Participation & Governance

“The future we want is not found here”: Youth walks out of Rio+20 Development Summit

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The dissatisfaction, anger and disillusionment of civil society with the outcome text of the Rio+20 Summit—and the lack of willingness of heads of state to make it stronger—has culminated today in a walkout by civil society. Lead by youth activists, hundreds left the venue of Rio+20, chanting “the future we want is not found here,” after the NGO Major Group had rejected the text already in the opening plenary of the high-level segment of Rio+20.

Youth walks out of Rio+20 summit in protest

The protests attracted widespread media attention. We document some of the media coverage in this post - starting with just a few and extending the list over the coming hours, as the news items appear across the globe. New items will be on top, as the list grows, news items will be moving down.

Rio+20 protesters rip up summit text
Video on the Guardian website
Climate campaigners carry out a ‘ritual rip-up’ of the Rio+20 summit negotiating text that they condemn as a betrayal for future generations. Cam Fenton, a Canadian youth environmental campaigner, says the civil society rejects the attempts of world leaders to solve the world’s environmental problems

Civil Society Groups Stage Protest, Walk Out of Rio Centro
Article by the Student Reporters
Members from civil society groups staged a major sit-in style protest at the RioCentro convention center on Thursday before marching out en-mass, carrying banners and chanting the slogan “The future we want….is not here!”

Youth walks out of Rio+20

Rio+20 draft text is 283 paragraphs of fluff
Article on the Guardian website
The text could be illustrated with rainbows and psychedelic unicorns and stuck on the door of your toilet. But without any proposed means of implementation, it might just as well be deployed for a different function in the same room.

Youth and Civil Society Raise the Stakes for World Leaders to Stop a #RioFail
Article by the Media Co-Op
Youth from around the globe joined with Civil Society groups to push world leaders to increase their ambition and prevent the failure of Rio+20.

Criticism and discord mark Rio summit end
Article for BBC Online
The United Nations summit on sustainable development is entering its final day in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro amid widespread criticism of the likely outcome.

Rio+20 Fail: Youth Lead Walkout of UN Summit
Article on Common Dreams
Slamming leaders’ negotiating text as a failure for people and the environment, youth climate leaders stage civil disobedience.

Lame it on Rio: Youth stage Earth Summit walkout
Article by Bill McKibben, the founder of, for Grist
The Rio+20 conference is remarkably listless; the energy of 1992 has bled into a formulaic bureaucracy-fest. But it came spontaneously alive for a few hours this afternoon, when a youth-led demonstration turned into an Occupy-style sit-down that in turn agreed to a mass walkout.

ONU elogia metas e ONGs deixam conferência
Article on Odia
A manifestação de 200 jovens de organizações sociais deu o tom (azedo) nesta quinta-feira na conferência da ONU sobre desenvolvimento sustentável.

Youth walk out of Rio

Rio+20 protesters perform ‘ritual rip-up’ of negotiated text
Article on the Guardian website
Anger rises at Rio Earth summit, as raucous demo focuses on Future We Want text that ‘moves us forward by inches’

Rio+20 politicians deliver ‘new definition of hypocrisy’ claim NGOs
Article on the Guardian website
Greenpeace, WWF and Oxfam criticise world leaders for shirking responsibilities and say civil society must act in their place

Dispatches From Rio (and Beyond): Young People Reflect on What’s Missing
Article on the New York Times website
Here’s two fresh dispatches from young people reflecting on Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.