Maurice Strong redux via “innovative bridge” at Rio

Remember the “invitation” that you and I did not receive to participate in the “Rio+20 Dialogues”?

Well, it seems that Maurice Strong was invited. Strong, who has been keeping a rather low profile in recent years, has tentacles a history which includes the United Nations (UN)’s disgraceful Oil for Food scandal. And let us not forget his greatest gifts to the world. He was the Godfather of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP, promulgator of scary stories since 1972) and Secretary-General ( i.e. head honcho) of the original Rio conference (which gave birth to Agenda 21).

As reported yesterday, Reason‘s Ronald Bailey had observed:

Canadian oilman Maurice Strong warned in 1992 that humanity’s deleterious current path “could lead to the end of civilization” and that “this planet could soon become uninhabitable for people.”

Mind you, Strong’s invitation/participation in controlling, sorry … shepherding these “Dialogues” does not appear [PDF] to have been “advertised” in advance, in contrast to that of:

Dr. Pavan Sukhdev (India) – Founder and CEO, Gist Advisory Private Ltd.
Ms. Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Canada) – Board of Directors, David Suzuki Foundation

Sukhdev was the “Lead Author” of TEEB – the New Testament version of the Climate Bible. His “mantra”, in his own words:

“What you do not measure, you cannot manage”

Sukhdev’s other contributions, as I had noted in October 2010, include other inspiring gems such as “putting nature on the balance sheet” (his “mantra” will no doubt come in handy for this!). To refresh your memory, here’s an excerpt from his description of TEEB:

The study is drawing on expertise from around the world to evaluate the costs of the loss of biodiversity and the associated decline in ecosystem services worldwide, and to compare them with the costs of effective conservation and sustainable use. The intent of the study is to sharpen awareness of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services and facilitate the development of effective policy, as well as engaged business and citizen responses.

But back to the Dialogues in which we were not invited to participate … According to the UN site, they were “organized” by the Government of Brazil, “with the support of the United Nations”:

In the four days prior to the High Level Segment, representatives from civil society, including private sector, NGOs, scientific community, among other major groups, will convene at the same venue of the Rio+20 Conference. They are expected to engage in an open and action-oriented debate on key topics related to sustainable development. There will be no participation of Governments or UN agencies. Three recommendations emanating from each of the Dialogues will be conveyed directly to the Heads of State and Government present at the Summit.

Ten topics will be debated, based on their relevance to the furthering of sustainable development. […]

This innovative bridge between civil society and Heads of State and Government is expected to contribute to the incorporation and engagement of stakeholders, based on the understanding that public participation is essential for the consolidation of sustainable development as the paradigm for action in both the public and the private sectors. [emphasis added -hro]

But I suppose some public participation (i.e. that of Strong, Cullis-Suzuki and Sukhdev) is more essential than that of others (i.e. yours and mine!)

Needless to say, the “panel” participants in this “no participation of Governments or UN agencies” were selected:

by the Brazilian government from a wide consultation with UN agencies, major NGOs and think tanks. The panelists were finalized by taking consideration of the geographic balance and gender balance. The moderators for the onsite events are from major media groups, such as CNN and the Economist. [And, evidently, the U.K. Guardian -hro]

Yesterday, June 16, the “Dialogues” agenda included discussion of:

Unemployment, decent work and migrations
Sustainable development as an answer to the economic and financial crises
Sustainable development for fighting poverty

For the record, here are the contributions of Strong, Sukhdev and Cullis-Suzuki, as recorded by the IISD in their Highlights from day one of “Sustainable Development Dialogue Days” in Rio. First IISD’s intro:

The format for the sessions was a panel presentation and discussion, followed by a question and answer session. The sessions focused on ten recommendations emanating from a public online vote, and also provided a platform for refining and proposing additional recommendations, with the objective of the sessions to produce three final recommendations to be delivered to the Heads of State and government: one derived from the top online vote; one from the top in-session vote from the audience; and one reflecting panellists preferred recommendation. [emphasis added -hro]

I might have missed it, but I don’t recall seeing who would be responsible for deriving the “top online vote” although I do recall seeing mention of un-named Facilitators somewhere in my travels; so perhaps this was their job in building this “innovative bridge”! But I digress … here are the words of wisdom from Strong, Cullis-Suzuki and Sukhdev [all emphases mine -hro]:

Maurice Strong [on Unemployment, Decent Work and Migration]

Described as: Secretary-General, Stockholm Conference and Rio Conference

Maurice Strong, Secretary General, Stockholm Conference and Rio Conference, highlighted the “false premise” that all people will be able to earn a living by working, which he said is not feasible within a knowledge economy. He expressed hope for a revolutionary economy where citizens are shareholders with equal ownership and access to resources. (Presumably, whether they “earn a living by working” or not -hro)

Severn Cullis-Suzuki [on Sustainable Development for Fighting Poverty]

Severn Cullis-Suzuki, David Suzuki Foundation, Canada, explained that she continues to help transform society and fight for intergenerational justice. She considered the impact of measuring poverty in terms of money in societies that do not rely on fiscal exchange. (Yet another word-salad from a true-blue Suzuki -hro)

Described as: David Suzuki Foundation

Pavan Sukhdev [on Sustainable Development for Fighting Poverty]

Described as: Special Advisor, Green Economy Initiative, UNEP

Pavan Sukhdev, Green Economy Initiative, UNEP, said small farmers play a critical role in food production, particularly those living off subsistence farming, and that small farms and farmers tend to sell at the bottom of the market due to lack of investment. He called for policies and subsidies for small farms as means to fight poverty.** (Sounds like the seeds of yet another “innovative” funding mechanism to my ears -hro)

** Elsewhere in this report, it was noted that:

Responding to comments on the behavior of corporations, Sukhdev agreed on the lack of responsibility of today’s corporations, where the focus was entirely on profit and externalizing costs, calling for the audience to add externalities and unaccountable and irresponsible advertising to the recommendations.

Considering all of the above – not to mention that which other panelists “contributed” – YMMV, but it seems to me that this may well be an “innovative bridge” that is far too far-out for the Future I Want ;-)

Almost forgot to tell you that … “Climate change” received only two mentions from this “innovative bridge; the second of which was a reference to the:

UN Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, suggesting that US$ 100 billion could be raised annually by 2020 for climate finance and that limited public financing could be used more imaginatively.

So much for “climate change” being the “greatest threat to the future of the planet, eh?!

One thought on “Maurice Strong redux via “innovative bridge” at Rio

  1. Deconfabulation:
    The people (government) must be shareholders (owners, with control) of all economic activity.
    Small farms (fiefholdings) … as a means to fight poverty (break industrial society, reduce its citizens to subsistence farmers or vassals).

    Never forget that Strong’s fundamental plan is de-industrialization, with its necessary depopulation.

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