Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Developing Countries Raise Concerns On “Green Economy” as Rio+20 Begins

Chee Yoke Ling and Saradha Iyer (Third World Network) report that the first session to prepare for Rio Plus 20 (the 2012 Sustainable Development Summit in Rio) in New York on 17-19 May, the “Green Economy” was one of the most significant topics.

There were many differences of views, with many developing countries expressing various concerns, including that the concept was new and complex and thus too early to be the subject of multilateral negotiations; that it should not distort or divert from the agreed and holistic concept of “sustainable development”; and that it should not be used to open the way to trade protection or new aid and finance conditionalities.

The developing countries want the priority of Rio Plus 20 to be on analyzing why the commits made at Rio and other Summits have not been fulfilled, to identify the obstacles, and get new commitments to fill in the gaps.

The concern is that before the previous commitments have been met, new concepts are emerging that may cause new complications and divert from the real issues.

For example, the G77 asked the following questions: Does an approach based on "a green economy" add value to the paradigm of sustainable development? Or does it compete with the agreed multilateral conceptual framework for sustainable development? Moreover, how does it relate to the fundamental principles agreed in Rio (Agenda 21, Rio Declaration) and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development?

The G77 also cautioned that "transition to a green economy should not lead to conditionalities, parameters or standards which might generate unjustified or unilateral restrictions in the areas of trade, financing, ODA or other forms of international assistance. Illegitimate barriers to trade - tariff and non-tariff - could emerge if the discussions are geared towards or captured by protectionist interests, which might ultimately lead to green protectionism' proposals that would run counter to the multilateral trading system".

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