Africa: Rio+20 – Sabotaging Sustainable Development


The messages of gloom and doom have been out there for some time now. Just about every other commentator is pronouncing on an impending failure of outcome for the Rio+20 Summit on sustainable development being hosted in Brazil this week.

We are being told to temper our expectations. A colleague of mine has gone so far as to suggest that Rio+20 could be signalling the end of all big summits. To be sure, talk shop fatigue must certainly be settling into the weary bones of diplomats and activists alike, as reaching consensus on a globally binding agreement appears as elusive as finding the mythical Holy Grail.

Regardless of trying to reach agreement on the broad parameters of sustainable development; for years now the world has tried and failed to come to any agreement at all on somewhat more focused issues such as trade via the WTO or a climate agreement via the various UNFCC COP meetings – or quite disturbingly, on a collectively agreed definition for “racism” for that matter, as America, Israel and half of Europe boycotted UNESCO’s 2009 World Conference on Racism. Just this past weekend, the G20 meeting is reported to have had the Europeans pitted against the rest of the world, as European leaders responded stiffly to global criticism of the Eurozone crisis, which threatens to bring the entire world economy down… Read more


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