This is Part 6 of a series of blog posts leading up to the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 20-22. The full series is available here.
To keep the Countdown up to date, I’ll include a news round-up every Friday.
Informal preparatory negotiations appear to be largely stalled right now and a third round will take place next week. It has been generally observed that states are disagreeing over small wording issues rather than large substantive issues. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN took a proactive leadership role by publishing a piece in the New York Times. At the same time, he held a press conference in New York where he stated: “The negotiation has been painfully slow…My message is that — this is not the time to argue against small, small items, please do not lose the bigger picture.” The head of UNDP, Helen Clark, made similar statements in China. The Small Island States met this week to coordinate a negotiating agenda.
In terms of public involvement in Rio+20, the Government of Brazil organized a Rio+20 Dialogues portal for people to shape and vote on what three issues they want presented to the state delegates. The World Business Council on Sustainable Development released Changing Pace a document with their formal policy proposal for Rio+20. A clearer view of the upcoming meetings suggests that Businesses will be active at Rio+20 and that UN Secretary General aims to deepen and formalize this participation. Environmental groups in the U.S. continue trying to push for Obama to confirm attendance. Estimates are that the People’s Summit to bring together civil society actors in a series of meetings outside the Rio+20 negotiations will bring together as many as 20,000 people a day.
Next week Preview:
Round III of Informal-Informal Negotiations from the drafts from co-chairs that aim to be streamlined. Starts May 29th.
Expect regional negotiating positions to become clearer, if they will ever be clear: Small Island States and Africa have become focused already, EU position on the sustainable development goals is not quite clear, should be this week.
NGO’s and civil society should be developing their own policy positions as the informal drafts become more focused.
Hotel Prices in Rio have fallen. Last week, I checked on a couple sites and had three options at most and no price under $300. This has changed in the past week with some moderate options and a number of new openings. This is actually a big deal as hotel prices and availability were beginning to be a significant problem at the meeting.