Dec 062011

Since coming back from the Bonn Conference on the water, food and energy nexus where I met up with fellow civil society activists, I have been trying to figure out how we can stand against the corporate machine building up towards RIO+20.

The Bonn conference organised by the German government aims to influence RIO+20 outcomes while using transformation to a Green Economy as a framework. The follow-up conference will be organized by the World Economic Forum in January 2012 and its policy recommendations will also go through a “test” at a Ministerial Round Table at the 6th World Water Forum in mid-March 2012.

What stood out at Bonn was how increasingly aware of its image the corporate machine is and how it has learnt to package its message in a more palatable way, while trying to get civil society “participation” to legitimise its decisions. This new, softer rhetoric means that it is harder to see what truly lies behind seemingly well-intentioned speeches. Most of the outcomes of the conference were decided beforehand, but the dominant rhetoric repeatedly placed emphasis on poverty eradication and inclusive growth – how to make resource efficiency work for the “bottom billion” (flagged up by many of us at the conference as a term that should stop being used). Yet the essence of what the Green Economy actually is – turning the financial, environmental and climate crisis into an economical gain was largely absent.

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