After two weeks of closed door negotiations, a U.N. preparatory committee (PrepCom) has failed to reach consensus on a global plan of action, titled “The Future We Want,” to be adopted by a summit meeting of world leaders mid-June in Brazil.
The negotiators, comprising representatives of all 193 member states, proclaimed limited success, including reducing the size of the action plan – formally called the “outcome document” – from nearly 200 to less than 100 pages.
The document, called the “zero draft”, originally ran to more than 6,000 pages of submissions by member states, international organisations and civil society groups.
Still, after protracted negotiations ending last Friday, Ambassador Kim Sook of South Korea, one of the co-chairs of the PrepCom, said delegates had expressed “disappointment and frustration at the lack of progress” on reaching agreement on a plan aimed at a greener economy and a sustainable future.
In an effort to break the deadlock, the PrepCom will give another shot at the zero draft when it holds an unscheduled five-day session beginning May 29.
This will be a last ditch attempt to finalise the draft action plan, which has to be ready for approval by world leaders arriving in Rio de Janeiro for the three-day summit, beginning Jun. 20.
The summit will be the culmination of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also called Rio+20), a follow-up to the landmark 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil which adopted Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
“Let us be frank,” UNCSD Secretary-General Sha Zukang said Friday, “currently, the negotiating text is a far cry from the ‘focused political document’ called for by the General Assembly.”
He said the objective should be to arrive in Rio “with at least 90 percent of the text ready, and only the most difficult 10 percent left to be negotiated there at the highest political levels”.
However, a statement released Friday by a coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) warned that Rio+20 “looks set to add almost nothing to global efforts to deliver sustainable development”.