NGOs meet in the Planetarium at Rio+20. Photograph by Circuito Fora do Eixo.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—The Rio outcome document was a great disappointment to global civil society organisations.

They feel that the interests of the people and the planet have been traded away to corporate interests.

Some of the references to Rio 92 principles are intended to mask the reality of the hijacking of the United Nations by powerful private interests, notably multinational corporations.

In Rio, the people of the planet have been betrayed by world leaders who care more about “reassuring markets” than looking after the wellbeing of their citizens, protecting the environment and building a better future for the next generations.

Some spokespersons of civil society organisations even said that one shouldn’t talk about Rio+20 but Rio–20, because all the promises made in 1992 have been abandoned and that things have kept worsening ever since. Poverty and inequalities continue to increase. The gap between rich and poor has never been wider than it is today. The degradation of the environment has continued unabated as reflected in the impact of climate change.

Africa, which contributes the least to gas emissions, will continue to pay a heavy price to the deterioration of the environment. Africa’s voice has not been strong enough to persuade powerful nations to move in the right direction, make strong commitments and take decisive action as called for by civil society organisations.

Enough is enough. The world is tired of empty promises. The world is tired of false solutions. The true solutions lie in system change.

Rights for Sustainability Delegation at Rio+20 Summit
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Demba Moussa Dembele is a member of the R4S Delegation to Rio+20. He is also coordinator for the Forum of African Alternatives, an organisation that is based in Senegal. This piece was first published in Think Africa Press on June 22.

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