Getting heard in Rio
La Via Campesina Call to action
16 February 2012, La Via Campesina
In this short but powerful paper, La Via Campesina argues that the root cause of the current global crises is the predominance of the “capitalistic ways of thinking”. It suggests that since the Earth Summit in 1992 nothing has been done to tackle the problems the world faces, and the measures implemented so far (such as the Convention on Biodiversity, REDD or the UN Convention on Climate Change) have served as a tools to institutionalise the capitalisation of the natural systems.
The concept of a “green economy” that has been presented in the preparations for the Rio+20 conference is based on the same logic. Therefore they roundly reject the “green economy” ideas and call for a re-definition of the global economic system on the basis of ideas such as local food systems, food sovereignty and the agro- ecological modes of food productions.
Time to act
Rio+20 What are the options - when “business as usual” is not an option?
29 August 2011
This document, signed by more than 30 civil society organisations from all over the world (amongst others AS-PTA and Biovision) calls for a major paradigm shift in the global economic system and urges the global society to act now. It proposes putting agriculture at the core of the Rio conference negotiations, arguing that this can be the main solution to the crises that we face today.
The manifest advocates for a transformation process so that agriculture is based on an agro-ecological approach and is rooted in the food sovereignty ideas. The document offers a number of policy recommendations, including the removal of harmful incentives for industrial agriculture, and providing support for alternative farming systems, such as investments in peasant technologies and ensuring land tenure rights for small scale farmers.
Link: Rio+20 What are the options [PDF]
Introducing the big picture on green economy
The Green Economy Coalition
The Green Economy Coalition has prepared an on-line presentation explaining its position regarding the concept of a “green economy”. The first part of the presentation analyses the current global crisis: what does it entail and what are its root causes. The main symptoms of the crisis are the decline of the world’s ecosystems and the persistent global inequalities. They result from the prevalence of markets that do not account for externalities, and from “short term thinking” when looking at the environment. This is related to the deregulation of markets, to a lack of governance, and to a to the focus the world puts on GDP as a measure of development.
The second part of the presentation offers a vision, or the economic system that is needed for a better future. The core issues in it includes recognising the value of all natural resources, and their adequate and fair allocation. The presentation also mentions the need for greater accountability of both businesses and governments, and the participation of currently excluded majorities in all discussions.
Deleting our rights, bracketing our future. Why we need a People’s Summit
Ibon International (Paul Quintos)
23 March, 2012
Open Letter to the Secretary General for the UNCSD, the Secretary General and Member-States of the
ITUC, IBON, Civicus, WECF, Consumers International, Vitae Civilis, Stakeholder Forum, CoC
The note prepared by Paul Quintos, summarising his observations during the second round of negotiations of the draft document of the Rio+20 conference at the end of March 2012 in New York, was distributed to civil society organisations all over the world, and was followed by an open letter to the UNCSD Secretary.
Both documents expressed the concern that the “official Rio+20 process” has “been captured by the interests of powerful countries and corporate actors”, while the voices of civil society organisations are ignored. They point out that all references to human rights obligations, and even to the major principles agreed to in 1992, are not included, and also that text being discussed avoid any prescriptive language.
Moreover, they observe that the discussions before the conference centre on solutions related to private sector investments and free markets, while ignoring issues such as common access rights, the regulation of markets, civil society participation in the decision-making processes, or a focus on youth, women and small-holders.
Link: Rio+20: Rights at risk
A just and fair Green Economy
Greenpeace expectations for the UNCSD at Rio de Janeiro, 20-22 June 2012
The position paper prepared by Greenpeace was submitted to the UNCSD committee as an input for the Zero Draft of the outcome document of the Rio+20 conference. In its opening sentences, Greenpeace expresses its discontent with the slow progress seen in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda agreed to in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and puts the blame on the governments.
It calls for ending unsustainable practices, such as the use of nuclear energy and energy from oil and coal, and argues for a sustainable development agenda: reducing consumption, addressing corporate power, and setting Sustainable Development Goals.
Regarding agriculture, the organisation proposes taking forward the recommendations of the IIAASTD report. Among others, this encompasses eliminating harmful subsidies to conventional farming, while also regulating the use of agrochemicals.
Link: A just and fair Green Economy [PDF]
Nourish our people, nurture our planet
Recommendations for the High Level Roundtable on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Millenium Institut, Biovision, Stiftung Mercator Schweiz
16 March 2012
This Declaration was prepared for the High Level Roundtable on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture, organised in parallel with the second round of the negotiations of the draft document of the Rio+20 conference that took place in New York in March 2012.
It outlines the main problems resulting from industrial agriculture, such as the emissions of greenhouse gases and its reliance on external inputs, and proposes scaling-up resilient farming systems as an alternative.
The document defines those systems in terms of the sustainable management of land, water and natural resources, energy efficiency, a minimal use of non-renewable inputs, high biodiversity and animal welfare, localised markets, reduced waste, the empowerment of local communities, and sustainable consumption patters.
It concludes with policy recommendations, among which we find the need to appoint a Committee on World Food Security (as a strategic leader for the expected changes in agriculture), providing economic incentives for scaling up alternative production systems, internalising the costs of conventional agriculture, the evaluation of the predominant production systems, and the rigorous definition of indicators for sustainable agriculture.
Text: Marta Dabrowska