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NEWS: UN set to hold Rio+20 ‘outcome document’ talks starting May 29

Naidoo moderated an April 24 side event on Rio+20 in New York.

Naidoo moderated an April 24 side event on Rio+20 in New York.

The Inter Press Service reports, “After two weeks of closed door negotiations, a U.N. preparatory committee (PrepCom) has failed to reach consensus on a global plan of action, titled ‘The Future We Want’, to be adopted by (the Rio+20) summit meeting of world leaders mid-June in Brazil. The negotiators, comprising representatives of all 193 member states, proclaimed limited success, including reducing the size of the action plan – formally called the ‘outcome document’ – from nearly 200 to less than 100 pages. …In an effort to break the deadlock, the PrepCom will give another shot at the zero draft when it holds an unscheduled five-day session beginning May 29. This will be a last ditch attempt to finalise the draft action plan, which has to be ready for approval by world leaders arriving in Rio de Janeiro for the three-day summit, beginning Jun. 20.”

“A statement released Friday by a coalition of international non-governmental organisations (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. …Besides Oxfam, the coalition includes Development Alternatives, Greenpeace, the Forum of Brazilian NGOs and Social Movements for Environment and Development (FBOMS), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Vitae Civilis.” The Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians are also part of this coalition.

“In a statement released Friday, the United Nations identified some of the contentious issues which prevented agreement on the outcome document. Some developed countries, the statement said, have embraced the green economy as a new roadmap for sustainable development, while many developing countries are more cautious, asserting that each country should choose its own path to a sustainable future and that a green economy approach should not lead to green protectionism or limit growth and poverty eradication. Other countries and stakeholders, it said, have voiced concerns about implementation and accountability, pointing out that some commitments made at previous global meetings, such as for official development assistance (ODA), have yet to be fully realised. Nonetheless, says the statement, virtually all countries appear willing to agree on a number of issues, including the overall need to recognise and act to meet pressing global and national challenges. …The need to find a better measurement of progress than gross domestic product (GDP) has also been widely acknowledged. The statement further said that countries have also been examining the concept of new Sustainable Development Goals, a set of benchmarks to guide them in achieving targeted outcomes within a specific time period, such as on access to sustainable energy and clean water for all.”

To read Blue Planet Project organizer Anil Naidoo’s latest blog on our Rio+20 interventions, please see this March 27 post at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14434. He has been highlighting the Harper government’s efforts to remove the UN recognized right to water and sanitation from the ‘outcome document’ to be approved at Rio+20. Our 5-point critique of the green economy can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13290. Naidoo will be in Brazil for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, which takes place this coming June 20-22. He will also be in Brazil in the coming days to take part in meetings to plan the civil society Peoples Summit, http://rio20.net/en/.