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Life After Rio: A Commentary By Mark Halle, IISD

Life After Rio: A Commentary By Mark Halle, IISD

WINNIPEG—June 25, 2012—Mark Halle, International Institute for Sustainable Development executive director IISD-Europe, is back from Rio de Janeiro and has declared the Rio+20 summit a disappointing failure.

In his commentary, Life after Rio, he concludes, “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.”

Halle describes the Rio conference as a massive waste of time and money. “If our governments are not prepared to move towards sustainability, it is better that our voting populations know this. Calling a failure a success—even a guarded success—is to paper over the ever-widening cracks in the system.”

“So the first conclusion we must reach is that we should call a moratorium on all global, multilateral negotiations and begin to address the thousands of unfulfilled promises and commitments we have made. To do so would be to build a momentum of success that would once again instill hope and belief among our populations.

“The second conclusion is that our intergovernmental structures are tired, lack vision and courage, and are increasingly left behind by the natural momentum of creativity and innovation in our societies. Worse still, there can no longer be any doubt that they are to all intents and purposes unreformable.

“Instead of once again launching attempts to streamline the UN system, we should simply assume that coordination, efficiency, accountability, responsible use of scarce funds, good governance and transparent process are now and always will be elusive goals and act accordingly. We should put our money and effort into organizations and processes that are not exclusively government-based.”

Please read the full commentary for more about Halle’s impressions and his recommendations for progress. “So, on the one hand, we have a government-based process that is hopelessly stuck in the mud. On the other we have a mass of energy, creativity and strength that is not only committed to action but raring to go if only we can find the forms and channels to harness it. This, surely, is the creative field of endeavour for the future.”


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