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14.05.2012

The Future we REALLY want

Green Priorities for the Rio+20 Earth Summit

With the planet having entered Anthropocene, an era distinguished by human interference in the Earth's ecosystems, the Rio+20 Summit must be used as the opportunity to break with the business as usual and to achieve tangible actions and measurable targets on the path to sustainable development path.

The Greens call for the EU to take the lead to ensure a legally binding Rio+20 agreement with:

  • Green economy understood as: the entire economy functioning within the limits of sustainability in respect to biodiversity and planetary boundaries, maintaining ecosystem services, climate protection and use of natural resources; human development where social conditions are improved, global injustice is reduced and the economy is progressing within the ecosystem boundaries without being dependent on growth to function;
  • Wild and domesticated biodiversity, natural resources and capital preserved through full implementation of  the Nagoya targets, with concrete progress on securing financing for developing countries and a phase out of all environmentally damaging subsidies;
  • A tax on financial transactions established at international level with revenues to be used to support biodiversity and climate protection in the developing countries;
  • Water, marine environment and oceans singled as a priority for urgent improvement with a commitment to international legal instruments for the control of pollution of seas and oceans, sustainable management and assessment of human activities, the introduction of marine protected areas in international waters and the establishment of a high-level coordination mechanism on Oceans, enabling a cross-cutting response to land-based ocean pollution, exploitation of mineral, hydrocarbon and living resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction;
  • Developed countries commit to absolute reductions in their ecological footprint and resource use and all countries design and implement sustainable development plans/green economy strategies;
  • In order to secure long-term food security, commitment to reverse the trend of relying on a narrowing range of genotypes and pest-generating monocultures propped up by biocide application; promotion of agro-ecological techniques, including agro-forestry, to increase the biodiversity of local food production systems which will benefit communities, as well as creating closed-loop, ecologically efficient cycling of nutrients, water, and energy through resilient and healthy agro-ecosystems, thereby reducing the negative externalities associated with intensive agriculture and dependence on fossil fuels, pesticides/synthetic fertilisers, soya feed, and excessive use of water;
  • Recognition of the urgency of climate protection and the need to close the gap between currently pledged greenhouse gas reductions for 2020 and those recommended by climate science; Recognition of climate refugees and of the urgent need to finally start fostering political and legal solutions on local, European and international, including UN level;
  • Global targets and measures to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, end nuclear energy and phase out of fossil fuel subsidies by developed countries; in the case of biofuels, without endangering local food security in developing countries or stimulating land use change via conversion of natural habitats; biofuels, in particular the associated competition between food and fuel and land use change, are a driver for land grabbing and conversion of natural habitats and that cultivation for  animal feed, in particular of soya, is a similar driver of local poverty and severe environmental degradation;
  • Creation of capacity within the UN system to monitor, assess and provide information about new technologies from the perspective of a broader concept of sustainability;
  • Commitment to measuring progress and welfare beyond GDP, understanding the importance of valuing resources, natural capital and ecosystem services at their real value, while not commodifying them;
  • Recognition that achieving human development and human rights are intrinsically linked with environmental protection while reaffirming the commitment to full achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; recognition of the vulnerability of some populations to climate change, in particular women, and commitment to meet their needs and to adequately represent these populations in all political and financial processes; recognition of the environment as a victim that suffers harm and damage;
  • Strengthened environmental governance, through:

    • empowering citizen and civil society organisations, including expanding rights to access to information, participation and justice;
    • reinforcing UN environmental governance by converting UNEP to a fully-fledged UN agency or significantly reinforcing it;
    • agreeing that environmental rules should transform trade;
    • the creation of an international environmental court, or dispute settlement body.
    • the establishment of global governance structures for raw materials that bridge divides between resource-rich and resource-poor countries and promote sustainable mining solutions aiding development. The International Energy Forum (IEF) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) could serve as models in this context.

The Greens insist on the precautionary principle, the principle of non-regression in the context of environmental protection, the need to reject the patentability of life-forms and other false solutions such as GMOs or geo-engineering. The Greens recall that the protection of the knowledge, innovation and practices of indigenous and local communities, including genetic heritage of their locally-adapted crop strains and animal breeds, is a core principle of the original Rio Agreement.

More information:

Delphine Chalençon

Climate Change Campaigner
Tel. Brussels +32-2-2843140
Tel. Strasbourg +33-3-88173691