Now with that we can agree. Take science seriously, expunge the NGOs and ‘civil society’ horseshit and get on with solid development for the benefit of humanity and the environment. Not what these clowns have in mind though.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), could have brought us closer to a strengthened earth system governance. Closer towards a global, effective architecture for governance of sustainability that can adapt to changing circumstances, that involves civil society, that is accountable and legitimate beyond the nation state and that is fair for everyone.
It could have been. But the negotiated text agreed before the conference is weak. It falls behind expectations of most countries, and is disappointing to practically all civil society organisations. The global intergovernmental negotiation process has failed. Again.
In a recent blog-contribution two renowned scientists affiliated to the Earth System Governance Project, Steinar Andresen (The Fridtjof Nansen Institute), and Arild Underdal (University of Oslo and CICERO) therefore concluded that “we do not need to bringing thousands of participants to a series of mega-conferences to confirm that the range of politically feasible solutions is quite narrow”.
This is certainly true when measuring the Rio+20 Conference against what it is on paper: A meeting of UN member states. But there is more Rio+20 than just a few days of intergovernmental get-together. The Rio+20 Conference is the climax and a catalyser of the multi-year process it is embedded in. This process involves more than diplomats and international bureaucracies. It includes countless actors ranging from business associations, to youth movements, major group representatives, regional organisations, alliances of cities, corporate leaders, and many NGOs.
The Rio+20 Process also has strong involvement from the global scientific community. Scientists provide evidence of the environmental, social, and economic state of society and the planet; advise national delegations and NGOs, analyse the negotiation process as such, and not least bring their research findings as policy recommendations into the process.