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As the countdown for civic participation on final recommendations for sustainable development looms, the last round of official negotiations begins tomorrow with only 20% agreement on the final draft document for next week's Rio+20 summit.

Sources close to the negotiations have informed the BBC that the US and the G77/China groups are making mincemeat of The Zero Draft Document, dismantling The Future We Want with so many deletions and brackets that the talks are more about "punctuation than principles."

Russia, Japan, the EU and other participants are also decimating the document with protests over some of the major negotiating points.

"The Rio Earth Summit will not bring about the Future We Want, it will provide a stark and distressing reminder of the present we have," said Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International,

"A world in which public health, human rights and sustainable development are subordinate to private profit, shallow national interest and 'business as usual'."< a href="">BBC.

Reporting for Third World Network earlier today, Chee Yoke Ling writes “Common but differentiated responsibilities” under threat, in which he analyses how the US and other Northern countries are attempting to dilute "the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” agreed to in 1992. Ling provides a detailed preview of the negotiating document as it currently stands after negotiations in New York earlier this month and prior to tomorrow's final go round.

Here's one example:

In Section III on “Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” there was a long discussion on paragraph 51 which covers the general objective and Principles of green economy.

The G77 inserted language to re-orientate the approach to “equity” and “the Rio Principles, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities”. These proposals were bracketed by most developed countries with the US asking to delete both concepts.

The US also suggested that reference to being “guided” by “all the Rio Principles” should be amended to “informed by the Rio Principles.”

In contrast, the G77 introduced language that green economy policies should be guided by Rio Principles, “in particular the Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities”. The Group said on the issue of “guided” or “informed” that there are so many things that inform but do not necessarily get applied in life and that it preferred the stronger language.

The US objected saying that “in no way” do the elements of the paragraph “‘guide our domestic policy making.”

Meanwhile, just three days remain for popular participation in the Rio+20 online Dialogues.

The final results,  now narrowed down to 100 recommendations and ten categories, will be presented to negotiators at the beginning of the summit.*

The key categories are:

•Sustainable Cities and Innovation
•Food, Nutrition Security
•Sustainable Energy for All
•Unemployment, Decent Work and Migrations
•Sustainable Development for Fighting Poverty
•Sustainable Development as an Answer to the Economic and Financial Crises
• The economics of Sustainable Develoment, including Sustainable Patterns of Production and Consumption




"Producing enough food without destroying the environment is the greatest challenge facing humanity in coming decades. To meet that challenge, agriculture and the environment can no longer afford to be on opposite sides of the fence. In Rio we will have to show that environment and agriculture are now best friends." Dr. Frank Rijsberman
RIO+20 and Sustainable Agriculture: How to Feed the World Without Wrecking the Planet?, Bruce Campbell, PhD, Director, CGIAR Research Progamme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, in an interview with CGIAR's new CEO  Dr. Frank Rijsberman.

Notable excerpts:

"Feeding the world without wrecking the planet"... but we are doing fine, no? I mean, the world's food production keeps on increasing.

Well, indeed the world food production keeps on increasing, but not at a rate sufficient to feed the growing world population. But you know, it is not just a matter of increasing food production. It is not just a matter of more "intense agriculture," using more fertilizers, more water. ... The real issue we need to worry about is "while driving up production, what are we doing to the environment?"

Take a real-life example of an important wheat growing area in Asia: Farmers, universities and the government worked together to increase the production. As time went by, with the climate shifts, the rain periods became shorter. Farmers now not only use more inputs -- fertilizers -- but also pump much more ground water than before, to sustain the production. It still works today, but if you see that in Gujarat, India, the ground water level has dropped 3 feet per year for decades, the current production levels can't be sustained. For that area, we would need to manage the water more effectively and possibly also shift to a crop that needs less water, grows faster, and is more resilient to the climate shift


Will improved, sustainable agriculture be the solution for the recurring famines and food security crisis, we have seen?

This is crucial. The conference acknowledges the urgent need to create, strengthen and support safety nets and other programs to help vulnerable populations in all countries to become food secure. Robust emergency food reserves and financial capacity can quickly deliver humanitarian assistance to populations threatened by food crises. Funds that respond to climate shocks can provide rapid relief when extreme weather events affect communities. CGIAR agrees that all these activities are needed, in the current situation. We have, for instance, contributed to the development of climate insurance, like the Index-Based Livestock Insurance Project in Kenya.

But, more importantly, we also need to understand that a clear commitment to the integrated development of sustainable agricultural and food systems would lessen the need for food emergency responses, thus reducing the human toll of disasters and freeing some of the funds normally dedicated to disaster relief

Gender: Women And Water

Women's & Water: A Side Event. June 13-22

Dublin Rio Principles - Bridging the Gender Gap in Water Resource Management – Where do we stand, What lessons have we learned?

Gender equality and women’s empowerment goals are part of the cornerstones of the principles that came out of the International Conference on Water and the Environment’s (ICWE), Dublin Principles (1992), the UN Conference on Environment and Development, (1992), the 2000 Millennium Development Summit, and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) . When it comes to the implementation of these principles, evidence suggests that while progress has been made in achieving these goals, there are also significant gaps. It is widely believed that there are gaps between the pivotal roles that women play in the provision, management and safeguarding of water and how these roles are reflected in policy and institutional, arrangements for the development and management of water resources.
Population Control And Sustainable Development

Rio+20 Here We Come: But Will Population Issues Be Heard?
Suzanne York, from stresses the need to elevate population growth as a key factor working against designing a sustainable future.

If there is to be any success in creating a healthy planet, efforts to stabilize population growth must be part of Rio+20. While the global rate of population growth has slowed, approximately 80 million people are still added to the planet every year. Most of that growth will be in Sub-Saharan Africa. Globally, there could be a total of 9.3 billion people by 2050. But if the world takes action in Rio and addresses the impacts of population growth, it could keep that number down to 8 billion people and make a sustainable future far more likely for future generations.

A crucial piece of this is recognizing and improving rights of women and girls. Countries need to make greater investments in women and girls, including family planning and reproductive health, education, general healthcare, land rights, improved gender equality, and economic development. This is also a cost-effective way to significantly slow population growth and improve lives. And by investing in programs to alleviate poverty – combined with empowering women to make their own choices in family planning – the payoff will be stabilizing population growth, a factor in improving economic conditions and overall quality of life.


Rio+20 Side Events


Johannesburg Plan of Action

1.  The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992,[1] provided the fundamental principles and the programme of action for achieving sustainable development. We strongly reaffirm our commitment to the Rio principles,2 the full implementation of Agenda 212 and the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 213. We also commit ourselves to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration4 and in the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and international agreements since 1992. (continue reading)
Agenda 21
Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992. (continue reading)

Zero Draft Document
I. Preamble/Stage Setting

1. We, the heads of State and Government, having met at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20-22 June 2012, resolve to work together for a prosperous, secure and sustainable future for our people and our planet.

2. We reaffirm our determination to free humanity from hunger and want through the eradication of all forms of poverty and strive for societies which are just, equitable and inclusive, for economic stability and growth that benefits all.

3. We are committed to making every effort to accelerate progress in achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, thus improving the lives of the poorest people.

4. We are also committed to enhancing cooperation and addressing the ongoing and emerging issues in ways which will enhance opportunities for all, be centred on human development while preserving and protecting the life support system of our common home, our shared planet.

5. We urge bold and decisive action on the objective and themes for the conference. We renew our commitment to sustainable development and express our determination to pursue the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. We further affirm our resolve to strengthen the institutional framework for sustainable development. Taken together our actions should fill the implementation gaps and achieve greater integration among the three pillars of sustainable development ? the economic, the social and the environmental.

*Note: Don't forget Citisven's May 6 post A small favor for a big cause [@PlanetEarth] which provided details on Ecocity Builders Involvement @ Rio+20 and called for support:
Ecocity Builders and the United Nations NGO Major Group's proposal 'Global Standards of Sustainability for Cities' has advanced to the final round of the Rio+20 Dialogues. Please support us so that the proposal can be delivered directly to Heads of State at Rio+20. Everyone can vote directly from the link.
1. Go to
2. Click on 'Your Vote'
3. Scroll to : Sustainable Cities and Innovation
4. Vote for: Promote global standards of sustainability for cities.
5. Share!
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Comment Preferences

  •  awesome wrap-up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boatsie, jlms qkw

    though potentially frustrating with the looming high level train wreck. But the civic vote has been great, here's the official email I got today from the Rio Dialogues team:

    Three Days Left to Vote For the Future We Want!

    Dear Rio Dialogues participant,

    We are very pleased to announce that the 100 most supported recommendations for sustainable development from the Rio+20 online Dialogues (10 recommendations per topic) are now accessible to the public at Some recommendations have been adapted for a general audience.

    Now is the time for all of us to vote for the recommendations that we consider to be the most important. Our votes will inform which recommendations for sustainable development are presented to the heads of state at the Rio+20 Conference in Rio de Janeiro at the end of June.

    Thank you all for making the Rio+20 online Dialogues a huge success - The lively discussions in the 10 Dialogues generated 843 recommendations which were submitted by 10,000+ participants from 200+ countries, garnering 11842 indications of support. Special thanks go to the facilitators of each online Dialogue for their help in this process.

    Please tell your colleagues, friends, family, networks and community to visit and “Vote for the Future We Want.” But be quick, voting closes June 15th 2012.

    The Rio+20 online Dialogues team

  •  CBDR (0+ / 0-)

    From how I read this, the US is trying to make sure that large developing countries like China and India don't get a free pass on greenhouse gas emissions.  If that means making mincemeat of the Rio document, then mince away.

    History will be kind to us because we will write it.

    by Sky Net on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:46:23 PM PDT

    •  At what price, however??? (0+ / 0-)

      The AOSIS countries, for example, are now disenfranchised as they lack the 'muscle' which they had prior to the economic rise of China and India, for example. The parameters of the negotiations have indeed changed over 20 years, but the situation in the most vulnerable countries has worsened and their bargaining abilities have been weakened significantly.

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