This week the United National Conference for Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio+20 kicks off in Rio. Consisting of world leaders and thousands of participants from all forms and levels of the international community coming together to explore how to “…reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planer to get to the future we want.”
Basically it’s a two-day whirlwind culminating in a “political document”, not a legally-binding one, a political one. This is an important difference as a legally binding document would actually force governments into putting their many, sometimes exciting sounding, conversations into action.
This year the two central themes are “…a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development.” Man, I’m lost already; for more info on their seven priority areas you can have a read on their website.
Since 1993 La Via Campesina have been calling for sovereignty over their right to land, food and the right to shape their own futures and livelihoods without being under the thumb of multi-nationals or gender inequality.
Surprise surprise ‘green capitalism’ (La Via Campesina's term) is not the answer. Rather than continuing on the trajectory of making our food systems bigger, shinier, faster and bigger again; La Via Campesina advocates for decentralised, ethical, small-medium farming practices that put people before profits and develop healthy communities rather than healthy bank balances for an elite few.
Keep an eye on what happens over the next week with Rio+20, I don’t believe we’ll be seeing groundbreaking ‘real-life’ initiatives from our world leaders. However listen and look a little bit harder and you’ll hear some very clear and groundbreaking proposals come hard and fast from the voices of 200 million peasants belonging to La Via Campesina.