Volume 16, No.06 - June 2012

Global dialogue on development

What is going to happen in Rio?


Rio+20 side events (13-22 June): More than 500 side events organized by Governments, Major Groups, UN system and other international organizations are scheduled, some are expected to be attended by Heads of State or Government.  

Rio+20 Voluntary Commitments (13-22): Because Rio+20 is a conference about implementation, all participants at the Rio+20 conference and various side events are encouraged to make voluntary commitments to deliver concrete results for sustainable development. Commitments are invited from various stakeholders businesses, other Major Group organizations, associations, academic institutions, philanthropic organizations, UN entities, partnerships involving more than one stakeholder, and Member States.

Third Meeting of the Rio+20 Preparatory Committe (13-15 June): This will be the final round of negotiations on the Outcome Document before its adoption by the official Conference. The document entitled “The Future We Want” includes the following components: an introduction on “Our Common Vision”, and chapters respectively entitled “Renewing Political Commitment”, “Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”, “Institutional framework for sustainable development,” “Framework for action and follow-up” and “Means of Implementation”. 

Sustainable Development Dialogue Days (16-19 June): At the invitation of Brazil, civil society representatives, including from private sector, NGOs, scientific community and other major groups will convene to discuss ten topics (poverty, crises, unemployment/migrations, patterns of production/consumption, forests, food, energy, cities/innovation and oceans. The resulting recommendations will be conveyed directly to the world leaders present at the Summit. 

Partnerships Forum (20-22): five high-level sessions designed to offer an opportunity for Governments and other stakeholders to showcase best practices, practical experiences and concrete contributions in implementing sustainable development. The sessions address entrepreneurs/grassroots, food/health, gender, partnerships brokering and partnerships’ contribution to “The Future We Want.” 

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) (20-22 June): 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will gather to shape how the world can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.  They will secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges. 

For logistical information on Rio+20 events:

NGOs to obtain consultative status with ECOSOC

The 2012 Resumed Session of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) took place from 21 to 30 May in New York.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations is a standing committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established by the Council in 1946. It reports directly to ECOSOC, and the two reports of its annual regular session (usually at the end of January) and resumed session (in May) include draft resolutions or decisions on matters calling for action by the Council.

The main tasks of the Committee are:

  • The consideration of applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by NGOs;
  • The consideration of quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs in General and Special categories;
  • The implementation of the provisions of Council resolution 1996/31 and the monitoring of the consultative relationship;
  • Any other issues which the ECOSOC may request the Committee to consider.

This session aimed to consider new applications for status by NGOs and applications deferred from earlier sessions. It also reviewed quadrennial reports of NGOs in general or special consultative status. The Committee is expected to meet again on 8 June 2012 to adopt its report of the session. This session’s recommendations will be sent to the Economic and Social Council for its approval in July 2012.

For more information:

Impact of the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ on indigenous peoples

The concluding session of the 11th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues addressed the “Doctrine of Discovery” issues, on 18 May in New York.

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues concluded its eleventh session with the approval of a set of nine draft recommendations, highlighted by a text approved on the special theme, the ongoing impact of the Discovery Doctrine on indigenous peoples and the right redress.  That fifteenth century Christian principle was denounced throughout the session as the “shameful” root of all the discrimination and marginalization indigenous peoples faced today. 

The Permanent Forum noted that, while such doctrines of domination and “conquest”, including terra nullis and the Regalian doctrine, were promoted as authority for land acquisition, they also encouraged despicable assumptions:  that indigenous peoples were “savages”, “barbarians”, “inferior and uncivilized,” among other constructs the colonizers used to subjugate, dominate and exploit the lands, territories and resources of native peoples. 

According to the text, signs of such doctrines were still evident in indigenous communities, including in the areas of  health; psychological and social well-being; conceptual and behavioural forms of violence against indigenous women; youth suicide; and the hopelessness that many indigenous peoples experience, in particular indigenous youth. 

In his closing remarks, Grand Chief Edward John, Chairman of the Forum, welcomed the adoption of the recommendations, saying it was indeed necessary to redress the many issues that had emerged over the years the doctrine had been in place.  There was a pressing need for indigenous peoples to rediscover and to celebrate their own cultures and heritage.  The challenge now was to enter a new area in which the effects of the doctrine of discovery did not continue to be felt by indigenous peoples in the countries in which they lived, he said.

 For more information: