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Read the final draft of the Rio+20 conference. You will be astonished by its utter vacuity. It is 49 pages of pap, expressing nothing but platitudes and mawkish sentimentality, with a dose of health-spa green religion.

I really don’t know why she’s bothered: 

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has arrived in Brazil to a military honour guard, as she prepares to attend a three-day global environmental summit.

The Rio+20 conference comes 20 years after the original Earth Summit, which sparked many governments into action on measures stopping deforestation, climate change and protecting oceans.

Read the final draft document of the Rio+20 conference. You will be astonished by its utter vacuity. It is 49 pages of pap, expressing nothing but platitudes and mawkish sentimentality, with a dose of health-spa green religion. The only thing to interrupt the droning is the occasional vigorous shake of the collection tin for the United Nations and its army of bureaucrats. And prime ministers are sitting there, nodding, clapping and signing this drivel?

Just check out this cheap New Age green mysticism in the final draft: 

39. We recognize that the planet Earth and its ecosystems are our home and that Mother Earth is a common expression in a number of countries and regions and we note that some countries recognize the rights of nature in the context of the promotion of sustainable development. We 
are convinced that in order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environment needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature.

40. We call for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development which will guide humanity to live in harmony with nature and lead to efforts to restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem.

Dear God. The Greens at prayer. Break open another box of Green Ritual Organic Incense Sticks.

Some of the draft is actually funny. Take the passages where the authors are desperate not to forget to acknowledge every approved minority on the frequent-flying UN conference circuit:


Sustainable development requires the meaningful involvement and active participation of regional, national and sub-national legislatures and judiciaries, and all Major Groups: women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, 
workers and trade unions, business and industry, the scientific and technological community, and farmers, as well as other stakeholders, including local communities, volunteer groups and foundations, migrants, families as well as older persons and persons with disabilities.

Well, that should cover just about everyone, shouldn’t it? Other than a few white male bosses.

Then come a string of statements of such trumpet-blasting obviousness that you wonder why the draft didn’t go on to observe, say, that the world is round and eating food is healthy. No wait, it does say that last bit:

We reaffirm our commitments regarding the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food

Other stunning observations include: 

We recognize that a significant portion of the world’s poor live in rural areas …

We acknowledge that minerals and metals make a major contribution to the world economy and modern societies… 

Then you get sentimental slop like this: 

We recognize that the younger generations are the custodians of the future…

Actually, the young are custodians of nothing. It’s their parents who have to do all that custody stuff. But that doesn’t quite strike the appropriate saccharine tone, does it?

Many of the proposals in the draft are of the suck-eggs kind:

We commit to systematically consider population trends and projections in our national, rural and urban development strategies and policies.

Er, who doesn’t?

But most of the document is suffused with green pieties, although it’s telling that global warming is covered in just one of the 49 pages – a sign of how unfashionable the topic has become, even if the usual boilerplate alarmism is given a quick reprise:


We reaffirm that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time…

But if global warming really is “one of the greatest challenges of our time”, wouldn’t you say a lot more about it? As it is, the draft document seems to think a far worthier subject, requiring several paragraphs more, is the need for more money and power to one of the UN’s agencies: 

88. We are committed to strengthening the role of the United Nations Environment Programme as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, that promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and that serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. We reaffirm resolution 2997 (XXVII) of 15 December 1972 which established UNEP and other relevant resolutions that reinforce its mandate, as well as the 1997 Nairobi and 2000 Malmö Ministerial Declarations. In this regard, we invite the United Nations General Assembly, in its 67th Session, to adopt a Resolution strengthening and upgrading UNEP in the following manner:

And on and on and on.

Because that’s what this conference and so many of its kind are really about, right? Having meetings to have meetings, and to raise the cash for more meetings where everyone is a hero and all hold hands to go ommmm.

Oh, excuse me, the hat is being passed around again:

We stress the need for adequate funding for the operational activities of the United Nations development system…