Rio20+ is another missed opportunity

The conference that took place in Rio de Janeiro last week was due to bring a new start to sustainable development. The original event which took place at the place twenty years ago and was a fiasco.

Indeed out of the 90 goals outlined at the time, only FOUR have shown improvements. And despite we hear of climate change mitigation almost every day since then, our emissions have kept on increasing and increasing.

Sustainable development is to many an empty promise. The Rio20+ conference was due to get sustainability back on rails, but it clearly has failed in this regard.

As Business Green notes :

Responses to the Rio+20 Earth Summit this week and the misleadingly titled “Future We Want” draft agreement range from genuine “outrage” to the more measured “disappointment”.

The only groups thought to be even moderately content with the agreement are the Brazilian hosts, who have avoided the ignominy of the talks collapsing, and the Chinese and US delegations, which have managed to again sign up to green growth in principle while not committing to anything they interpret as posing a risk to their domestic economic agendas.

Here is another take, from Cleantechies :

The outcome of the Rio+20, the sustainability conference held in Rio de Janeiro this week and which folds today, will be a document that lacks focus and does not tackle the urgency of the problems the world faces

(…)An Associated Press report echoes the sentiment voiced by FAPESP. It said activists complained the document “barely advances beyond what was agreed to at the original Earth Summit Rio hosted in 1992.”

CARE’s climate change specialist Kit Vaughan said the speeches were “full of empty words. The rhetoric cannot camouflage the fact that leaders are missing a shared vision and commitment to stop environmental degradation and eradicate poverty.”

Here is a selection of other posts exemplifying the failure :

Is there still some hope ? Yes, as Greg Hanscom reports on Grist :

Felilx Dodds, executive director of theStakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, says that the final agreement sets the stage for real progress on protecting oceans, and creates the framework for a set of sustainable development goals that should be adopted in 2015. He is also heartened by the initiative he has seen from cities and youth groups.

Beyond that, Dodds sees a fundamental power shift from developed countries in the north to the developing world in the south. “The developed world had to be dragged to the table by Brazil, South Africa, and other developing countries,” he said. “The emerging economies are driving the agenda now — because they can see what’s happening” to the environment.

Let us hope the civil society will close the gap between what has to be done on climate and sustainability and what our ” leaders ” and ” representatives ” want to do…

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