Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

24 Feb, 2012

Global Unions Mobilise for Rio+20 And An Equitable, Just, Sustainable World

International Trades Union Congress

With just 4 months to RIO+20 the International Trades Union Congress is calling on all affiliates to mobilize for a more equitable, just and sustainable world.

What is Rio+20?

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (so called Rio+20) will take place over three days, 20-22 June 2012. World Leaders are asked to ’revitalise commitments’ around sustainability and will discuss issues such as the green economy, the institutional framework for sustainable development as well as issues such as employment, food and energy among others. (more information on the process)

Rio+20 will be surrounded by multiple events (the People’s Summit, the Trade Union Assembly on Labour and Environment, etc). Trade unions proposals will be voiced by a large national and international trade union delegation.

Why is Rio+20 important to trade unions?

Rio+20 represents a major moment to ensure that our demands are heard by governments, to mobilise workers and trade unions around sustainable development and to work with others in building an alternative economic model that benefits the working people and protects the environment.

Trade unions on the move for Rio+20

Photo: http://alter-echos.org/

We are calling for jobs, green jobs and decent work. We want a guarantee for the social protection floor for all the worlds’ people with funding to kickstart or strength social protection in the poorest countries. We also want the greed of the financial sector to help pay for sustainability through a financial transaction tax – FTT.

Key demands

The trade unions have three key demands to the Rio Summit

Green & Decent Jobs

A shift in investments which will ensure more decent jobs are created from environmentally-friendly investments, and millions more are transformed into sustainable jobs. This we call Green & Decent Jobs. read more

Social Protection Floor

A commitment to provide social protection to all workers, ensuring that all workers and their families are protected against the multiple environmental and economic crises they face. This we call the Social Protection Floor. read more

Financial Transactions Tax

The launch of a global Financial Transactions Tax, which will provide the reserve to fund development and the fight against climate change, as well as contribute to reform the financial system that caused the financial crisis in the first place. read more

Here are the ITUC proposed amendments to the UN Zero Draft for Rio+20.

Other demands (on the principles for the green economy, workplace rights, taxation, etc) are available here.

The world needs to start acting NOW towards a more sustainable future where neither workers nor the earth and its resources are being exploited.


The United Nations’ Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20 will focus on the green economy and the institutional framework for sustainability. It has broadened its agenda to cover other topics, such as social inclusion, energy, employment, etc. In order to make an impact, we will focus on three key dimensions:

- influencing the negotiations
- mobilising and defining the future trade union agenda through a Trade Union Assembly (11-12 June in Rio)
- working with alliance partners who share our ambitions for jobs, climate action and justice

What can you do?

Everyone has a role to play to make Rio+20 a succes; no matter if you are a government, a labour leader, a community representative or an individual citizen.

If you are a union officer, please have a look at our first Rio+20 checklist, with everything we suggest you to do this month, including important logistical information!

We need to make sure that all governments are pushing the demands of the workers of the world – and you can help!

Take part in the week of Action

From 5-9 March 2012, the ITUC will organise a Lobby Week. We ask our affiliates to meet their government, ask them to support our proposals and report back on their responses. Please let us know if your President or Prime Minister is prepared to take responsibility for these big issues by planning to attend the Rio Summit.

We also need you to ask your government officials to receive our ITUC delegation in New York in the week from the 5-9 March, 2012.