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Ten African countries going for the green economy of the 1%

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By Michele Maynard.

The recently adopted text “The Future We Want” by Heads of States attending the Rio+20 Earth Summit is, yet again, a reflection of the narrow interests of the 1% to the detriment of the Earth and the future continuity of the community of life. This text was actually agreed at the parallel meeting of the G20 in Mexico and merely rubber stamped in Rio, a reality totally overlooked by many. Money, power and voice still go hand in hand to rule the roost.

The ill-defined concept of the ‘green economy’ introduced into the negotiations by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and aggressively driven by the European Union and other industrialized countries seeks to further commodify and financialize all of life, nature and ecosystems. The free services provided to humans by forests, bees, water, etc. will now be given a price tag and traded by human beings. Only the value, law and logic of the market will be ensured. Humans, instead of caring for the created order and seeking balance and harmony as one part of the whole system of relationships, seeks to place itself over and above nature and to own, dominate and control life’s processes. Financed and enabled through the banking system that caused the global financial crises the new bubble market currently being pursued offers a new range of ‘artificial products’ including items such as biodiversity offsets, species credits, forest bonds, ecosystem services and interest in biodiversity derivatives. This is a very lucrative enterprise, but again, only for those who can afford to bet against species extinction and buy this new ‘life insurance’.

The UN Global Compact initiative Corporate Social Responsibility, a dismal failure for its onslaught on both the environment and social realities of communities, was further boosted in the new text with no regulatory or accountability frameworks but rather corporates will only ‘consider’ sustainability reporting making it purely voluntary with governments creating ‘enabling environments’ for the green economy policy pathway. Companies will continue in their destructive behavior and communities will have no access for reparations or distributive justice.

Ten African nations pledged, ahead of Rio+20, to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts. These complicit African heads of states or governments have chosen sides with the 1% to sell Africa out: Botswana, Liberia, Mozambique and Namibia, along with ministers from Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania. Together they signed the ‘Gaborone Declaration’ at the Summit for Sustainability in Africa (24-25 May), co-hosted by the government of Botswana and the nongovernmental organisation Conservation International.

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