Hacking the Rio+20 Outcome Document: f*ck vague aspirational goals

For some weeks I’ve been attempting to write a post on the failure of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (or Rio+20). There are many others who have voiced their concerns, and summarised its failure far better than I could.  There is nothing more I could say except to express my own outrage and disappointment.

So over the weekend I read the “Outcome Document” closely, and decided to make a few changes.  Why not? If the world’s leaders seem incapable, surely a mere blogger can give it a go?

So I “hacked it” in order to: 

  1. translate the torturous language into plain English
  2. strip it back to the essentials and
  3. help create the future we must have, not just merely “want” as a vague aspiration goal 

The document itself is has no more value than one of the thousands of official statements and press released published every day. Well crafted, ambiguous and ultimately vacuous.

The early drafts released were fascinating, and show hot countries like the US and Canada were stripping out any meaningful passage. These appear as redactions is an editing process of omitting and inserting suggested changes and caused concern.

Following the lead of negotiators at Ri+20 I’ve redacted (strike through) and inserted comments (bold) in an effort to help clarify some of the issues.

Maybe this is what we should have striven for.

Maybe it what we should be hoping for.

Mike @ Wtd

I. Our common vision

1. We, the [Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives redacted] the citizens the world, [having….met redacted] sent representatives of State and Government to [at redacted] Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012, [with the full participation of civil society, renew our commitment to sustainable development and to ensuring the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our redacted] to ensure a the continuation of a habitable environment [planet and redacted] for present and future generations and to implement the following.

2. Eradicating poverty is one of the greatest global challenges facing the world today [and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. In this regard redacted] and we are committed to freeing humanity from poverty and hunger as a matter of urgency.

[3. We therefore acknowledge the need to further mainstream sustainable development at all levels, integrating economic, social and environmental aspects and recognizing their interlinkages, so as to achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions. redacted] We therefore will integrate economic, social and environmental policies to maintain a habitable planet that underpins the above.

4. We will [recognize that redacted] achieve poverty eradication, change[ing]unsustainable and promote[ing] sustainable patterns of consumption and production and protect[ing and managing redacted] the natural resource base that is the foundation of our global civilisation. [of economic and social development are the overarching objectives of and essential requirements for sustainable development. We also reaffirm the need to achieve sustainable development by promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems that supports, inter alia, economic, social and human development while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration and restoration and resilience in the face of new and emerging challenges redacted]

5. We [reaffirm our commitment to make every effort to accelerate the achievement of the redacted] will achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.[* Reissued for technical reasons on 22 June 2012. redacted]

6. We recognize that people are at the centre of [sustainable development and in this regard we strive for a world that is just redacted], our global civilisation. We will [equitable and inclusive, and we commit to work together to promote] achieve sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and thereby to benefit all.  

7. We reaffirm that we continue to [be guided redacted] abide by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, with full respect for international law and its principles.

8. [We also reaffirm the importance of redacted] Freedom, peace and security, respect for all human rights, including the right to development and the right to an adequate standard of living, including the right to food, the rule of law, gender equality, the empowerment of women, tand the overall commitment to redacted], just and democratic societies [for development redacted] and freedom of expression are essential.

9. [We reaffirm the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other international instruments relating to human rights and international law. We emphasize the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, to redacted] We will respect, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or other status.

10. We acknowledge that democracy, good governance and the rule of law, at the national and international levels, [as well as an enabling environment, are essential for sustainable development, including sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger. We reaffirm that to achieve our sustainable development goals we need institutions at all levels that are effective, transparent, accountable and democratic redacted] are the foundations of our global civilisation, and that these principles will ensure the maintenance of conditions for a habitable planet

11. We [reaffirm our commitment to redacted] will strengthen international cooperation [to [address the persistent challenges related to sustainable development for all, in particular in developing countries. In this regard, we reaffirm the need to redacted] to [achieve economic stability, sustained economic growth, promotion of social equity and protection of the environment, while enhancing gender equality, the empowerment of women and equal opportunities for all, and the protection, survival and development of children to their full potential, including through education redacted] to enshrine polices that deliver equality, protection of ecosystems, educational opportunities, good governance and economic growth that does not compromise a habitable environment.

12. We [resolve to redacted] will take urgent action to achieve sustainable development. [We therefore renew our commitment to sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges. We express our determination to address the themes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, namely, a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development redacted]

13. [We recognize that opportunities for people to redacted] Each of us has the power to influence their lives and future, and participate in decision-making to create the future we must have. [and voice their concerns are fundamental for sustainable development. We underscore that sustainable development requires concrete and urgent action redacted] It can only be achieved with a broad alliance of people, governments, civil society and the private sector, all working together to secure the future we [want redacted] must have for present and future generations.  

Source: http://www.uncsd2012.org/thefuturewewant.html

4 thoughts on “Hacking the Rio+20 Outcome Document: f*ck vague aspirational goals

  1. snafu says:

    Does the name ‘Hitler’ sound familiar?

  2. snafu says:

    Hey Mike. Why don’t you tell your followers…err…readers the background of your illustrious IPCC chairman. We all know that he’s a retired railway engineer, but do they know that he is/was:

    Founder of Glori Oil/Glori Energy, Inc. and is/was head of that company.

    He is an internationally recognized figure in energy and sustainable development, having served on numerous boards and committees including Director of the Oil and Natural Gas Company of India and Director of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

    Member of the Oil Industry Restructuring Group, for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India.

    Member of the International Advisory Board of Toyota Motors.




    Pays to some homework sometimes…..;)

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