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Kátia Abreu

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Rio+20: Success of Failure?

Posted: 07/05/2012 5:18 pm

International summits do not necessarily have the dramatic intensity to satisfy our appetite for spectacle. However, they do serve an important function for the dissemination of ideas which goes beyond appearances.

This was the case for the environmental summits at Rio-92, Kyoto, and will certainly be so with Rio +20.

The operation of these conferences reflects the reality of a multipolar world, where the number of important players ceaselessly multiplies. It fortunately is no longer possible for only two or three countries to come together and decide the fate of humanity.

Governments themselves must respect the free will of their societies. The world has clearly become more open and more democratic.

And in this world, more opinions are taken into consideration, making the process of decision making more complex.

From these two premises, one can make a more balanced and fair judgment of our summit. Is it true that it was not ambitious and it compromised its goals too quickly?

It is not a simple task to get 190 leaders, representing seven billion people, to reach agreements on changes in production methods, lifestyles and the expectations of economic growth for decades to come.

The very terms of the problem are hardly matters of consensus, even among professionals and activists. There are important sectors of the environmental movement which vehemently dispute the "green economy" saying it is more a disguise or a variant of capitalist development.

And the goals of a sustainable economy should not be imposed on by governments and centralizing orders but by means of administrative incentives in a free environment, which would change the behavior of producers and consumers. So, in what society do we want to live?

As rightly said by the Brazilian Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, ambitious goals must match ambitious resources. One without the other doesn't make sense, he said.

I would say it is even hypocrisy. Rich countries have been allowed to develop without the rules and restrictions and incurring the costs that these constraints now place on the developing countries.

Therefore, if the European Union and the United States wish to establish concrete goals, they must anticipate and provide a large share of resources.

The role of policy is to act according to circumstances, advancing or retreating depending on the actual conditions. Thus, it was prudent to step back in relation to resources and funding.

But for the same reason it was not necessary to proceed with commitments that cost much, especially for developing countries that still face extreme poverty.

The preservation of natural resources for future generations is an important task and should compel us all.

However, looking ahead to nature and the people of tomorrow should not force us to close our eyes to the needy of today, to the hundreds of millions of poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America, especially women and children.

For them there must be more economic growth and more production of food. For this we must not return to primitive forms of organizing production, abolishing the use of new technologies in the field, genetic engineering nor curse development.

Rio +20 is the mirror of the New World, more open and democratic, without excessive protagonism. The Brazilian government has proved to be an appropriate actor in these new times, exercising a kind of quiet, clear and democratic leadership,.

I am convinced that Brazil, in every respect, fulfilled its role as host of one of the most important conferences of this century.

Brazilian Senator and President of the Agriculture and Livestock Confederation of Brazil (CNA), representing 5 millions farmers in the country.

 
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