June 13, 2012

Rio + 20: We are finally almost there (MGA)

Thanks to everyone who has been lobbying over the past few weeks in preparation for the Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Nearly all our Mercy Congregations wrote letters to their politicians asking them to include an ethical framework in the Zero Draft of the Outcome Document for Rio+20 while negotiating in Rio and many Sisters received positive responses from their politicians.

We were particularly pleased at the quick response of many Congregations when asked to lobby to maintain the right to water and sanitation in the Zero Draft of the Outcome Document which will be presented at Rio +20 for adoption by member states. Aine O' Connor rsm, MIA representative at the Conference,  has been attending meetings on an ongoing basis in preparation for the Rio conference and has spent this week in Rio continuing these discussions.

Although there were moves by some powerful countries to remove reference to the right to water and sanitation, civil society pressure to retain the language appears to be paying off as the right to water and sanitation is being recognized and upheld in the document; however, lobbying is continuing to call on governments to protect and fulfill this right.

Together with many other NGOs, Mercy International Association has been concerned about the negative environmental and social impacts that mining abuses inflict on communities and their environment; and, the need to gain the “free, prior and informed consent” of indigenous peoples for mining activities impacting their land, territories and resources.

We rejected proposed removal and weakening of references to safeguards and regulation of mining, including the need for transparency and accountability, and we called for clear references to respecting the rights of indigenous peoples . Thanks to all Congregations who brought these concerns to their official delegations heading to Rio + 20.

The Earth Summit Rio+20—officially named the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development—will be held from 20 to 22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice
during Rio+20 is an event organized by global civil society that will take place between the 15th and the 23rd of June alongside the United Nations Conference -Rio+20.

Mercy Sisters, through MIA will be represented at the preparatory meetings, the Earth Summit at Rio, and the People's Summit by Aine O’Connor rsm, Mercy Global Action Coordinator at the UN, and by Mary Bilderback rsm.

We wish them well at Rio and will remember them in our prayers. To access Prayer for Mother Earth as a Living Being, click here.

Messages to Mary Purcell - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

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