Cloudy Days for Human Rights Activists at Rio

cloudy days in Rio

There has been a great deal of controversy for months about what UN negotiators would put forward for possible treaty adoption by countries at the end of Rio+20. What was supposed to be a simple document became complex and demonstrated many divisions between countries. When the negotiating team couldn’t reach agreement this created an opportunity for the host government (Brazil) to work on putting something together that could be accepted or adopted. What came out today was fine for many people, but not for the thousands of human rights activists who have gathered here.

Several civil society organizations have launched “the future we don’t want” to critique the document. According to this group:

“[t]he text makes not a single mention of environmental justice, Principle 10 or a high-level representative for the future. While efficiency is quoted 14 times and economic growth 20 times, there is not a single quote on sufficiency, planetary boundaries or limits. That does not reflect what the people want.”

As stated in an earlier post, the sustainability movement has pushed very hard to focus on economic development in the context of protecting the environment. The US position (which I will decsribe tomorrow) is similar) Has it gone too far? I believe the business focus here and the importanc of economic development cannot be overstated. However, environmental justice is also too often ignored. It will be interesting to see what the final document brings.