- Alireza Taheri
The United Nations conference on "the future that we want" under the title of Rio +20, is being held again in Brazil 20 years following the first Rio Conference, so that the subject of sustainable development which is one of the most important subjects of the MDG to the centre of attention of states and governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
This conference on the basis of states' commitments has shaped in the form of Plan of Action 21, and concentrates on two fundamental points:
1 - Sustainable green economy
2 - Eradication of poverty
In his report to the General Assembly (22 December 2010, A/CONF.216/PC/7) the United Nations Secretary General describes these two subjects. In this brief opportunity, as a nongovernmental organization from a developing country that is participating in this conference, we would like to give our views on the basis of fundamental human rights to our attending colleagues.
We believe that the subjects of sustainable development, green economy, eradication of poverty and a healthy environment, are all parts of the human rights concerns and challenges, which today mankind is involved with. And sadly we witness in all corners of the world, environmental pollution or a rush towards development, or poverty and hunger which cause pain and suffering to mankind. Human rights principles, particularly the Second Generation guidelines which speak of social, economic and cultural rights, and the Third Generation which known as Solidarity Rights, must be observed and noted by all states, and national and international activists, so that these types of conferences are held and mankind moves towards sustainable development and green economy.
According to United Nations data, world population stands at approximately 7 billion, and in another 40 years it will reach 9 billion, and a substantial portion of this population spend the day without enough income, and everyone knows that the major cause for crimes in developed and developing societies is poverty, and now imagine that if a society which is pursuing sustainable development and is deprived of international community's support, what the consequences this will have domestically and internationally. This is the argument that developing countries from the "new international economy order" have insisted on in the UN General Assembly and sadly it has not had enough attention even in the UN Development Declaration.
We in the civil society believe that the human rights collective must be looked at like a cycle in which all its parts are joined and united, and therefore the failure to realise each of the human rights standards cause the other parts not to function properly. Poverty is an obstacle in development, and non-development prevents a healthy economy and the lack of a healthy economy prevents the appearance of sustainable economy, and the lack of sustainable economy prevents attention towards environmental concerns, and without such concerns it is impossible for green economy and attention to the environment and or the dangers of climate change be the focus of activities. Therefore we must build this home from the foundations, and as the United Nations Secretary General has pointed out, to eradicate poverty and hunger in the world, first we must find a solution for poverty and hunger in the world, so that we can provide the economic rights of nations, then with a leaning to the principles of right to development and right to healthy environment stress on green economy.
Therefore I would like to give my recommendations in the following 2 points:
1 - Reaching sustainable and green development for lesser developed and developing countries will not be easy, unless international will to assist and cooperate exists, and the path to development is paved. Let us utilise the clean energy sources which is the agenda of this conference. We all know that all countries must work towards development so that they use energy sources that are environmental friendly, and work towards reducing the damage to the environment. This point was the focal point of the Rio Conference back in 1992. But the truth is that access to clean energy technology is very expensive, and production by these sources is much more expensive than fossil fuel energy, and slows down the competition levels. Therefore developing and lesser developed countries realising these types of problems and stress on the blooming of national economy, in most instances they have no other choice but to produce with traditional energy sources, and appear in the global market with competitive prices, unless international assistance, be it financial and technical, their access to alternative energy sources is made easier which economically whatever they produce with this new energy source can compete in the global market. This is the same right to development which is the subject of UN declaration and numerous General Assembly resolutions which must seriously be considered by governments. Eradication of poverty in most parts of the world is nothing but a wish, regions where they are still deprived of simple facilities of living such as clean water or electricity, and are struggling with epidemic diseases, or war or natural disasters. These are subjects that must be considered by this conference and also international circles so that the MDG are fulfilled.
2 - Civil society organizations and NGOs have entered all international arenas, and the United Nations according to the published reports of the Secretary General confirms the quality and work expertise of these organizations, and today we are witness to the extensive presence of civil society organizations in the Rio +20 Conference, which makes it different to the 92 Conference. As a tiny member of civil society organizations we stress on the very effective role of these organizations, and ask all respected states and international organizations representatives to support the activities of NGOs so that the basis for further national and international activities is facilitated, and we see the day when with helping each other we defeat poverty and destitution, and present a green world to the children of the future.
Human Rights activist and member of board of directors of Women's Research and Studies Institutetaheringo@gmail.com