In June 2012, the global political focus will be on the next big environmental summit, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20 because it comes 20 years after the high proile Earth Summit of 1992.
The Earth Summit gave us Agenda 21, the UN climate convention, the biodiversity convention, the precautionary principle, the forest principles and meaningful civil society engagement - all under the banner of "sustainable development". At Rio+20, global leaders are tasked with identifying what went wrong in hte past 20 years, re-organizing the governance that has failed to deliver any progress on diverse environmental crises and crafting a roadmap towards a global "green economy".
Rio+2- brings us to a crossroads that offers both risks and opportunities. Rio+20's centerpiece "green economy" is poorly defined and could become a cover for further commodification and monopolization of nature, the violation of human rights and the deployment of high-risk technologies. Alternatively. the Rio summit could re-set the agenda for diverse, people-centered, local green economies, with policies that protect the environmnt, strengten the commons, promote equality establishing a new participatory and transparent multilateral system for technology assessment.