Posted on | May 7, 2012 by Timothy Herrmann |
Straight from the UN News Service last Friday, May 5th:
Representatives from governments negotiating the outcome document for the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) today agreed to add five more days of deliberations to bridge differences that have kept them from making further progress in negotiations.
The extended negotiations will begin the 29th of May and last for five days, ending June the 2nd. Formal negotiations will pick up again in Rio on the 13th of June.
The document is now over 100 pages long and is “is a far cry from the ‘focused political document’ called for by the General Assembly,” according to Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang.
Controversy surrounds the current text and is getting in the way of producing a streamlined text that all countries will be able to agree upon at the final conference in Rio to be held in June. According to UN news:
Countries have voiced concern over accountability and implementation of the commitments made, as well as over the theme of the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty, with some developing countries asserting that a green economy approach should not lead to green protectionism or limit growth and poverty eradication.
During negotiations C-FAM has observed that the G77 group is the main force behind the push-back mentioned above. Many within the group are concerned that the “green economy” is merely a ploy by northern countries to jump start their own troubled economies through technology and service transfers that the south would require in order to participate in the “green economy”.
By forcing developing countries to sign on to the Rio +20 document and the green economy, many developing countries believe that they are signing up to spend money on technologies and reforms they can’t afford and that would serve to increase jobs in the north while ignoring the problem of poverty and job growth in their own countries.
For the G77 poverty eradication has proven more important than the green economy and they have fought consistently for language emphasizing poverty eradication in conjunction with sustainable development throughout negotiations. Implicit within the G77′s arguments during negotiations is their belief that job growth and development, which are essential for poverty eradication, are more important than the environmental polices that the UN is championing and that would place sustainable development as tantamount to economic growth.
The investment required for developing countries to make their economic development policies more “green” while still creating the growth they need to bring their countries out of poverty is impossible without northern investment. During negotiations, however, northern countries within the EU as well as countries like the US and Canada have been unwilling to make any commitments to such investments. This has led to the G77 refusing to commit to the green economy and chastising the north for trying to have their cake and eat it too.
Even though more than 120 Heads of State have registered to attend Rio+20 along with another 50,000 atendees according to some estimates, it is unlikely that fan fare alone will be enough to produce a document with enough political will for any serious implementation. The North-South divide over the proper course for development simply remains to wide.