-What is at stake at Rio+20
This edition of the WRM bulletin is being released as the Rio+20 People’s Summit is beginning in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In May, during a meeting of the International Coordination Group of the People’s Summit (*) – of which WRM forms part –an international call was launched. We would like to share with all of our bulletin readers this message for the unity and mobilization of the peoples in defence of life and the commons, for social and environmental justice, and against the commodification of nature and the “green economy”:
One month before the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, the peoples of the world have not seen any positive outcomes in the negotiation process taking place within the official conference. There has been no assessment of the progress made in fulfilment of the agreements reached at the 1992 Earth Summit, nor any discussion of how to address the causes of the crises facing the planet. The focus of discussion is a package of proposals misleadingly called a "green economy" and the establishment of a new system of international environmental governance to facilitate it.
The real structural cause of the crises is capitalism, with its classical and renewed forms of domination, which concentrates wealth and generates social inequality, unemployment, violence against the people, and criminalization of those who denounce it.
The current system of production and consumption – represented by the big corporations, financial markets and governments who ensure its maintenance – generates and aggravates global warming and the climate crisis, hunger and malnutrition, the loss of forests and of biological, social and cultural diversity, chemical contamination, the growing scarcity of drinking water, desertification of soils and acidification of the oceans, land grabbing, and the commodification of all aspects of life both in rural and urban areas.
The “green economy”, contrary to what its name suggests, is simply one more stage of capitalistic accumulation. Nothing in the “green economy” questions or seeks to replace the extractivist, fossil-fuel based economy, or its patterns of consumption and industrial production. Instead, it opens up new areas to the economy based on exploitation of people and the environment, feeding the myth that unlimited economic growth is possible.
The failed economic model, now dressed up in green, aims to subject all of the life cycles of nature to the rules of the market and technological control, through the privatization and commodification of nature and its functions, as well as traditional knowledge, while contributing to the further expansion of speculative financial markets through mechanisms like carbon markets, payments for environmental services, biodiversity offsetting and REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from avoided Deforestation and forest Degradation).
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), agrotoxics, Terminator technology, agrofuels, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, artificial life, geo-engineering and nuclear energy, among others, are presented as “technological solutions” to the natural limits of the planet and the multiple crises it is facing, without addressing the real causes that provoke them.
It also promotes the expansion of the agroindustrial food production system, which is one of the main causes of the climate, environmental, economic and social crises, deepening food speculation and promoting the interests of agribusiness corporations at the expense of local, peasant, family and indigenous and traditional peoples’ production, thus affecting the health of all.
As a negotiation strategy in the Rio+20 conference, some governments of wealthy countries are proposing a regression from the principles agreed on at the Rio 92 Earth Summit, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, the precautionary principle, and the right to information and participation. They are also threatening already established rights, such as the rights of indigenous and traditional peoples and of peasant farmers, the human right to water, the rights of workers and migrants, the right to food, housing and cities, the rights of youth and women, the right to sexual and reproductive health, the right to education, and cultural rights.
There are also attempts to establish so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be used to promote the “green economy”, further weakening the already inadequate Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The official Rio+20 process aims to establish global environmental governance mechanisms that would serve to manage and facilitate this “green economy”, in which a key role would be played by the World Bank and other public or private, national and international financial institutions. This would result in a new cycle of indebtedness and structural adjustments dressed up in green. There cannot be democratic global governance without ending the current corporate capture of the United Nations.
We reject this process and call for increased mobilization and the construction of alternatives worldwide.
We are struggling for radical change in the current model of production and consumption, reaffirming our right to develop alternative models based on the multiple realities and experiences of the peoples which are genuinely democratic, respectful of human rights and collective rights, in harmony with nature and with social and environmental justice.
We support the proposal and collective construction of new paradigms based on food sovereignty, agroecology and the solidarity economy, on the defence of life and the commons, on the affirmation of all threatened rights, including the right to land and territory, the right to cities and the rights of nature and future generations, and on the elimination of all forms of colonialism and imperialism.
We call on all the peoples of the world to support the Brazilian people’s struggle against the destruction of one of the most important legal frameworks for the protection of forests, the Forest Code, which would open the door to further deforestation to serve the interests of the agribusiness sector and the expansion of their monoculture plantations; and to support the fight against the implementation of the Belo Monte mega dam project, which is threatening the survival and livelihoods of forest peoples and Amazonian biodiversity.
We renew our call for participation in the People’s Summit to be held 15-23 June in Rio de Janeiro. This is an important step in the global struggles for social and environmental justice that we have been building since Rio 92, and particularly since Seattle, the World Social Forum and Cochabamba, where struggles have been amplified against the WTO and the FTAA, for climate justice, and against the G20. We also include mass mobilizations and popular struggles such the Occupy and Indignados movements, the Chilean students’ struggle, and the Arab Spring.
Finally we call for global mobilization on 5 June (World Environment Day), on 18 June against the G20 summit (which will focus on “green growth”), and on 20 June for the March of the People’s Summit in Rio de Janeiro and worldwide, for social and environmental justice, against the “green economy” and the commodification of life and nature, and in defence of the commons and the rights of peoples.
Rio de Janeiro, 12 May 2012
*The International Coordination Group (CG) of the Civil Society Facilitating Committee (CFSC) for the People’s Summit at Rio+20 is made up of 35 networks, social movements and organizations from 13 different countries. Its representatives work together with the National CG (with 40 represented networks) to coordinate the methodologies and policies of the People’s Summit, a parallel and critical event to Rio+20, which will bring together thousands of people in “Aterro do Flamengo” from 15 to 23 June.
RÍO+20 CONFERENCE: THE FUTURE WE DO NOT WANT
-From Rio to Rio: The path they have stolen from us
In just a few days, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, will begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio+20 is taking place in the same city, 20 years later, as the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, better known as the Earth Summit. Considered the first international mega summit, this 1992 meeting was attended by 8,000 officially registered delegates and 108 heads of state and government. A parallel civil society forum drew more than 5,000 participants.
The Earth Summit was viewed as the landmark event where the link between the environment and development was established. But discussion around how to address the evident contradiction between capitalist/industrial development and its environmental and social costs, as well as the imminent exhaustion of the planet’s natural resources, dated back at least 20 years prior to that event. The environmental movement was flourishing and enriching ways of interpreting reality.
In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden to discuss the state of the global environment. From that time forward, debate around the ecology vs. economy dilemma continued to develop.
Subsequently, in the 1980s, there was a move away from the idea of adapting development to the environment with the growing emergence of the concept of “sustainable development”, which recognized the urgent need to rethink development by incorporating environmental and social dimensions. In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, better known as the Brundtland Commission, published the report known as “Our Common Future”, which stated: “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It noted, “Sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to satisfy their aspirations for a better life,” and stressed, “A world in which poverty and inequity are endemic will always be prone to ecological and other crises.”
In 1992, as mentioned above, the United Nations convened the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Both the summit and the processes to which it gave rise became the settings for an ongoing concerted battle between a genuinely ecological and social vision, on one side, and on the other, the attempts of big capital to maintain the system and structures that sustain it – and that have led to the current crisis.
Perhaps the most noteworthy outcome of the 1992 summit was the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities between the countries of the North and the South. This signified acknowledgement of the historical responsibility of the wealthy nations in generating the environmental crisis.
Other outcomes of the 1992 Earth Summit included a Declaration of Principles (the Rio Declaration) that highlighted the relationship between the environment and development; an Action Plan (Agenda 21); three international conventions (the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention on Biological Diversity, and Convention to Combat Desertification); a statement on Forest Principles; and a mechanism for financing projects known as the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Ten years after the Earth Summit, the Rio+10 conference was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is where corporate power succeeded in advancing its own interests within the United Nations process itself, by taking over the space and the discourse, emptying it of any real content.
More than 100 executive directors and a total of some 700 business delegates from over 200 companies played an active part in the Johannesburg summit, pushing the line of “corporate responsibility” as a means of avoiding the implementation of binding rules. During the last preparatory conference before the summit, Ricardo Carrere wrote in the WRM bulletin editorial: “People around the world are increasingly concerned about the process and asking themselves questions about the relevance of the upcoming Johannesburg Summit to address the problems being faced by humanity. Those questions are the result of what has (not) happened during the past ten years after the 1992 Summit, when governments agreed on implementing a large number of actions to address the Earth's environmental problems. Sadly enough, the fact is that, apart from holding numerous international meetings and signing a number of agreements, very little has been done. ‘Sustainable development’ appears to have simply become a meaningless catchword tossed around by governments and corporations in their intent to fool the public”. (See WRM Bulletin Nº 58).
Indeed, Rio+10 adhered to the agendas of the Doha Declaration (of the World Trade Organization, WTO) and the Monterrey Consensus (endorsed by the IMF, World Bank, WTO and prominent business leaders), placing emphasis on concepts like economic growth, foreign direct investment and trade liberalization as requirements for “sustainable development”.
The people’s response soon made itself heard: some 20,000 people marched from the humble Johannesburg neighbourhood of Alexandra to the summit venue in upscale Sandton to protest against what they called “global economic apartheid”.
As the popular struggles continued, big capital dressed up in green to exploit every last opportunity. An ever growing proliferation of certification schemes turned destructive activities like large-scale monoculture plantations into purportedly “sustainable” or “responsible” initiatives. In a cunning move of sleight-of-hand, the erstwhile obligation of the countries of the North to reduce their carbon emissions became a business opportunity through the creation of the carbon market. Suddenly, transnational corporations went from being part of the problem to being a key part of the solution.
For example, Schroders, a leading global asset management company based in the UK, launched a “climate change fund” in 2007. Company director Robin Stoakley spoke enthusiastically about the potential profits offered by the environmental crisis: “We believe there are excellent returns available by investing in companies that will benefit from efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Dealing with climate change is likely to be the biggest global investment theme of the next 20 years” (quoted in “Economía verde. El asalto final a los bienes comunes”, http://www.wrm.org.uy/temas/Economia_Verde/asalto_final_a_los_bienes_comunes.pdf).
And this is how we have arrived at Rio+20, another United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in a context in which economic and financial globalization have dragged societies towards growing competition, where commodification and privatization have spread to unimaginable areas. The issue of rights has disappeared from the discussion table, while the market, under its cloak of science and technology, has imposed itself as the only possible solution to every problem.
Rio+20 is not a cause for celebration or hope among civil society organizations and social movements, who have chosen to look beyond Rio+20 and construct the Peoples Summit, also taking place in Rio de Janeiro on June 15-23, parallel to the official conference. In pursuit of social and environmental justice, against the commodification of life and nature, and in defence of the commons, the participating organizations, networks and movements are fighting back against the destructive corporate architecture that the official conference aims to impose: the so-called “green economy” that we have frequently discussed in this year’s WRM bulletins.
That is why this Peoples Summit will focus on themes like the structural causes of the environmental crisis and the false solutions proposed by governments and the private sector; the solutions proposed by the peoples; and the interconnection of campaigns and common struggles. Experiences and projects that show how it is possible to live in a society based on solidarity and sustainability will counteract the individualism and destruction of the prevailing paradigm. Because, although they have stolen the path from us, there are still hearts that beat with the desire to break new paths towards a world in which hope can flourish again.
-Sustainable Energy for All – or another scheme to increase energy corporation profits?
Sustainable Energy for All (SEFA) is an initiative launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in October 2011 and which has been gaining political momentum in the run-up to Rio+20. Ban Ki-moon has made it clear that he sees SEFA as centre-stage to the Rio+20 process and that it will proceed regardless of the outcome of UN negotiations.
SEFA's official goals for 2030 are to a) double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, b) double the share of renewable energy and c) ensure universal access to modern energy services.
The goals themselves are highly problematic: 'Renewable energy' is not defined and SEFA documents show that mega hydro dams, agrofuel and biomass plantations fall under it. Increasing the share of renewable energy itself will not necessarily reduce fossil fuel burning since global energy use is to be greatly expanded: while SEFA aims to increase energy 'access' in the South, they say nothing about the need to reduce energy overconsumption in the North. And finally, the three goals are entirely independent from each other. 'Energy access' in the South does not have to be renewable, efficient or in any way 'sustainable' – it may just mean more coal power stations or tar sands exploitation.
Perhaps most worrying, however, is the nature of the SEFA initiative itself: It is run by a High-Level Group whose members were hand-picked by Ban Ki-moon and who include representatives of Siemens, Statoil, Eskom, Riverstone Holdings, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and other corporations. The only governments represented are the US, EU, Russia, India and Brazil. Charles Holliday, Chair of the Bank of America is one of two Chairs of the SEFA's High-Level Group. This group produced SEFA's Action Agenda, i.e. work programme, in secret, without any semblance of consultation.
The key message that runs through the Action Agenda and other SEFA document is the 'need' to 'catalyse investment' by removing any 'barriers' to it. Far from regulating corporate investment, SEFA seeks to facilitate more of it – regardless of its social, environmental and climate impacts. Companies are to help governments with devising and implementing business-friendly energy policies. Governments, in turn, are to commit public funding to help business start-up costs and to underwrite financial risks. This includes funding Research + Development, pilot projects, technical assistance, subsidies, loan-guarantees and other types of 'risk mitigation' for private sector investments. The role of civil society is relegated to that of supporters and facilitators : the Action Agenda suggests that civil society groups might work in partnership with companies, 'educate' communities in the South, implement projects, etc.
SEFA is not a new funding body but a 'clearing house' for voluntary commitments and partnerships. Governments and companies in particular are encouraged to submit their policy commitments. Ghana has been the first country to make a formal commitment. Its centrepiece is an expansion in the use of natural gas, together with support for new pipelines and processing plants. Ghana's already approved Renewable Action Plan is also included – it backs the expansion of monoculture plantations for agrofuels. So far, any energy investments, at least in the South, can be put forward as commitments, based on the claim that more energy generation will translate into greater 'energy access'. SEFA's Secretariat has confirmed that governments will have free choice as to which types of energy they wish to include in country commitments – without any pretence of looking at 'sustainability', despite the initiative's title.
In many respects, SEFA can thus be seen as a continuation and possibly expansion of long-standing polluting and destructive energy finance, e.g. by the World Bank (who are members of the High-Level Group). Yet at the same time, SEFA is part of a much newer dangerous trend: As a UN-led initiative, it represents an attempt to effectively replace the multilateral negotiations and conventions process with multi-stakeholder private-public partnerships. It is thus a particularly powerful example of what many civil society groups have described as the 'corporate capture of the UN'.
You are invited to sign the Open Letter calling on Governments to reject the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEFA), available at http://www.wrm.org.uy/actors/CCC/reject_SEFA.html which is to be presented to governments at Rio later this month.
To sign the Open Letter, please send an email with your organisation's name and country to email@example.com
By Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more background information, see http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2012/sefa/
-The Green Economy according to FAO: More “green deserts”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is hosting a Rio+20 side event on June 18, called “Forests: The heart of a green economy”. FAO states that sustainable forest-based enterprises can offer a pathway for the transition toward a low-carbon economy, and announces that this event “will highlight the role of forests and industry in fostering local livelihoods.” It adds that “climate-smart” management of forests is increasingly seen as “a collaborative effort between the public custodians of forests, private enterprises and local communities.” (1)
As we know, there are countless experiences in genuinely sustainable forest management, practiced by forest peoples over the course of many generations, and based on deep knowledge and a holistic vision of the forest. However, these communities are facing ever greater threats to their survival, because another, predatory form of forest management, based on logging, the expansion of industrial plantations of trees like oil palm, mining and energy infrastructure projects, are leading to ever greater destruction. Between 2000 and 2010, 130 million hectares of tropical forest were destroyed. And the trend of “environmental services” – another topic on the agenda of the FAO side event – poses yet another threat to forest peoples, in the form of REDD+ projects (see WRM Bulletins Nº 169 and 175).
The fact that forests are still viewed solely as a source of timber, and are exploited by private companies that profit from the consumption of luxury wood products, mainly in the countries of the North, is closely tied to FAO’s definition of “forest”: “Land with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10 percent and area of more than 0.5 hectares (ha). The trees should be able to reach a minimum height of 5 meters (m) at maturity in situ.” But there is much more to forests than trees; they encompass a wealth of biological diversity which includes human communities that live in and/or depend on them. (2)
What is needed, as FAO points out, is a “collaborative effort”. But in the case of this event, that collaboration is limited to panellists representing governments, the World Bank, and the forestry industry, including the Brazilian Pulp and Paper Association (BRACELPA), one of whose members is Suzano, and UPM, a Finnish transnational. Among those invited to participate, there are no representatives of local communities, nor of those who manage forests in a genuinely sustainable way, nor of those who are affected by the activities of monoculture tree plantation or logging companies – many of which are certified by the FSC as “sustainable” despite the suffering they cause to local communities, as denounced in countless cases. It is no surprise that the FSC is also represented at the FAO side event.
It is obvious that for the communities negatively impacted by the policies promoted by FAO, it would be much better if FAO – a UN agency – sought to talk directly with them, and not with the private sector, as a way of reviewing its definition of forest. This is the heart of the matter. Reconsidering this definition, and engaging in dialogue with local communities to develop policy guidelines for effective protection of forests, would really be a smart path.
Winnie Overbeek, WRM, email@example.com
-The Big Greenwash Circus
At the end of this month the world's nations, businesses and civil society will gather in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. They accept the seemingly impossible task to come up with solutions for the environmental challenges we are facing. Deforestation, desertification, depletion of the oceans, pollution of the rivers and the air, loss of biodiversity and global warming are a real threat for all life on earth.
The time, nor the place for the summit is a coincidence. Exactly two decades ago Rio de Janeiro hosted the momentous Earth Summit, known as Rio '92. This UN conference triggered a global sense of urgency: the planet and its inhabitants are in danger and there is little time left for action. The world needed a new model based on 'sustainable development'. Governments, companies and NGO's all agreed that only through cooperation this great challenge could be achieved.
But corporations didn't want new rules for mining, fishing, agriculture or forestry. They argued that voluntary targets are far more efficient than binding environmental and social laws and regulations. In the business vision of sustainability economic growth, free trade and open markets remain the core pillars. Only if environmental protection is linked to profitability the world's vibrant ecosystems could be saved. This narrow-minded approach to 'sustainable development' gained a lot of support throughout the world.
Before Rio '92 corporations and industry were widely seen as the main drivers of environmental loss and injustice in the world. Mining companies were held responsible for the pollution of rivers, indigenous movements protested against deforestation and banks were criticized for their controversial investments all over the world. Logos were linked to forest destruction, air pollution and human rights abuses. The corporate world had a major credibility problem.
The Earth Summit was a turning point in history. Governments promised to create green jobs and subscribed to a green economy, consumers started buying sustainable products and multinationals advertised their Corporate Social Responsibility. Oil companies sponsored clean water projects, investment banks financed education programs and mining companies planted trees.
If Rio '92 was such an eye opener, you'd think we'd live in a green, fair and sustainable world by now. Or at least you'd expect that the world is a better place than it was two decades ago. But the facts and figures are quite sobering. In spite of all the sustainability claims the overall material extraction increased by 40% since the Earth Summit. The production of plastics dubbled. Today we live and consume as if we have two planets earth at our disposal. And rich countries and regions are still using five times more resources than their poor counterparts. Oceans are more exploited then they were twenty years ago and we are emiting 40% more CO2 then we did in '92.
The Earth Summit triggered other UN conferences addressing the issues of climate change, disappearing biodiversity and desertification. But all of these conferences have failed, because they always seem to come up with false solutions for real problems. The greening of the economy, will it actually tackle the core of the problem?
This will be debated in Brussels during “The Big Greenwash Circus” on June 23th. Coinciding with the Rio+20 Summit this conference organised by the Belgian NGO Climaxi, wants to focus on some of the false solutions for the climate crisis. 'Greenwashing' has often been a succesfull strategy for companies and organisations to make the public believe that they are dealing with the problems in a serious way. They can use the logo of a well-known NGO or trusted label, but meanwhile in reality unsustainable practices just continue.
On this conference several topics will be discussed in workshops by international speakers; the green image of banks to disguise their dirty investments, GMOs and RTRS ('responsible' soy), carbon trade and clean development mechanisms, the myth of labels like FSC, MSC, RTRS, etc.
Beside the workshops there will also be two provoking documentaries shown: 'Gasland', a film about shale gas in the US and 'The Silence of the Pandas-what the WWF isn't saying'. This last documentary, made by Wilfried Huismann and the German television WDR, was very controversial when released in Germany because of its criticism against the WWF. The nature conservation organisation went to court with claims of false accusations and inaccuracies and demanded to forbid the film being shown. Climaxi invited the filmmaker to show the film and explain about the research he did about this world-famous organisation. A representative from the WWF will join the debate after the film.
At this conference a Greenwash Award will be granted to the company or organisation that manages to mislead the public the best with a green and sustainable image to cover its dirty practices and negative impact. The five nominees are listed on the Climaxi website to vote and the winner will be announced at the end of the conference in Brussels.
By journalists An-Katrien Lecluyse and Leo Broers
PEOPLE IN ACTION
-The Peoples Summit in Rio: Integration and convergence of popular struggles
In the negotiating process leading up to the Rio+20 conference some rich-country governments and influential business groups have sought to impose a regression from the principles agreed at the 1992 Earth Summit – such as the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, the precautionary principle, and the right to information and participation – and to undermine certain rights that have already been achieved, such as the rights of indigenous peoples, traditional communities, peasant farmers, and others.
The official process proposes the establishment of global environmental governance mechanisms that will serve as administrators and facilitators of the “green economy”, with a leading role given to the World Bank and other financial institutions, which will lead to a new cycle of indebtedness and structural adjustments dressed up in green.
Numerous civil society organizations and social movements have joined together to condemn this process and are calling for social mobilization and the construction of alternatives around the world aimed at bringing about a profound change in the current model of production and consumption. They have worked together to build the Peoples Summit, which will take place June 15-23 in the Flamengo district of Rio de Janeiro – parallel to the Rio+20 official UN conference.
The Peoples Summit at Rio+20 for Social and Environmental Justice is not just an event organized by global civil society. It is also meant to serve as a historical process for the integration and convergence of local, regional and international struggles, an opportunity to confront the serious problems facing humanity and to demonstrate the political power of the people when they are organized in the framework of the anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal and anti-homophobic class struggle.
Visit the Peoples Summit website at http://cupuladospovos.org.br/ to join in and learn more about the initiatives, schedule of activities, documents and proposals that continue to emerge.
You can also follow the Peoples Summit on Twitter at @cupuladospovos
-Via Campesina confronts the advance of capitalism: Rio+20 and beyond
At 20 years of the “Earth Summit”, the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, La Via Campesina sees not only that the real causes of environmental, economic, and social deterioration continue without being attacked but also that Rio+20 will serve to deepen neoliberal policies and processes of capitalist expansion, concentration, and exclusion that today have enveloped us in an environmental, economic, and social crisis of grave proportions. Beneath the deceptive term “green economy”, new forms of environmental contamination and destruction are now rolled out along with new waves of privatization, monopolization, and expulsion from our lands and territories.
La Via Campesina announces that it will mobilize for this event, representing the voice of the peasant in the global debate and defending a different path to development that is based on the wellbeing of all, that guarantees food for all, that protects and guarantees that the commons and natural resources are put to use to provide a good life for everyone and not to meet the needs for accumulation of a few. (See http://viacampesina.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1277:the-people-of-the-world-confront-the-advance-of-capitalism-rio-20-and-beyond&catid=48:-climate-change-and-agrofuels&Itemid=75)
-Against the corporate capture of Rio+20
In April we shared the call of a number of international civil society organizations and social movements to social organizations to sign on a statement and join the campaign to reclaim the UN as a peoples' space (http://www.foei.org/en/get-involved/take-action/end-un-corporate-capture) against the “corporate capture” of UN and Rio+20.
More than 335 organizations have united their voices to this call. Outreach continues and certainly this number will continue to grow in the lead up to Rio+20 where the demands contained in the statement will be highlighted.
Now the call has been widened to give individuals the opportunity to show support for the movement to reclaim the United Nations from corporations. Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) has launched an e-action that invites individuals to send a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to urge him to take steps to finally stop corporate capture.
Everyone can help spread the word about this action and put pressure on the UN in order to ensure that our call to resist corporate capture is not left unheard in Rio.
The e-action is available at: http://action.foei.org/page/speakout/reclaim-the-un
-Asian movements and organizations reject the “Green Economy”
Movements and organizations from Asia have made a declaration rejecting the “Green Economy” being proposed by global institutions and now the subject of debate in the Rio+20 process, for several reasons including:
*The Green Economy is premised on a highly inequitable and undemocratic structure where a few control a vast portion of resources – natural, economic, financial; it upholds profit generation as the main motivation for economic undertakings; is premised on continued integration of national and local economies of South countries with global markets, resulting in the net outflow of resources and wealth from the South to the North and only benefitting local elites; it does not recognize and account for discrimination and disparities based on gender, class, race and ethnicity, nor does it recognize social reproduction and activities outside of the public sphere such as the invisible work of women thus reinforcing injustices arising from these.
*The Green Economy will not green agriculture, feed the hungry, generate decent jobs or eliminate poverty. Instead it will distort entitlements in favor of those who can pay, cut subsidies in areas crucial to the poor and lead to the disintegration of local, diverse food systems.
*The Green Economy does not recognize the principle that land, water, forests, atmosphere, eco-systems and territories should not be subjected to private ownership and control, nor does it recognize the rights of all to fair and sustainable access to and use of the commons. In fact, the Green Economy is being defined on quite the opposite principle – to treat nature and the functions of nature as capital. The proposal to treat nature and the capacities and functions of nature as capital is clearly intended to subject them to private ownership, and to package them as commodities for trading in global markets and for profit generation.
But humans do not own nature; rather, we are part of nature.
The Asian movements call for the re-establishment of the balance with our Earth System and preserve the vital cycles of nature. We call for an immediate stop to the commodification, privatization and financialization of nature, and all its components and functions (see http://www.focusweb.org/content/asian-movements%E2%80%99-statement-green-economy-fight-our-future-no-price-nature).
-Joint publication on Green Economy
“Economía verde. El asalto final a los bienes comunes” (Green Economy: The final assault on the commons), only in Spanish, is a “copyright-free” publication jointly produced by GRAIN, Alianza Biodiversidad, World Rainforest Movement (WRM) and Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC). The report addresses the deepening of the climate and environmental crisis and how governments and corporations are working to turn it into a profitable new area of business they call the “green economy”.
With articles on the continued destruction of forests in Latin America and the Caribbean under the guise of “sustainable” management, the commodification and privatization driven by REDD projects in numerous countries of Latin America, and the repercussions of these new projects on agriculture, health and the people in general, this publication demonstrates that the so-called green economy is simply “more of the same”.
The full report is available at http://www.wrm.org.uy/temas/Economia_Verde/asalto_final_a_los_bienes_comunes.pdf
-Convergence of movements’ communication media at the Peoples Summit in Rio+20
From Rio de Janeiro, the convergence of social movement’s communication media, through Radio Mundo Real, brings us the Peoples Summit with live programming, news, interviews, testimonies, stories, special reports, videos, covering issues such as water, resisting neoliberalism, forests and biodiversity, human rights, gender, extractive industries, climate justice and energy, food sovereignty.
Access Convergence at http://www.radiomundoreal.fm/es?lang=en
-Video on REDD
“The Story of REDD: a real solution to deforestation?” available at http://www.fern.org/node/5110 is a film produced by FERN. The video deals with one of the most controversial issues in the climate change debate, the REDD mechanism. Behind the basic concept that governments, companies or forest owners in the South should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down there are more complex issues that must be considered by any initiative to reduce deforestation. The devil, as always, is in the details.
-Video on Financialization of Nature
Produced by La Antena and AttacTV, the short animated film deals with the takeover of nature by financial markets and the real alternatives coming up from the civil society. The video is an initiative of SOMO, European Attac Network, Food&Water Europe, Friends of Earth, Amis de la Terre, Carbon Trade Watch, WEED, Ecologistas en Acción, Aitec and Campagna per la riforma della Banca Mondiale.
See the video at http://vimeo.com/43398910