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Useful Information 3: Success or Failure?

The apparent general consensus after Rio+20 was disappointment or very tentative humble optimism. This section is a selection of news articles and analyses by NGOs and medias of in which regards Rio+20 was a success, in which regards it was a failure, and why.

Reflections of NGOs

Discussion paper “What happened at Rio+20? – Lessons learned and the way forward” published by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), 2012.

What happened at Rio+20? What lessons to be learned and what is the way forward? This paper addresses these questions, first, by briefly outlining the beginning of Rio+20 and its preparatory processes. Second, it explains what came out of Rio+20 in terms of the outcome document and other processes held in parallel with the Conference. Third, the paper examines the strengths and weaknesses of Rio+20. Finally, it provides some implications for a postRio+20 world, in particular towards the AsiaPacific Region.

Article “The Challgenges of Rio+20” published by the World Economic Forum, 2012.

So, there is still a lot to be done. At this stage, we have perhaps a document that reflects a world of the negotiations and their politics and wordsmiths. While an important reflection of the multilateral conversation, it may well be a document that is far from the scale of the challenge and the practical multistakeholder innovations being developed to respond to them around the world.

Publication “Rio+20: Analysis of Zero Draft Submissions” published by the Stakeholder Forum, 2012.

Stakeholder Forum has undertaken an analysis of the submissions to the UN. This analysis identifies the insights to be found in the Zero Draft submission documents by creating a database of 97 key terms relevant to Rio+20 and determine which organisations have expressed an interest in that term.

Article “Rio+20 verdict? The green economy is growing up” published by the Green Economy Coalition, 2012.

The outcome document has many failings. It lacks timeframes, urgency and a clear indication of how the transition will be funded.  But, the prospect of green economy has not died.  A year ago, governments were suspicious of the concept, now they are exploring green economy as one tool for sustainable development. To quote the Venezuelan delegation during the final text release –“Green economy has changed from something that is being imposed, to something we own.” Rio+20 has helped the concept of a green economy take its first tentative steps into the world.

Article “Perspectives From Rio+20: ‘We Cannot Conflate The Negotiations With What Is Actually Happening On The Ground’” published by the online platform, 2012.

The summit is usually billed as place where negotiators come to hammer out broad agreements in stuffy rooms. And that’s what a lot of attendees are focused on. But with more than 45,000 people attending hundreds of side events on every sustainability subject imaginable, it’s also a place where people come to learn from one another. “Unfortunately, what people focus on are the negotiations,” said Jacob Scherr, director of global strategy and advocacy for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “But that part of the meeting is a remnant of the 20th century. What we see now are mayors, governors, activists and civil society groups all participating and creating new coalitions. To me that’s the value.”

Reflections in the Media

Article “An Assessment of the Rio Summit on Sustainable Development” published by Economic & Political Weekly, 2012. Green Economy on page 11

Rio+20 may not have achieved as much as was hoped for in addressing the environmental challenges of the world. But the summit was not a failure that many have portrayed it to be. An analysis of the main outcomes, especially of the new “sustainable development goals”, brings out the complex nature of the outcome and the challenges in the follow-up.

Article “Rio+20 Earth Summit: campaigners decry final document” published by The Guardian, 2012.

‘Pathway for a sustainable future’ declared, but Greenpeace says summit was failure of epic proportions

Publication “Rio+20: Is this it?! Initial analysis of Final Draft Text” by Friends of the Earth England, Wales and N Ireland. Part on Green Economy on page 5.

Developing countries and many in civil society repeatedly expressed concerns that the term ‘green economy’ was being used to replace the agreed multilateral conceptual framework for sustainable development – with a focus on the single pillar of economics, rather than all three pillars of sustainable development. Further to this, developing countries expressed concerns that these negotiations might pave the way for environmental issues to be used as the basis of trade protectionism or new conditionality for aid and loans.

Article “Rio+20: reasons to be cheerful” published by The Guardian, 2012.

Despite the criticisms of the Earth summit in Brazil – many echoing the 1992 meeting – much that was positive emerged