The media will tell you that the Rio +20 Sustainable Environment Conference began on Wednesday, June 20, with world leaders converging on Rio de Rio de Janeiro, but for the pro-family world the drama ended in the days prior. It ended with the completion of the outcome document entitled “The Future We Want” – a document that the radical environmental group, Greenpeace, is calling the “longest suicide note in history.” This 49-page document has disappointed and even outraged our opposition while energizing the pro-family/pro-life effort.
A colleague at Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Tim Hermann, gives this overview:
In an astounding show of solidarity, a diverse group of countries rallied together with the Holy See to successfully remove any mention of reproductive rights or population control from the final outcome document produced during the last round of UN negotiations at the Rio +20 conference this week.
For the past six months, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) along with Norway and Iceland, and Catholics for Choice and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, have worked feverishly to take advantage of the Rio +20 conference on sustainable development in order to promote both an international right to abortion and population control.
We are happy to report that they were unsuccessful! Population control language with its new iteration of “population dynamics” was eliminated and the language of sexual and reproductive rights made no advances. Those who sought to reconfigure the way wealth is distributed were stymied and the green economy/global warming crowd saw an outcome document that was by their estimation so watered down and ineffectual that the Executive Director of Greenpeace tweeted: “This is Rio Minus 20 which Fails on equity, fails on ecology, fails on economy – text [is]longest suicide note in history…”
Robert Engelman, Worldwatch Institute, lamented:
“At a time when scientists are calling attention to the real possibility that humanity is pushing the planet to a “state shift”—-a point in which conditions for human and non-human life could quickly and dramatically deteriorate—-there is no concrete action called for that is remotely commensurate to this real risk.”
Headlines like: “Rio+20 Agreement Fails Women, and the World and “Progress on Earth Issues too Slow,” speak to the frustration of those who had hoped this conference would give a much-needed boost to the stalled out environmental movement.
This highly-publicized event is the 20-year follow up to the Earth Summit (1992) when environmental activists gathered in Rio to create an agenda for the “greening” of the international community and to create a world of true environmental and social sustainability.
The Rio Declaration and Principles, along with Agenda 21 (the “21” being a reference to the 21st Century) has been praised as the “comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans directly affect the environment.” And, it has also been blasted as “a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control.”
Environmentalism & the Anti-Family Agenda
Although we at UFI are proponents of wise stewardship and care of the planet, we must point out that the environmental movement has provided a foundation, credibility, and impetus to an anti-family agenda. If you believed that there were too many people on the earth and the planet was being harmed, you would support population control. Population control would include the pushing of contraception, sterilization, and abortion would fit nicely in that package.
This mindset has spawned the belief that countries cannot develop unless they limit their population growth opening the door to large amounts of international development money being funneled into abortion advocate’s coffers where they use that money to promote “sexual and reproductive rights,” radical feminism, alternative forms of families, early sexualization of young people (as long as all forms of contraception and legalized abortion are readily available), and LGBT rights – even homosexual behavior is advantageous when a major goal is to limit the number of people being born.
Factors that led to a successful pro-family outcome
1. The environmental movement as a whole has been dealt a series of blows with the failure of international meetings like the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, global climate change research scandals, failure of “green” companies, a global recession, and a growing public skepticism to the message of impending environmental doom.
2. In the international community there are concerns on the part of the developing world that if they accept the developed world’s ideology and push for sustainable development that these so-called “sustainable practices” will not only be prohibitively expensive, but that their ability to grow their economies will be severely limited. During the negotiations, delegations from the developed world were more interested in pushing for investment from the north and in setting up the technology transfers that would aid their individual economies than in discussing a path towards a “green energy revolution.”
3. Countries are simply not as gullible as they were during the first Rio back in 1992. There is no longer a lock-step belief that the best way to keep the earth “green” and to grow healthy economies is to get rid of people. Stefano Gennarini, C-Fam, explains it this way:
“Twenty years ago many developing countries did not question the science and desirability behind population control policies. Today, developing countries are more weary of mentions of population dynamics, population reduction or stabilization and similar verbiage. Countries now know that population woes are grossly overstated, and are even fearful of being subjected to the same economic fate as European countries if they adopt population control as a policy. In addition, the racial motivation at the origins of population policies still alarm developing countries.”
4. An amazing and dedicated group of pro-life/pro-family leaders have been there to shore up and educate family-supportive delegations during the long negotiating sessions (scattered over the last six months) all leading up to the formal 3-day Rio+20 Conference. A special “thank you” to the Holy See Delegation for their dedication to life and to the family; for their courage in speaking out and taking the lead under very difficult circumstances.
We are grateful to be able to report to you that all these factors were able to combine this last week – protecting the future of the family and saving the lives of unborn children around the world. This is the goal and objective of all UFI’s involvement at the United Nations. It is our hope that a respect for the environment and the planet on which we all live, can combine with the over arching respect for human life. They are not mutually exclusive and both deserve our best efforts.
President, United Families International
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