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NEWS: Discussions begin on Rio+20 outcome document

The United Nations News Centre reports, “Delegates from United Nations Member States gathered in New York (on Thursday) to begin discussions on inputs, the structure and format of the outcome document to be finalized by world leaders at next year’s UN conference on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro.” Member States are meeting now to develop a draft text, referred to as the ‘zero draft’, which will then form the basis of what will be negotiated at Rio+20 and evolve into the outcome document, or summit declaration.

“The two-day Second Intersessional Meeting on UN Conference of Sustainable Development (Rio+20) marks a scaling up of the process to focus attention on global decisions (in advance of the June 2012 summit). …Concerning water, one of the goals proposed would go beyond achieving universal access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2030, while others have suggested targets for improving water use efficiency in agriculture, power generation and industry.”

“The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, in his address to the meeting, called for a ‘concise’ and ‘non-repetitive’ Rio+20 outcome document.”

Key upcoming meetings at the UN in New York related to the development of this outcome document include:

  • January 16-18, Initial discussions (informal informals) on the zero draft of outcome document
  • February 13-17, Negotiations (informal informals) on the zero draft
  • March 26-27, Third Intersessional Meeting for UNCSD

There is already significant concern that the global green economy agenda on water that is now emerging for Rio+20 is backed by big business and includes water privatization, large dams and the putting of a price tag on nature, while excluding the voices of many and failing to recognize the basic human rights of water and sanitation, as well as the rights of nature.

The Council of Canadians will intervene at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) – more commonly referred to as Rio+20 – set to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 20-22, 2012. The Council also intends to participate in the ‘Towards People’s Summit of Rio+20′ in Porto Alegre, Brazil this coming January 24-29. As noted in their outreach, “The Brazilian Civil Society Facilitating Committee for Rio +20 is calling civil society organizations and social and popular movements from all around the world to a process that will culminate in June 2012 into the autonomous and plural event, provisionally called People’s Summit of the Rio +20 for Social and Environmental Justice, parallel to the official Conference.” And Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and water campaigner Meera Karunananthan are currently working on a paper on ‘the green economy and water’, with a scheduled release date of April 2012.

For more, please see our Rio+20 campaign web-page at http://canadians.org/rio20.