Women at Rio+20: disappointed and outraged

Posted: 25 June 2012

Commenting on the outcome if the Rio+20 conference, which ended at the weekend, a statement on  behalf of 200 civil society women’s organizations said  they were “greatly disappointed and seriously outraged by the results of the conference."

"We believe that the governments of the world have failed women, future generations and our beautiful but fragile planet earth," they said in a a startemnt after the meeting.

Sascha Gabizon, Executive Director of Women in Europe for a Common Future, (WECF), a key coordinating group, said "Two years of negotiations have culminated in a Rio+20 outcome that makes almost no progress for women's rights and rights of future generations in sustainable development.

"For many delegates and women's organizations, the core of the matter was expressed by the welcome billboards at the Rio+20 conference centre where just below the "bienvenidos" was the logo of Petrobras - one of the largest oil and big-hydro companies, a sector central to the root causes of un-sustainable development."

"At Rio+20, governments had a historic chance to take bold steps to end poverty and environmental destruction, to protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of our societies, to take concrete measures to fully implement women's rights and women's leadership. We now risk increased poverty, inequities and irreversible environmental damage."

Anita Nayar, Executive Committee Member of Development Alternatives with Women for A New Era (DAWN) - another major coordinating organization of Rio+20 Women said, "The lack of recognition of reproductive rights as essential to sustainable development was especially disappointing. Women worldwide are outraged that governments failed to recognize women's reproductive rights as a central aspect of gender equality and sustainable development in the Rio+20 Outcome Document. Reproductive rights are universally recognized as human rights."

The linkage between sustainable development and reproductive rights was recognized in Agenda 21 and subsequently in the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Program of Action.

A Brazilian member of the women's caucus added: "This is the first time that we talk so much in Brazil about women's rights and our great but often invisible contribution to society, the economy and development. It has been very important that reproductive rights, in particular, have received so much press and media attention at Rio+20. As in most Latin American countries, in Brazil, we do not have reproductive rights!"

The Women's Major Group (WMG), comprises over 200 organizations, facilitated by three Organizing Partners - Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Voices of African Mothers (VAM), and Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN). It is supported by core members including, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA), Global Forest Coalition, and Women's Environment Development Organization (WEDO).