Leaders from the developing world sharply criticized their counterparts from richer nations during talks at the Rio+20 sustainable development conference on Thursday, citing what they said is the historic responsibility industrialized nations have to clean up the globe.
Delegates from developed nations, meanwhile, said that a rapidly changing economic order and the rise of nations such as China, Brazil and India means that all nations must work together in protecting the environment.
Leaders or senior officials from 193 nations descended on Rio de Janeiro for the largest conference the United Nations has organized, with upward of 50,000 participants discussing hundreds of issues meant to get the world on a sustainable path that would allow economic growth without depleting the globe’s resources.
However, activists and many delegates blasted the document that will be signed at the conclusion of the three-day talks, which was finished by diplomats hours before the summit opened and won’t be formally debated by leaders before they approve it Friday, delegates said.
Rio+20: A future we don’t want
Al Jazeera, By Benedict Moran, June 21
A massive, thee-day global conference on sustainable development was officially launched in Brazil on Wednesday, but the tone was anything but optimistic.
Since the original Earth Summit, also in Rio, put sustainable development on the global agenda 20 years ago, humanity’s impact on the planet has only become more pronounced.
There are 1.5 billion additional people on the planet; the average temperature has increased by .4 degrees Celsius; and CO2 emissions have increased by 36 per cent.
Diplomats returned to Rio in an alleged attempt to change course. But the outcome document – announced a day before session began and the result of months of intense negotiations – leads to no major new proposals or binding promises.
“Just to be clear, NGOs here in Rio in no way endorse this document,” Wael Hmaidan, Director of Climate Action Network, said near the end of negotiations. “It does not in any way reflect our aspiration.”
A number of organisations and individuals have signed a petition, called “The Future We Don’t Want”, that refuses the current text, and are planning on launching demonstrations across the convention centre here in Rio on Thursday.
But barring some major breakthrough in the next two days, the text is set to be adopted on Friday at the close of the session.