Tag Archives: la parole des jeunes à rio + 20

Do cities make a difference in global environmental governance?

4 Juin

By Cássia Marques da Costa[1]

The UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992, represented the world’s willingness to put the environment and sustainable development as priorities in the global agenda. The Rio 92 was emblematic for its capacity to mobilize civil society and a whole set of actors that wanted to be represented and really have a say in the global debates about the environmental governance. Also important was the recognition of the main role of local governments as a means to address sustainable development. Twenty years later, cities want to show the world they can make the difference and why they must have a voice in the institutional architecture of the contemporary international order.

Why cities? Local governments as actors in environmental governance

As an outcome of the international debates initiated in Stockholm in the early seventies,   at the Rio Earth Summit, the issue of urban environmental problems was definitely put on the international agenda. By the claim of “think globally, act locally”, cities became enrolled into the environmental governance through the development and implementation of the Local Agenda 21. In fact, the Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 highlighted the centrality of sub-national governments as major actors for environmental protection stating that Because so many of the problems and solutions being addressed by Agenda 21 have their roots in local activities, the participation and cooperation of local authorities will be a determining factor in fulfilling its objectives. (…).  As the level of governance closest to the people, they play a vital role in educating, mobilizing and responding to the public to promote sustainable development.”

Since then, local authorities have become more involved with environmental issues and gained relevance within other multilateral institutions, suggesting that changes have been made in the ways environmental governance is being put into practice.

Local authorities are perceived as key-actors in environmental governance for some practical reasons. First, they are capable to cooperate more easily with other governments than States and they do this through faster and direct communication mechanisms, such as networks, joint projects and other initiatives, including engaging relevant stakeholders and lobbying national governments. Second, local governments have the conditions to formulate and implement policies that express more clearly citizens’ aspirations and real needs. The proximity to the population promotes incentives (and also constrains) for the provision of public services that are at the same time efficient and adequate to the local context, making feasible, at least in theory, the elaboration of prompt solutions to local problems. Third, there is the component of delegation related to sub-national governments. In most countries, mainly in federal states, the responsibility to guarantee the provision of basic services such as sanitation, waste management, public transportation and energy use rests in some degree under local government’s authority. This condition empowers cities with the ability to legislate and decide on a whole set of policies that are directly associated with the environment protection.

These factors turned cities into global environmental arenas and local governments into actors with the capacity to act for the benefit of the environment and to exercise influence in ways that directly impact the ability of national governments to reach targets that they have agreed to internationally.

How do they work? Exercising leadership through networks

But sub-national governments have not been enacting environmental governance in isolation. One of the key features of the post-Rio era has been the proliferation of transnational networks of sub-national governments. The main network-leaders in this area are the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), but there are several other initiatives of local governments networking around environmental issues. ICLEI counts with more than 1,200 sub-national governments as members and is acting as the Local Authority Major Group co-organizing partner in Rio+20. The C40 network comprises 58 large cities from around the world committed to implementing climate-related actions locally and also plays a big role in climate change discussions because of its capacity to coordinate the Mayors of the largest cities of the world, which together represent 1 in 12 people, 12% of C02 emissions and 21% of GDP (data from C40 website).Thus it’s not difficult for one to conclude that the potential of those networks is far from trivial. Networks are key pieces for understanding the means by which cities have been engaged in the global environmental scene and how they can make the difference to sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Rio+20: what to expect from local governments?

Therefore local governments and transnational networks are expecting to demonstrate their potential and also offer their contribution at Rio+20. There will be lots of events happening in parallel to the Conference gathering representatives from local, sub-national, national and international levels to discuss existing initiatives and possible collaboration between the different levels of governance to ensure a sustainable development. ICLEI and C40 are expected to play a big role by joining the voice of those who want the Conference to be more than just the renewal of commitments to sustainable development.

So there seems to be an overall understanding that sustainable development as a global priority has increasingly become a multilevel task, where the involvement and commitment of local authorities is proving essential to achieve any minimum level of success. But despite the noise around cities’ proactive role and leadership (through ambitious proposals and commitments), there’s still resistance concerning local government’s capacity to implement and measure what they’ve been shouting out loud. In a recent article the formers Brazilian president Cardoso and Norwegian prime-minister Brundtland warned about the State’s failure to demonstrate the necessary courage or political will to turn good intentions into effective collective action at Rio+20.  Cities are trying to demonstrate the opposite. Let´s see if they are really prepared to take this responsibility and make things different. The initiative is definitely worthy.

[1] Graduate Student at the Institute of International Relations at University of São Paulo (IRI-USP), Brazil. (cassiamcosta@usp.br)


Débat national Rio + 20

1 Juin

La Ligue de l’enseignement a accueilli le 1er juin, à Paris, 25 jeunes  pour le débat sur Rio + 20. Ces jeunes ont assisté à une présentation sur Rio + 20 de Vaia Tuuhia, du Collectif Rio + 20 et ont découvert le projet Paris + 20 de Science Po Paris et le Collectif des jeunes français pour Rio + 20. Ils ont notamment travaillé sur des propositions qui ont été soumises aux votes de tous les jeunes.
En tout, 90 propositions ont été avancées, certaines plus consensuelles que d’autres.

Les propositions des jeunes traitaient notamment :
– de la régulation des transactions financières,
– de l’architecture durable,
– de l’éducation informelle au développement durable,
– de la transparence des informations,
– du recyclage,
– du droit des autochtones,
– …

Ces propositions seront bientôt redébattues par les jeunes pour n’en garder qu’une quinzaine. Elles seront ensuite portées à Rio + 20 par la délégation de « La Parole des jeunes à Rio + 20 » du 14 au 25 juin 2012.

Pour découvrir le direct de ce débat, rendez vous sur Twitter et Facebook !

Ce débat a été organisé grace au soutien de :


Communiqué de presse « La Parole des jeunes à Rio + 20 »

30 Mai

La Ligue de l’enseignement a publié le 30 mai 2012 un communiqué de presse pour le projet « La Parole des Jeunes à Rio + 20 »:

Découvrez le communiqué de presse !

Rio+20 as a Two Level Game in Brazilian (Foreign) Policy

21 Mai

By Maurício Santoro[1]

When environmental issues entered the United Nations´ agenda, with Stockholm conference (1972), Brazil lived under a military dictatorship that considered ecological themes as rich countries´ hypocrisy, supposedly afraid of fast Brazilian economic growth or interested in the exploitation of the natural resources of the Amazon. These views changed with the return of democracy and the beginning of dynamic social movements dedicated to the environment and big transformations in public policy. However, Rio+20 will be held among serious controversy in Brazil over development and sustainability.

The new environmental conscience was symbolized with the mobilization around the tragedy of Cubatão, the city in São Paulo´s industrial belt that was for many years the most polluted in the world, with severe consequences to the health of its inhabitants. The admiration achieved by the labor leader of Amazon´s rubber extractors, Chico Mendes, was also representative of the new mood, even if it was not enough to prevent his murder by powerful landowners.

Several levels of government were created organs to take care of environmental themes, and the first civilian president after 20 years of military rule offered Brazil to be the host of the UN Conference on Environment and Development. Held in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992, it was a watershed for Brazil, by the adoption of the concept of “sustainable development”, invented a few years before by the Brundtland Commission (1987).  It put together three pillars – economics, society and environment  – and it was perceived by the Brazilian government as the way of conciliate economic concerns with the new social and environmental dimensions, symbolized by the goals of Agenda 21, signed in Rio.

The Controversial Environmental Issues on the Domestic Agenda

However, environmental movements faced many obstacles in Brazilian domestic politics. A Green Party was created, but it did not gain the same influence of its European homologues. Most of the left maintained the focus on issues related to labor-capital conflicts, leaving sustainability in second place. The right remained critical to environmental themes, considering that it would reduce economic opportunities to the country´s corporations, increasing their costs and diminishing their scope of action.

In the international negotiations on climate change, Brazil adopted the principle of “common but different responsibilities”, saying that the largest cost should be on the rich countries, and that developing nations should receive transferences of clean technologies. Until the Durban conference (2011) it refused mandatory goals to fight deforestation and climate change. Brazilian positions are understandable in light of the absence of commitments by the world´s top polluters, China and United States, but they have been a cause of frustration to the country´s activists, which hope that international treaties will “lock in” public policy commitments to preserve the environment.

As Brazil became an agribusiness superpower due to the global commodities boom, the political power of this sector increased, as well as the deforestation of the Amazon and the Cerrado to cattle-ranching and soya plantations. In 2011, a new version of the Forest Code was approved, one that reduces the exigencies of environmental protection and concedes amnesty for those who had deforested in the last years. The law is not yet approved by president Dilma Rousseff, and she is expected to veto at least some articles of the text.

The amazing rising of the new middle new class – about 40 million people arose out of poverty in the last decade – is wonderful, but is putting pressure on the environment. People are buying more cars (over 1 million per year just in the city of São Paulo, the biggest of the country), consuming more energy, and releasing more carbon. Brazil is already among the top 5 polluters of the planet, mostly by the effects of deforestation.

Another meaningful case is the building of the hydroelectric power dam of Belo Monte, in the Xingu River. Several social movements and indigenous groups are opposed to the project and launched judicial processes and street demonstrations. The Interamerican Commission of Human Rights of the Organization of American States recommended to the Brazilian government the interruption of the construction of Belo Monte, but the authorities refused the request.

The Search for International Alliances

Brazilian foreign policy has ambitious goals to promote the image of the country as a rising power. Since the 1990s, this idea includes an active role in environmental debates and Brazil see itself as a honest broker between rich and poor nations, solving conflicts and framing complex deals such as the agreements of Rio 92 and the Durban conference on climate change. Nevertheless, we may argue that Brazilian environmental policy is more progressive in its foreign face than in its domestic one.

Brazilian activists are aware of that, after several major defeats. They have been very organized in the international forums and global networks, using the foreign stage to put pressure on their government and to search for allies overseas. Although Brazilian public opinion is very sensitive on issues such as the sovereign rights of the country in the Amazon, it is also concerned about Brazil´s international image, particularly in the United States and Western Europe.

The civil society summit during Rio+20 is an important occasion for the consolidation and enlargement of many of these alliances. Brazilian activists will use the meeting to criticize and denounce their government, to exchange ideas with foreign colleagues and to build new ties with global networks.

But perhaps the most crucial effect will be pedagogic. There is a new generation of Brazilian youths which is the first one to grow under democracy, and polls shows they have a huge interest in environmental issues. With reasonable economic growth, low unemployment and falling inequality, such themes have a strong appeal to teenagers and young adults. Rio+20 will be a nice opportunity for them, and they can be the base of a new cycle of grassroots activism in the country.

[1] Journalist, PhD in Political Science. Professor at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation and Candido Mendes University, Rio de Janeiro.

Demain la Terre, la Jeunesse prend la parole – INDP

21 Mai

Le projet « Demain la terre. La jeunesse prend la parole », a été initié par l’ONG indienne « Intercultural Network for Development and Peace (INDP) ». Il offre aux jeunes un espace, un cadre et des moyens, pour exprimer leurs points de vue sur le développement durable et son contexte actuel dans le monde, en vue de la Conférence des Nations-Unies sur le Développement durable qui se tiendra du 20 au 22 juin 2012 à Rio de Janeiro au Brésil.

Le projet lancé en Mai 2011 s’est ouvert aux jeunes de tous les continents de telle sorte que les productions finales constituent le fruit d’une réflexion collective et mondiale. Les groupes de jeunes s’expriment par le biais du support de leur choix (textes, photographies, slam, chansons, vidéos, etc.). Toutes ces productions seront compilées fin mai 2012 par INDP avant la Conférence de Rio pour lancer un « Appel mondial de la jeunesse ».

Aujourd’hui ( mai 2012), le projet « Demain la terre. La jeunesse prend la parole » rassemble une vingtaine de groupes de jeunes répartis dans 13 pays. Les pays ayant contribués au jour d’aujourd’hui  ( avril 2012) sont : le Maroc, le Mali, la Côte d’Ivoire, le Niger, le Japon, Madagascar, Haïti, le Brésil, le Tadjikistan, l’Inde, la Pologne, la Roumanie, la France.

Pour en savoir plus

Pour contacter INDP, n’hésitez pas à écrire directement à indp1999@gmail.com.

Rio + 20 étendu : les initiatives en France

14 Mai

Pour participer à Rio + 20 en France, le Collectif RIO+20 lance une initiative de mobilisation dans les territoires : RIO+20 ETENDU.


En juillet 2010, plusieurs acteurs de la société civile (ONG de solidarité internationale, ONG d’environnement, syndicats), ont pris l’initiative de se réunir dans un collectif autour des enjeux du prochain Sommet de la Terre à Rio de Janeiro en juin 2012 : Rio+20. Le Collectif RIO+20 réunit à l’heure actuelle une trentaine d’organisations de la société civile française : des syndicats, des ONG de solidarité internationale et des ONG d’environnement. Le Collectif fait régulièrement des appels à participation auprès d’autres organisations souhaitant participer à la réflexion et à la mobilisation en vue de Rio+20.


Ensemble, les organisations du Collectif vous invitent à apporter votre contribution à l’opération “RIO+20 étendu”, depuis l’endroit où vous vivez, avec les réseaux et les partenaires avec qui vous agissez. Amplifiez l’évènement en organisant vous-même ou en prenant part à des activités près de chez vous.

Prendre part à la grande aventure de Rio et rejoindre “RIO+20 étendu”

Le Collectif RIO+20 vous propose un dispositif de publication et de contacts “RIO+20 étendu” pour annoncer des activités et les rendre accessibles à tous, mais également pour participer ou télé-assister aux évènements annoncés.

Consultez l’agenda en ligne et complétez le programme avec vos activités, disponible sur le blog du collectif http://collectif-france.rio20.net/

Pour contacter le groupe RIO+20 étendu : grouperio20etendu@gmail.com

Pour plus d’informations, découvrez la brochure de l’opération Rio + 20 étendu.

Le Sommet des Peuples

9 Mai

Le Sommet des Peuples pour la Justice sociale et environnementale à Rio+20 est un évènement organisé par la société civile mondiale, qui aura lieu du 15 au 23 juin dans le parc de l’Aterro do Flamengo, à Rio de Janeiro au Brésil, parallèlement à la Conférence des Nations Unies sur le Développement Durable (UNCSD) de Rio+20.


Le Comité facilitateur de la société civile à Rio+20 est en train de préparer le schéma du Sommet des Peuples et l’organisation spatiale du territoire que l’événement occupera au Parc du Flamengo. L’objectif est que l’espace soit organisé en groupes de discussion autogérés, autour d’une Assemblée Permanente des Peuples et dans un espace prévu pour que les organisations et mouvements sociaux se présentent, pratiquent et dialoguent avec la société autour d’expériences et de projets concrets. Les actions du sommet seront toutes interdépendantes.

L’idée est que l’Assemblée Permanente des Peuples, principal forum politique du Sommet, s’organise autour de trois axes et débatte des causes structurales de l’actuelle crise de civilisation, sans se fragmenter en crises spécifiques – énergétique, financière, environnementale, alimentaire. Avec cette approche le Comité facilitateur espère susciter l’affirmation de nouveaux paradigmes alternatifs construits par les peuples et proposer l’agenda politique de l’après Rio+20.

Source : http://cupuladospovos.org.br/fr/quest-ce-que-cest/