Sustainable Development Network

The Sustainable Development Network (SDN) claims to be 'a coalition of non-governmental organizations and individuals who believe that real sustainable development is about promoting progress and eliminating poverty by empowering people through decentralized ownership and property rights, the rule of law, and free trade.'     

In reality it seems to be one of several pro-corporate niche-filling lobby groups generated by Julian Morris and/or Roger Bate. Others include the Environment Unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF) and the International Policy Network (IPN).  

SDN appears to have been set up with the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in mind. It was used as a vehicle for media work and campaigning during the summit  in Johannesburg in September 2002. SDN also provided a platform for launching a book edited by Morris - Sustainable Development: Promoting Progress or Perpetuating Poverty? (Profile Books, 2002).    

A good example of the incestuous context into which SDN fits is provided by an event in October 2002 focusing on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). This SDN event was held at 2 Lord North Street, London - the home of the IEA, although this fact was not mentioned in advance publicity. The contact person was Kendra Okonski, the American daughter of a lumber industrialist who also works for the IPN - the latter wasn't mentioned either. Julian Morris was one of the speakers and was described as  'Research Fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs; Director, International Policy Network', but his being the prime mover behind the SDN was not mentioned.   

During the World Summit on Sustainable Development, SDN played a key coordinating role for pro-corporate lobbying, including helping plan and publicise a pro-GM march. Although  this was presented as a march by poor Third World farmers, the media contact for the event was Okonski. Similarly, a Bullshit Award presented during the march to Vandana Shiva, India's most celebrated environmentalist, came not from the farmers but from the Liberty Institute - based in New Delhi and listed as part of 'our network' by the Sustainable Development Network. The media contact on the press release for the award was Kendra Okonski

Also listed as part of 'our network' are
AgBioWorld, Consumer Alert, European Science and Environment Forum and the Kisan Coordination Committee.

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