Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, joins the People's Summit march during Rio+20 Conference for Social and Environmental Justice in Rio de Janeiro.
The United Nations conference on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio+20) was destined to be a corporate clusterfrack that environmental groups walked away from bitter about the over 200 governments’ failure to deliver any significant agreements.
At the same time, there will be a number of announcements – mostly coming from the corporate community and their allies in the UN bureaucracy – that package their own commitments as bold new initiatives along the path to economic and environmental sustainability. Continue reading →
Three years ago I was in Pittsburgh and witnessed the G20 leaders commit to phasing out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies over the medium term”. That wasn´t the urgency we were looking for then, or the one sought with the global #endfossilfuelsubsidies twitter storm today.
We did hope then that by 2012 we would have seen some progress, but the silence has been deafening; they have done absolutely nothing at all. Far from actually shifting subsidies from ‘bads’ to ‘goods’, G20 governments have yet to even define what they mean by “inefficient” or “medium term”. Nor are they being transparent on the size of the subsidies.
Like so many in Greenpeace, I love boats. Put me on water and I am happy. So when I heard back in March at one of the preparatory meetings for the Rio Earth Summit taking place in New York that our new Rainbow Warrior was there, I just had to visit. And today I made the trek again to see the Rainbow Warrior, as she had just arrived in Rio de Janeiro for the final preparatory meetings for the Earth Summit. It was an honor to brief some of our activists and volunteers about the Earth Summit tonight. The crew onboard is the one that managed to hold a “Rio+20: bla bla bla or action?” banner on an anchor chain in the Amazon just weeks ago.
It was great, though, to be able to share at least a little bit of good news with the crew. The European Union, Brazil and other countries who want to make sure that Rio+20 is the beginning of the end of the Wild West exploitation of our oceans are standing firm here in Rio. We hope that is not just talk, as future generations need healthy oceans if they are to survive. You can support marine reserves now by adding your voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who want a future of living oceans. We will be presenting these signatures to those who need to hear your voice in the coming days. Continue reading →
If you believe the United Nations press release, a lot was achieved at last week’s “informal” negotiations for Rio+20: “Before the negotiations, only 6 per cent of the text had been agreed upon. Now, that number has jumped to more than 20 per cent, with many additional paragraphs close to agreement.” So what? you may rightly ask. Not only because that leaves a disturbing amount of work to be done before world leaders arrive in Rio on June 20th, but mainly because we judge Earth Summit by how much they achieve for people and planet. The number of paragraphs which have been diluted enough to be agreeable to all is neither here nor there.
There was one bit of good news from last week: The launch of a High Seas Biodiversity Agreement is still possible at Rio. We never found out why the Co-Chair had ignored the vast majority of countries calling for such an agreement in the draft published May 22nd. But we thank Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Maldives, Nauru, Micronesia, India, Chile, Trinidad & Tobago, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Philippine, Fiji, Barbados, Uruguay, the European Union and Monaco for standing up for our oceans and the future last week. What governments must do at Rio is simple: They need to agree on paragraph Oceans 6 Alt 1 (including all the things currently still in “brackets”). Let the US, Canada, Russia, Japan, Iceland, Korea and Norway not stop the rest of the world from making this urgent step towards ending the Wild West exploitation of over 64% of the world´s oceans.
"Why we don't show this same leadership in the international arena is a mystery as deep as the Mariana Trench."
Here I sit for the first time in a rather large conference room at the United Nations building in New York. I’m here for the final informal sessions developing draft text that will be the heart of negotiations next month in Rio at the World Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. As usual, I’m focused on ocean issues, emphatic about the fact that our oceans desperately need a global agreement to stop their ongoing destruction.
Oceans outside areas of national jurisdiction are being plundered by a handful of rich and technologically advanced nations at the expense of the rest of the World. Rio+20 is where we can stop this nonsense, and turn this deplorable situation around. To do that, we need nations to agree on a way forward. Continue reading →