Rio + 20: Fairness in a Finite World

Rio + 20: Fairness in a Finite World


20 years after the first Earth Summit, the international community will gather once more in Rio de Janeiro from the 20th to the 22th of June 2012. But for a greener, more equitable and more resource efficient world mere declarations will not be enough. A serious shift in priorities is needed. A greener economy is possible, but it needs to be socially just, gender equitable and democratic. For us and our partners worldwide, Rio 2012 is a call to action and yet another chance to actively take part in the political debates on a socially and ecologically equitable future. We are searching for solutions and alternatives to the destructive model of economic growth as we have known it for the past 200 years of industrialization - for solutions that provide for a life in dignity but without destructing the natural resource basis on which we depend.


Rio2012 – a commented link list

- April 24, 2012 - The international community will decide about the future of the international environmental architecture in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. Another point on the agenda is the reform of UN institutions responsible for Sustainable Development. On the following page you will find a commented list of links. more»


Another attempt to save the planet?

- April 5, 2012 -

Green technologies in themselves will not bring about the change we need. Growth at any price must no longer be the paramount goal. Agriculture is one of the sectors in which reform is most urgent – and, at the same time, most difficult.  

Barbara Unmüßig more»

Policy Paper

The Green Economy – The New Magic Bullet?

- March 30, 2012 - In this essay, the president of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Barbara Unmuessig, critically reflects on the opportunities for and the shortcomings of the concept of a "Green Economy" to influence economic policy making globally, its relationship to the paradigm of sustainable development and the need to rethink our understanding and focus on growth. Barbara Unmüßig more»
United Nation Headquarter New York

Global Environmental Governance and Rio +20: Thinking Big – Doing Little?

- April 11, 2011 - There is little faith in the reform of the UN system; nonetheless, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 – also known as Rio +20 – is not only to set the stage for a green economy, but also to provide an impetus for the institutional reform of the UN environmental sector. Barbara Unmüßig more»
Water buckets


Women who go, women who stay: reactions to climate change

- March 25, 2011 - Migration is a strategy to adapt to climate change, yet there are significant differences between men and women. Jenny Jungehülsing has conducted a case study in southern Mexico to put a gender focus on the discussion on migration and climate change. more»


A Matter of Principle(s) - A Normative Framework for a Global Compact on Public Climate Finance

- November 26, 2010 - How can we assure, that tax money used for public climate change finance are used as fairly, efficiently and effectively as possible? A study suggests principles and criteria that the public sector should take into account in the allocation of funds for urgent action in developing countries to adapt and reduce emissions. By Liane Schalatek more»

A Green Financial Reform to Pay the Deficit Caused by the Crisis

- May 18, 2010 - The ecological challenges are enormous. As long as there are financial incentives that point the other way, we will not be able to solve these and other environmental problems within a market economy. State finances will have to be put on a new base. By Damian Ludewig more»


Gender and Climate Change in Southern Africa

- April 27, 2010 - Although various studies have focused on climate change impacts and adaptation opportunities in Africa, few have focused on the household level and in particular on gender differentiated impacts of climate change. This study, commissioned by Heinrich Böll Stiftung, provides an analysis and summary of the findings of eight case studies carried out in four southern African countries. Furthermore, the study aims to identify various policies, programmes and activities that could address these issues. more»


Publication Series on Ecology, Volume 26

International Resource Politics

- June 19, 2012 - Natural resources are back on the agenda. This paper underlines a new dimension of international relations and pleads for new approaches, called international resource politics, which can be used for ongoing debates concerning green economy and transition strategies. more»


North South Transitions to Green Economies

- June 19, 2012 - The worldwide and sustainable transition of energy systems will only succeed if the economic and technological capacities of all countries are involved. Few developing countries have considerable production capacities for climate-friendly technologies. If the creation of attractive enabling environments in the global South goes hand in hand with new ways of careful export support in the global North, this will work as a global and fair Green New Deal.  more»

Publication Series on Ecology, Volume 22

Critique of the Green Economy - Toward Social and Environmental Equity

- June 13, 2012 - The idea of growth as the way to end poverty and escape economic and financial crisis remains largely undisputed and is currently reflected in the concept of the green economy. But not everything that is “green” and efficient is also environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. This essay outlines a policy of less, of wealth in moderation, to enable the Earth’s resources to make a life of dignity and without need possible for all.  more»


Inside a Champion

- June 7, 2012 - The international community likes to see Brazil as a socially oriented, economically successful state that is sensitive to environmental and climate-friendly issues – a great power on its way to the top; a champion. But in Brazilian civil society, another perception of its own state and the politics it pursues prevails. This publication takes a closer look at this discrepancy between how Brazil is perceived by those outside of and within its borders. more»

Publication Series Ecology, Volume 21

The Future We Want - A Feminist Perspective

- March 15, 2012 - The Future We Want – the motto chosen by the UN in the run-up to the June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) – is certainly forward-looking. Rio+20 is supposed to define routes towards a safer, fairer, greener, and cleaner world. But the blueprints for a green economy are devoid of gender perspectives. Christa Wichterich’s essay takes a closer look on the relations between feminism and ecology.  more»

Publication Series Ecology, Volume 17

Buen Vivir: Latin America’s new concepts for the good life and the rights of nature

- July 22, 2011 - Leftist governments in Ecuador and Bolivia have drawn up new constitutions. Buen Vivir – the right to a good life and the rights of nature – has been enshrined in these documents. Buen Vivir is based on indigenous traditions and sees itself as a concept that departs from Western paradigms of affluence. This essay describes the political genesis of a complex concept. Thomas Fatheuer more»
Cover: Kopf aus Leuchtröhren

Publication series ecology, Volume 14

Mental Infrastructures: How Growth Entered the World and Our Souls

- July 14, 2011 - In light of the recent ecological, financial and economic crisis, criticizing the all-powerful paradigm of economic growth is necessary. But growth as will and representation not only pervades corporate headquarters, stock exchanges and ministries, but also our heads. Harald Welzer more»

Policy paper

Biomassters Battle to Control the Green Economy

- June 12, 2012 - At Rio+20, the concept of the "green economy" focuses on industrial production from biomass as one way to overcome fossil fuel dependency. The push for a bio-based economy comes with a call for market-based mechanisms for the financialization of the Earth’s natural processes, re-branded as ‘ecosystem services’, which also encourage land and water grabs.  etc Group and Heinrich Boell Foundation more»

Policy paper

Low Hanging Fruit: Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Climate Finance, and Sustainable Development

- June 12, 2012 - Recent estimates of global fossil fuel subsidies for production and consumption are staggering, putting the total near US$775 billion annually or higher.  In a time of economic hardship, dangerous climate change, and growing demand for reliable and cleaner sources of energy, these fossil fuel subsidies are a reckless and irrational use of taxpayer money and government investments. Elizabeth Bast, Traci Romine, Stephen Kretzmann, Srinivas Krishnaswamy, Lo Sze Ping more»


The G20: Playing Outside the Big Tent

- June 12, 2012 - This month, two events occur back-to-back: the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio +20”) in Brazil and the Group of 20 (G20) Summit, in Mexico.  This paper asks how the powerful G20 might influence outcomes of Rio+20.  Nancy Alexander and Peter Riggs more»


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