The final outcome documents is already concluded even though Rio+20 starts officially just today (June 20, 2012) – that is not unusual in diplomacy as generally there is an effort to pre-cook the documents/public statements for the perceived best result. This time though, there is much disappointment among many NGO’s , civil society and some governments. “Like all negotiations, there will be some countries that feel the text could be more ambitious. Or, others who feel their own proposals could be better reflected, while still others might prefer to have their own language. But, let’s be clear: multilateral negotiations require give and take, “ according to Rio+20’s Secretary-General, Sha Zukang. See our Blog for Film from May 6, 2011: “Rio+20 Lack of Progress Frustrates Civil Society”.
Is Earth Environmental Health Facing Degradation as Priority?
However, there is a substantive concern that Rio+20 will end up being more vague promises and less commitments. The final document has been skinnied down all around. Beyond Rio+20, there is an undeniable trend in relegating the environment and sustainable development agenda. There is a global priority on economic recovery after the recent relapse. Fear of a return to recession goes beyond the Eurozone. For example, there was hardly a mention of environmental health and sustainable development at the G-20 in Mexico immediately preceding Rio+20.
Nonentheless, there is a final document and a desire to present it in the best light and perhaps squeeze whatever positive through implementation as Mr. Sha states: “We now have a text which will be adopted at the Conference. We think the text contains a lot of action, and if this action is implemented, and if follow-up measures are taken, it will indeed make a tremendous difference in generating positive global change.”
Half Full or Half Empty”
Mr. Sha stressed that since the document is the result of intensive and prolonged negotiations, it is a “compromise text,” in which countries have had to both give and take to achieve progress. The text will now be put forward for adoption by Heads of State at the conclusion of Rio+20 on Friday. According to UN News Centre: The agreed outcome document spells out action points such as the need to establish sustainable development goals and mobilize financing for sustainable development, as well as the promotion of sustainable consumption and production, among others. It also stresses the need to include women, non-governmental organizations, and indigenous groups in the sustainable development agenda, and calls on the private sector to engage in sustainable corporate business practices.
Some significant preparatory work has been undertaken by civil society and various affiliated UN/multilateral institutions. The flowers look beautiful and location even more. The Minister (Imam, Priest, Rabbi, Monk, Civil-Servant) officiating the ceremony has a lovely sermon prepared. Somehow there is a feeling though that this is another weeding day without not only affection but true commitment. Recalling Copenhagen and Durban recent conferences on climate change and the environment, many of us cannot help but feel “it is Déjà-vu, all over again”! Necessity giving initiative to great vision and objectives only to be disappointed in committment and ultimately implementation. See our Blog for Video – “Durban Climate Talks: Failure or Success?”
LINK to Rio+20 WebSite