An idea supported by Brazil (along with the 130 other nations is the misnamed G-77 plus China) to create an international green fund to provide incentives for sustainable development will probably be removed from the final text of the joint declaration that will come out of Rio +20, the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference.
The Preparatory Committee has been discussing a proposal for the fund to begin with US$ 30 billion in 2013, and reach US$ 100 billion in 2018. There would be mandatory contributions for developed nations. A number of countries in Europe oppose the idea for financial reasons in light of the international economic crisis. They have been joined by the United States and Canada.
The executive secretary of the Brazilian delegation to Rio+20, ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, admitted that rich nations have “hunkered down” due to internal problems. “All this is part of the negotiating process. Nobody has actually refused to discuss the subject. We are still working out a possible best solution,” said the ambassador.
There are only five days left for the Preparatory Committee to come up with a text before some 115 heads of state and government will arrive to approve and sign (on June 22) a final joint Rio +20 declaration.
The principal items that remain to be decided on are: common goals, transfer of technology, financing, training of personnel to execute sustainable development programs, a definition of “green economy” and, finally, the creation of new international organizations to oversee the implementation of Rio +20 decisions.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Brazilian Pavilion, president Dilma Rousseff declared that it was time for all countries to make a commitment to the goals of sustainable development, adding a warning that the developed nations had to do so even though they face an economic crisis.
“We do not think you respect the environment only when economies are expanding. On the contrary, growth, conservation and preservation are all intrinsic to the concept of development, especially in times of crisis,” said the president.
“The environment is not an addendum or garnish, it is part of a grand vision that embraces including and growing, a vision that we all want to include preserving and conserving.”
Dilma went on to say that commitments made at Rio+20 were voluntary.
“We consider sustainability one of the central pillars of our concept of development,” she declared.
The Brazilian Pavilion covers some 4,000 square meters. It is built of recycled containers. Inside there are multimedia expositions on governmental projects and programs. There is space for conference rooms.
Around the pavilion are four exposition areas, showcasing government themes: innovation, sustainable technology and social inclusion. Among the programs presented is a housing program for low-income families (“Minha Casa, Minha Vida”), clean water (“Água Doce e Cultivando Água Boa”) and modern methods of farm production (“Embrapa” – the government’s Farm Research Corporation”).
Dozens of other countries have set up pavilions, highlighting action plans aimed at achieving social welfare and economic and environmental sustainability (the pavilions are located in the Parque dos Atletas, Barra da Tijuca and in front of Riocentro)
On June 20, Dilma will return to Rio+20 for meetings with other heads of state and government. The event closes on June 22
Giancarlo Summa, the head of the United Nations Information Center for Brazil, told reporters that around 25% of the Joint Final Declaration that will be signed by all the nations represented at the conference was ready (more than 180 countries are present).
Summa said that some items will be resolved easily, matters of vocabulary and punctuation, for example, while others involving policy will have to be ironed out in intense negotiations. In order to speed up those negotiations, talks were held in New York prior to the conference.
The first press conference on the Joint Final Declaration took place yesterday afternoon shortly after the conference was declared open. Sha Zukang, a Chinese diplomat, who is the UN Rio +20 secretary general, revealed that the document has some 400 items.