The end is near

…of what I would like to call the negotiations of Rio+20. However, the last two days there haven’t been any negotiations on minister level during the actual Rio+20-conference at all. The outcome document was in reality agreed upon before the important people came. Now the world leaders are wasting their own and everybody else’s time spending three days on monologues.

There has been much frustration and anger amongst both civil society and some of the delegates since Brazil chose to close the text before the real conference even began. Especially youth have voiced great concern about the fact that the outcome document “The Future We Want” is not even close to being the future we want for most of us. There is little ambition to trace in the text, and the world leaders fail to take responsibility and commit to ensure us and the coming generations a safe and equitable future. This is something the world cannot and should not tolerate.

A lot of actions has been held accordingly, and the youth have been visible. Yesterday there was a red line action where the youth stood in line wearing red and showing what the non-bargaining points for our part was.

Young people from Major Group for Children and Youth in action for our red lines.

Today, there also was a very powerful walk-out from 130 youth who was fed up by the weak poutcome and us not being included in the negotiations as important stakeholders in our own future. After having a ritual rip-up of the negotiation text, they gave up their accreditation badges and walked out on the entire conference.

The ones of us who stayed behind are all sympathetic towards the walk-out, but are staying behind for the last day in order to hopefully fully voice our dismay on the closing plenary tomorrow where all the major groups are being allowed a short speech.

As you might guess, the general mood in our working group has been quite depressed and defeated since we foud out that the battle for the negotiation text had to be given up as what could have been a concrete result from the conference was sacrifised at the altar of short-termism, irresponsibility and lack of ambition from our so-called leaders.

Therefore, it was encouraging, especially for us from Spire, to get a chance to meet up with the Hungarian Ombudsperson for future generations (yes, he excists!) today. He is a very nice man who has been safeguarding the interests of future generations for the past four years.  Sándor Fülöp could share some of his knowledge and experience with us, and this is very valuable as we are planning on a campaign to establish a national Ombudsperson for Future Generations in Norway that will take place the coming year.

Siv Maren, Pieter-Jan and Alice from the MGCY Institutional Framework Task Force in dialogue with Sándor (right)

We also got to talk with Tony Oposa, who’s a highly inspirational environmental lawyer that had the first environmental lawsuit on behalf of future generations, and who won. His ideas on preserving the sources of life for the ones who will follow us forms the foundation of the whole concept of the Ombudsperson. Tony said that we as youth must take the lead and responsibility to make things ringht. He said we had to be courageous and not give up, and imprtantly: Not forget the power of One. In other words, how much one person really can do. We will try not to forget this in future battles for equity and justice.

We were also engouraged by reading this web article in Putsj (Environment magazine by Young Friends of The Earth Norway), where Norwgian development minister Heikki Holmås says that Norway will continue working on the High Commissioner for Future Generations and give some (hopefully valuable) input on the report that (hopefully) will be written regarding (hopefully) this subject and sustainable development and future generations in general. We in Spire is very happy that we have managed to turn the Norwegian governement from initially being reserved to the idea to becoming one of the clear supportes for such an institution. Go Norway. Hopefully they will continue voicing the concerns of youth also a long time after the Rio conference is closed.

Even though there have been some long, tiring and in part depressing days, we have also tried to have a nice time once in a while. A couple of days ago we had a really nice dinner with most of the Norwegian civil society people.

Mona (ForUM, left) and the girls from YMCA-YWCA Global

Siv Maren enjoying a highly recommendable dinner

Kine (LAG), Andrew (Development Fund), Andrew (ForUM) and Mattias (Changemaker) chatting

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