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Civil Society Groups Mobilise in Rio

Delegates walk past a sign "The Future We Want," title of the latest document adopted at Rio+20

The Future ‘We’ Want?

A loosely defined document with the idealistic title “The Future We Want” has been agreed upon after week long deliberations by a 193 member committee at the Rio+20. The document has called for the inclusion of “women, non-governmental organisations, and indigenous groups in the sustainable development agenda.”

But, these ‘recommendations’ and ‘voluntary’ commitments are hollow promises with no compulsory expectations from the individual states, especially the bigger players in the industrialised and industrialising countries.  Politically binding commitments are conspicuously absent and the final text does not include the perspectives of the highly susceptible demographics that the document claims to protect. The text also calls upon private enterprises  to engage in “sustainable corporate business practices.” Once again there are no legally binding principles.

The next step, as expressed by the UN, will be to “establish Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and mobilise financing for sustainable development.” The SDGs will follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire in 2015 and will hold just as much or little leverage and impact. The source of financing is a still an issue of contention between the developing, developed and under-developed states.

The prognosis at Rio+20 has been expectedly grim.

Given this futile outcome, the civil society groups’ grievances with the latest ‘outcome document’ are multi-fold and their only resort has been to protest. Eclectic voices emerged from a myriad of civil society movements, that have forged alliances, here in Rio, to remind their leaders that the world is at stake.

At least 35,000 activists marched in protest of the 'green economy' initiatives on the opening day of Rio+20

 

Rural women's organisations representing the 'Global South' featured heavily at the alternative 'People's Summit

 

Protesters unfurl the Brazilian flag at demonstrations that took place in the heart of Rio

 

500 Indigenous groups from all over the world signed the 'Kari-Oca' 2 declaration in Rio, concurrent to the UN summit

 

Executive Director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo dubbed the conference, "Rio Minus 20" to reflect the lack of progress

 

Backdrop of the 'Alternative People's Summit' that involved more than 200 civil society groups from accross the globe

 

 


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About The Author(s)



Preethi Nallu

Preethi Nallu

Journalist (print/audio/video), multi-media specialist, current affairs analyst

Preethi Nallu is a print and broadcast journalist with a special focus on human rights and development. She is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets, including Al Jazeera, Inter-Press Service, Doha Centre for Media Freedom, Monocle 24 and VJ Movement. ​Preethi has covered wide-ranging issues from Arab-Israeli politics to the UN Climate Conference (COP 15) and human rights/democratic reform in Burma ​With living and work experience in eight countries across the globe, her vision as a journalist is to combine the fields of International Relations, Current Affairs and Media in producing timely and thematic stories with in-depth analysis.

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