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More Voices from Rio de Janeiro

“It was a gift for me to participate as a representative of UNANIMA in an event of this magnitude. As a Brazilian in my own country, to be with people from around the world was an incredible experience! My vision has broadened and deepened, as I met many groups are also fighting for another possible world;  it may be possible if we join forces!

I especially liked the participatory methodology used in both major groups and in the civil society dialogues promoted by the Brazilian government. Discussions and meetings of People’s Summit allowed wide participation of all organizations present. We were all equal and  we could express ourselves.

However we were frustrated that the demands of civil society and the proposals of the People’s Summit are not well reflected in the final document. (It is now up to the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.)

But, encouraged by what was said in the UNANIMA newsletter, we who are part of the common people must be ready for vigorous follow up. We must continue to pressure the governments of our countries, working with local groups in which we operate and with our networks, and change the way WE LIVE AND WE USE THE PLANET. We will work in light of the proposal of our Franciscan brothers, to advance the paradigm of the law of Mother Earth, and the eradication of extreme wealth! The Earth Charter has much to offer – let us go, because the future we want is in our hands!”

—  Maria Jose Meira,
Carmelite Sisters of Vedruna

“The possibilities of the Rio + 20 global gathering were endless and while some hoped- for results did not happen, there is still much to be positive about. After 4 years of hard work on the part of UNANIMA and other major stakeholders, water has moved from being a non-topic on the global UN stage to being front and center as a vital portion at the nexus of sustainable development. Additionally, sustainable development goals (SDG’s) are to be developed, going into effect whenever the MDG’s expire in 2015.  Another positive side effect of attending this epic gathering was the ability to touch base with friends and to expand the networks of like-minded people. It was awesome!”

–JoAnn Showalter,
Sisters of Providence

Maria Jose, Michele, and JoAnn share a laugh at the Cabrini sisters’ retreat center in Rio de Janeiro