Rio+20 abandons the people, favours corporate growth

By IBON International

Rio de Janeiro, Wednesday, June 20, 2012 — As world leaders gather today to discuss a social, economic and environmental roadmap intended to address ecological degradation, they are holding a blueprint for continued control and commodification of the world’s resources by a few for profits.

Rio+20 comes in the midst of an unprecedented global economic and financial crisis which has pushed peoples of the South in to a state of deeper poverty and debt than they were two decades ago. Ironically, the 1992 principles of Rio and its applications are buried in a summit  intended to renew commitments for this and more.

It is supposed to advance and do away with destructive development patterns that have caused untold suffering and misery for the world’s peoples and move towards genuine sustainable development. Rio+20 has not advanced people’s rights and welfare, as the supposed “gains” in the outcome document were mere reiterations of the promises made 20 years ago.

Rio+20, instead, has proved to be a hard fought battle as developing countries struggled to pare down the “green economy” agenda being pushed by industrialized countries. That the rights enshrined in Agenda 21 had to be struggled for reveals the true nature of the summit: an effort by industrialized countries to struggle out of their own crisis by placing price tags on nature. We are dismayed that these rights had to be fought for tooth and nail in this summit when these had already been outlined in Rio 20 years ago.

IBON International decries that governments have chosen to abandon genuine sustainable development for the people.  The summit advocates increased private sector participation which gives the green light for further a corporate stranglehold of the world’s resources; deletion and diminution of rights to food, health and water; promotion of trade liberalization; and refusal of the North to put in clear commitments for developing countries in trade, finance, technology transfer and capacity building.

By not coming up with clear commitments, the Rio+20 Summit has guaranteed continued social inequities, poverty, misery, disruption, and destruction of livelihoods of the world’s peoples. The grave impacts of irreversible climate change are upon us and governments have opted to look the other way by pursuing its mis-priorities and failed development model.

We commend developing countries for blocking the impositions of and diluting the green economy agenda being pushed by the North. Through the collective efforts of the Southern countries in resisting this rehashed, corporate-driven development engine, the green economy monster has been sizably defanged. It is, however, still a monster  that can be born at any time, for instance through the G20, and wreak its ill effects once Southern countries let their guards down. 

It is now incumbent upon heads of state to rectify this travesty of Rio and live up to their responsibility of upholding the Rio Principles. With an outcome document that has abandoned the basic tenets of social justice, we call upon the heads of state to deliver on Rio. They must undo a gross transgression of peoples’ rights  and continued pursuit of an unsustainable, corporate-driven development model which Rio+20 has re-affirmed.###

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