42 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/envpola42 and id is 1 raw text is: 










The core process for UNCSD  (Rio+20) is now underway with the compilation text having been merged into
a Co-Chair's proposal for a zero draft of the outcome document of the Conference  * and transmitted to all
permanent  representatives to the United Nations on 10 January. At 19 pages, the draft is divided into five
sections: Preamble/Stage setting; Renewing Political Commitment;  Green Economy   in the context of
sustainable development and poverty eradication; Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development
(IFSD); and Framework for action andfollowing up. It recognises global problems and provides broad general
support to sustainable development efforts. However, for our taste, there are too few firm commitments.


Reflecting on the outcomes of initial discussions on 25-27 January amongst more than 100 representatives
many  States, while acknowledging that the text could be used as the basis for negotiations, called for the
outcome  to be more balanced, ambitious and action-oriented. As expected, the original text for the first two
sections ballooned from 2.5 pages to over 31 pages by the time all of the proposals were incorporated.


Looking towards deliberations on sections III-V, two crucial points concerning IFSD will surely garner a
wealth of new proposals and could easily push the document to well over 100 pages. Paragraphs 49 and
49alt offer options for either reaffirming the role of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
and improving its working methods for better implementation or transforming it into a Sustainable Develop-
ment Council. Nonetheless, questions remain about the value of this change and what possibilities exist for
strengthening the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Paragraph 51 addresses the strengthening of the
United Nations Environment Programme  (UNEP) as compared to paragraph 51alt establishing a UN special-
ised agency for the environment. Both callfor universal membership within UNEP's Governing Council, but
questions remain over whether financing and the overall mandate will be positively or negatively affected.


In closing the meeting on 27 January, it was announced that delegations are to deliver their proposal amend-
ments to sections III-V by 28 February for the next round ofdiscussions. In the interests ofproviding alternative
formulations from the environmental law community, we have appealed for alternative formulations to the
draft language to be sent to us by 8 February for compilation and submission to the Convention Secretariat.
The governance  issues of CSD and UNEP, as well as proposals to negotiate a change to the Law of the Sea
Convention to deal with the high seas, a set ofSustainable Development Goals, and the host-country proposal
for a global Aarhus Convention  givingfurther effect to Rio Principle 10 can benefit greatly from the insight
of experienced practitioners.


As coverage of the meeting in January by IISD Reporting Services confirms, negotiations on a paragraph by
paragraph  basis are up and running and it is important to provide input at every step. Although dissimilar
to prior meetings of this scale, we feel that all approaches to shepherding the process are fine, as long as the
political will exists to craft effective and lasting language.


Lastly, the African Union along with Heads of State has announced that upgrading UNEP to a specialised
agency will be the official African proposal for Rio+20.

                                                                                 10 February 2012




*  www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php9page=view&type=12&nr-324&menu=20


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