GRET Signs the Rio+20 Group’s European Call
“Let’s be politically more ambitious about the change we want from Rio+20!”
Our economic model based on unending exploitation of natural resources, including fossil fuels, water and biodiversity, is running out of steam. It is depleting natural environments, increasing inequality and degenerating into a systemic crisis. Every man or woman is now conscious of the imperative need to rethink our development model throughout the world. The upcoming Rio+20 Conference in June 2012, will bring together world leaders, social movements, civil society, local authorities and mass media. Rio+20 can be an opportunity to spur fundamental changes, not only at global level but also locally, in regions worldwide. Challenged by a new economic order, States are going for inward-looking short term policies and are proving to be sluggish about Rio 2012 and incapable of showing the necessary ambition. Recent inter-governmental negotiations have shown that they remain deaf to civil society proposals seeking Rio+20 as a global starting point for transition to a fairer world, guaranteeing everyone’s well-being, with renewed confidence in institutions and a way out of the crisis.
In the face of our leaders’ weaknesses, we call on everyone to require governments to make ambitious commitments in Rio, and particularly:
- To guarantee the right to food, water and development. No summit should go back on these rights, signed by a majority of States and reaffirmed on several occasions, e.g. during the water forums. The Rio conference cannot be an opportunity to focus on the investment dimension of “green economy”, and to forget the issue of access to basic services and goods. It would mean the primacy of the market and the economy over citizens, whereas the financial crisis has shown that it is necessary to introduce financial, economic and legal regulations.
- To recognize the existence of several patterns of development and to invest in basic services, essential to stopping the growing social marginalization of vulnerable people. For example, several appropriate approaches exist for the 1.8 billion of small farmers in the world, such as renewable energies, agro-forestry or simple water collection, storing and distribution techniques.
- To reaffirm the existence of common goods (natural environment, immaterial technologies and culture) in order to allow access to essential goods for all, to recognize users’ expertise and to encourage local management. The financialization of common goods leads to the generalization of its harmful effects, the destruction of the man-nature relationship, the transformation of essential services into commodities and the speculation on human well being.
- To plan social and ecological transition strategies for societies, giving priority to the public interest. Strategies should take into account the limit of resources to develop a new model of social and economic organization. This model should be based on optimized use of inputs, energy savings, recycling, short distribution and production channels and circular economy. From this perspective, a strong social and territorial integration is necessary. We also need to promote other kinds of satisfaction as alternatives to overconsumption.
- To build a set of common bases for social security, to reassert the value of employment, to support professional training, to secure career paths and to promote decent jobs across the planet. Social dumping must stop! A fair transition can only be achieved if all the actors meet their responsibilities.
- To recognize the essential role of civil society in the negotiations, in the public policies decisions and in their local implementation. The contributions submitted by civil society to amend the Rio+20 zero-draft must be taken into account in the final declaration. Civil society should have access to all documents and should be represented in all the negotiations instances. The gradual closing down of civil society spaces is undemocratic and endangers the spirit of the United Nations. New development patterns can only be built if the civil society, strengthened by its expertise, is part of the upstream strategies, and if conflicts of interest are fully transparent.
Rio+20 must be the starting point of a global and local transition, affirming local access to global democratic governance. It is up to civil society and citizen movements to push this message forward during Rio+20, particularly on People’s Summit, and in their own countries.