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People’s Statement on Sustainable Development and RIO+20 PDF Print
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Friday, 02 September 2011 10:24

We have come to this meeting fully aware that twenty years after the UN Conference on theEnvironment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, popularly known as the Earth Summit, the world isfarther than ever from reaching the goals of genuine people?centered sustainable development. Themulti?faceted, yet interconnected crises encompassing the economic, political and ecological spheresare causing unparalleled suffering all over the world. Worst afflicted are people from poor countries,most especially women and indigenous peoples.


This crisis of global capitalism further propels profit driven and unsustainable development that causesirreversible damage to the world's environment. This crisis results in the global climate meltdown, theappropriation of natural resources and the destruction of lives and livelihoods, especially of ecologicallysensitiveindigenous and traditional livelihood systems.

Rio+20 in 2012 thus comes at an opportune time, when the world’s governments and peoples areobliged to think of alternatives to the current development model with its ever?increasing failures. Itpresents opportunities to push urgently and comprehensively the agenda for genuine people?centeredsustainable development.

Indeed, solutions exist. And they are in our hands, the people, who in our communities, workplaces,farms and forests, make the building blocks of genuine people?centered sustainable development. Aswe strengthen and consolidate our movements to achieve genuine economic, political, social, gender,ecological and climate justice, we call on the leaders of governments, multilateral institutions and otherstakeholders to heed the people’s calls for genuine sustainable development.

We urge governments and the UN system to deliver and not backtrack on the promises andcommitments made in Rio twenty years ago.


In particular, we put forward these messages:


On the Green Economy

We are alarmed at the corporatization of the Green Economy agenda. We believe that technologicalfixes and market?based incentives are false solutions to the ecological and climate crises and will notadvance sustainable development.

For sustainable economies to develop, it is crucial to democratize ownership, control and decisionmakingover productive resources and assets. We should move from a capital investment model towards an appropriate mix of more democratic modes such as cooperative, community?based anddriven, commons or public forms of ownership to ensure that economic activity provides sustainablelivelihoods and meets the developmental goals of the community and society.

  • Public enterprises should remain in public control and privatization should be reversed.
  • Promote sufficiency?based economies (i.e. catering primarily towards meeting local needs and Promote sufficiency?based economies (i.e. catering primarily towards meeting local needs and
  • Manufacturing should promote closed loop production where products are designed withminimum use of energy and materials, longer life spans and with maximum reuse and recyclingof parts and components.
  • Promote mass public transportation systems.
  • Implement genuine agrarian, aquatic, pastureland and forestry reforms; and promote biodiverseecological agriculture that benefit small producers, especially women and indigenous people.
  • Stop profit oriented exploitation and destruction of natural resources that destroy lives andlivelihoods.
  • Stop industrial corporate agriculture and fisheries.
  • No to renewable energy that depends on monoculture and biomass extraction.
  • Respect and promote community?based and farmer?driven efforts in organic agriculture,seedbanking and on farm improvement of crop varieties and animal breeds.
  • People?centred sustainable economies should promote the rights of indigenous peoples andlocal communities in accordance with UNDRIP including rights to land and resources, and free,prior and informed consent (FPIC).

On the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development

To deliver on the promises of the first Earth Summit, there is a need for an effective and democraticinstitutional framework that can and will ensure economic progress, social equity and environmentalprotection – the three pillars of sustainable development  in an integrated and holistic manner. Thisgovernance architecture must operationalize and implement the Rio principles including the Right toDevelopment, common but differentiated responsibility, the polluter pays principle and theprecautionary principle.

  • Building a strong apex body on sustainable development that works on a global level and canintegrate the disparate United Nations bodies working on one of the three pillars of sustainabledevelopment is desirable. Options that should be explored include transforming the Commissionon Sustainable Development into a Council on Sustainable Development, or establishing a UNOrganization on Sustainable Development.
  • Rio+20 should work for the immediate establishment of a broad inclusive multi?stakeholderconsultative body or network tasked with supporting the promotion and implementation ofAgenda 21 and Rio+20 resolutions. Such body should be participatory, democratic, and have anintegral multi?stakeholder character that accords civil society with equal rights and equal voiceas governments.
  • Ultimately, the effectiveness of a global body on sustainable development rests on the effectivefunctioning of similar institutions at the local and national levels and its relevance to people’slives.

On New and Emerging Issues

  • The UNCSD 2012 must affirm and strengthen internationally agreed principles and objectives forsustainable development at all levels of government. All actors should be held accountable towell established international standards and conventions – e.g. Right to Development, HumanRights conventions, Extractive Industry Accountability, Transparency Accountability Initiative,etc.
  • Reorganize international trade, investment, finance and development cooperation relationsaround rules that value, respect, protect and fulfill people’s rights; economic, social, genderecological and climate justice; economic sovereignty and self sufficiency.
  • Enhance development cooperation in support of sustainable development.
  • Commitments from the North in the form of adequate financing (according to common butdifferentiated responsibility), appropriate technology cooperation, and needs based capacitybuilding are of utmost importance to support developing countries make a just transition tosustainable development pathways.
  • Developing countries and their development partners should evaluate the coherence of theirpolicies in trade and investments and rectify those that are incoherent with sustainabledevelopment. Repudiate unequal trade and investment agreements.
  • Restructure foreign direct investments in the context of South South Cooperation (not North South or South South competition) to include regulatory controls and a transition period.
  • Uphold food sovereignty to address the food crisis. Communities should have the right todetermine their patterns of food production and consumption, and famers should be able toprioritize food production for domestic consumption. Government should give incentives tosustainable food production practices.
  • Reject the intellectual property rights regime and other monopolistic enclosures that impedepeople’s access to commons and productive resources.
  • There should be a global mechanism to assess the impacts of new technologies. Suchmechanism should provide resources towards building capacity of countries and communities toassess and monitor the health, biodiversity and environmental impacts of new technologies. Wesupport the adoption of an International Convention for the Evaluation of New Technologies(ICENT) and an outright ban on technologies that put the planet at grave risks such asgeoengineering.
  • Governments should invest in research and development on people?centered sustainabledevelopment.
  • Policies should respect cultural diversity, and modern science should be combined withindigenous knowledge in bottom up approaches of research and development to developtechnologies that are appropriate and democratic.

Communities have shown extreme resilience and creativity in confronting the spiraling multiple crises,utilizing various mechanisms not just to survive, but also to assert their economic, social, cultural andpolitical rights. In the midst of this protracted crisis of the global capitalist system, people dare toimagine and build a new world where development means promoting the well?being and dignity of all; where prosperity is created through shared resources and efforts; where nature’s limits are respected;and where nations, peoples and communities cooperate to ensure democracy, justice, equity, peace andprosperity for all.

Today, even more so than twenty years ago, people of the world are aware that the challenge ofgenuine sustainable development requires no less than the profound transformation of societies and ofinternational relations. We must all rise up to the challenge. #



Aidwatch Philippines Anakbayan?California/Katarungan Washington DC, USA Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Lebanon Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Asia Monitor Resource Center (AMRC), Hong Kong Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (APWLD) Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), Philippines Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG) Center for Community Economics and Development Consultants (CECOEDECON), India Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Sri Lanka Center for Peoples Democratic Governance (CPDG), Philippines Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM), Vietnam Centre for Sustainable Rural Development, Vietnam China Association of NGOs (CANGO), China Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Bangladesh Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) Dignity International Earth Rights International
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Institute (EILER), Philippines
Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), Bangladesh
ETC Group
Forum of Womens NGOs of Kyrgyzstan
Foundation for Consumers, Thailand
Green Movement of Sri Lanka (GMSL)
IBON International
International NGO Forum for Indonesian Development (INFID), Indonesia
Institute for Motivating Self?Employment (IMSE), India
Instituto de Estudios Politicos para America Latina y Africa (IEPALA), Spain
Khmer Institute for Democracy (KID), Cambodia
Korean Civil Society Forum on International Cooperation (KOFID), South Korea
Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), South Korea
Korea NGO Council for Overseas Cooperation (KCOC), South Korea
Local Development Institute, Thailand
Navdanya International
ODA Watch Korea
Participatory Research and Development Initiative (PRDI), Bangladesh
Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP)
Peoples Movement on Climate Change (PMCC)
Peoples Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, South Korea
Public Interest Research Centre, India
Reality of Aid Asia Pacific (ROAAP)
Roots for Equity, Pakistan
Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Burma
Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE), Philippines
Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), Vietnam
Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation, Thailand
Thailand Environment Institute Foundation (TEIF)
Timor Leste NGO Forum/FONGTIL
World Society for the Protection of Animals – Southeast Asia Office
Vikas Adhyayan Kendra (VAK), India

Please get in touch with the secretariat ( or ) should you wish to enlist your organization to the list of CSO signatories to this statement


Click HERE to Sign-On People’s Statement on Sustainable Development and  RIO+20

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