“Governments act as if they had all the time in the world to
contain the impact of the transformations with which man is burdening the
planet. More serious than disagreements between national leaders, is their lack
of a shared sense of urgency.”
Demonstrators at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development protest 'industrial farming' - in which a small number of multinational corporations control seeds, their genetic modification, and what farmers grow and sell, June 21.
By obtaining the approval of the summit communiqué from the
193 delegations present at the Rio+20, Brazil’s chief negotiator, Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, considered
the results of Brazilian diplomacy nothing less than “amazing.” In fact, Itamaraty’s [the Foreign Ministry] exhaustive efforts to produce
the document were successful, especially taking into
account the barriers erected by other countries could not be overcome, practically
obligating the host nation to assume control of the proceedings. But the
euphoric term used by the ambassador betrays a professional distortion.
Diplomats invariably hold that the when summit participants come
to agreements on final communiqués, it is a triumph of the negotiating process.
Even with proposals that are approved unanimously but are worthless, as is the
case with the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, it makes
sense that diplomats spend sleepless nights trying to arrive at a final version
of the text that is palatable to everyone. The alternative would be Rio +20
ending without any agreement, which, on top of being a political failure in
general - especially for Brazil - would be an even bigger failure on the part
of the multilateral system created to address the climate change which is
shaking the planet.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
Both threats were avoided - as was the risk of a setback
taken at the first conference, Rio 92. At the time, unprecedented documents
were adopted, like conventions on climate and biodiversity, sticking to the
concept of sustainability - desirable practices that meet contemporary human
needs without depriving future generations – and establishing the principle of
responsibility that was common although diversely interpreted. This is the
cornerstone of apportioning the cost of environmental protection: countries
that have historically thrived thanks to the use of fossil fuels, but which
cause global warming, should be the primary payers for curbing the climate
None of the advances achieved two decades ago were reversed,
even if the continuing deterioration of ecosystems demanded from the
international community more robust initiatives in less time. And this is what
Rio+20 did not do. The “amazing” diplomatic consensus was only achieved by removing
any of the substantively effective proposals from the text, having been
rejected by one group of countries or another. The wealthy swept the conference
document clean of, among other things, the idea of a $30 billion fund to pay
for technology transfers to the poor for mitigating environmental damage.
Captained by the United States, they also gutted the Brazilian project of new
rules for ocean exploration.
The poor, in turn, were able to sully the notion of a green
economy, alleging its invocation by developed nations to impose trade barriers,
aka/“ecoprotectionism.” And so it went, from general
idea to general idea, until a consensus of nothing or almost nothing was
reached. All that was established is a committee of 30 countries, to be created
by the United Nations, which would propose a model financial architecture for
defending the earth by 2014. There was not a word on numbers, timelines and who
would pay. Worse still, there was no mention if the specific issues or goals to
be issued on that date and which this committee will be responsible for how to
achieve sustainable development goals, the great hope of Rio+20.
When saving multilateralism, preventing a setbacks on the
environmental front and transferring critical decisions to the future is “a
victory,” as President DilmaRousseff
said as she left the G-20 meeting in Mexico to open the Rio Summit, it fully
justifies the pessimism of environmentalists. Governments act as if they had
all the time in the world to contain the impact of the transformations with
which man is burdening the planet. More serious than disagreements between
national leaders, is their lack of a shared sense of urgency.