Freya Seath, Bioregional
Over the last two days at the UNCSD 2nd Intersessional on Rio+20 at UN Headquarters here in New York negotiations began between member states on the Zero Draft compilation text, and attempts will begin to condense the rather extensive 6,000+ pages of submissions from governments, Major Groups and UN agencies into a coherent document that can deliver a strong outcome at Rio+20.
After a year of engaging in this process, we are pleased to now see a number of specific outcomes gaining traction and hopefully qualifying for a highly prized place in the final Rio+20 zero draft to be discussed by member states next June in Rio de Janeiro. These include Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and green economy roadmaps or action plans, which in our view can focus the broad debate at a practical level, going some way to frame how we can implement a fair and just green economy.
This Intersessional meeting also has the highest NGO participation in the Rio+20 process to date- more than 400 organisations have registered and yesterday the Major Group meeting had standing room only. There is truly a sense of expectation at the start of this second phase of the Rio+20 process, all stakeholders are determinedly seeking a strong and ambitious outcome and want to play their part.
In an informal consultation yesterday with Ambassador Andre Correa do Lago, Head of the Brazilian Delegation, the Ambassador said ‘civil society gave a special weight to the Rio Earth Summit 20 years ago… and at Rio+20, civil society participation is 1000 times more important- governments can’t do it all!’ This idea of strong partnership and civil society engagement was also echoed this morning by the Global Sustainability Panel (GSP) Secretariat who acknowledged this participation as key to any successful outcomes from Rio+20. There really is a strong sense that we are all in this together.