Rio+20 Developments? Our Leaders and Hot Air
Considering the months of preparation prior to the actual event of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: you know, the incalculable hours, days, months activists from fields spanning climate change, women's rights, poverty alleviation and even religious institutions spent planning, deciding. The buzz of excitement from the lucky sods who could afford to attend the conference; the plastered smiles on faces of the unfortunates, like me, who could not attend due to “extenuating circumstances” and “previous engagement” one would think, or at the very least, have hoped that this long awaited meeting of experts, global leaders, mavericks in their respective and respected fields would have reached a more plausible, a more forward thinking and positive conclusion than they did. This, more than anything truly baffles the mind. Or mine at the very least.
Shockingly, women’s sexual and reproductive health rights went home completely and utterly violated. I’m as catholic as they come from Nigeria, but to tell the truth, and as they say the truth will set you free, I felt that women all over the world had been battered and abused in no small and more manipulative way that only centering a policy for the greater good of humanity and women in particular could be by politicizing it. Rio+20 was in a word: political. Pure and simple.
Considering that Rio+20 was to mark the anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit that called for gender equality, the sexual and reproductive health rights of women took a giant leap (or two) backwards. For the Holy See and G77 governments to come up and actually propose, out loud on the international stage that sexual and reproductive health rights of women has nothing whatsoever to do with sustainable development just validates what I’ve always thought about people in power: a huge cup of idiocy mixed with a heavy dose of power knows no bounds. The unholy alliance between the Holy See and oppressive governments such as Egypt to marginalize women and strike them out was successful to a point.
The end result of the conference, the draft document has been described as being neither the future we want, not the future that the future generations deserve. It is a failure, in many ways and re-establishes the lack of confidence in governments people should have, despite the recent Arab Spring to foster freedom of expression and change in the world. Apparently, 190 governments have waited 20 years bracing themselves to “acknowledge”, “recognize” and express “deep concern” about the world’s crisis, but not shockingly, decide to do absolutely nothing about it.
Personally, Rio+20 turned out to be highly disappointing and an extension of Nigerian politically situation - a farce. Promises, promises and very little weight. Sadly, we're left with fighting our way through individual government policies that don't support sexual and reproductive rights, youth voice or even climate and poverty alleviation. I just hope that despite all this, despite the lack of progress the complete halt in global change initiated by the world's government, that it takes us as activists; us as concerned citizens of the world, to do something truly wonderful to give our children and their children a world they truly deserve.