Farooq Ullah, Head of Policy and Advocacy, Stakeholder Forum
As one United Nations intergovernmental process ends in Durban, another begins in New York. The importance of these conferences is rising as the stakes become more clear daily. The latest science shows us that while we continue to breach key ecosystem processes, inequality and unfairness is growing between and within countries.
However, these processes do continue to offer hope of solutions to some of humanity’s most intractable challenges.
The climate change talks in the South African summer ran late but a deal looks likely; at least a deal to talk about a deal. The last gasp outcome will begin talks on an agreement which has “legal force” to be written in 2015 and to come into effect after 2020. However, environmental groups feel that a shortcoming of the deal is that it does little to address the scale of the emissions cuts needed.
While in the North American winter, this week begins the next stage in the run-up to the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development next June. This stage (the second intersessional) will focus on the submissions made to the UN by stakeholders to serve as the basis for an outcome document for Rio+20. This meeting will review and discuss the “compilation document”, which is the summary of the submissions to the UN. The objective is to gain better understanding and highlight key messages emanating from the submissions, and produce a “Zero Draft” of the Outcome Document to serve as a starting point for negotiations. A meaningful and substantive Zero Draft is a vital starting point in achieving success at Rio+20.
While we hope that the Rio+20 negotiations will be more successful than the Durban talks, heart can be taken from the breakthroughs in the African summer to keep delegates warm and receptive to good ideas and solutions in the American winter.
The next editions of Outreach will track progress at the Second Intersessional daily, with news, comment and features from our correspondents and contributors.