Today Progressio Ireland published a reaction to the Zero Draft for Rio+20. With this document we are asking the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan TD, and the Minister for Trade and Development, Mr Joe Costello TD, to ensure that Ireland is playing a leading role in pushing for stronger commitments and clearer goals in relation to sustainable development and delivering robust results at the Rio +20 Earth Summit in June 2012.
Progressio Ireland welcomed the Zero Draft that was released by the UNCSD Bureau and published in January 2012, as a positive start to negotiations for Rio+20 (Read more on Rio +20 and the Zero draft.). The document covers a wide and comprehensive range of issues regarding the achievement of sustainable development and reduction of inequality and deprivation.
However, there are several flaws and ambiguities in the zero draft that need to be addressed if Rio+20 is to be a significant moment in responding to the serious challenges being faced globally, and particularly by the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.
Rio+20 is a chance to renew commitments and initiate action towards sustainable development. It must deliver robust results that have legal force and compel all states to comply. As it stands, the draft pushes the key decision making processes beyond Rio+20 itself. If this happens, then Rio+20 could ultimately become a very frustrating and ultimately empty moment, with many presentations, and more words, but little commitment to action.
Our submission, therefore, suggests a number of recommendations for policy and decision makers here in Ireland and at the EU level. We are asking our decision makers to lead by example. The EU must use its influence once again to demand that decisive action is taken now. Unsustainable development, climate change, and extreme poverty cannot continue for another 20 years.
Download the detailed reaction document: Progressio Ireland Reaction to Zero Draft (251 KB)
Key recommendations for Rio+20
- There should be a stronger focus on a water specific roadmap for results as well as financing or a global fund for water/waste water services. The recognition of water as a critical element towards the achievement of sustainable development is important. However, an even stronger commitment is needed. Equity needs to be a key principle when looking at issues of water management.
- The mention of hydro power in paragraph #67 should be omitted, as it has been shown that hydro power is not ‘clean’ or ‘sustainable’ energy, as hydroelectric dams produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, and can produce more of these greenhouse gases than power plants using fossil fuels. Water is important for other forms of energy production, however, and this must be recognised.
- The Irish government and members of the EU must press for a legal agreement between nations at Rio +20, or at the very minimum a clear road map towards a legal agreement. The Rio +20 agreement must exclude the flaws contained in the Durban agreement, and the EU must lead the way in setting aside issues of national interest and taking action towards sustainable development that is in the world’s interest as a whole.
- It is time to set goals, guidelines and targets, not just to recognise the “need” or the “necessity” to do so. Leaders at Rio+20 need to push for an agreement that can be implemented swiftly and that will contain clear targets.
- Rio+20 should be a key moment in coming up with recommendations for future Sustainable Development Goals as well as clear targets and means of achieving them. (They are supposed to be introduced to replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.)
- A realistic and binding system of financing needs to be agreed and created with clear targets and goals, to ensure that the capacity exists to create the conditions for sustainable development. The common but differentiated responsibilities of developed and developing countries need to be fully recognised in such a system.
- The draft needs to include a stronger and clearer definition of the green economy that has equity and poverty eradication at its heart.
- The role of business in sustainable development needs to be more fully recognised. Legally binding reporting on the key issues pertaining to sustainable use of resources should become a requirement.