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22, Mar

Preparation for Rio+20 Reflections on Events of 19/3/2012

Conversation on ‘Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development’ (IFSD)  Section IV of the Rio+20 zero draft is on governance for advancing sustainable development at local, national, regional and global levels.  Still in negotiation are some texts as follows:

  • Upgrading the Commission on Sustainable Development to Sustainable Development Council that could serve as a high level body to consider matters relating to the integration of the three dimensions- social, environmental and economic- of sustainable development;
  • Strengthening international environmental governance by enhancing the capacity of  UN Environmental Programme (UNEP);
  • Strengthening regional and sub-regional mechanisms and establishing national sustainable development councils with the integration and full participation of all stakeholders;
  • Mexico declined to participate this afternoon in the specifics of editing the Rio + 20 draft text, and instead gave the opinion that the deliberations on the document tended to be very sectarian and unfortunately lacked convergence. They said that the text failed to be holistic and inclusive in its treatment of issues dealing with the global economic, environmental and social provisions. The Mexican ambassador strongly supported an annual forum, which could call the entire world to seek this urgently needed junction of global concerns that must be beneficial for all.
  • In the evening the Tebtebba, an Indigenous Peoples’  International Centre for Policy Research and Education sponsored a side event featuring indigenous persons from NE United States, Peru, and Nicaragua. They spoke on the areas of most importance to them for the Rio + 20 Document.  The Quechua indigenous man spoke of “Sumak Kawsay”, the “good life” as how we live on the earth in harmony with one another and in harmony with the earth.  Diversity of cultures and biodiversity on the earth go hand in hand.  He said, “I come from the mountains.  If the water is harmed in the highlands, it will harm the Amazon area and will damage the coastal lowlands.” He spoke of culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development, just as important as the economic, social, and environmental. He also stressed the importance of emphasizing human rights in the document and the rights of indigenous people.  The indigenous people must have secure rights over their territories, lands and resources. This is the source of their well being. He spoke fervently of the significance of women, their importance in continuing the culture, traditional knowledge, and the mother tongue. The indigenous people have always known how to live sustainably he said, and have much to share with others. The extractive industries, oil, gas, mining logging indiscriminate agricultural practices have done great harm to the earth.

 The parallel event ‘The Role of Civil Society/Major Groups in the future Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development’ organized by CIVICUS elicited good discussions:

  • Food and Agricultural Organization involves civil society to be on equal playing field except the voting rights. It is time for civil society to have similar voice in governance for advancing sustainable development. 
  • The gap in the implementation of 500 Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA) calls for a need to have a process for governance inclusive of multi- stakeholders including civil society.
  • The Minister from France said that the EU advocates for enhancing the involvement of  civil society in Rio+20  processes.
  • Cristina Diez, ATD Fourth World, said that people living in poverty should be able to have a say in the agenda for Rio+20 processes.
  • To the question by Meena Raman, Third World Network, on the urgent need for regulations for corporate powers, John Matuszak, Division Chief Sustainable Development and Multilateral Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, said that we cannot deal with business sectors as enemies! He continued to say that all of us as individuals have a role to play when it comes to sustainable development!
  • Delegations struggled to negotiate agreement on paragraphs 39 to 49 of the Zero draft – the meanings, the structure that would support  sustainable development in our world for the next 7 years & how we can come together for the benefit al all and for the benefit of our environment.

A side event 

Beena and Anjana are two sisters from India belonging to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) and they are part of the Charity Federation at the UN. Beena works with Children of the Women in Prostitution in Gurgaon Delhi. She shared her experience of transformation of attitude from revulsion to understanding, accepting and loving the women and children who are forced in to flesh trade not because of their choice, but by circumstances beyond their control. The SCN sisters in collaboration with St.Francis Xavier’s movement, a group of lay missionaries  provide institutional care and educational opportunities to more than two hundred young girls and children, protecting them from their mothers’ trade and ensuring a safer future for  them.

 Anjana works with a tribal community in Jharkhand on holistic health education and practices. Challenged by the high incidence of cerebral malaria in the area, Anjana learnt about a herb that would cure malaria. She not only prepares and dispenses the herbal medicine to her patients but also has trained her community  health workers to cultivate, prepare and  use the medicine in the community and this has brought down the mortality rate.

We are invited to attend a  ‘Briefing Session’  on the days  of the Commissions to advise of the events of  the day and of any changes to the programme.  A participant of the first RIO left us with a powerful thought; “ What will be your legacy to the future?”  Other significant thoughts were ‘”we all have the opportunity to create  a better future than what is past; sustainable development is not something the  UN or a National Government does, but what you do, how you participate, how you live your life.”

Mary McFadden pbvm



One Response to “Preparation for Rio+20 Reflections on Events of 19/3/2012”

  1. Mary Walsh says:

    Thanks Mary for the update…..I would love to see the day Civil Society is allowed equal say and power to that of Governments and Business! The words of the Quechua indigenous man should then permeate the whole Commission!

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