International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

The global trade union movement is bitterly disappointed at the Declaration of the Rio+20 Summit, a declaration that lacks the concrete measures necessary now to end senseless environmental destruction, drive investment into the green economy to create jobs and reduce the alarming growth in inequity with the guarantee of social protection for the most vulnerable people.
The trade union movement has prepared over two years for this important United Nations Conference on Sustainability, the conference called Rio+20. What should have been a big opportunity for world leaders to meet and take brave decisions on our future, “The future that we want”, turned out to be a big failure in global governance. What happened? It started with the fact that the text that has been negotiated over a year was not finalised at the end of the negotiations. Then the Brazilian government made a new draft of the Declaration (the main outcome of the conference). The Brazilian draft came with “Take it or leave it”. This left the conference with a closed text the day before Heads of State arrived. The 114 Heads of State came to the Conference not spending one single hour negotiating and each delivered a speech and had their photograph taken together.

Words are not enough; a UN process with no targets, no timelines and no serious inclusion of unions and civil society does nothing to fuel the anxiety of people suffering from unemployment, from poverty or from environmental destruction of their lands and/or livelihoods”, said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC.

Read Sharan Burrow’s own words about the outcome of the conference:

Trade Union Statement for Rio+20: There will be no social justice without environmental protection:,11586.html?lang=en

Read the United Nations Rio+20 Outcome Document: