Rio+20 Day 10 Live: Coverage from the UN Summit on Sustainable Development

By John Parnell and Ed King

– Day 10 coverage from the Rio Conventions Pavilion at RioCentro
– Conference agrees on The Future We Want Text amid protests from civil society
– Full review of document to come from RTCC
– Tweet @RTCCnewswire and use #RioPlus20 hashtag
– Send your thoughts to [email protected]
– Latest news at top of page
– All times Brazil local (GMT -3)

1832 Last post of Rio+20. We’ve a fantastic article from Hanna Thomas, one of the 130 protestors who walked out of Rio+20 yesterday because of the lack of progress and action at the talking. A moving and powerful article. We’ll have more on Monday including an exclusive interview with Jose Maria Figueres, head of the Carbon War Room, brother of UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres and a man VERY frustrated at the lack of progress here.

1740 Not everyone is so upset about this conference….Ed King has been speaking to Third World Network‘s Meenakshi Raman. She has been following the narrative of these talks for the past 20 years…and has sat in on the majority of sessions here – so we asked her for an overview of the past 2 weeks (first 10 seconds are a bit messy – so bear with it…)

1728 The signing of the official Rio text will take place in the next few hours. It’s a formality so we’re not sticking around – you can see what has been ‘agreed’ here.

The Sustainable Energy For All Commitments have also been agreed – these are listed here.

1637 A series of Environment Ministers and leaders are heading to the podium to talk….even more people are streaming out of the conference venue heading for a drink. You can watch coverage on UN TV

1635 UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been explaining why he thinks the talks have ended with such a weak conclusion…

“We no longer live in a neocolonial world where a small number of Governments can get together and write a text and say to the rest of the world you have to accept this,” he said. “The developing world is much more assertive.”

1630 We have more reaction to the text from Civil Society…

Friends Of The Earth: “World leaders in Rio have responded to the tide of global destruction that’s fast approaching by sticking their heads firmly in the sand.”

Oxfam: “Rio will go down as the hoax summit. They came, they talked, but they failed to act.”

Christian Aid: “Leaders have pursued narrow self-interest, technical bargaining and energetic spin, in the hope of persuading the public that they have worked wonders.”

Greenpeace: “3 days of empty rhetoric and greenwash from world leaders. #RioPlus20: a failure of epic proportions”

1625 Gambia’s Minister of Forests tells RTCC there have been ‘too many compromises’ in Rio, which only ensure that future deals will be even harder to achieve

1615 UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres has enjoyed a hectic past 24 hours…she appears resigned to another botched job but lacks none of her passion. Says that disappointing text can be used as springboard for longer term change…key is to MAKE GREEN SEXY!

1600 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now at the podium – she’s speaking but I’m not sure anyone is listening anymore…

1531 She’s going to town: “The only thing green about the US is the colour of the dollar.”

1525 The Venezuelan representative starts by claiming there is a coup -d’etat. She then says western nations are “dressing up capitalism in green”.

1402 It’s been a depressing day really so here’s something positive to reflect on. It may not have reached the final document but Sustainable Energy for All has attracted lots of national level progress.

1334 Maltese Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister just said that NGOs frequently see “the writing on the wall” before they do, and should be given a strong voice.

1309 So what does Business make of the Draft Rio+20 text? We’ve been hearing from Arthur Lavieri – the head of Suzlon Brazil – one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers. He says the growing ‘green’ economy is still on track despite what has (or has not) happened this week in Rio…

1235 Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon this morning along with fellow organisers of the ‘People’s Summit’. He explained to waiting reporters just what he had told the UN chief, why he is angry with the current political process and what he intends to do in response…

1222 @rtcc_john has penned a reflective article looking back at these talks – as they whimper to a conclusion. This part offers an explanation as to why the negotiations have failed to deliver:

Yesterday was the second day of the high level summit, the first full day given the formalities of the first. There were no frantic breakout groups. No spontaneous meetings spilling out in to the cafeterias to force last minute concessions and raise ambition. Diplomats were not pacing the halls on the phone back to base.

Instead, as the heads of state and ministers arrived, it was pretty much agreed that the draft document would be ratified as it was. That fact, possibly to same extent as the document itself, is truly depressing.

1201 The Vatican’s representative is at the podium now. He calls for the end of self-interest and protectionism and the restoration of “human dignity for all”.

1148 She tells the plenary that the summit “simply can’t afford to fail” and calls for stronger work on gender issues, a topic largely missing from the final outcome.

1146 US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton speaks at the plenary:

1116 Big news from Rio via Luxembourg. Nine EU finance ministers have established a coalition of the willing to establish a financial transaction tax. Just announced by Oxfam’s Barbara Stocking.

1044 UNDP’s Helen Clark announces the launch of the Rio+ Centre to continue the work from the summit and bring ideas that have only be talked about, to fruition: “Rio+20 is over, but the path to sustainable development is just beginning. The work goes on.”

1043 Mary Robinson gives her thoughts on the outcome:

1035 @rtcc_edking Fascinating chat with an experienced Chinese Journalist last night. China delegation have been very quiet this week, ‘hiding’ behind G77 and letting Nigeria leader do the talking for them. Said they are happy with the text as it will not bother their growth strategy – adding that the retention of Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) is a mini-triumph. A victory for apathy…

1032 Altmaier goes on to criticise NGOs: “They focus too much on concrete ideas and not enough on concepts like the SDGs. Right up to the start of the summit they were scrambling for concrete outcomes to campaign for.”

1026 The German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier is giving a press conference:

“The lack of SDGs is perhaps the biggest disappointment of the conference.”

0947 The IISD quotes an unnamed NGO veteran also turning toward what’s next.

“It is critical not to equate Rio+20 with a document…Rio+20 is a gathering of people, a catalyst, which can convert to action.”

0933 WWF-UK Chief Executive David Nussbaum is looking at the post-Rio solutions in a statement released today:

“…the focus must now be on putting these aspirations into practice in other ways – and that will come down to actions taken by governments, such as the UK’s, businesses and civil society.”

0847 The sense of inevitability has left an the conference centre fairly low-key.

0815 The day’s agenda in the main plenary session is fairly straightforward and routine. Nations will continue to give their individual statements this morning. If that runs into the afternoon session, the outcome will be adopted between 1500-1800. If it doesn’t, then adoption could be done by lunch.

0748 Here is UN Climate Change chief Christiana Figueres, Brazilian Environment Minister Isabella Teixeira and UNCCD boss Luc Gnacadja blowing out the candles on the conventions’ birthday cake.We asked Figueres via twitter what she wished for and the answer was emphatic:


0740 There was some positivity at the Rio Conventions birthday bash last night too. Yes, it was accepted wholly that Rio+20 had fallen short, but Ministers from South Korea, Brazil, Japan and (even) Canada agreed the hard work starts now. The three UN conventions chiefs all agreed (as did Edward Norton) that the challenge now is to convert words to actions.

0734 Here’s the moment yesterday’s sit-in formed. I happened to be ambling by with a small camera, excuse the low quality. After UN Security asked them to end the protest or leave, the groups decided to stage a mass walk-out and handed in their badges on the way.

0733 WWF’s Jim Leape spoke to us at the Rio Conventions Pavilion:

0721 Disappointment is the overriding feeling in Rio as the final day gets underway. Let’s have a quick look at what some of the disaffected are saying, and then set the day up by looking beyond Rio+20.


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