Rio+20: The Future “They” Want

Negotiations have come to a close—-. According to the main page of the Rio+20 website this morning, “Negotiations have come to a successful conclusion.” We got yesterday word that governments were finished and the Future They Want decided. We’re hearing delegates say this is the best of compromises. Governments say this is as best as we can get, considering the differences and difficult negotiations. Brazil came in to lead the process, and in that process the document was cut back — cut were words, sentences, pages, progress, advances, women’s rights, sexual and reproductive rights, rights of Mother Earth and hopes for A World We Want.

Too much, too little, too late, too bad.

For us, this represents too many compromises on the part of people and the planet. The document that governments agreed on to approve in the final sessions of the Rio+20, The Future We Want , brings too little, too late even 20 years after major alarms were sounded. What it means is too bad for people and the planet.


Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in — no, not Rio! Los Cabos, Mexico for G20 Summit

20/20 Vision

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff rushed the process in order, it was reported, to rush a final copy of the negotiated text to where the governments NOT attending at the head of state level were —- the G20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico. So while tens of thousands gathered in Rio, Dilma and entourage travelled to Los Cabos to get a stamp of approval, to now rush back to Rio to meet those heads of state arrival for the high level sessions today and tomorrow. That is having 20/20 vision, but it is a cross-eyed vision that has misguided leaders and misdirected any progress for the people and the planet.



In 1992 the link between women and sustainable development, between the eradication of poverty and women and all issues was cemented in the Rio Declaration, in Agenda 21 and in the process for the achievements in Rio’92. Twenty years later, governments have grown passive on gender, and what was 170 mentions of women in the Agenda 21 and a chapter on women in 1992 has dwindled to less than a third of that with more and tougher struggles to keep in language gained and agreed in previous UN conferences.

“Silent” Demonstration

Women immediately mobilized after hearing of the agreed text and organized a what was supposed to be a “silent” demonstration—no demonstrations or protests are allowed on UN territory. Women gathered in outside the great halls at Rio Centro under an overpass. It started off as a silent demo—but when women’s gains are taken away, when women are not heard they need to speak up! And speak up we did. The UN guard came up when the chants started and said this was not allowed. Women started twirling purple scarfs in the air — but women cannot be silenced.


The chants came —- “Women’s rights are human rights!” “Women and the planet are not for sale!” “Sexual rights are women’s rights!” “Shame on you! Shame on you!” “Women’s rights not corporate rights!”

Povos hit the streets

At the Peoples’ Summit – Cupola do Povos the masses will gather today for a massive demonstration in the street. If you are in Rio, see information for march starting at 2pm. Women hit the streets on Monday lead with women drummers and diversity galore. Many were from the Brazilian women’s movements, trade unions, indigenous women, Afro-descendants and muhleres negras. Last night the Cupola do Povos issued a declaration in Spanish currently which we will send around once the translation is done.

The Future They Want

Governments will inevitable approve The Future They Want. There is an option still for heads of state to change what’s in the document but other governments, the US in particular (since Obama will not be in Rio to have a say), have threatened saying if one part is open, all parts are open to renegotiation. The will leave with The Future They Want at the peril of continued commodification and commercialization of Mother Earth.

featured image by Blog do Planalto with a creative commons license. 

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