Civil Society Groups Mobilise in Rio
The Future ‘We’ Want?
A loosely defined document with the idealistic title “The Future We Want” has been agreed upon after week long deliberations by a 193 member committee at the Rio+20. The document has called for the inclusion of “women, non-governmental organisations, and indigenous groups in the sustainable development agenda.”
But, these ‘recommendations’ and ‘voluntary’ commitments are hollow promises with no compulsory expectations from the individual states, especially the bigger players in the industrialised and industrialising countries. Politically binding commitments are conspicuously absent and the final text does not include the perspectives of the highly susceptible demographics that the document claims to protect. The text also calls upon private enterprises to engage in “sustainable corporate business practices.” Once again there are no legally binding principles.
The next step, as expressed by the UN, will be to “establish Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and mobilise financing for sustainable development.” The SDGs will follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire in 2015 and will hold just as much or little leverage and impact. The source of financing is a still an issue of contention between the developing, developed and under-developed states.
The prognosis at Rio+20 has been expectedly grim.
Given this futile outcome, the civil society groups’ grievances with the latest ‘outcome document’ are multi-fold and their only resort has been to protest. Eclectic voices emerged from a myriad of civil society movements, that have forged alliances, here in Rio, to remind their leaders that the world is at stake.