Executive at IISD writes devastating, almost despairing critique of Rio+20. “We have come to a sorry pass,” says Mark Halle in a commentary on last week’s conference
I‘ve read a lot of conference recaps and assessments over the years, but nothing comes close to the grim report on the Rio+20 conference just posted by Mark Halle, executive director of the Europe division of theInternational Institute for Sustainable Development. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the IISD is one of the official homes of sustainable development ideas. Maurice Strong, one of sustainable development’s founding fathers, is a native of Manitoba and helped establish the IISD in Winnipeg.
In a review of the events at Rio+20, and of the two-year buildup to the conference last week, Mr. Halle begins with a general observation: “Yet another UN mega-conference ends in disappointment, the low expectations fully justified. Once again, our governments have failed to demonstrate leadership, have lacked courage to make the compromises necessary to ensure a fairer, more stable world. Once again they have kept their eyes riveted on short-term electoral deadlines and sold out future generations. We have come to a sorry pass.”
But Mr. Halle is doing much more than blaming governments. Much of Mr. Halle’s commentary is harsh and dismissive of a process that others have long ago seen as unworkable. He also has no time for those who attempt to gloss over the Rio outcome. “Calling a failure a success — even a guarded success — is to paper over the ever-widening cracks in the system.”
The Rio+20 declaration, so jeered at by skeptics and critics, fares not much better under Mr. Halle. Readers can review Mr. Halle’s critique — Life after Rio — for themselves, one of the most honest and heart-felt overviews of the great global enterprise that has, for 20 years, staggered to its current failed state.
His most pointed and telling comments are directed at the entire global system of agencies, institutions, governance regimes, UN outfits and policy setters that have come to represent the global sustainable development, climate change and environmental movements.