“This is no way to manage a planet”

Guest post by chinadialogue intern Leila Mulloy

The post-mortem of last week’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which limped to a close on Friday, has given new meaning to the word desolate. NGO wordsmiths have been competing to out-bleak each other in their assessments of the widely lambasted sustainable development conference.

Here are a few examples:

Greenpeace: “All we have witnessed is three days of empty rhetoric and greenwash from world leaders. This Summit will go down in history as Greenwash+20…Rio+20 has been a failure of epic proportions.”

High Seas Alliance: “Rio+20 has shown less backbone than your average cnidarian [jelly fish].”

Oxfam: “Rio will go down as the hoax summit. They came, they talked, but they failed to act.”

CAN International: “This summit will go down in history as more than simply a failure, and those leaders who sign off on its demise will be known as the architects of destruction.”

Christian Aid: “The fires of environmental destruction and human suffering are raging across the world but in Rio the most powerful leaders showed no hurry to put them out. Instead they have pursued narrow self-interest, technical bargaining and energetic spin, in the hope of persuading the public that they have worked wonders.”

Action Aid: “Rio+20 was a wash-out and has put us back 20 years. Doomed from the start, the outcome document has nothing in it that will make tomorrow’s world a better place for poor people.”

World Development Movement: “Rio+20 has produced a pathetically unambitious document devoid of solid commitments and packed with diplomatic fudges and ambiguous language. This will do nothing to solve the multiple crises we face.”

Friends of the Earth: “World leaders in Rio have responded to the tide of global destruction that’s fast approaching by sticking their heads firmly in the sand. These talks have been completely undermined by a dangerous lack of ambition, urgency and political will – and weak politicians too afraid to push for anything tougher.”

Green Cross International: “The outcome document is grossly lacking in concrete action. Rio+20 represented a unique possibility for the world, but what started as a zero draft outcome document has seemingly evolved into a zero result statement.”

WWF: “What we have is an agreement within the bounds of what they thought politically possible; what we needed was an agreement to address what is scientifically necessary. This is no way to manage our planet!”