“I speak for the Nigerian people. The President of Nigeria speaks for the oil companies and private interests. The Nigerian president has no business being in Rio today. The Nigerian president does not represent the interest of the 112 million poor people of Nigeria. The Nigerian president today in Rio represents the oil companies: the Nigerian president represents the cabal. You don’t have to be in Rio to make change happen, you can start from where ever you are. You can start in Aso Rock, you can start in Abuja, you can start in Nigeria if you really wanted change” -Japheth J Omojuwa
“We were promised leaps and bounds but this agreement barely moves us forward by inches,” –Cam Fenton
“World leaders have delivered something that fails to move the world forward from the first Rio summit, showing up with empty promises and empty pockets at Rio+20”. –Mariana Calderon
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.“ –Wendell Berry
“As indigenous peoples our priorities are the land and water and to the land and water, we have a responsibility not only as indigenous peoples but as humans. Though many leaders do not understand this, they send the world into a future of no life. Especially our government of Canada pushing the controversial tar sands,” Ta’Kaiya Blaney.
“Youth, civil society and social movements are building the solutions the planet needs. Politicians here in Rio to need to start listening, step up and stop a Rio Fail.” –Adrian Fernandez
These quotes were as a result of an impromptu demonstration/protest that took place within the walls of RIOCENTRO the official venue for the Rio+20 UN Conference for Sustainable Development on Thursday 21st June 2012. About 300 or so angry youths joined by Civil Society Organisations from around the world and spontaneously took over the hallway of the venue demanding that their voices be heard and taken into consideration amid loud chants of “OccupyRio+20, OccupyUN.” The hallway was filled with speeches, songs and a ritual tearing of the official UN negotiating text by the protesters.
The group occupied the hallway outside the main plenary space giving a voice to solutions from civil society and social movements, and calling on politicians to heed their words and step up their commitments in the final day of the talks. Eleven-year-old Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Sliammon nation, an indigenous group from British Columbia, sang to the gathering and appealed for action. “What are we going to leave for future generations. There’ll be no environment left without change. It needs to come not tomorrow, but today.” she said
The major groups and CSO’s came together to reject the UN paper titled the future we want and have instead labled it “The future we bought.” There are allegations all over the place that the world leaders sold out to the big corporations like Shell, CocaCola, AIG, Nestle, Chevron, General Motors, ExxonMobile etc. Another widely shared belief is that the green economy as it is has been high-jacked by capitalists who have instead painted their greed over with a green colour simply to continue making mega profits.
20 years ago at Rio ’92, the world had taken the first steps towards building a future that had development and environment at the forefront of its concerns. Rio+20 was meant to reaffirm the political commitments made then and to come up with new action plans to counter the crises which have become much more serious than 20 years ago. But world leaders now appear reluctant to make a simple reaffirmation of the original Rio equity principle, or to re-commit to provide finance and technology transfer to developing nations.
There is a lot of disappointment and anger directed at the world leaders who had promised plans, timelines and solutions but delivered little. Quite a few CSO’s claim that the final text of the Rio+20 sets the world further backwards especially women and children. The general feeling here from everyone (but various government and UN delegates) is disdain. It is almost unanimously agreed that the Rio+20 has failed to really deliver anything.
Without commitments made on providing finance and technology transfer to developing countries, action plans for various subjects formulated and endorsed, commitment to bring about new or at least stronger institutions and a clear cut definition of the ‘Green Economy’ it is easy to see why people consider the conference a failure.
A massive walk out was later staged by the hundreds of young people who together with the CSOs. They returned their UN passes to security and decided to give a louder voice to solutions from civil society and social movements at the people’s summit, calling on politicians to heed their words and step up their commitments today, the final day of the talks. “This kind of action is important. If change is to come it won’t be inside the conference halls, it will be made here outside. These meetings just ratify weakness of what we have done,” Bill McKibben. ”
A final general assembly will be held later today and a people’s assembly test is expected to be endorsed by the youth groups and CSOs.