More Transparency Talk within the Environmental Debate

The panel on post-Rio+20 challenges highlighted the reasons why environmental degradation should be seeing as a sign of corruption.

As the negotiations in Doha, Qatar, unfold during the 18th UN Conference on Climate Change many of the issues that were discussed at the recent 15IACC have came to my mind. It was
a month ago that I had the pleasure to moderate the panel about sustainable development and transparency at the meeting in Brasilia.

At that opportunity, some of the panelists expressed optimism on multilateral efforts among countries to address urgent planetary problems. Others, nonetheless, have pointed that we are running late to save humanity, and corruption is part of the fail.

The participants were the ministry of Environment of Brazil, Izabella Teixeira, the acting president of the World Resources Institute (WRI), Manish Bapna, the director of World Vision International, Beris Gwyne, and the executive director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naido. The secretary of UNEP, Achim Steiner, has sent a video message.

Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the World Resources Institute

I ask them to give us an overview on their expectations after the agreement reached at the Rio+20 summit, in June this year. Minister Izabella was the optimist: she mentioned the start of a new moment, a new process to set the Sustainable Development Goals. But Kumi explained why he sees the agreement as the “longest suicidal note” in history. For him, governments are ceding to lobby of powerful sectors of economy, delaying action.

I thought that Manish Bapna brought new insights by mentioning that access to information can revolutionize the transparency movement. The reporter Jessica Weiss, one of the fellows of the young journalists grant, has wrote a nice piece on the ideas presented by the president of the WRI, see here

It was somehow surprising to me at the beginning to listen Steiner saying that it was not more laws, frameworks or conventions that we are lacking, but enforcement. Sounds obvious, but I like his examples on the necessity of giving governments technical capacity to be transparent, by equipping laboratories, environmental institutes and so on.

Beris Gwynne, from World Vision International, came with a broader issue to be discussed: the power itself of influencing decisions. Has the power really shifted hands with all the instruments and means of civil society participation, she asked?

I think the Kyoto Protocol, which the first period finishes this year, is a good example. Right now, while I sit in my office in rainy São Paulo the treaty is being discussed at the dry Arabian Peninsula. What this piece of international law represents on my life is difficult to know at the present. But, if the climate scenarios are confirmed, its failure could one day be felt by all in the future. When this moment arrives, will society look back and see the environmental degradation as a sign of corruption?

Gustavo Faleiros, Knight International Fellow

By Gustavo Faleiros. Gustavo is a Brazilian journalist, Knight International Fellow. He moderated the panel Rio+20: can we live in a corruption free World? at the 15th IACC

Print This Post PRINT THIS PAGE

Leave a comment