20 juni 2012

Day I of Rio+20

Reporting directly from RioCentro, the conference venue of Rio+20!

This is what we have been waiting for since we all found out that we were going here. I wish I could write that the spirit is soaring but the negotiations have been so fruitless it is difficult to keep the smiles up. Many of the most important paragraphs are either completely washed out or even gone from the outcome document that the Heads of States will be deciding on on Friday, the last day of the conference.

Sofia and Marcus know the details much better, but here goes anyway:
* The potential upgrading of UNEP allowing it much more power than today is gone.
* The upgrading of the Commission for Sustainable Development to a Sustainable Development Council is also gone, and
* The founding of a High Commissioner for Future Generations is not even left in the outcome draft anymore.
* The paragraph on ending fossil fuel subsidies was about to be taken out too due to very dramatic objections from Venezuela, but is still in - though infinitely weaker than before. 

Luckily, the ambition to formulate Sustainable Development Goals is still in the document and the Brazilians are now firmly stopping any more negotiations until the Heads of State get here, so the document won't get worse...

I bumped into the Swedish Minister for the Environment, Lena Ek, this morning just before the beginning of a side event she was partaking in. She recognized me since I worked at the Ministry for the Environment this spring with the organizing of the conference Stockholm+40, which took place in April, and she gave me a big hug. That felt very comforting since what I have heard about the negotiations have painted an image of a group of very negative, harsh and loveless representatives in my mind. Lena shared her frustration from the negotiations with me, and listening to her telling me about it also brought the whole image of it down to a much more personal level, repainting the negotiators as simple human beings, just like me, without supernatural powers or secret knowledge.

But how come they are the ones in there and we are the ones out here? It is very interesting to me how this small group of negotiating representatives, hopefully chosen by their diplomatic skills and immense experience in the vast field of sustainable development, sit in the negotiation pavillion, closed to all other conference participants, and decide over the future of 7 billion people - while the majority of conference participants are outside the closed gates and in various ways displaying their eager will to make change happen - now. Like a group of small children jumping outside the window of a candy store waiving their money and offering alternative ways to compensate for the candy they want, but the storekeeper is simply ignoring them and keeps counting the money he already has in his till...

Soon the inauguration ceremony will take place in the negotiating pavillion, only visible to the majority of the delegates by video screens in various places, making us invisible to the people in the pavillion. As if we weren't as welcome. As if our reactions to the speeches weren't as important. Almost as if we don't count...

1 kommentar:

Marcus sa...

Very well written Annika! Just the commission being upgraded to a council, not the other way around, but I edited that.

Although there is also a call for all countries to implement NATIONAL councils on sust. dev, which has been reiterated from Rio 1992. A bit confusing, but hey, it's the UN. As St Vincent and The Grenadines pointed out today, "we have created a document only a diplomat can love".

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