RIO 20 Twenty Lost Years

In the midst of Rio despair, local solutions are emerging that need more support, CARE says

Rio de Janeiro. June 22, 2012. The UN Conference in Sustainable Development (Rio+20) has failed the world’s poor people. “Millions of poor women and men now have to pick up the pieces from the mess world leaders left behind here in Rio. World leaders did not come to Rio prepared and failed to deliver any clear vision or solutions to eradicate poverty and stop environmental degradation,” says Kit Vaughan, CARE’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator. “Today, we see twenty years lost. In 1992, world leaders were more innovative, determined and visionary. Yet today, the challenges are even greater.”

Without a clear roadmap to achieve sustainable development, millions of women and men are forced to continue a life in poverty and are threatened by ever increasing shocks such as natural disaster, food price hikes and climate change. “In the midst of this Rio despair, there are solutions emerging which don’t rely on international politics. Local communities all around the world are already taking action to manage their natural resources and live a sustainable life. The short-sightedness of world leaders demonstrated here in Rio means that we, as civil society, have to put everything we can to catalyze these local initiatives,” Vaughan says. “While world leaders will go back to business-as-usual, organizations such as CARE and partners will now have to pick up an even larger share of the hard work to eradicate poverty and build resilience of local communities.”

CARE urges that world leaders should not get a free pass for their Rio+20 failure. “We must continue putting pressure on them and at the same time, prioritize the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable especially women and tackle the growing challenges of food security and climate change,” urges Vaughan. “Without this, we will fail not only current generations but also future ones. They will inherit an unsustainable planet, as without tackling poverty, there will be no sustainable development.”

Read previous press releases on Rio+20 and download our Rio+20 report.

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. Last year, CARE worked in 84 countries around the world to assist more than 122 million people improve basic health and education, fight hunger, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, confront climate change, and recover from disasters.