“We hope 120 heads of state and Government in Rio”
March was a milestone in the countdown to Rio+20 while we crossed the cape and threshold of 100 days before the Conference. This is also when negotiations have really intensified on the Zero Draft of the Rio+20 Outcome Document released in January, based on 6000 pages of input from various stakeholders.
Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang went to Brazil in early March to discuss logistical and substantive aspects with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Environment and other officials involved with the Rio+20 preparation. He addressed the Senate and the Brazilian Commission for Rio+20 (set-up to coordinate the conference in the Host Country). In a statement, Mr. Sha summarized his expectations for the Rio+20’s successful outcomes in June:
“We hope over 120 heads of State and Government will attend.
We hope the Conference will adopt a focused political document, building on the Rio Principles, Agenda 21 and Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
We hope to see specific commitments and initiatives for achieving coherence, integration, but in particular implementation. Rio+20 will define the action and implementation agenda for the next 10 or 20 years.
We hope to see innovative partnerships launched by Member States, the UN system, business and other sectors of civil society.”
Later in March, the Zero Draft was negotiated in detail at the United Nations Headquarters by Government representatives with the participation of the Major Groups (totaling over a thousand stakeholders). This marathon of talks began with a round of informal-informal consultations in the week of 19 March, and continued in the framework of the Third Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference on 26-27 March. A fairly high number of changes were proposed that significantly expanded the draft Rio+20 Outcome Document.
At the end of the session, Mr. Sha commended the participants: “Your dedication shows to the world how much you care about this conference, and about the opportunity it brings. There is no doubt that you want to make the best of Rio+20 and ensure that world leaders renew political commitment at Rio.” He mentioned upcoming challenges on the road to Rio: “Looking ahead, I am also keenly aware of the complexities of the negotiations yet to come. It will be an arduous process. The compilation text is long; the days of negotiations are limited.”
The next negotiating round will be held in New York from 23 April to 4 May. By then, meetings will be held with key country groupings in order to streamline the text.
In the next weeks, the communications campaign “The Future We Want” will intensify and the Rio+20 website exceeded the milestone of one million visitors on 23 March.