RIO FOR PEOPLE: Strengthening People’s Capacity for Genuine Sustainable Development

11-13 APRIL 2012
Despite calls for renewed political commitment to the principles and goals of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to address the unequal and unsustainable character of dominant development patterns, Rio+20 is inclined to reinforcing the same neoliberal framework that was the very cause of the multiple crises of today. The Green Economy, premised on the commodification of nature and ecosystem services, allows for business as usual and very well suits the interests of the corporate sector.
Meanwhile, the world’s most affected people, especially those from the South, who have real sustainable solutions in their hands and can thus respond to calls for a ‘change in patterns of production and consumption’ remain left out. While the United Nations has a mechanism for involving different social sectors, Rio+20’s focus on Green Economy despite wide opposition expressed in Preparatory Meetings such as in Asia Pacific and Latin America shows that the people’s agenda are not priority in the Rio negotiations and thus leaves the world’s most affected without effective representation in such critical decision-making processes. Besides deliberate exclusion or marginalization in these processes, some activists note the lack of a consolidated and coordinated civil society movement on Rio+20 and sustainable development at the regional and global levels.
The Southern grassroots peoples’ voices and contributions deserve a place in the global debate about the social and ecological future of the planet. It is high time that they exert more influence and power in the negotiations, decision-making, policy formulation, and other processes on matters that affect their lives. In many if not all cases, however, they acknowledge the lack of capacity in many areas of work such as lobbying, advocacy, and policy work. The Asia Pacific Research Network aims to help address these concerns through a capacity development conference guided by researches that show the realities on the ground and address issues for more effective advocacy and engagement for genuine sustainable development towards and post-Rio+20.
The conference, to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, will be a research-guided capacity development exercise for grassroots organizations from the South for a coordinated advocacy and engagement aimed at achieving genuine sustainable development towards and post-Rio+20. More specifically, it aims to (1) promote critical awareness of Rio +20 issues among Asian CSOs and constituencies; (2) promote better coordination for Asian CSO participation from the grassroots; (3) support critical initiatives for policy advocacy; and (4) develop research initiatives to pursue future directions in sustainable development advocacy and implementation initiatives.
Details will be announced shortly.