CDM Watch Network Update from Rio+20 negotiations, 19 June

Dear Watchers,

CDM Watch is participating at the Rio+ 20 negotiations since Sunday. The last pre-session has been going on since early June but the official start of the High-level segment of the summit itself is just about to start tomorrow and will end on Friday 22 June. Although there are plenty of press releases going around various mailing lists, it’s all a bit confusing and difficult to understand how negotiations are going and what the text that has just been agreed today actually means. We therefore would like to give you a bit of an insight how things are looking from this side of the table.
First things first – 2 sentences why we are here: Rio de Janeiro is hosting the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20. This summit honours 20 years of the Earth Summit that happened in the same city in 1992. The Earth Summit was quite a success because it gave birth to the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 and three important Conventions 1) Desertification (UNCCD) 2) Climate change (UNFCCC) and 3) Biological diversity (CBD). Any decisions here will pave much of the context in the climate negotiations including CDM reforms and new market mechanisms.
First assessment on “The Future We (Don’t!) Want” as an outcome from Rio+20: Since Rio 1992, countries have continued working to strengthen the Rio Declaration and its outcomes. Rio+20 was therefore meant to be a platform to build upon this result with a more up-to-date strategy to be finally decided this week. This strategy should be agreed on a single document called “The Future We Want” (see attached). The 50 page documents contains many chapters outlining how to address concerns about deforestation, oceans depletion, gender inequality, and offering options such as sustainable development goals or a green economy roadmap. Ultimately, this text should provide guidance to countries on how to take a sustainable path inclusive of people, environment and economy taking into account diversity in all its ranges.
Yet, the text lacks ambition in most of its points and offers the lowest possible common denominator to tackle the world’s environmental and development challenges of today. It seems that despite the giant “Christ the Redeemer” looking over the city of Rio, the devil remains dominant in the details just agreed here.
Although the range of topics is vast in this text, here comes a very brief summary of some issues adopted in the final text that are of relevance to CDM Watchers:
· Agreement to establish Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated process à SDGs will be defined in the coming years by a high level forum. Any decision will have direct implications on the role of SD as an objective embedded in the CDM and will define its relevance in the creation of new market mechanisms. It is important to remember that this process will happen parallel to the creation of NMM in the context of the Durban Agreement.
· Agreement and consensus language on Green Economy à this paves the way for higher participation of private sector in UN conventions and programmes in the future. Unfortunately, this part of the text completely lacks any mention of human rights while it also lacks a much-needed re-definition of what green economy really means. Any new economic approach to tackling environmental problems needs to guarantee human rights as the main pillar before profit making.
· An originally strong commitment to eradicate Fossil Fuels Subsidies was watered down and made voluntary à This is a lost chance to get coal and other fossil-fuels out of the CDM or any future climate mitigation mechanism
· Agreement to strengthen UNEP with a list of heavy mandates à UNEP is one of the few critical UN bodies that produces serious recommendations and helpful studies on climate change, including on CDM. Having a stronger UNEP (or UNEO) would also provide an alternative voice to other, less objective, UN bodies.
Although this text signalises well-intentioned language, it is set to become a lost opportunity because it fails to create something beyond the current business-as-usual scenario. In fact it suffers from the same problems experienced in the climate negotiations: lack of ambition, no deadlines and no targets. Perhaps having the very same negotiators deciding on both processes is not the best way to go forward.
What’s next: This final text has been pre-adopted by representatives and Ministers will add the finishing touches to the text. However, whether these finishing touches will be changes to the text or additional political declarations is unclear.
We’ll keep you posted!
Diego and Eva
Tel Rio+20: +55(21)8608-3527

Join the CDM Watch Network!
Diego Martinez-Schütt
Junior Policy Officer
NGO Forum Environment & Development
Rue d’Albanie 117, B-1060 Brussels, Belgium
Office: +32-2-3353662
Mobile: +32(0)489187693
Skype: diego_cdmwatch