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Useful Information 5: North South Divide

At conferences like the Rio+20 Earth Summit, countries tend to cluster in block positions in order to increase their political influence. Among these many divisions, what has come to be called the North South Divide is perhaps the most prominent. The Green Economy is one of the topics where opinions tended to be divided along this division: developing nations on the one side and developed nations on the other. This section provides publications on joint statements of the G77 and how the line between global North and South regarding the Green Economy and various subtopics.

Statement on behalf of the G77 and China by H.E. Mr. Bourad Benmeidi, permanent representative of Algeria to the UN and chairman of the G77 at the initial consultations on the zero draft of the outcome document of the UNCSD, published by the G77, 2012.

The Group of 77 and China stresses that the participation of developing countries is key for this [ongoing] process and must be ensured. […] The G77 and China reaffirms that the current major challenge for developing countries is the impacts from the multiple crises, particularly the ongoing economic and financial crisis which is a result of the current imbalances in the structure of the international financial system. […] In this regard we call for the reform of the global financial system and architecture and its governance. It is clear that there is an urgent need for substantial increases in the provision of financing to developing countries for sustainable development. […] It is also essential that financing for the UN system be significantly enhanced for it to operate effectively and fulfill its sustainable development mandate.

Article “TWN Update on Sustainable Development Conference 3 April 2012 – North-south divide over Rio+20 outcome document” published by the Third World Network (TWN). Good examples of who blocked or suggested what kind of proposals and occasionally the arguments behind these decisions. Written from the perspective of the G77.

Geneva, 3 April (Meena Raman) – The first round of the informal negotiations on the zero draft outcome document for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in New York on 19-27 March saw a clear divide among developing and developed countries on several key areas. These included the green economy, the institutional framework for sustainable development, the sustainable development goals and the means of implementation.

Article “Elusive Unity” published by the blog “Earth in Brackets”, 2012.

The political influence of block positions becomes a force that can shift things in negotiations. This is particularly important for poor countries because otherwise their small voices wouldn’t be heard in this concert of giants. Right now the developing economies are not finding a united voice.

Statement by Ambassador Jorge Argüello, permanent representative of Argentina to the UN and chairman of the G77 at the high-level symposium on the UNCSD, Beijing 2011, published by the UNCSD.

General comments:

On the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development:

On the “Green Economy”:

On the Objective of the Conference:

Opening remarks by ambassador Jorge Argüello, permanent representative of Argentina to the UN and chairman of the G77 at the retreat for the permanent representatives of the G77 on the UNCSD, published by the G77, 2011.

From the beginning, the Group of 77 and China has taken the initiative to convene the Conference. We have convinced our partners on the need of holding it, we have been proactive in giving shape to the preparatory process and also in starting a negotiating modality. […] Rio + 20 will be a crucial opportunity to assess where we stand in a context characterized by the ongoing economic and financial crisis and the unfulfilled commitments of developed countries regarding means of implementation. We therefore need to adopt a political perspective to address the particularly complex situation we are in.

Article “G77 pushes back at Rio +20: Negotiations extended” published by the Turtle Bay and Beyond blog, 2012.

Countries have voiced concern over accountability and implementation of the commitments made, as well as over the theme of the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty, with some developing countries asserting that a green economy approach should not lead to green protectionism or limit growth and poverty eradication.

News update “Progress on means of implementation first, then Green Economy, say G77” published by the Third World Network (TWN), 2012.

Frustration has been growing since the last round of informal negotiations in New York (29 May to 2 June) when developed countries continued to systematically dilute commitments on finance and technology transfer in Section V of the draft outcome document, while at the same time pushing for commitments from developing countries on the green economy. Text by developing countries on means of implementation in the green economy section has also met with resistance from developed countries.

Article “Rio+20 organisers struggle to untangle new world disorder – Climate conference’s chief negotiator says notions of developing v developed world, or a north-south divide, are outdated” by the Guardian, 2012

“There is strong fragmentation,” do Lago told the Guardian. “Everyone is saying there is a north-south divide, but in fact there are many more divisions. Once you had developed and developing countries, or the eastern bloc and the rest. But the complexity of the negotiations now are much more difficult to grasp.”