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NEWS: ‘Planet Under Pressure’ conference to call for ‘new system of global water governance’, March 26-29

The Guardian UK reports that at the first ‘Earth Summit’ in 1992 in Rio, more than 100 world leaders attended the two-weeks of meetings. “Rio+20 will be held in the Brazilian megacity this June. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the hearts of our leaders are not in this. It will last for just three days (June 20-22), rather than the 14 days of its predecessor. President Obama isn’t going.” British Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated that he’s not attending either. Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has made no indication if he will attend.

The Council of Canadians has been critical of the corporate ‘green economy’ agenda to be advanced at Rio+20. We have stated that it promotes the commodification of nature, the privatization of water utilities, the construction of mega-dams, and fails to assist in the implementation of the UN-recognized right to water and sanitation. In the Guardian UK article, “Andy White, coordinator of the Washington-based Rights and Resources Initiative, (says) ‘there is nothing in the draft Rio+20 text that even mentions the rights of poor people to their land and their forests, even though we know they are far better custodians of nature than governments or private corporations.'”

“The International Council for Science (ICSU), which represents science bodies in 140 countries including the U.S. National Academy of Science, has organized a meeting in London in March to put pressure on the politicians to get real in Rio. The event, Planet Under Pressure, is one of the formal pre-Rio preparatory meetings, and it won’t pull its punches.” The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme are among the sponsors of the conference.

Significantly, “The scientists want Rio+20 to pledge a new system of global water governance that would be charged with protecting international rivers for downstream users and maintaining irreplaceable underground water reserves for future generations.”

Additionally, “Frank Biermann of the Free University Amsterdam, who heads ICSU’s Earth System Governance Project, will tell the conference that at…the very least we need something like a UN environmental security council — with real muscle to call the big polluters, ecosystem trashers, and resource plunderers to account and to drag us back from those tipping points.”

And, “Alex Evans of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, a co-founder of,…proposes harnessing the Web for an instant ‘global outsourcing process’ during the 100 days leading up to the summit. Starting with the scientists’ conference, those hundred days could rewrite the politicians’ flaccid agenda, and pick peoples’ delegates to attend on behalf of the real world.”

More on the “Planet Under Pressure” conference at

The Council of Canadians Rio+20 campaign web-page is at