Twenty years ago, with a view to the implementation of Agenda 21, some hope was raised that the road to poverty eradication, social justice and the protection of the environment could be built. Now, in the run up to the Rio+20 Summit much, if not all hope seems to evaporate.
In Yemen in 2005, immediately after a presidential decision to bypass parliament and remove subsidies, people demonstrated their anger and many died as police and army forces fired into the crowds. The advice to carry out these reforms was contemplated late in 2004 at a conference organised by the World Bank aimed at reducing the government deficit by removal of subsidies.
On 20-22 June 2012, governments from around the world will gather in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to commemorate 20 years of the "Earth Summit", the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). La Vía Campesina will mobilize for this historical moment, representing the voice of the millions of peasants and indigenous globally who are defending the well-being of all by implementing food sovereignty and the protection of natural resources.
The G20 came together in April 2009 to pledge a co-ordinated response to unprecedented global economic threats. This not only had a role in staving off immediate disaster through the implementation of broadly Keynesian responses, but also promise more for the future. But by late 2011, when it was already clear that the global economy was still in a major mess and needed co-ordinated strategies for recovery, the G20 already seemed to be very much a spent force, unable even to agree amongst themselves, much less provide any clear direction for the global economy.