Skip to content

NEWS: Rio+20 set to fail people and the planet

The Guardian UK reports, “After two weeks of closed-door negotiations, the United Nations preparatory committee ‘PrepCom’ has failed to reach consensus on a global plan of action, entitled The Future We Want, to be adopted at the Rio+20 summit meeting of world leaders in Brazil next month.”

“The negotiators, comprising representatives of all 193 member states, had limited success beyond reducing the size of the action plan, or ‘outcome document’, from nearly 200 to fewer than 100 pages. The document, called the ‘zero draft’, originally ran to more than 6,000 pages of submissions by member states, international organisations and civil society groups.”

“In a statement, the UN identified some of the contentious issues preventing agreement on the outcome document. Some developed countries, the statement said, have embraced the green economy…, while many developing countries are more cautious, asserting that each country should choose its own path to a sustainable future…”

The sticking points reportedly are the relevance of the green economy to the global south, as well as “issues of equity; sustainable consumption and production in the global north; social justice, especially related to resource extraction from developing and least-developed countries; and technology transfer and trade.” There are also “disputes relating to sustainable development goals (and the) commitments nations (will) need to make…”

“In an effort to break the deadlock, the PrepCom will revisit the zero draft at an unscheduled five-day session beginning on 29 May. …If the PrepCom fails to reach consensus, negotiations will resume in Brazil on 13 June in a three-day, do-or-die attempt to finalise the document.”

“A statement released by a coalition of international NGOs warned that Rio+20 ‘looks set to add almost nothing to global efforts to deliver sustainable development’. ‘Too many governments are using or allowing the talks to undermine established human rights and agreed principles such as equity, precaution and polluter pays,’ it said.”

The Council of Canadians/ Blue Planet Project has been highly critical of the corporate green economy agenda, particularly how it undermines the right to water and sanitation while promoting privatization, major dams, and the commodification of nature.

Blue Planet Project organizer Anil Naidoo has just returned from social movement planning meetings in Rio and is helping to organize the ‘Blue Pavilion’ during the civil society Peoples Summit as well as lobbying efforts at the Rio+2O summit, which starts in late-June.

For more on the Council of Canadians/ Blue Planet Project Rio+20 campaign, go to http://canadians.org/rio20. The Guardian UK article is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/may/14/rio-20-action-plan-ngo-summit?cat=global-development&type=article.