By Warren Duffy
Are the inmates now in charge?
That could be the question heading into the coming “Earth Summit 2012” as some of the top leaders on tap to set the agenda have been revealed to have fairly radical actions in their pasts.
The first day of “Rio +20” or “Earth Summit 2012” starts on June 20, and world leaders, delegates from governments around the globe, private businesses and activist organizations will descend on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The “20” references the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992.
On the U.N.’s official website, the conference is described as a “joint endeavor of the entire U.N. system.”
But if the backgrounds of the three executives appointed by the United Nations to handle the organization and implementation of the Rio +20 conference provide any insight, the State Department teams will have their hands full.
The U.N. Secretary General of “Rio +20” is Chinese career diplomat Sha Zukang.
The Huffington Post reports two years ago at a U.N. dinner in Europe, Sha was caught referring to an American during a “drunken rant” stating, “I really don’t like him. He’s an American and I really don’t like Americans.”
The target of his outburst was American U.N. official Bob Orr. However, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon of South Korea also was the recipient of similar insults that evening. It was reported that an apology to both diplomats was received from Sha the following day.
The first U.N. appointed “executive coordinator” is Brice Lalonde, a French student in 1968 and lifelong, committed environmental activist. He’s also a former Green Party leader and French candidate for president in 1981 as well as cousin of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
Lalonde led a series of riots in France with the intent of moving the people to a more “adaptive and calmer socialism.” His activism continued when he joined David McTaggart, Greenpeace founder, to create the confrontational strategies of boarding ships at sea in protest of French nuclear testing.
The second “executive coordinator” for Rio +20 is Liz Thompson from Barbados.
Her hometown newspaper, “Barbados Free Press,” opposed her appointment to this position, explaining, “In 14 years, she and her BLP (Barbados Labor Party) government never passed Environmental Protection Legislation.”
Shortly after Thompson’s nomination to Rio +20’s executive position, the newspaper published a December 2010 article quoting environmental expert and professor Hans G. Mache, who described Thompson as a “notorious liar, immoral, unethical and totally untrustworthy.”
It was in 1995, when the island-nation’s minister of health, Thompson was engaged in a heated debate with environmental activist Richard Goddard. He opposed her plans to create a dump in a pristine Barbados watershed area and bring international media outlets to cover the debate.
Thompson was so outraged by this ploy for global coverage, she shocked island viewers by stating, “I take extreme offense at a Caucasian male telling me, as a minister of government in modern Barbados, that he is going to threaten to embarrass a national government in this way. It is completely unacceptable.”
Already chosen as the objectives of the events are securing political commitment to sustainable development, assessing progress toward internationally agreed commitments and new and emerging challenges.
The themes are to be the green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development and institutional framework for sustainable development.
On the event website, organizers state, “The world is facing a mounting crisis. In recent years we have experienced a combination of a global financial crisis, a food crisis, volatile oil prices, accelerating ecosystem degradation and an increasing number of climate-induced extreme weather events. These multiple and inter-related crises call into question the ability of a growing human population to live peacefully and sustainably on this planet, and demand the urgent attention governments and citizens around the world.”
The organization promises, “Earth Summit 2012 will be the fourth Summit of its kind and represents another milestone in ongoing international efforts to accelerate progress toward achieving sustainable development globally.”
It boasts that among its achievements is Agenda 21, which places the highest priorities on protecting the atmosphere, combating deforestation, fighting desertification, sustainable mountain development, preserving biological diversity and other goals.
It also calls for U.N. officials to “ensure predictability in the flow of funds by contributions from developed countries.”