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Rio + 20 or Rio-20?

Rio + 20 or Rio-20?


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By Mg. Claudio L. Thomas

The coexistence of two parallel Summits, with clearly differentiated premises and objectives, configured the dual structure of the mega-meeting held on Rio de Janeiro soil: the official Conference called upon the States to discuss the environmental problem in interstate terms; the alternative Conference or Peoples' Summit attracted the participation of civil society, environmentalists and NGOs.


Introduction

The United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development Rio 2012 is history. With an evocative profile and very austere in terms of results, the questions raised regarding the increasingly bleak consequences of the global development model are further heightened.

The coexistence of two parallel Summits, with clearly differentiated premises and objectives, configured the dual structure of the mega-meeting held on Rio de Janeiro soil: the official Conference called upon the States to discuss the environmental problem in interstate terms; the alternative Conference or Peoples' Summit attracted the participation of civil society, environmentalists and NGOs.

Theoretical framing

Analyzing the positions of both Summits, we can point out that the first one, the official one, responds to the guidelines of the Ecological Modernization discourse, which conceives of economic growth with environmental protection, expert knowledge is imposed over lay knowledge and Environmental management tries to exercise the precautionary principle before repair, as well as solidarity with future generations: sustainable development emerges as the most widespread but no less distorted conceptual icon.

The second of them, the Peoples' Summit, would be enlisted in the guidelines of Political Ecology and the Environmental Justice Movement: both approaches are critical of the current development model (including overcoming proposals), the first one aims to study the Ecological-distributive conflicts from a transdisciplinary theoretical-practical perspective while the second is a claim for equitable and reparative distribution, in the pertinent polluting proportions, from a stratifying perspective of the International System.

Discussions

But what is really in dispute? Precisely, there is debate about what are the socio-environmental costs of the appropriation, industrialization, commercialization and distribution of common natural goods and global ecosystem services. The impossibility of reconciling the interests of the governments on the one hand, with the interests of the peoples on the other, results in the holding of two parallel, simultaneous and mutually indifferent Summits: while the first tries to cushion the environmental effects, the second seeks to modify the process (development model) that carries the aforementioned effects.

From a historical perspective, Rio + 20 reflects the years that have passed or the course since the Rio'92 Earth Summit, whose value lay in designing the once-hopeful Agenda XXI with greater legitimacy on the environmental spectrum, at least with respect to the current one. started in Stockholm '72 as a founding instance.


But also, from a conjunctural perspective it reflects the models of managing the global crisis of the countries of the North as well as the South, whose antagonistic visibility is today, at the dawn of the third millennium, incontestable.

In the North, the solution attempted focuses on the deepening of the classical liberal approach, that is, even failing, it continues to prevail, as in the recent Greek elections. In the South, the management is directed with the recovery of the public-state authority, with a State with a greater presence and intervention in the whole of society with a Keynesian imprint.

It is necessary to emphasize the linear continuity of this Conference with the Millennium Summit, the Doha Round that began in 2001 within the framework of the Trade Organization, in terms of demonstrating that South-North relations have been crystallized without being able to achieve overcoming instances tending to establish a more just and respectful international order, and not only in a formal way, of the sovereign decisions of the States, whatever their international insertion.

However, the official proposal of the green economy, which is inscribed in the guidelines of the Ecological Modernization discourse, naturally fails to bring together the majority support of the South, which has started another path outlined by the participation of civil society, via social movements such as NGOs in national decision-making guided by a strong and increasingly gravitant State: the green economy would imply, as it is proposed today, the commercialization of the extractive and transforming phase of natural resources as well as the phase distributive of the same by allowing the creation of speculative markets for them, which mechanisms jointly designed between the WTO and UNEP. What if the proposals of the People's Summit are listened to? From the synergy of both Summits, it can be something really interesting.

The imperiousness and honesty of accepting criteria of responsibility proportional to the polluting capacity of the States seems to be the Achilles heel of the discussion, it is not fully accepted by the North, which would contribute to consolidating the international status quo, since, in Instead of taking charge of their polluting past by their own means, they would end up charging their environmental liabilities to the non-industrialized and even less developed South; The creation of a supranational Agency within the framework of UNEP with punitive powers and the acceptance of the concert of countries, would be a negative and regressive starting point since it would endorse the asymmetries and development possibilities of the South.

Open conclusions

What lessons does Rio + 20 leave us?

- That the South, despite its growing and decisive participation in the international arena, continues with limited decision-making capacities as global policy makers;

- That the deliberate decision not to try to integrate both Summits and treat the official Conference as an environmental Summit, encourages a one-dimensional (environmental) discussion in the sense of proposing to create mechanisms or ways to improve and / or improve without promoting a serious discussion on the structural and multidimensional causes (economic, political and sociocultural) that would explain the current situation. And the North does not open the debate because it would imply deconstructing its own history.

- That on this occasion, diplomacy does not always represent the interests of the countries that most need its virtues, unlike the great achievements made with the Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification or the very unfulfilled Kyoto Protocol.

To close, and as Boff points out, “together with the Rio +20 it would be very positive to also rescue the Stockholm + 40. (…) The central focus was not development but care and collective responsibility for everything that surrounds us and that is in an accelerated process of degradation, affecting everyone and especially poor countries. It was a humanistic and generous perspective, which was lost with the closed folder of sustainable development and, now, with the green economy ”.

Today, given the importance that the South is gaining in the international concert, through the BRICS, Latin America, South-South cooperation, the verses of the poet from the other shore, sound more and more force and legitimacy: But down here, down near the roots is where memory no memory omits and there are those who die and there are those who go out of their way and thus together they achieve what was impossible for everyone to know that the South, that the South also exists .

Mg. Thomas - July 2012


Video: The United Nation Conference on Sustainable Development Rio +20BotanyBSc Target BatchRk Sir (June 2022).