Challenging the corporate co-option of the UN should be a major priority in the run-up to the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012.
In less than six months, the UN summit in Rio de Janeiro will take place ( 20-22 June 2011), twenty years after the historic Earth Summit. That summit despite its shortcomings resulted in governments making commitments that later led to UN treaties on climate, biodiversity, etc. While expectations are low this time in terms of concrete outcomes emerging from Rio+20, there is no doubt it will be a crucial event for determining the level of ambition and the likely direction of inter-governmental policies to tackle the environment and development crisis. Rio+20 is set to be a very important ideological battleground.
The goal of the summit is to assess progress made since the Earth Summit as well as address new challenges. On the agenda will be institutional reform of governance on global environment issues, which could lead to strengthening of UNEP (the French government’s proposal for a World Environment Organisation is not going to happen). The most intense discussion in the preparatory process is around the ‘Green Economy’ agenda promoted by UNEP, a concept that could replace ‘sustainable development’ as the dominant discourse.
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