Rio de Janeiro is a city of U-turns. The most frequent road sign in the city is “Retorno” — return. And Rio+20 or the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development followed that pattern. It was a great U-turn in terms of human responsibility towards protecting the life-sustaining processes of the planet.”I treat Rio+20 as a square bracket,” writes Shiva. “In the UN jargon the text between the square brackets is not a consensus and often gets deleted. It is not the final step, it is just punctuation.”
Twenty years ago at the Earth Summit, legally binding agreements to protect biodiversity and prevent catastrophic climate change were signed. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) propelled governments to start shaping domestic laws and policies to address two of the most significant ecological crisis of our times.
The appropriate agenda for Rio+20 should have been to assess why the implementation of Rio treaties has been inadequate, report on how the crises have deepened and offer legally binding targets to avoid deepening of the ecological crises.
But the entire energy of the official process was focused on how to avoid any commitment. Rio+20 will be remembered for what it failed to do during a period of severe and multiple crises and not for what it achieved.
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