June 12, 2012

Statement of Mercy International Association to Governments on Rio+20

The challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century are urgent and immediate. They impel the global community to advance an equitable and sustainable model of development. They impel world leaders and governments to implement a rights-based approach to development and poverty eradication within the limits of the finite natural resources of the planet, by strengthening the interdependent and mutually reinforcing economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development.

Current economic growth is built on the exploitation of natural resources that are assumed to be limitless but are in fact finite. The environment is rapidly being degraded, biodiversity is being depleted, water resources are becoming scarce and increasingly contaminated: the climate is in crisis. Our current patterns of economic growth and consumption are jeopardizing the very future of the planet and are causing increasingly catastrophic global poverty and injustice.

Representing 9,000 Religious Sisters of Mercy and 4,800 Mercy Associates ministering across six continents, in 44 countries, we call on all the governments in the countdown to Rio+20 to respond with immediacy and measurable efficacy to end poverty and to shift development and economic policies onto a more sustainable and equitable pathway.
Acknowledging that a growing inequity exists between the wealthy and those who are
impoverished and that the basic rights to water, food, energy, land, education and health services fail to be realized,

We, Sisters of Mercy call on Governments at Rio+20

To reclaim and advance an ethical and equitable global vision that promotes ecological and social integrity, the global common good and the well-being of all.

Acknowledging that current market-driven globalization inhibits efforts toward sustainable development and that transnational corporations sacrifice the opportunities and livelihoods of peoples for profit,
We, Sisters of Mercy, seek a more equitable and ecologically just economic system. We therefore call on Governments at Rio+20

  • To hold governments and transnational corporations accountable for implementing practices and policies that invest in and support the common good;
  • To promote the public good by guaranteeing that the human right to water and sanitation is protected, protected and fulfilled; that the rights to nourishment, land, energy and development must be realized, and all that is essential to life be guaranteed and protected against privatization for the sake of profit..
  • To ensure local economies that promote local livelihoods, local food production, community solidarity and ecosystem resilience;
  • To build future frameworks with the guarantee that local communities, especially Peasant Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, and Fisherfolk are included as active participants, ensuring their right to livelihood and development.

Acknowledging that the natural resources of a country belong to its citizens, and that the mining of these natural resources can negatively impact public health, food sovereignty, consumer choice and livelihood, and economic opportunities,

We, Sisters of Mercy believe that not just the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) but that the wellbeing of global citizens and the health of the environment must be at the centre in measuring economic progress. Therefore we call on governments at Rio+20

  • To explore alternatives to current mining industry practices so as to secure long term economic and sustainable development for local communities;
  • To enable Farmers, Peasants and Indigenous Peoples to own their own land; to enable them to harvest and exchange their own seeds; to promote the practice of sustainable agriculture
  • To develop fair and equitable trade policies;
  • To ensure financial regulation so as to stop speculation on food commodities.

Acknowledging that the Precautionary Principle is not being implemented and that our future cannot be trusted to unproven and unsustainable technologies,
We, Sisters of Mercy call on governments at Rio+20

  • To actively enforce the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, agreed upon in Rio 1992
  • To use the Precautionary Principle in assessing the appropriateness of technologies meant to advance development and agriculture;
  • To ensure policies are in place to provide access to relevant information, and enable public participation in decision making.

At no other time in history have humans been so capable of grand, creative and ethical partnership with the natural world, of bringing about justice, ecological and economic abundance for all. At the same time never have we experienced the level of poverty and devastation to life-supporting ecosystems putting the entire community of life in peril.

The planet and future generations depend upon you and your positive action NOW.

Messages to: Mercy International Association

First published April 11, 2012

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