Caritas Internationalis Delegate Joseph Cornelius Donnelly reports from Bonn.
How do we share responsibilities, hold one another mutually accountable to protect, preserve and share the precious gifts of the Earth?
This is the key question for 2000 participants from around the world in Bonn for a United Nations Department of Public Affairs/Non-Governmental (NGO) conference.
The meeting is part of the build up to a major international conference on sustainable development next June in Brazil. The Rio+20 conference will take place 20 years after the historic Earth Summit in Brazil in June 1992. The Brazilian government is preparing its RIO+20 document for submission to the UN in November. Its National Commission is also working on the role civil society and NGOs will have in Rio.
Governments signed up to a far reaching plan of action to curb human impact on the environment at the Earth Summit called Agenda 21. The plan has failed. Here in Bonn, there is a search for the priority issues to give global attention to in Brazil next year June. What is clear in Bonn is that there is a huge energy to overcome the challenges.
There is a need to look beyond 2012. We must think 2020. We need to look at new global indicators. We must build ‘community-wise’ sustainability. We must look at the environment not just from a scientific and finance view point, but from a justice perspective too.
And not everything on the green economy for sustainable societies needs to be new.
Twenty years after Rio, why is this so tough to sell. We can’t claim ignorance anymore. Is it sustained indifference? It’s probably up to each of us, each nation and each community, multiplying our green potential.
I’m present in Bonn as a Caritas Internationalis delegate along with colleagues from Caritas Germany. I am also in dialogue with members and colleagues from Rome, Kampala, Montreal, Jerusalem, New Zealand, Tokyo, Bogotá, London, Freiburg, Geneva, Sydney, Washington and beyond.
Our Caritas conversation is essential regarding climate change, food security, sustainability, civic energies holding leaders accountable, as well as ourselves. As great leaders have said through history: we must be precise on the very changes we advocate for all. We are necessary parts of the long-awaited solutions. We must ask ourselves just how “green” are we?
We can be quite sure – it matters much to many that Caritas is here, that our local and global investments are deliberately green. It matters that Caritas priorities are fully focused on one human family for integrated human development, aid effectiveness and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The MDGs are a series of anti-poverty targets agreed by most governments. The final goal covers global partnerships. Caritas said at the UN General Assembly in 2005 that NGOs are a critical window and without such input the global dialogue risks being incomplete. Part of our role is to grow this one human family with its call for zero poverty. Such solidarity never falls from the sky. It rises up from our Caritas roots where we know local is global and will be part of our common journey to Rio+20.