By Marcos Orellana, Rio de Janeiro, 22 June 2012.
On June 20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) officially started in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Conference opened with a documentary, Welcome to the Anthropocene, which was introduced by the UN’s Secretary-General. The documentary visually portrays the alteration in Earth’s natural cycles induced by human activities.
Welcome to the Anthropocene echoes the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) 5th edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), published on June 6, 2012. The report concludes that the “scientific evidence shows that Earth systems are being pushed towards their biophysical limits.” Also it “cautions that if humanity does not urgently change its ways, several critical thresholds may be exceeded, beyond which abrupt and generally irreversible changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur.”
Facing the scientific evidence, the Rio+20 process has been channeled in diplomatic negotiations in the UN Headquarters in New York City. The negotiations have focused on renewing political commitments that will invigorate and advance the implementation of sustainable development, and on advancing the green economy and the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD). CIEL advocated throughout the negotiations for the integration of human rights in global environmental governance. Rio+20 presented an opportunity for the international community to reinforce the right to a healthy environment, for present and future generations. Last week, the negotiations moved to Rio de Janeiro, concluding in the early hours of June 20, 2012. Ultimately, after exhaustive negotiations, the outcome document, The Future We Want will be adopted today, June 22, 2012.
However, during the opening plenary, the Major Group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) rejected the outcome document because Continue Reading →