Rio+20 - the short name for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is the follow-up conference after the first Earth Summit. The conference is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives, to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.
The representatives of 188 countries’ met in a failed attempt to find a breakthrough at this year's UN-sponsored conference. The outcome makes nobody happy as it has been widely criticized for its lack of vision in the face of accelerating degradation of the planet.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) is being organized in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 64/236 (A/RES/64/236).
The first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED Earth Summit) also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, or Earth Summit was a major United Nation Conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992.
The Rio+20 is the follow-up conference after the first Earth Summit which took place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
At the Earth Summit, world leaders adopted Agenda 21, a blue print to attain sustainable development in the 21st century. Agenda 21 includes Chapter 14, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD). At UNCED, nine major groups were designated to represent civil society’s concerns in the follow-up work, and the UN established a Commission on Sustainable Development to guide and monitor the follow-up process, which included a major global stock-taking event every five years.
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was set up after the UNCED Summit in Rio to meet annually at UN Headquarters in New York and to follow-up by monitoring and reporting on the implementation of agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels. The UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) provides the secretariat for the Commission.
The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro was unprecedented for a UN conference, in terms of both its size and the scope of its concerns.
Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, where countries adopted Agenda 21 - a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection - the UN is again bringing together governments, international institutions and major groups to agree on a range of smart measures that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources.
The conference claimed to be a major success in raising public awareness on the need to integrate environment and development. Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life in developed countries were drawn into the Rio process. They persuaded their leaders to go to Rio and join other nations in making the difficult decisions needed to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.
Although it claimed that Rio+20 is a chance to move away from business-as-usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future, but the successes outcome of helping Governments to rethink economic development and find ways to halt the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources and pollution of the planet have yet to be questioned.
In the preparatory process for the Rio Summit in 1992, there were a number of proposals for institutional reform to address the challenges of sustainable development. UNCED saw the adoption of a number of crucial agreements, including the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21. It also created new international institutions, among them the Commission on Sustainable Development, tasked with the follow-up to the Rio Conference, and led to the reform of the Global Environment Facility. But the scenario seems that the UN agenda is to throw would-be environmentalists off track, by funding a science fraud.
Agenda 21 designated nine sectors of society, known as CSD Major Groups, as critical for the development and implementation of policies for sustainable development. The nine major groups that work closely with CSD are: (i) business and industry, (ii) children and youth, (iii) farmers, (iv) indigenous people, (v) local authorities, (vi) NGOs, (vii) scientific and technological community, (viii) women, and (ix) workers and trade unions. But the issues not included in the document are (i) to end subsidies for fossil fuels; (ii) language underscoring the reproductive rights of women; (iii) protect the high seas; (iv) areas that fall outside any nation’s jurisdictions.
The summits seem cannot effectively generate higher public awareness and concern for the environment in undeveloped countries as a critical issue. On the other hand, it claimed that the agenda of the UN is to defuse the real environmental issues, by creating the CO2 false-flag, and a bunch of hog wash about man created climate change. Undeniably, the real UN agenda is reflected in the agenda of how to throw would-be environmentalists off track, by funding a science fraud.
One of the main factors contribute to the failure of the summits in recent years is none other than the global economic turmoil. Wealthy Western nations are financially exhausted and unwillingly to commit to help in funding greener development for poorer nations. The conference finds no solutions to resolve this moral obligation. In fact, the real issue should be the corporate creations of toxic environments.
Nature does not negotiate with human beings. Attendees could all agree that there are major global environmental problems, but were unable to agree on what to do about them collectively. They could only agree to 'reaffirm' their original goals from 1992, for example, to achieve sustainable development and economic stability, and strengthen international cooperation. The conference produced virtually no progress since the 1992 summit agreements.
The summits produced nearly 700 promises and advances made by individual countries, companies and other organizations, in total worth about USD 500 billion if actually followed through. Due to recent Euro crisis and the turmoil facing the global economy at large has forced developed countries to tighten aid budget and reluctance to reaffirm the "Rio Principles" originally agreed in 1992.
Most of the developed countries who give aid to poor nations are unable to finance UN-sponsored conference as they have and others are cutting down aid budgets, in order to reserve the money to overcome their deficits.
With U.S. financial turmoil reverberating against the backdrop of a profound global shift in economic power, America’s capacity and capability as well as willingness to sponsored conference remains questionable.
Nonetheless, given America’s enormous stakes in a strong and resilient global economy, critically the “made in the USA” financial crisis comes at the same time caused policymakers confronting the emergence of a group of rising powers, notably from China and India to the Gulf states and Russia.
Undeniably, the world is facing a rapidly shifting economic environment. Following 35 years of strong economic output by the Group of Seven economies, during which they commanded approximately 65 percent of the global output and the so-called “BRIC“—Brazil, Russia, India, China—economies accounted for about 7 percent, caused the Group of Seven’s share falling to 58 percent over the past five years and the BRIC’s share rising to more than 11 percent. Thus it is difficult for America to lead on the main challenges the world are facing today.
Under these unforeseen circumstances, the U.S. have no better solution other than partner with more than 400 companies, including Wal-Mart, Coca- Cola and Unilever, to support their efforts to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains by 2020.
The problems become more complex when the developing countries insist that Rio+20 should at least renew the original commitments of new and additional financial resources, and to make efforts to meet the aid target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product. However, even these minimal aspects are being resisted by some developed countries.
In addition, some believe that China has become a well-developed or more developed country and should assume more responsibilities in the field of sustainable development. However, it is opposed by China as China's per capita GDP is only 53 percent of the world's average, and there are 122 million people living below the poverty line.
China is indeed in a period of accelerating industrialization and urbanization, but the problems it encountered in this stage have appeared to developed countries in the past two or three hundred years, so the pressure of environmental protection and resource conservation remains high for China.
The main question remains: “How do we maintain economy growth and by the same time protect the environment?”
It is indeed a good strategy to reaffirm the need to achieve sustainable development, reaffirm commitment to strengthening international cooperation; and reaffirm the need to achieve economic stability.
The historic Rio+20 summits has come and gone, but it was hard to find a happy soul at the end of the Rio+20 environmental summits as this conference was a conference to decide to have more conferences to safeguard the dignity of the summits.