Rio de Janeiro: The lack of leadership, vision and global unity on issues critical to the survival of our planet and population is threatening to undermine the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), according to Green Cross International.
President Mikhail Gorbachev, who created Green Cross International following the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, says: “Rio+20 is very important. We don’t want it to suffer the same fate as many other conferences where as soon as the lights go down and the delegates go back home, almost everything is forgotten and there is no real practical action.”
“So to avoid that sad fate, the Rio+20 conference must become a launching pad for practical initiatives to open the way to a sustainable future, to, sustainable development. In order to achieve that, Rio+20 decisions must be politically binding.”
Green Cross International President Alexander Likhotal says: “On the eve of today’s start of the high-level Rio+20 summit, a hasty compromise on the outcome document has been apparently reached, with some calling it a breakthrough. But in reality, this ‘breakthrough’ completely waters down the main issues regarding real sustainable development, and is instead based on the lowest political common denominator.”
“This draft is totally disconnected from the social, natural and political realities facing the world today,” says Mr Likhotal. “Sadly, we are witnessing a failure of leadership. The draft looks at how to do things ‘right’ instead of focussing on the ‘right things to do.’ Leaders keep posing the right questions, but the world needs badly right answers.”
“Despite mountains of evidence concerning climate change, natural resources waste, over consumption and the harm caused by fossil and nuclear fuels, we have not seen yet any common understanding – let alone a common response – by governments to tackle this problem.”
The current draft of the Rio+20 outcome document, for example, pays too little attention to issues critical to sustainable development and the lives of billions of people, such as climate change and access to water.
“What is needed is a new economic model, one that is driven not by consumption and waste, but by conservation and sustainability. To unleash such a change, we need Rio+20 to launch new bold, long-term initiatives. We have resources and knowledge, what is lacking is the political will. Such will is what we desperately need to emerge in Rio.”