GPEW at the Global Congress – What was achieved?
Earlier this month the Green Party of England and Wales helped host the Global Greens Congress in Liverpool, the largest meeting of Green parties and politicians in history. The Green Party of England and Wales sent along three delegates to present their interests on the world stage; Jessica Northey, International Coordinator; Vera van Gool; and Aimee Challenor, GPEW’s LGBTIQA+ spokesperson.
Bright Green have obtained their official report following the Congress and compiled a list of highlights. The full report is available below.
- There was a heavy focus on LGBT+ issues, with delegate Aimee Challenor passing a resolution to strengthen the support for global LGBT+ communities and pioneering a Global Greens LGBT+ network. This will not come as a surprise to anybody who is familiar with Challenor’s work within the party.
- GPEW politicians led on the anti-nuclear front. A collaboration that included the GPEW delegates, Rebecca Johnson (Peace and Security spokesperson) and deputy leader Amelia Womack saw an emergency resolution to ban nuclear weapons presented by Austrian MEP Ulrika Lunacek and passed with no problems. The resolution coincided with UN nuclear negotiations.
- Greens really dislike walls; as a resolution on Trump’s proposed wall along the USA-Mexico border and a contentious amendment from the US descended into a discussion on separation walls in general. GPEW abstained for part of the vote as they were conflicted by their initial support of the US amendment and the views of the European Green Party, who strongly opposed much of the amendment.
- GPEW helped make Congress even more global, helping to fund 8 participants from the Global South.
- A lot of time was spent on language, both on the part of the translators who helped make the event more accessible and on the part of European delegates. The European Green Party blocked the use of the word “apartheid” in the controversial US wall amendment and Germany contested the use of the word “ecocide” in two resolutions. GPEW delegate Vera van Gool worked closely with the Dutch delegation to clarify the wording of another resolution.
Overall the outcomes of congress seem to have been mostly positive – even if there have been rumours of clashes between certain high profile Green politicians.
Global Greens Congress Report
30 March – 2 April 2017, Liverpool ACC
GPEW Voting Delegates: Jess Northey (int. coordinator), Aimee Challenor, Vera Van Gool
The Global Greens Liverpool 2017 was the largest ever Green gathering, and was a major boost to international cooperation and solidarity across the continents and parties. The EGP Council, Global Young Greens Congress and GPEW conference all ran in parallel to the international Congress.
The GPEW voting Global Greens delegates to the congress were elected by the international committee after a call out to all party members in January 2017. The delegation exchanged numerous emails and 2 members met in Coventry to prepare the delegation, resolutions and our understanding of the other resolutions and networks we could work with and strengthen.
Prior to the Congress, Aimee Challenor worked with members of the Australian Greens and the Taiwan Trees Party to prepare the Global Greens resolution on strengthening our support for LGBT+ communities globally as well as the launching of the Global Greens LGBT+ Network. At Congress, Bündis 90 / Die Grünen (Germany), Groen (Belgium), and Taiwan Green Party, submitted amendments, Aimee worked with representatives from these parties to agree on a compromise wording which all parties agreed to. The resolution was then passed with an overwhelming majority.
Throughout Congress, Aimee was shadowed by the daughter of SOC member Jen Law – Lily. Lily took part in the discussions with other international delegations, and Aimee commented; “It was great to have Lily with me during Global Greens Congress, it’s great to see Young People involved in politics. Lily was a credit to herself, and the party.”
During Congress we were consulted by Rebecca Johnson (peace and security spokesperson GPEW) about an emergency resolution on banning nuclear weapons to coincide with the negotiations in New York at the UN on this subject. This had also been suggested by Amelia Womack who supported such a resolution. This draft resolution which we fully supported was then presented by MEP Ulrika Lunacek from Austria and passed with no amendments.
All resolutions are available at : https://www.globalgreens.org/liverpool2017/resolutions
In total, 13 resolutions and 8 emergency resolutions were debated during the Congress. Specific issues concerned the motion on the wall between the US and Mexico. The mentioning of all separation walls and reference to the apartheid wall in Israel, suggested as an amendment by the US delegation, was rejected by other delegations and EGP and Germany in particular. EGP blocked the use of the word apartheid, which led to this being removed. We initially supported the wider proposal by the US to bring the global dimension to this resolution, and also for a strong condemnation of the Israel Palestine wall. As such we abstained on the final vote which removed this.
The use of the word ecocide in two resolutions was also contested by the German delegation and the resolution amended to nuance this.
Vera Van Gool worked closely with the Dutch delegation to amend the emergency resolution 3 on Venezuela to clarify the text. Over the course of three days she attended sessions on, among other topics, the value of the United Nations, tools for women empowerment in politics, ocean sustainability and a discussion about the future of the Global Green Parliamentary Association.
Jessica Northey was convenor of a parallel session on Energy, Democracy and Fracking which brought together speakers from Australia, Bulgaria and England (notes are available). She also spoke in the closing ceremony, reading out the GG resolution alongside Dorothy Nalubega and Boris Sandov.
As international coordinator, Jessica was involved in the steering committee meetings over the last months along with Derek, and coordinated with EGP and Louisa Greenbaum as well as Keli Yen on the logistics, speakers and organisation of the Congress.
In coordination with the Swedish Green Forum, GPEW – through WFD – were able to support 8 participants from Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi and Egypt to attend the Congress.
Following the congress, along with our partners from Uganda who were funded from Global Greens, Jessica worked with Green Forum to organise a partner meeting in the CAT Wales with 37 participants from 21 countries. This focused on party structuring and women’s empowerment (see separate report).
Overall the congress involved a huge amount of work for GPEW, the international coordinators and our partners. However, the arrival in Liverpool of 1800 Greens from around the world was a fantastic opportunity, bringing positive energy to Greens in the UK and beyond. The exchanges were rich, and the Congress exceptionally well managed by Louisa Greenbaum, the EGP and steering committee who deserve our full thanks. It is clear that we need to strengthen our international networks, gain insights from them (particularly from the experiences of the Dutch and Swedish) and cooperate more and better to stand up for our shared values and combat our common threat of a changing climate.
It is also worth noting that as well as the work on the resolution by Aimee which ensured that the issue was debated in the plenary (rather than going on the wall for support), and the work with Rebecca Johnson to ensure the nuclear weapons EM was included in the debate, we also worked with the Scottish GP to broaden their motion on arms supplies to Saudi Arabia to ensure that this also was debated in the plenary.
For me one of the best parts of the Conference was the extra life given by the Greens from all over; but that further, as I said at Conference, my work on the Global Greens Resolutions Committee highlighted how much less bureaucratic GPEW could be as a party in organising the Agenda for our own Conference, making it a more welcoming and accessible process.