The following is a a statement that was drafted by a group of people in the Major Group for Children and Youth. It was supposed to be delivered to the closing plenary of Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development tonight (Friday 22nd June 2012). The UN decided initially that ALL of civil society (represented by 9 Major Groups) would have 2 minutes total in which to addredd world leaders. Civil society decided unanimously that this would be the statement on their behalf. However, the decision was later changed, and we were onced again denied a voice. Following youth led actions inside the UN conference centre, which protested the lack of vision, ambition, and inclusiveness, this censorship is particularly vile. But the statement is powerful, and also hopeful.
I want you to imagine a generation that has been damned, imagine children deprived of a world without war, imagine a community where human beings are slaves to fellow beings and where disease and hunger are the order of the day. That is the future we warned you of in 92 and that future, is today.
If these sheets of paper are our common future, then you have sold our fate and subsidised our common destruction. Where was our voice, the voice of our children and grandchildren in this? How can you listen to them in the future if you did not show the will to create the space now?
We have one planet. Our being, our thinking, and our action should not be constrained by national boundaries but by planetary ones. You failed to liberate yourself from national and corporate self-interest and recognise our need to respect a greater more transcendental set of boundaries.
We came here to celebrate our generation. We have danced, and dreamed, and loved on the streets of Rio and found something to believe in. You have chosen not to celebrate with us.
You were supposed to show leadership. It was not just your job to seek consensus. It was your responsibility to commit, show ambition and to lead. You have failed.
You have worked hard to close a deal. So, if any of you think this document is the ambitious, action-‐oriented outcome you said you wanted, please stand up.
If you are unable to stand up, then you must be unwilling to move forward. So we will move forward for you.
We know this:
We need intergenerational cooperation. We need innovation and creativity. We need to embrace the values of sustainability, equity, justice and respect for human rights. We need to recognise that material resources are finite, but human potential is not.
We will create strong global institutions We will create new paradigms of wealth and prosperity We will act as the voice for future generations, one that you so wilfully ignored. We will stand united beyond borders and bridge the national interests that divide us We will implement what you have not.
We are moving forward decisively with action. We are not deterred.