Sustainable development: Two lost decades

Twenty years of «Rio» are tantamount to 20 years of collective policy failure. There was no will to introduce the paradigm shift. The World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded two years after the Earth Summit and the primacy of free trade established. Even as Heads of State insisted in Rio that the northern economic and development model could not be globalized, they were imposing it on the whole world through the WTO. Market opening was ensured through the possibility of harsh sanctions, whilst the environmental and social rules of Rio remained political and moral obligations. With the three Rio Conventions, which are binding international law, implementation has been and continues to be circumvented wherever possible – see the Kyoto Protocol.

The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created to support the implementation of Agenda 21. It was a weak body from the start with no binding decision-making power. Its influence and ambitions waned from year to year.

There is no scenario for continuous and at the same time sustainable growth in a world that will have a population of 9 billion in 2015. What is needed instead is the fair distribution of what is available in order to afford all people on earth a life of dignity. The time has come to explore the conditions and possibilities of a post-growth economy...

Source : Alliance Sud. Translation: comengip translation services (french, english, spanish, portuguese)