Friday, March 30, 2012
Rio+20: The Future We Want
"Someone asked me once if I could see angels and faeries. I told her, 'look to the sensitive, loving, caring ones who bring so much to our world and take on the sufferings of others. They're the earth angels, sent to earth to help us on our life journey ... This world needs all the earth-angels it can get” -- author unknown
Twenty years ago, 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992. At this conference, very critical issues concerning our planet earth was discussed. These included:
1. the production of toxic components, such as lead in gasoline, or poisonous waste including radioactive chemicals
2.alternative sources of energy to replace the use of fossil fuels which are linked to global climate change
3. new reliance on public transportation systems in order to reduce vehicle emissions, congestion in cities and the health problems caused by polluted air and smog
4. the growing scarcity of water
Very extremely important decisions were made for a sustainable earth. At this Earth Summit the world got the
•Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
•Convention on Biological Diversity
•Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
But after 20 years, how far have we moved in achieving sustainable development? What have been our successes in cleaning up our environment?
Once again, the world meets 20 years after the RIO conference to think about our future. But I keep asking myself: “IS IT WORTH IT?” Is it worth our time when some countries continue to position themselves in a manner that prevents any concrete actions from being taken? There are already attempts by certain countries to determine what the outcome of the conference will be. We are witnessing attempts “to weaken, ‘bracket’ or outright eliminate nearly all references to human rights obligations and equity principles in the text, "The Future We Want", for the outcome of Rio+20”.
What happened to the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’, ‘Precautionary Principle’, ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR)’, etc. How did all these laudable ideas fail? Why can’t governments commit to actually do what they claim to support in principle? The same attitudes that were put up after Rio which has brought us to this stage where right to food and proper nutrition is not respected, and right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is eluding us is coming up. What future are we looking for? Are we really looking for a future where all humans will have equal right to a clean and healthy environment, which is essential to the realization of fundamental human rights?
In my opinion, the relevance of the United Nations is at stake. If we want to create a sense of belonging, then we should act it and not just pay lip service. I should live because you are living. My actions should not prevent someone from getting his livelihoods going. When we make decisions, let’s make them in sincerity and respect for one another. Let’s make good decisions and work on them to achieve a good future. What future do we want? It’s all in our hands.
“The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi