News - 13 May 2012

en - Rio + 20

Sustainable development or financialisation of earth’s resources?

 Sustainable development or financialisation of earth’s resources?

the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development, June 20-22nd 2012, is a follow up of the Rio 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development. The objective is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date, identify the remaining gaps in the implementation of major summits and address new and emerging challenges. It will focus on: -

  • a green economy in the context of sustainable development andf poverty eradication
  • the institutional framework for sustainable development.

In 1972 the elite financiers of the C;lub of Rome pubklished a document which highlighted fears centred on two painful realities

.- that the life sustaining role of the biosphere could not withstand open-ended consumption of natural resources

- that the urgent cause of environmental protection could npot be isolated from the right of poorer countries to catch up.

The culminative effect of this inverse relationship between economic growth and sustainability is alarming.`Towards a Green Ecenomy,- a major report for policymakers published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2011, concludes ` over the last quarter of a century. the world economy has contrast 60% of the world’s major ecosystem goods and services that underpin livelihoods have been degraded or udes unsustainably’.

Putting a Price on the Priceless

However the conference look set to be highjacked by the interests of the financial sector. The British government, with many others, os hoping to use the conference to drive forwards the financialisation of nature. This amounts to assigning a financial vvalue to natural goods like water, forests and biodiversity and the creation of new markets in these goods thereby enabling financial eleits to extract profits at the cost of the lives and livelihoods of the world’s poorest people.


- ensures fairness so that all have the resources they need to lead a flourishing, healthy life;

- sees forests, rivers and oceans and ecosystems as precious goods to be cherished , not commodities to be valued financially;

- means living in a way that respects the planets ecological limits through community owned renewable energy alongside smallholder agriculture and agroecology

campaigners will be seeking an agreement which binds world governments to new actions to stimulate real progress towards sustainable development.

They are concerned that the `ZERO DRAFT’ frames its proposals as `voluntary national agreements’ a receipe for inertia

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This article is taken from Africa Action Sheet summer 2012 AEFJN