As Rio+20 nears, another negotiation stalemate

People milling about inside the Riocentro Convention Center for the Rio+20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development. Representatives from the so-called Group of 77 reportedly walked out of a meeting on green economy during Friday's negotiations. Photo by: Guilherme Costa / UN

The final preparatory talks before Rio+20 ended in another stalemate, with a block of developing countries walking out over a disagreement with developed nations on the issue of green economy.

The pre-summit talks, held June 13-15 in Brazil, were the last chance for negotiators to finalize an outcome document prior to the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, which begins June 20. Yet, only 37 percent of the 80-page draft had been agreed upon by Friday, Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang said. The task of completing the document was transferred to host government Brazil the next day, and negotiators expressed hope the event host would help find international accord in the coming days.

At Friday’s negotiations, representatives from the so-called Group of 77 countries and China reportedly walked out of a meeting on green economy after some donors refused to support a sustainable development fund that will support developing nations’ efforts to green their economies.

“We cannot be held hostage to the retraction resulting from financial crises in rich countries. We are here to think about the long term and not about crises that may be overcome in one or two years,” said Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, undersecretary at the Brazilian foreign ministry.

Sticking points in the negotiations have been the set of sustainable development goals expected to be incorporated in the final agreement, as well as measures to boost the green economy and generate funds to promote sustainable development, Agence France-Presse writes.

Meanwhile, African officials emphasized the need for countries from the region to continue banding together in the run-up to Rio+20 and at the conference itself. Failing to make a united stand in Rio could mean losing out on key issues during the preparatory talks, said Macharia Kamau, the Kenyan ambassador to the United Nations, according to Modern Ghana.

Kamau also lamented the overall pace and direction of preparatory talks — which are set to go into overtime. The ambassador noted that he and other African participants had hoped to see “renewed political commitment on the three pillars of sustainable development” but instead witnessed “a systematic attempt to renegotiate even the fundamental issues of the conference.”

Read more:

Read more  development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Ivy mungcal 400x400

    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.