Rio+20: Bring the Future Back in the Text!

Press release – for immediate release

Rio de Janeiro, 17 June 2012 – The newly released Rio+20 negotiation text by the host country Brazil is an attempt to “make all delegates a bit happy, and a bit unhappy” said Ambassador Luiz Alberto
Figueiredo Machado, Executive Secretary of Brazil’s National Commission for Rio+20. But for the World Future Council as well as youth representatives in Rio it is a cause for great concern as the
HighLevel Representative for Sustainable Development and Future Generations (previously Paragraph 80) has been deleted from the text.

Alice Vincent, Policy Officer with the World Future Council, says: “I strongly believe that a Rio+20 outcome that does not include the creation of such an advocate for the needs of future generations wouldn’t be worthy of the title The Future We Want.

The interests and needs of those who will inherit this planet are being systematically compromised by the shortterm nature of decisionmaking and policy. A Highlevel Representative for Sustainable Development and Future Generations will be tasked with helping government to bring sustainable development, often separate from core policy issues, into the heart of all decision-making.

Rhoda Robinson youth activist from Nigeria said “The removal of this text effectively relegates youth and future generations to the sidelines to watch – not participate – in deciding on our future. This may not look like it something of concern to a young person in Africa but we cannot continue to have no representation, no say and no access to decisions that affect us.”

“This is a onetime opportunity to influence the outcome text in a clear and radical way and make sure that Rio+20 goes beyond just copying the language of previous agreements” says Mathieu Soete, President of the Environmental Working Group, AEGEE / European Students’ Forum.

The Highlevel Representative would work in close cooperation with civil society to represent their concerns and to further their participation at the United Nations. This efficient and innovative solution would ensure a more integrated approach to sustainable development – one of the key objectives of the Rio+20 Conference – and embed long-termism into our political thinking.

Kate Offerdahl from Columbia University says, “Young people are demanding that this language be reinserted into the negotiating text and that a Highlevel Representative for Sustainable Development and Future Generations be an enduring accomplishment of the Rio+20 Conference”.

In addition to the representation of future generations and young people in the form of a HighLevel Representative, wider youth participation throughout the process of developing the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs), inclusion of youth delegates in all member state delegations, and meaningful and effective youth participation across UN sustainable development forums are all key to
making sure the interests of youth are represented and their voices are heard.

Laurence Dambuki. African Union Youth delegate said, “Developing countries are particularly concerned about improving means of implementation to ensure the effectiveness of the interventions
and to invest financial and human resources efficiently. This proposal would be instrumental in addressing current implementation gaps by helping governments and UN bodies work together on
longterm planning and the sharing of best practice.”

Photos from the immediate protest against the deletion can be seen here:
http://www.iisd.ca/uncsd/rio20/enb/17june.html.

Media Contacts

World Future Council

Alice Vincent
Policy Officer
alice.vincent(@)worldfuturecouncil.org
Brazil mobile: +55 21 805 66 827

 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.