Governments need to find their vision and hearing as the Rio Summit is set to start

Press release – for immediate release

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 June 2012 – Hours before Presidents and Prime Ministers arrive in Rio for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development on June 20 -22, the Brazilian government as hosts of the Conference have consolidated an outcome document. Unfortunately, the urge to deliver a final text has led to an across-the-board loss of meaningful proposals and a style of negotiation that resulted in a last-minute cancellation of the Swiss President.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 June 2012 – Hours before Presidents and Prime Ministers arrive in Rio for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development on June 20 -22, the Brazilian government as hosts of the Conference have consolidated an outcome document. Unfortunately, the urge to deliver a final text has led to an across-the-board loss of meaningful proposals and a style of negotiation that resulted in a last-minute cancellation of the Swiss President.

“What we are witnessing here is not the new political commitment to sustainable development we worked so hard to generate: we have to fight to even keep the outcomes here at the same level as commitments and agreements made decades ago“, worries Ashok Khosla, Member of the World Future Council, who is also President of IUCN and the Club of Rome. “The negotiators in these rooms seem to be deaf to the scientific evidence pouring in all around them on issues ranging from rising poverty and resource depletion to loss of species and climate change. What is even more baffling, politically, is their blindness to the great support of their people to create development models fit for the future.”

In the preparations for the conference, assessments of the gaps between promises made by governments on Sustainable Development and their implementation resulted in clear recommendations for reform. These included significant upgrading of the United Nations Environment Programme, a new strong sustainability unit to improve the integration of single-issue policies, and Sustainable Development Goals. A High Commissioner for Future Generations to be established as a credible advocate in this new agenda, ensuring that the decisions taken today also respect the interests of those yet unborn, is currently in the balance.

“Of all these farsighted proposals only skeletons are left. We have publicly expressed appreciation for Brazil’s policy commitment to create a new legacy 20 years after the first Summit here, but most of the reforms needed to do this have been shot down for fear of controversy or are without proper negotiation or consultation with civil society. We really hope that Ministers from around the world will come here in the next few days to speak up, re-open the text and fight for the real “Future we Want,” urges Ashok Khosla, “otherwise, we will have a Rio minus 20 rather than the Rio plus 20 we were led to expect.”

Media Contacts

World Future Council

Dr. Maja Goepel
Director Future Justice
+55 (21) 8056 6849

Catherine Pearce
Campaign Manager Future Justice
+55 (21) 8056 6849

 The World Future Council

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany.