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Special Raport on the Side Event: The Role of Technology in the "Green Economy"

Presented by the WECF, ETC Group, Consumers International, La Via Campesina, and Centro Ecológico

26.03.2012 |WECF




On the 19th of March, 2012, Sascha Gabizon, WECF executive director, took part in a Two Part Side-Event of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) "The Role of Technology in the "Green Economy" and the Need for Technology Assessment" during the preporatory meetings for Rio+20 in New York.

Download a Special Report on the Side Event, published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in cooperation with the European Commission (EC).

Picture copyright: ENB


The Role of Technology in the "Green Economy" and the Need for Technology Assessment

Presented by the Women in Europe for a Common Future, ETC Group, Consumers International, La Via Campesina, and Centro Ecológico


This meeting, moderated by Kirubel Teshome, ETC Group, addressed the need to strengthen global, regional and national capacity to monitor and assess the technologies required to face climate change and the environmental crisis.

Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group, said the need for technology assessments is not adequately addressed in the current zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document. She noted current risks include companies’ practice of bringing to market inadequately assessed technology, and the need for an independent and international institution capable of carrying out these assessments. She cited examples of commercially available technologies that were released despite early warnings of potential negative consequences, such as asbestos, or nano-technology.

Michael Hansen, Consumers International, underscored the need for technology reviews, focusing on examples of negative consequences caused by genetic engineering. Noting that technology with inadequate assessments is currently in use, he emphasized the need for technology oversight.


Michael Hansen, Consumers International

Jessica Roe, La Via Campesina, underscored that the promotion of sustainable and traditional small farmers’ practices should be further emphasized in the context of the green economy, rather than focusing on industrial agriculture. She underscored examples where traditional and indigenous knowledge have provided valuable adaptative capacity for climate change.


Jessica Roe from La Via Campesina

Sascha Gabizon, Women in Europe for a Common Future, highlighted women and children as actors that are at risk of suffering from irresponsible technology use. She also underscored the lack of knowledge on the substances people are exposed to and the long-term consequences, providing examples such as baby products made with nano-particles. In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia: increased emphasis on the consideration of technology assessments in the zero draft; and risks associated with nano-particles and synthetic biology.


Sascha Gabizon, WECF executive director

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