The World Social Forum prepares for Rio + 20
an article by David Adams
The coming year will be the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development that took place in Rio de Janeiro and the 40th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference, which were turning points in the world's consciousness that our present methods of development are destroying the environment of planet earth. The United Nations plans an inter-governmental conference to take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development by Member States of the UN.
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Meanwhile the civil society is mobilizing to contribute to the process of consciousness raising around Rio + 20. There are numerous initiatives, but of special importance is the initiative of the World Social Forum. As readers of CPNN know from previous articles, the World Social Forum, which originated in Brazil, has provided a radical, civil-society alternative to the World Economic Forum which involves many of the world's richest and most powerful capitalists.
The approach of World Social Forum is evolving through Thematic Social Forums, as explained as follows in a recent online forum by Cândido Grzybowski, a veteran organizer of the World Social Forums (WSF).
"The Thematic Social Forums . . . engage the organized citizenship in order to go deeply into the theme and draw up proposals, including topics like security and food sovereignty, migrants, water as a common asset, women. We are witnessing a WSF innovative approach, among the major international events, with considerable potential . . . The possibility of organizing the Thematic Social Forum on the environment and development, in January of 2012, in Porto Alegre, with a view to the Rio + 20 UN Conferences, is a great opportunity to try out the ways to define the common operation conditions of the thematic forums in line with the WSF."
Grzybowski said that social movements should organise a strong presence at the 2012 conference, to forge an alliance with the Brazilian government with a view to changing the way the environment and development are thought about. He said that the Rio + 20 events can serve to further develop the process of the World Social Forum and that the civil society of Brazil can play a leading role: "The challenge of performing such a task and hence of stimulating the WSF as a process is in our reach, and in the reach of the Brazilian social organizations and movements, without missing the main focus on Rio + 20."
Once again, the people of Brazil are playing a leading role in the transition to a culture of peace.
Question(s) related to this article:
Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?
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LATEST READER COMMENT:
It's been a year since I wrote the above remarks about the failure of the nation states to address the problem of global warming, and it seems that nothing has changed. Here is the statement from leading environmental NGOs about the latest international conference on the environment being held in Warsaw, Poland.
Enough is enough.
We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 – the Warsaw Climate Conference.
The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.
The Warsaw Conference has put the interests of dirty energy industries over that of global citizens - with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction; corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue; and a Presidency (Poland) that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. When Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on emission cut commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously, the integrity of the talks was further jeopardized.
This week saw a “finance ministerial” with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on the substance of an international mechanism. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions nor increased support for adaptation before 2020 – on these things it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.
We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. . ...more.
This report was posted on December 3, 2011.
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