Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More ecology, less economy for Rio+20

Fabiola Ortiz in IPS via Tierramérica: Hundreds of non-governmental organisations and social movements from around the world hope to counter the failure of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which they consider inevitable, with the success of the alternative People’s Summit.

Both events will take place in June in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian city that served as the venue, two decades ago, for the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development. ... Rio+20 is expected to draw around 50,000 people to the city to take part in preparatory meetings and parallel activities during much of June, in addition to some 120 heads of state and government who will meet for the actual summit on Jun. 20-22.

The People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice in Defence of the Commons will be held Jun. 15-23 in Aterro do Flamengo park, near downtown Rio de Janeiro, as an alternative event independent of the official conference, and is expected to draw roughly 10,000 participants.

Representatives of some 20 social, trade union, youth, women’s, indigenous, peasant and Afro-descendant organisations met in Rio during the fourth week of March to coordinate actions, fine-tune their critique of the official Rio+20 agenda, and finish up preparations for the large-scale mobilisation in June.

One of the challenges is the inclusion of the rights of native peoples in the concept of sustainable development, said activist Sander Otten, a member of the technical committee of the Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organisations (CAOI), which brings together groups from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

...Otten acknowledged that some progress has been made in the area of indigenous rights in the last 20 years. However, in the majority of cases, the governments of the Andean countries are promoting the further expansion of extractive activities like mining and oil drilling, as well as large-scale industrial monoculture plantations, he stressed....

A woman and baby in Bolivia, shot by Guy Xhonneux, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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