The Rio+20 conference is over, but these warnings are unfortunately as relevant as they were before.
June 6, 2012. Governments from all over the world will meet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from June 20-22, 2012, to supposedly commemorate 20 years since the "Earth Summit," the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development that established for the first time a global agenda for "sustainable development." During this summit, in 1992, three international conventions were adopted: the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention to Fight Desertification. Each of these promised to initiate a series of actions destined to protect the planet and all of the life on it, and to allow all human beings to enjoy a life of dignity.
At that time, many social organizations congratulated and supported these new conventions with hope. Twenty years later, we see the real causes of environmental, economic, and social deterioration continuing without being attacked. Worse still, we are profoundly alarmed that the next meeting in June will serve to deepen neoliberal policies and processes of capitalist expansion, concentration, and exclusion that today have enveloped us in an environmental, economic, and social crisis of grave proportions. Beneath the deceptive and badly intentioned term' "green economy," new forms of environmental contamination and destruction are now rolled out along with new waves of privatization, monopolization, and expulsion from our lands and territories. La Via Campesina will mobilize for this event, representing the voice of the peasant in the global debate and defending a different path to development that is based on the well-being of all, that guarantees food for all, that protects and guarantees that the commons and natural resources are put to use to provide a good life for everyone and not to meet the needs for accumulation of a few.
Twenty years after the Earth Summit, life on the planet has become dramatically difficult. The number of hungry people has increased to almost a billion, which means that one out of every six people is going hungry, mostly children and women in the countryside. Expulsion from our lands and territories is accelerating, no longer only due to conditions of disadvantage imposed upon us by trade agreements and the industrial sector, but by new forms of monopoly control over land and water, by the global imposition of intellectual property regimes that steal our seeds, by the invasion of transgenic seeds, and by the advance of monoculture plantations, mega-projects, and mines.
The grand promises of Rio '92 have resulted in a farce. The Convention on Biodiversity has not stopped the destruction of biodiversity and has strengthened and generated new mechanisms destined to privatize it and turn it into merchandise. Desertification continues to accelerate due to industrial agriculture and the expansion of agribusiness and monoculture plantations. Global warming--with all of the disasters and dramatic suffering it is already causing--has not slowed, but has accelerated and become more severe.
The great deceit of 1992 was "sustainable development," which social organizations initially saw as a possibility to confront the root of the problems. However, it was...