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UPDATE: Bolivia’s proposals for Rio+20

Bolivia has develop a 56-point program for the Rio+20 summit this coming June.

Notable among their proposals:


1. In this century, the central challenges of sustainable development are: on the one hand, to overcome poverty and the tremendous inequalities that exist and, on the other hand, reestablish the equilibrium of the Earth system. Both objectives are intrinsically linked and one cannot be reached independently of the other.

5. Sustainable development seeks to eradicate poverty in order to live well, not generate wealthy people who live at the expense of the poor. The goal is the satisfaction of basic human needs in order to allow for the development of human capabilities and human happiness, strengthening community among human beings and with Mother Earth.

The rights of nature

13. Human activity is altering the dynamics and functioning of the Earth system to a degree never before seen. The capitalist system is the principal cause of the imbalance because it puts the rules of the market and the accumulation of profit above the laws of nature. Nature is not simply a sum of elements, it’s not a source of resources that can be exploited, modified, altered, privatized, commercialized and transformed without any consequences.

15. To reestablish harmony with nature, we must recognize and respect the intrinsic laws of nature and its vital cycles. Not only do human beings have a right to a healthy life, but so do the other components and species belonging to the system we call nature. In an interdependent and interrelated system like the planet Earth, it is not possible to recognize the rights of just the human part of the system without affecting the whole. Just as human beings have rights, the Mother Earth also has the right to exist, the right to maintain its vital cycles, the right to regeneration, the right to be free from structural alteration, and the right to relate to the other parts of the Earth system. In order to reestablish balance with nature, it is necessary to clearly establish the obligations of humans toward nature, and to recognize that nature has rights that should be respected, promoted, and defended.

The human right to water

17. It is necessary to guarantee the human right to water, education, health, communication, transportation, energy and sanitation. The provision of these services must be essentially public and based on efficient social management, not private business. The principal goal should be common wellbeing and not private profit, in order to ensure that these services reach the poorest and most marginalized sectors in an equitable manner.

19. Without water, there is no life. Humans and all living things have the right to water, but water also has rights. All States and peoples worldwide should work together in solidarity to ensure that loss of vegetation, deforestation, the pollution of the atmosphere and contamination are prevented from continuing to alter the hydrological cycle. These cause desertification, lack of food, temperature increase, sea level rise, migrations, acid rain, and physical-chemical changes that could provoke the loss of genetic and species diversity, damaging the health of ecosystems.

Climate justice

21. It is essential to guarantee a real and effective reduction of greenhouse gases, particularly on the part of the developed countries historically responsible for climate change, in order to stabilize the increase in temperature to 1°C during this century. We must therefore strengthen the Kyoto Protocol with a second period of commitments by developed countries, instead of replacing it with a more flexible voluntary agreement. It is necessary to eliminate carbon market mechanisms and offsets so that real domestic reductions are made within the countries with said obligations. South Africa should not be another Cancun, delaying once again the central issue of substantive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Green Economy

41. The Green Economy considers it essential to put a price on the free services that plants, animals and ecosystems offer to humanity in the struggle for the conservation of biodiversity, water purification, pollination of plants, the protection of coral reefs and regulation of the climate. For the Green Economy, it is necessary to identify the specific functions of ecosystems and biodiversity and assign them a monetary value, evaluate their current status, set a limit after which they will cease to provide services, and concretize in economic terms the cost of their conservation in order to develop a market for each particular environmental service. For the Green Economy, the instruments of the market are powerful tools for managing the “economic invisibility of nature.”

Institutional architecture

50. The institutional architecture of the United Nations for sustainable development should establish a structure to promote balanced and equal treatment of the three pillars: the economic, social, and environmental. This institutional architecture should articulate and coordinate the different authorities involved in order to avoid overlapping efforts and achieve effective coordination.

54. The coordination of these three pillars should be under the auspices of a Council for Sustainable Development that is created on the basis of what is now the Commission on Sustainable Development. It should be at the level of a Council that would function as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, guaranteeing a fundamental role for States, coordinating with the Economic and Social Council, and with regular functioning to follow up on and implement the goals and mechanisms agreed and resolutions adopted.

To read their full program, please see

The Council of Canadians will intervene at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) – more commonly referred to as Rio+20 – set to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 20-22, 2012. To reflect our work in this area, we have launched a campaign web-page at