By The People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS)
Representatives of various organizations from more than 14 countries of small farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, women, labor movements, environmentalists, faith-based organizations and NGOs from African Civil Society gathered on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit to push for a sustainable development agenda centered on human rights and do away with the corporatized green economy (GE) model which is one of the main themes of the ongoing Rio+20 negotiations.
Resource persons of the two-day conference included Nnimmo Bassey of Friends of the Earth International, Kirubel Tadele of ETC-Ethiopia, Yahya Msungi of ITUC-Africa, Simon Vilakazi of Economic Justice Network, Rajen Awotar of FOE and Amy Padilla of IBON International.
“We are aware that 20 years hence, the world is nowhere near its acclaimed goals of achieving sustainable development. The multiple crises on finance, food, climate and energy have resulted in further misery and poverty to the world’s peoples as a dominant few countries and people continue to control and own global resources to suit profit and corporate-driven interests, “ they said.
“The GE follows the profit-oriented logic of corporate which lies at the root of our current poverty and environmental problems. So-called solutions to unsustainable development are in the hands of corporations – the main agents of unsustainable development – through their “green” investments, innovations and technologies. These corporate solutions do not solve environmental problems but worsen them.”
They also pointed for the need for a food sovereignty framework, good governance pillar, and social protection floor as inherent responsibilities of states on their peoples. An assertion of the Rio principles on common but differentiated responsibility, polluters pay principles, among others was also agreed upon.
The CSO representatives pointed that, “ While we are aware that an African Ministerial declaration on African consensus on Rio+20 has been submitted to supposedly represent our position as a people, we forward these concerns and recommendations from a grassroots and human rights-centered development perspective.” The said declaration endorses the GE roadmap.
They noted that, “Even as African economies struggled to recover from the 2008 financial crisis as commodity prices rose and export revenues returned to pre-crisis levels, the continent’s growth in 2011 fell from 4.6 per cent in 2010 to 2.7 per cent. Africa lags behind on most of Millennium Development Goal Indicators. Unemployment, particularly among youth, remain high, while income inequalities have widened.”
The group detailed action plans at the national and global levels to press for their concerns, and vowed to continue efforts at pushing for a post Rio development agenda that allowed places peoples’ sovereignty over resources in contrast to the current corporatized global environment.
Participants included delegates from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia. The activity was organized by IBON International, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty and the Reality of Aid - Africa.