Rio + 20 Part III

Rio + 20 Part III

Therefore, resource issues have once again become a “hot potato” in international politics. We need more food. Therefore, according to, China, Saudi Arabia and international companies are buying up topsoil in Africa and elsewhere and displacing the local population. This is called land robbery. Furthermore, oil extraction is planned in vulnerable regions near the North Pole.

The paradox is that due to global warming, the Arctic Ocean is becoming more and more ice-free and can consequently be opened up for oil exploration, which in turn leads to more global warming and rising sea levels. Many believe that it is unfair for all those who live along the coasts of poor developing countries and who have to flee when the sea rises due to melting poles.

6: Rio + 20 – disappointments and opportunities

With this new knowledge as a background, the world met again in 2012. Back in Rio de Janeiro, Rio + 20. How far have we come since the big meeting in ’92 and where are we moving now were the questions This time too there was a conference on sustainable development. But the term everyone talked about beforehand was green economy.

Most people subsequently agree that the final declaration from this last UN conference on sustainable development was disappointing . But it is not a matter of losing hope. For what is the alternative? The final document created little excitement. Many were outraged that ambitions to strengthen the UN system for sustainable development did not materialize. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was not upgraded to a specialized UN organization, as many felt was necessary. The proposal for a High Commissioner for Future Generations was rejected. Rio + 20 will perhaps be most remembered for its repetition of previous commitments. But the expectation was more visions, more enthusiasm and more action.

Nevertheless, it was perceived as important for the developing countries that the main principles in the original Rio Declaration were re-established. This was especially true of the principle that all countries have a common responsibility to solve the climate and biodiversity crises , but at the same time different responsibilities . The rich countries – with the most blame for development – must do the most. Otherwise, some of the key results were as follows:

  • Confirmation of the right to food and the right to clean water and safe sanitation
  • Agreement on processes for preparing new sustainability goals, which will replace the old millennium goals when they expire in 2015
  • New steps to establish mechanisms for financing sustainable development. This can come from, among other things, taxation of foreign exchange transactions and financial tax.
  • Initiation of work to assess more indicators to measure progress than just the old-fashioned gross domestic product (GDP)
  • Support access to sustainable, modern energy for 1.4 billion people

7: Green economy – the new debate

The main line of conflict during the meeting was about developing countries’ fears that they will have to pay the price for global warming. They are therefore hesitant about the concept of green economy. The industrialized countries have become rich through industrialization and by filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gases.

When the world has finally understood that the gigantic use of non-renewable energy is leading to far-reaching climate change, developing countries are afraid that it will put a stop to them and their desire and need for development. For example, through green taxes, green trade barriers and other green demands they do not have the financial backbone to bear.

Developing countries are therefore outraged that the promises of technology transfer and money promised during the first Rio conference have not been kept. Many developing countries therefore believe that the fairest thing would be for everyone on the planet to be allocated their personal climate quota . In that case, the West must change its consumption pattern completely. And so far there has been little interest in it.

To illustrate this, we can compare Norway and Bangladesh . Both countries together emit about the same amount of CO 2 . But Bangladesh has 150 million inhabitants, Norway has 5 million. Each Norwegian produces about 9.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per person, while a Bangladeshi produces 0.3 per person. In addition, we have long been involved in destroying the climate and have become rich in it. Should Bangladesh now be denied a little richer, due to new green rules? Shouldn’t we change our own consumption patterns so that Bangladeshis can also experience development? Put bluntly, many future UN conferences will be about just that issue.

8: World my world

The term green economy is mentioned in a joint declaration from the UN for the first time. Many therefore believe that the concept has come to be, as one of many tools for achieving sustainable development. Our old worldview that we can grow as long as we want, has faced competition from a broader ecological view of ourselves as a fundamental part of nature. This view is linked to social protest movements, such as Occupy Wall Street . We now understand that the economic activity we carry out at all times affects the balance of the biosphere around us.

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