Emergency round of Rio+20 talks called after negotiators run out of time

By John Parnell

Talks on the draft agenda began in May but the summit has been subject to discussion since 2010. (Source: UN/Mark Garten)

The negotiations to set the agenda for the Rio+20 summit will run to an additional round of talks after failing to come to an agreement last week.

A second round of talks in New York, which lasted two weeks, struggled to reach consensus resulting in an additional meeting being scheduled for May 29-June 2.

The Rio+20 summit marks the anniversary of the Earth Summit held in the city in 1992.

The event will look at a number of issues from agriculture and environmental protection to energy supply and poverty alleviation.

Combining these issues is proving to be more complex than anticipated.

The original “zero-draft” agenda, was first proposed in January and ran to 19 pages.

However, subsequent meetings saw it balloon to the 206 pages that formed the starting point for the latest round of talks.

“Delegates have expressed disappointment and frustration at the lack of progress,” said Kim Sook, Rio+20 Preparatory Committee co-chair, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea.

A further comment suggested that relations among the negotiators had become frayed.

“The spirit of the negotiations must match our ambition,” added Kim.

According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the main sticking points are the green economy and the possible formation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Some countries are keener than others to embed private sector responsibility into the agenda. China has raised concerns that it could lead to economic protectionism.

RTCC’s own workshop to set SDGs showed how difficult that process is.

The Colombian Government has developed a popular proposal on the formation of SDGs, available at the bottom of the page.

Together with access to sustainable energy, these form the key components of the event’s agenda.

The extra round of talks will commence work using a streamlined version of the current draft prepared by the co-chairs to speed up proceedings.

Countdown to Rio+20:

RTCC Rio+20 Student Workshop: Setting a sustainable agenda

How has the world changed in 20 years?

Fidel Castro’s 1992 speech

New Concept Note on SDGs – Colombian Govt May 2012

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