CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is deeply dismayed with the outcome of Rio+20 and believes the under-achievement of Rio raises serious questions about the ability of the inter-governmental system as currently constituted to achieve sustainable development, protection of human rights, and the full participation of people.
“The Rio+20 statement as it stands is completely out of touch with reality,” says Wael Hmaidan, Director of CAN International, who delivered a statement on ‘The Future We Don’t Want’ on behalf the NGO Major Group for Rio+20 at the conference’s opening plenary on 20 June. He was referring to the 283-paragraph outcome document, completed and endorsed by delegations from 191 governments and sent to Heads of State and Government to adopt at the end of the Rio+20 conference.
In the hope of strengthening civil society participation and making the process more inclusive, global civil society network CIVICUS has been acting as one of the Organising Partners for the NGO Major Group for the Rio+20 Conference. NGOs constitute one of nine Major Groups engaged in the Rio+20 process which culminated on 22 June.
CIVICUS believes that Rio+20 has demonstrated, vividly and yet again, the limit of inter-governmental processes where disparate and often competing state interests dominate the negotiations and resulting compromises. While the Rio+20 run-up saw Major Groups and other key stakeholders actively engaged in lobbying government delegations, proposing innovative solutions, and staging public demonstrations, for many the outcome text lacks the bold solutions and means of implementation required to translate into reality the commitments governments made in Rio 20 years ago. Further, tens of thousands people came together at the People’s Summit and other venues outside the official conference. Many of these are leaving Rio with disappointment, anger and a sense that a pivotal opportunity has not been fully seized.
Katsuji Imata, CIVICUS’ Acting Secretary General, says, “CIVICUS calls for an international system where there is full participation and voices are heard, respected and reflected from a diverse range of views and interests, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised people. This can only come with the full inclusion of civil society. Rio+20 tells us definitively that the multilateral system as it stands is no longer fit for purpose, and needs a major overhaul.”