In 1993, three friends working together at the Environmental Investigation Agency set up a new organisation called Global Witness. They sourced their first computer out of a bin outside their office and relied on friends and family to pay for their international calls. They were the first to see the link between natural resources, conflict and corruption and to systematically document and expose how this sustains poverty, fuels inability and destroys the environment.
Only to take two examples of the activities that followed : Global Witness’s first campaign exposed how the illegal timber trade between Cambodia and Thailand is funding the genocidal Khmer Rouge rebels. The exposure and advocacy leads to the closure of the border, depriving the Khmer Rouge of $90 million a year, and contributing to their downfall. Some years later, Global Witness exposes how diamonds are fueling civil war in Angola and across Africa, thrusting the practices of the global diamond industry into the spotlight for the first time. The campaign leads to the establishment of the precedent-setting Kimberley Process diamond certification scheme and to Global Witness being co-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
The costs of corruption, Tom Mayne