World leaders fail at summit in Rio

22 June 2012

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 22 - Commenting on the Rio+20 Summit closing day, Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International said: "World leaders failed at their summit in Rio, mainly because of the undue influence that multinational corporations have on them and the UN.

"But the parallel People's Summit demonstrated that real solutions to the current crises do exist and that people are successfully mobilizing around them.

"By exposing the negative influence of multinational corporations we have gained considerable momentum in our efforts to reclaim the UN as a people's space. And this campaign is just starting."

At the UN Rio+20 Summit Friends of the Earth International delegates joined a key protest by a group of young people and civil society organisations denouncing world leaders' failure to tackle the planetary crisis.

Hundreds of people condemned the failed Rio+20 Summit process as "the future corporations bought," first sitting down at the entrance of the Rio+20 Summit and then tearing up copies of the Ri~20 Summit text. They later walked out of the conference centre, handing in their badges, and chanting 'the future we want is not here'.

The protestors said that the voices of people and in particular the young people are being ignored at this UN Summit in the interest of corporations that continue to promote a business-as-usual model based upon dirty fossil fuels, and social and environmental exploitation.

Friends of the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey met UN Secretary, General Ban Ki-moon, and delivered a civil society statement denouncing the corporate domination of the United Nations, during a meeting with the organisers of the alternative Peoples Summit in Rio, which includes Friends of the Earth International.

More than 400 civil society organizations representing millions of people from around the world signed the statement - initiated by Friends of the Earth International and nine other organisations.

The statement is part of a Friends of the Earth International campaign 'Reclaim the UN' which included the launch of a report exposing the increasing influence of major corporations and business lobby groups within the UN.

The report 'Reclaim the UN from Corporate Capture' presents a number of cases that clearly expose how UN policies and agencies are excessively influenced by the corporate sector, for instance oil company Shell, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, the Coca Cola company, and the Chinese oil giant PetroChina.