Rio +20: ‘involving civil society’ (and squirrels)

by | Jun 13, 2012


They are from a few months’ ago, but I’ve been looking at the consolidated comments from ‘civil society or stakeholder sectors’ to the Rio+ 20 outcome document.

Here’s just one sentence from the already verbose original:

We are convinced that a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication should contribute to meeting key goals – in particular the priorities of poverty eradication, food security, sound water management, universal access to modern energy services, sustainable cities, management of oceans and improving resilience and disaster preparedness, as well as public health, human resource development and sustained, inclusive and equitable growth that generates employment, including for youth.

Here are the comments:

[Implementing Green economy had to be seen as one of the means for achieving sustainable development, which must remain our overarching goal. – NGOs] [We – NGOs – Delete] [are convinced – Women – Delete] [that a green economy in the context of – Women / NGOs – Delete] [green economies – NGOs] [reaffirm– Women] [Transforming the economy in the context of – NGOs] [sustainable development and poverty eradication –NGOs –Delete / NGOs – Not Delete (Non-agreement between NGOs)] [policies – NGOs] [has the potential – NGOs] [as our overarching goals, and that greening of the economy – Women] [should contribute to meeting – NGOs – Delete] [key – Women/NGOs – Delete] [these – Women] [goals – NGOs – Delete / NGOs – Not Delete(Non-agreement between NGOs)] [This will result in development which brings human well-being, social equity and gender equality whilst remaining within the carrying capacity of the planet and halting irreversible damage to our environment and natural resources. – Women] [ in – Women/NGOs – Delete] [particular – NGOs – Delete] [the – Women/NGOs – Delete] [priorities – NGOs – Delete] [of – Women/NGOs – Delete] [poverty eradication, – NGOs – Delete] [access to voluntary reproductive health services, nutritional security – NGOs] [health, – Women/NGOs] [social inclusion, safeguarding human health, food and nutrition – NGOs] [food security, – NGOs – Delete][food sovereignty, sound resources management – NGOs] [reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity conservation, land restoration, – NGOs] [sound water management, universal access to – NGOs – Delete] [modern – Women/NGOs – delete] [sustainable – Women] [energy services, sustainable cities, – NGOs – Delete] [ecosystem resilience, – NGOs] [management of oceans – NGOs – Delete] [and landscapes – NGOs] [and improving resilience and disaster preparedness, as well as public health, human resource development and sustained, inclusive and equitable – NGOs – Delete] [growth – NGOs] [and sustainable use of natural systems – NGOs] [growth – NGOs – Delete] [development – NGOs] [that generates – NGOs – Delete] [that respects traditional livelihoods and occupations and – NGOs] [employment – NGOs/Workers & Trade Unions – Delete] [green and – NGOs] [decent work – Workers & Trade Unions / NGOs], [including – NGOs – Delete] [expanded opportunities for women and – Women] [for youth. – NGOs – Delete] [, while remaining within the carrying capacity of the planet. – NGOs] [, while combating climate change and respecting a range of other critical natural boundaries at relevant scales – NGO]

In total, there are 90 odd pages of this garbage – and that’s just where civil society ‘clusters’ have been able to reach a common position.

Individual organisations then flog their own hobby horse half to death for a further 200 pages. My favourite comes from the International Organization for the Protection and Welfare of Squirrels, which suggests additions such as these:

…many Species of wild animals that inhabit the mountains, some of them of a vital importance and value for the life of mountains – such as Squirrels, which are credited with maintaining and developing the forests for millions of years by burying the nuts and planting the trees.

Beyond parody.

Author

  • David Steven is a senior fellow at the UN Foundation and at New York University, where he founded the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a multi-stakeholder partnership to deliver the SDG targets for preventing all forms of violence, strengthening governance, and promoting justice and inclusion. He was lead author for the ministerial Task Force on Justice for All and senior external adviser for the UN-World Bank flagship study on prevention, Pathways for Peace. He is a former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of The Risk Pivot: Great Powers, International Security, and the Energy Revolution (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). In 2001, he helped develop and launch the UK’s network of climate diplomats. David lives in and works from Pisa, Italy.


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