1992 was a time when it seemed fairly futuristic to talk about environment degradation, climate change, green economy but twenty years later with ever more alarming statistics on poverty and hunger exacerbated by food and financial crisis and the reality of climate change revealing itself in form of various disasters has made it extremely urgent to take a step forward in addressing these issues.
Rio+20 is taking place at a time when social, environmental and economic justice has become the demand of millions living across the globe. The promises made twenty years ago are not so much broken rather they are still empty as the outcome document has yet again reiterated and reinforced what was already pledged and recognized twenty years ago. So we can all be happy that we have reaffirmed to address the issues but the question remains that when we will start actually addressing the issues?
When can the actions be taken? When we will start delivering on the promises we made to the poor?
The text produced in the outcome document on which the debate was initiated and will continue for the coming three days has not been able to address the grave and daunting concerns of women, youth and children, farmers, indigenous people and workers. The document is extremely weak in addressing the reproductive and sexual rights of women which gives them an opportunity to have control on their own bodies, it does not commit on the extractive industries which are forcing the indigenous people out of their homes and endangering their livelihoods thus denying their right to dignity, the conditional transfer of technology which will exclude millions of youth from accessing opportunities of decent work and also failing to address the issue of armed conflict.
Lack of political commitment to listen, adopt, create and commit to alternatives was one the major blockades during the course of the negotiations whether it is EU, US or G77. While listening to the negotiations I was burdened by the fact that ordinary people's perspectives, concerns, issues, and views are simply outweighed by the politics of aid/finances, conditionalities and subsidies.
On the other hand while attending the Opening session of the Rio +20 I got the loud and clear demand from all the groups mentioned earlier was to have CHANGE and ACTION!! But the question remains do we have to wait for another twenty years to start taking concrete actions?