Non-governmental organizations are slamming the state of the Rio+20 negotiations, saying they are being influenced by multinational interests. "The future we want has gotten a little further away today. Rio+20 has turned into an epic failure. It has failed on equity, failed on ecology and failed on economy," says Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International executive director. “"We were promised the 'future we want' but are now being present with a 'common vision' of a polluter’s charter that will cook the planet, empty the oceans and wreck the rain forests."
A draft text of “The Future We Want” was prepared and distributed to delegations, as heads of state began arriving for the UN summit. The text should provide direction for sustainable development in the coming years.
"We have sought to incorporate to the maximum the concerns and suggestions made by participants, including last minute negotiations on outstanding issues," says Brazil’s foreign minister Antonio Patriota.
But the agreement is extremely weak. "We see a lopsided victory of weak words over action words – says Lasse Gustavsson of WWF - with the weak words winning out at 514 to 10. 'Encourage' is used approximately 50 times, while the word 'must' is used three times. Apparently, negotiators really like the word 'support' – they used it approximately 99 times – but can't bear to use language like 'we will,' which appears only five times."
Naidoo argues that there is no foundation in the text to grow economies or pull people out of poverty: "It’s the last will and testament of a destructive twentieth century development model."
Friends of the Earth International claims that multinational corporations like Shell "have an undue influence" at Rio+20, saying the oil company is lobbying groups involved in the negotiations.
"It is not acceptable that companies like Shell who cause massive pollution and human rights abuses should be in the driving seat of processes for sustainable development. That is a recipe for disaster for our planet and peoples. Corporate polluters should not help making laws, they should face the law," says Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.
"All we can look forward to is three more days of Greenwash."concludes Naidoo.