30 May 2012
New Zealand is not looking good when it comes to promises it made 20 years ago at the Rio Earth Summit.
New Zealand officials have been in a series of meetings with other countries to redraft and alter principles of the original document to water down and back away from caring for the most impoverished people.
The much needed balance between the economy, the environment and society is threatening to become lopsided with more value heavily leaning toward the environment at the expense of society. Thus the most vulnerable people who still do not have access to the basic rights of clean water, sanitation, food, housing, education continue to suffer.
Governments from around the world are gathering in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 20-22, to commemorate 20 years of the ‘Earth Summit’, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development that first established a global agenda for ‘sustainable development’.
There will be a strong Catholic presence at the summit as many religious have NGO status at the United Nations including the Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aoteoroa Sisters of Mercy and the Presentation Sisters.
Coalitions of religious communities are also present at the United Nations and members have a presence with the poorest of society in at least 72 countries.We may be confident that Catholic Social Teaching principles will be used to underpin the response from many Catholics at Rio as they struggle with the many issues.
Mary-Ann Greaney of the archdiocesan Justice, Peace and Development desk is being sponsored by the International Presentation Association of Sisters and Associates at the Rio Summit.
She will be representing the many people on the margins and the poorest in society – the people the sisters and associates live and work alongside on a daily basis. Wel-com will have her impressions of this meeting when she returns.