On September 25, 2020, Public Services International stands in solidarity with young people across the Asia Pacific going on strike to demand climate action. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the consequences of four decades of neoliberalism where the growth of profits has been prioritised ahead of public health, decent work, human rights or a healthy environment.
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COVID-19 recovery plans can help undo some of the damage that have been inflicted by neoliberalism through a public-goods model which values communities, workers and the environment. We need a Healthy-Equitable-Green New Deal. Quality public services run and operated by accountable governments and staffed by trained public employees is essential. Recovery plans can deliver an equitable and just transition for all workers to low carbon economies.
The Covid-19 crisis has been used by conservative governments across the region to push through unpopular privatisation “reforms.” In India, the Modi Government’s Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 seeks to further privatise electricity and eliminate subsidies for the poorest. In Indonesia the anti-worker, far reaching Omnibus Law aims to privatise electricity despite constitutional provisions protecting it as a public good. And International Financial Institutions (IFIs) continue to encourage privatisation through support for private renewable energy and electricity sector reform.
“Publicly-owned renewable energy is the only way to guarantee an effective transition out of fossil fuels, and governments and international financial institutions who care about our future must use this approach,” said Kate Lappin, PSI Regional Secretary for Asia-Pacific. “Last week we took a strong message to the Asian Development Bank’s general meeting on this and PSI looks forward to continuing to support affiliates and engage IFIs to make this a reality.”
Energy sector affiliates across the region take part in the campaign and explain the importance of renewable energy being a quality public service:
Publicly-owned renewable energy is the only way to guarantee an effective transition out of fossil fuels, and governments and international financial institutions who care about our future must use this approach.