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NGOs at the U.N. opposing the result of Rio+20

06/22/2012 - 13h56

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CLAUDIO ANGELO
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT IN RIO DE JANEIRO

Severn Suzuki has returned to give another speech at the Riocentro convention center. Twenty years after leaving the leaders of the world speechless at Eco-92, the young Canadian girl, now a 32-year-old mother, added another level to environmentalist criticism of the text produced by the conference, "The Future We Want."

Suzuki is one of the people who signed a letter yesterday declaring that she does not endorse the text from the conference in Rio. It will be presented to secretary-general Ban Ki-moon today.

"Our declaration, which at least presents a reintegration of democracy, will be proof of the collapse of the global government," declared Suzuki at the meeting where the letter titled "The Rio+20 that We Do Not Want," was presented.

The days between the announcement of the conclusion of the conference's document on Monday and it's official adoption by the heads of state today, gave time for various sectors of civil society to share public criticism of the text.

A group of environmentalists staged a symbolic walk-out of the meeting, just like delegations do when a negotiation begins to flounder.

NGOs, unions, scientists and former heads of state put pressure on current world leaders to make changes in the text that would at least commit themselves to an ambitious plan for implementing the agreements from Rio+20.

"I don't know what they can do, if the presidents and prime ministers cannot get this document right and make something stronger out of it, who else will be able to?" said Suzuki to Folha.

The former leaders Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway) and Mary Robinson (Ireland), of the group "The Elders," said in a statement that Rio+20 did not do enough to put humanity on the path to sustainable development.

"It was a lack of leadership," said Robinson.

Cardoso complained about the relatively small amount of attention given to the environment compared to social inclusion and growth.

"We can no longer assume that our collective actions will not lead to collapse as environmental thresholds are breached, risking irreversible damage both to ecosystems and to human communities," said Brundtland.

The executive secretary of the International Trade Union Conference, Sharan Burrow, asked president Dilma to publicly recognize the general frustration with the result. "She has an opportunity to outline her expectations about her next steps, to say that she is speaking seriously about her plans for implementation," Burrow said.

Translated by ANNA EDGERTON

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