation of a special, internationally-recognised and binding treaty to protect the Arctic Ocean and its environment, and thus to ban any territorial claims by any sovereign nation to the Arctic Ocean. Shipping, land, and air traffic will only be permitted within the Arctic Ocean if they are being used by native populations or for strictly environmentalist and naturalist research purposes.
IP522 Environmental and naturalist research, within The Arctic Treaty area, will be carried out with strict limitations placed on shipping, air and land motorised traffic. Research stations and their communities will have to follow binding protective environmental impact guidelines, to be laid down in the Treaty.
IP600 The Arab-Israeli conflict persists owing to the failure to find a fair and humane solution to the problems of the Palestinian people, including the refugees in and from Palestine, and appropriate guarantees of security for Israel.
IP601 Such a solution may be achieved in one state or two within the former Palestine mandate (hereinafter referred to as Palestine), but as a matter of fact is achieved in neither. A fair choice needs to be made and accepted by both Israelis and Palestinians for their common future in Palestine. Exclusive possession of Palestine by either side is never going to be an achievable and just solution.
IP610 The Green Party supports calls for mutual recognition of the rights of independent statehood and for recognised, agreed and secure borders for Palestinians and Israelis in Palestine; a rapid end to the violence and de-escalation of the arms build-up in the region; implementation of UN resolutions 194, 242 and 338 which followed the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973; international assistance so that the new Palestinian state can develop self-reliance in land, water, food production, basic services and industries; long-term exploration of the possibility of establishing a confederation with neighbouring states, with free and equal access for each state's citizens.
IP611 We believe that all the interested parties, including the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people, need to talk to each other; this is a precondition for agreement on a solution acceptable to all parties.
IP620 The Green Party believes that all Israelis, Palestinians, and their families should have and be able to exercise full human and civil rights throughout Israel, Palestine and the occupied territories in Palestine. Israel must be subject to the Geneva Convention concerning the rights of individuals and communities, in the same way that other states are. The resort to 'collective punishment' in defiance of those requirements is unacceptable.
IP622 The Green Party calls on the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people to recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist within recognised, agreed and secure borders.
IP623 The Green Party calls on the Israeli Government and the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people both to commit to replacement of military force with agreement through diplomacy as a means of resolution.
IP624 The Green Party calls on Israel to repeal its present "law of return" because it is incompatible with the full exercise of human rights and discriminates against Palestinians because they are not Jewish. This racial discrimination symbolises the unfairness of the present arrangements in Palestine, and will have to be addressed before any solution can be agreed.
IP631 We call on the government of Israel to dismantle the 'settlement wall' in those territories, which has been condemned by the International Court, which divides Palestinian territories, and which deprives them of land, water, other resources and employment. The discrimination against Palestinians practiced by the Israeli government and settlers in the occupied territories needs to be addressed as a first step.
IP633 We recommend that water resources in Palestine should be shared between the Palestinians and the Israelis. We call upon the government of Israel to enter into discussions with the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people to seek such an agreement covering both states in Palestine.
IP634 The Green Party calls on the government of Israel to abandon its claim to exclusive possession of the whole of the city of Jerusalem as its capital. That is contrary to the partition of the Palestine Mandate agreed by the United Nations in 1948. Equal rights should be given to Israeli and Palestinian citizens of the city, and accorded similarly to the monuments there which are holy to three religions - Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
IP642 The Green Party calls upon the European Union to ensure that agreements of Association with Israel are suspended unless and until an undertaking is secured that the state of Israel will enter into the dialogue called for above, and ensures that the human rights of Palestinians are assured as are those of Israelis.
August 2017 Policy Development Committee minor alteration to wording in IP601 to remove a date.
Autumn 2009 revised Palestine/Israel section IP600-642
The following additional policy statements can be found in the Green Party Record of Policy Statements (RoPS) on International matters available on the Members website:
The following additional policy statements can be found in the Green Party Record of Policy Statements (RoPS) on International matters:
What We Stand For
Sign up for updates