As the Rio+20 conference kicks off in Brazil, the United Nations has already announced that member states have agreed on an outcome document.
“We now have a text which will be adopted at the Conference,” Rio+20’s Secretary-General, Sha Zukang. “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.”
Here’s the full outcome document (slideshare), which goes on for over 50 pages. The part where they call for providing more help to states for transitioning to a green economy starts on page 9.
The text will be put forward for adoption by Heads of State at the conclusion of Rio+20 on Friday.
The document spells out the need to establish sustainable development goals and mobilize financing for sustainable development, as well as the promotion of sustainable consumption and production.
It calls for 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.
CIDSE, an international alliance of 16 Catholic development agencies from Europe and North America, was sharply critical of this last part regarding the private sector and about the agreement’s failure to address the links between climate change and agriculture.
“If the text stays as it is, this conference will be a historic failure,” said CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Nilles.
“The text contains carrots, but no sticks. There is no mention of regulatory measures to tackle climate change, only incentives for private investment in agriculture,” said Anika Schroeder of CIDSE’s German member Misereor.
Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang explained that the document is a “compromise text” in which countries have had to both give and take to achieve progress.
“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,” he said. “But, let’s be clear: multilateral negotiations require give and take.”
US Climate Change Envoy Todd Stern said it was a strong step forward and pointed out the document’s call to strengthen the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Stern denied charges that the US delegation had blocked a deal to protect marine diversity. The document also reaffirms the commitment of all member states to fully implement Agenda 21.
In addition to the outcome text, there have been over 400 voluntary commitments for sustainable development by member states in the lead-up to the Rio+20 meeting which runs from June 20-22, 2012.
Rio+20 website – www.uncsd2012.org/