RIO20 Black hole of low ambition and little substance

CARE urges world leaders to come up with a roadmap for sustainable future

Rio de Janeiro, June 18 2012: World leaders arriving in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) must drastically increase their leadership to reach an outcome that eliminates poverty and protects our one planet, urges CARE International. “What we are seeing in Rio are incredibly weak negotiations which do not produce the results required to lift people out of poverty and stop environmental degradation. Rio+20 is creating a black hole of low ambition and little substance,” says Kit Vaughan, CARE’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator. World leaders must set themselves clear objectives for environmental sustainability and agree to prioritize the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people.

CARE calls on world leaders to develop and commit to a new vision for a sustainable development. “Let’s face it; governments are undermining the collaborative vision for sustainable development that guided us for the first Rio conference 20 years ago. We have now lost track of that vision. We are still living in a world that is unfair to poor people, that leaves more than one billion people hungry and that continues to grow at their expense. We are still rapidly exhausting our natural resources in ways that will leave our future generations with an exploited planet,” Vaughan says. “The current global economic crisis can’t be an excuse for leaders to ignore the social and environmental crises that have been well underway for decades,’ Vaughan says.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved if climate change mitigation and adaptation are not fully integrated and part of the solution. “In Rio, climate change has been sidelined. Yet, without tackling climate change we will never achieve a development that is fair and sustainable for poor people,” Vaughan urges. The poorest women and men are often most affected by climate change impacts and environmental degradation. In many of the countries where CARE works, people are facing more severe impacts from floods or droughts and often have no means to protect themselves and recover. “By delaying actions in Rio the problems of climate change and environmental degradation won’t go away. We only have one planet to live on and we need to share it more equitably. Leaders need to put forward a roadmap for a sustainable future. That could really be a game changer in Rio,” Vaughan says.

If you want to set up interviews with CARE experts in Rio, please contact:
Sandra Bulling, CARE Communications Officer, Email:, +41 79 2056951 (Switzerland), +55 21 8085 6274 (Brazil)

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. To learn more, visit or