Thursday, 21 June 2012
Many observers had mixed feelings about 15-minutes long speech of president Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The controversies concerned not the content of his speech but the mere fact that he was invited to speak and that the public rewarded him applause. People were asking ‘Is that appropriate?’
The statements by Major Groups were very critical about the Rio+20 outcome document. The representative of the Major Group for Children and Youth stated: ‘This is not the future we want…’. Harry Saragih of La Via Campesina spoke on behalf of the Farmers Major Group. In his speech he emphasized the essential role that sustainable agriculture plays in the discussion on sustainable development. He suggested that farmers, artisanal fishers, pastoralists, agricultural workers, youth and indigenous peoples hold the solutions for sustainable development in their hands. He also strongly supported the concept of food sovereignty as 'a comprehensive framework which addresses the issue of poverty, food security, climate and the environment, as well as issues of peasant, human rights, and animal welfare'.
In response to statements made by Major Groups UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon admitted during the press conference that he also hoped for a more ambitious outcome document. But he stated that negotiations have been very difficult and very slow because of many conflicting interests. He also said that the document could still be revised by world leaders. However, according to observers this is very unlikely. This morning Ban Ki-Moon hosted a dialogue with the Major Groups to further discuss the The Future We Want document.
Yet, there is much frustration among campaigners about the outcome document. Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace International, said the NGO is moving to a "war footing" after negotiators at Rio+20 watered down proposals to protect the world's oceans.
At the same time, Biovision and others were quite satisfied with outcomes of Rio+20. At their website Biovision described Rio+20 as an important step in the right direction for sustainable agriculture: ‘The declaration of the Rio+20 conference marks an important step in developing a sustainable agriculture that can feed the world without destroying the planet’.
However, the summit has been overshadowed by the crisis in Europe and by key elections in the United States and elsewhere that have hobbled governments' ability, or willingness, to act.
Today heads of state delivered their speeches on the draft agreement at Rio. Comments tomorrow.
Text: Marta Dabrowska