It’s been 20 years since the UN’s infamous Earth Summit in Rio. Now for round two, Rio+20, in which 120 world “leaders” and delegates from around 190 countries will convene in Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
During COP17, many of the activists and civil society groups were already gearing up for Rio. Many of those who took part in Occupy Cop17 will be taking part in various ways in organising around Rio+20, either on the ground or remotely.
Much of what’s on the table at Rio is market-based, aimed at creating a “green economy” with “natural capital” measured, a price tag placed on nature and the world bought, sold and traded as parcelled-up commodities. Institutions like the World Bank will be seeking to consolidate their power and influence, and key corporate stakeholders will be whispering in the ears of delegates to make sure that nothing that’s decided impinges on their ability to trade and make profit at all costs.
As with the COPs there seems little chance that the pathways to a truly just, equitable and sustainable future will come from the conference itself, but there is a continuing convergence of forces working in solidarity with each other who will be using the conference to come together and fight the vested corporate and entrenched interests of the elite few, who are increasingly monopolising the process.
There is a People’s Summit to which many groups have already made contributions.
There are several big asks from NGOs. 350 have launched an initiative to end fossil fuel subsidies. Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth International are trying to end corporate influence and lobbying in UN process.
The Global Justice Ecology project can always be relied on to provide excellent coverage through their Climate Connections blog.
For some light relief, check out the Twitter channel @rioplus2O
We, members of the Occupy movement and civil society, highlight the critical window of opportunity at the Earth Summit to vastly scale up political, financial & public response to the environmental, social & economic crisis of our time, & to raise ambition to the level that science demands. We are exceeding 3 of 9 planetary boundaries (climate change; biodiversity loss; changes to the nitrogen cycle) and our economy has outgrown the ecosystems we depend on. We denounce debt-created money and demand urgent regulation for a steady-state economy. We vow to respect and protect the beauty and diversity of life on Earth, realising our interconnectedness with nature. Governments, corporations and financial institutions must wake up and dramatically prioritise people & the planet over abusive exploitation for short-term profit & “growth” .
In defence of our rights, freedoms & future, we call for:
1. A direct participatory democratic UN: inclusive rights-based global decision-making; open-source communications. Prioritise youth, women, marginalised voices & civil society formally in negotiations.
2. Ending corporate capture of the UN: end compromising partnerships & transfer of officials. Exclude business lobbyists from talks. Expose & prohibit the bullying & bribing’ of poor nations by rich nations.
3. Realisation of new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by increased cooperation, commitment, funding & resources, strengthening the Millennium Goals (MDGs) & cancelling unjust poor country debt.
4. Peace & demilitarization, democratising the UN Security Council, a binding global arms treaty, SDG on peace & conflict, nuclear disarmament by 2030 & transfer funds to local sustainable development.
5. A Financial Transaction Tax, abolition of tax havens & a Global Carbon Fee on extraction of fuels, to transparently & equitably fund life-saving adaptation solutions, prioritising resilience & climate justice.
6. Ending fossil fuel subsidies now & extraction by 2020. Invest in non-nuclear Renewable Energy for All: global wind/solar/small-hydro/geo-energy; efficient stoves; zero carbon global electricity by 2030.
7. Outlawing Ecocide as the 5th International Crime Against Peace: prosecute destruction of ecosystems e.g. tar sands, oil spills, mountaintop removal, fracking. Protect the commons & Rights of Mother Earth.
8. Zero deforestation of Amazon rainforest by 2015 & globally by 2020. Rejection of pricing & trading nature, including forests, water & the atmosphere; and rejection of offsetting damage/destruction.
9. Food & water sovereignty & security. Ban land grabs. Protect Indigenous peoples’ land rights. Switch support for biofuels & industrial, chemical & GM agriculture to small organic farming & permaculture.
10. Indicators beyond GDP: measure wellbeing, participation, environmental health, socio-economic equity, gender equality, employment, provision for needs/services, protection of rights, & peace.
This is what democracy looks like. This is Harmony with Nature. This is the Future We Need for a just, resilient, thriving world. Join Global Days of Action on June 5th & 20th to raise our voice to challenge & bring hope to Rio+20.