“Promoting sustainable development means extending the mechanisms of social participation, reinforcing our democracy, defending our values and our cultural specificity.” So said Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff speaking in Porto Alegre about sustainable development, the main theme of the UN conference Rio+20, to be held in the country this coming June.
The Brazilian head of state was one of the guests of the Thematic Social Forum, “Capitalist Crisis, Social and Environmental Justice,” held in Porto Alegre at the end of January, in which Slow Food also participated, advocating the significance of food in a sustainable future.
Over 40,000 participants, including NGO representatives, union members, associations and activists from around the world attended six days of meetings and debates during the event put together by the organizers of the World Social Forum, founded in 2001 in Porto Alegre.
The Forum was created to inspire debate between the many different strands in the Brazilian, Latin American and global movement for social change (unions, associations, NGOs, etc.). The aim is to define shared positions and forms of communication, dialog and protest prior to the Peoples Summit, to be held in Rio de Janeiro at the end of June at the same time as Rio+20. The joint demands will be presented at the Peoples Summit, and the attending countries and the United Nations will be asked to respond to 20 years of broken promises and unfulfilled commitments.
Slow Food held a conference entitled Slow Food International and Good, Clean and Fair Development. “We thought it was important that we gave our contribution on the theme of sustainable development, which will be the focus of Rio+20 and is also the fundamental objective of all our actions. To Slow Food, sustainable development must pass first of all through food, through a new model for food production that respects the knowledge and traditions of local communities, people and the environment, flavors and the landscape. We have presented projects from our network as concrete examples, in the hope that they can act as a driving force for a wider change, seeds from which a cleaner and fairer world will grow.”