This summer (June 20th – 22nd) the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will take place in Rio, exactly twenty years after the famous Earth Summit in the same location. Heads of states and other politicians are the main participants in the meeting. The focus will be put on the following topics: on the one hand green economy, sustainable development and poverty erradication; on the other hand the institutional framework for sustainable development.
As opposed to that, the People’s Summit held during the same time invites – as the name proposes – for everyone to come and join and “re-invent the world”. Also the agenda looks slightly different with the following topics on the list (put forward by the Forum for a New World Governance):
- Ethical and Philosophical Foundations for Biocivilization
- For a Fair and Sustainable Economy
- Paradigm Shifts That Need to Be Made for the Transition
- For a Fair and Democratic Architecture of Power
With simpler words, the people behind the alternative meeting clearly oppose the official Rio +20 agenda and say: “What is being sold to us as green economy is nothing but an attempt to have a new round of expansion of capitalism. It is an extension of neoliberalism, a new green Washington consensus, attempting not only to commodify the life in itself, but also to monetize it. It is said that the financial markets and the new technology will solve all our problems.”
In the following video you can find a short introduction to the way these people see the change which should come out of Rio this summer:
Why is now a good time for real change? After crisis in Asia and later in Latin America it’s now the the turn of the West to feel the impact of globalization. “Unemployment rose sharply to 205 million people in 2009 from 178 million in 2007. According to the latest estimates by the International Labour Organization (2011), global unemployment remained high and unchanged in 2010.” Job loss to such a large extent means that our societies are becoming much more vulnerable. Besides, “the global financial crisis came immediately after food and fuel prices had risen sharply.” Further, the impact of financial cuts in areas like health and education will only show in the future. Read the Global Social Crisis for more information. This report ends with a very positive and inspiring note:
“As challenging as it may be, the crisis offers an opportunity for achieving social progress by making universal social protection a reality, revisiting the social impacts of globalization, and ensuring more inclusive and sustained growth.”
I’ll keep you updated on topics surrounding the UN and the people’s summit in Rio.
Check out my guestpost “Waiting for Rio” on the Environmental Rhi-source to read about what we can and cannot expect from Rio +20.