In June heads of State, delegates of govermental and international institutions, along with CEOs, and civil society leaders will come together at Rio de Janeiro with the purpose of defining new policies and measures to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
On 18 April 2012 the High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed that countries must integrate human rights into the upcoming sustainable development conference taking place in the Brazilian city, as well as in its outcome. Top UN official believe that not doing so will undercut efforts to advance socio-economic development and protect the environment.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay declared that “strategies based on the narrow pursuit of economic growth without due regard for equity and related environmental, social and human rights considerations, will both fail in their economic objectives, and risk damaging the planet and the fundamental rights of people”.
In the view of the Office for Human Rights, the draft outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) fails to take sufficient account of human rights imperative. It affirms that “In recent years, people have taken to the streets in every region of the world, passionately demanding their fundamental human rights – in many instances at great personal risk”.
The High Commissioner noted that “for Rio+20 to be successful, its outcome must ensure that explicit human rights safeguards are in place” and called national authorities to ensure that explicit attention is paid to protecting fundamental human rights such as the access to food, water and sanitation, health, housing and education, and participation in public affairs. Ms. Pillay added that “a strong outcome at Rio, seamlessly integrating the environmental, social, economic, and human rights elements of sustainable development, will do much to help us advance our collective mission to create a world free from fear and from want”.
The High Commissioner recalled numerous examples of projects aimed at sustainable development seriously threating the rights of already vulnerable communities, leading to landlessness, homelessness and economic dispossession. Many of them have also resulted in the exclusion of women from decision-making, the diversion of scarce food-growing lands for the production of biofuels and threats to the lands and livelihoods of indigenous peoples. “Simply put, participatory, accountable, non-discriminatory and empowering development is more effective, more just and ultimately more sustainable,” said the High Commissioner.
Source United Nations News Centre: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41808&Cr=sustainable+development&Cr1=