Asserting the importance of cash and intellectual property to implement the proposed measures for a sustainable economy, a senior Brazilian negotiator warned against using Europe's financial crisis as an excuse for inaction and underfunding at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil Thursday.
Protesting the reluctance of the rich nations in funding environment projects and transferring technology that would help achieve the goal, diplomats from developing nations temporarily walked out of a working group on the green economy, underscoring the friction between the negotiating nations.
The G77 developing nations and China have proposed a global fund for sustainable development with an initial annual budget of $30 billion, the Guardian reported. However, wealthy European nations, battling the global economic meltdown, are hesitant to loosen purse strings.
Brazilian diplomat Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, undersecretary at the Brazilian foreign ministry, dismissed austerity measures as an excuse to avoid funding the projects saying, We cannot be held hostage to the retraction resulting from financial crises in rich countries. We are here to think about the long term and not about crises that may be overcome in one or two years.
Negotiations at the conference were stalled due to lack of consensus among the negotiators and the slow-paced talk process. Prominently noticeable by their absence were influential world leaders such as Barack Obama, David Cameron and Angela Merkel.
The deadlock is emblematic of a broader shift in the global power structure whereby developed countries, now less able to commit significant levels of resources to multilateral efforts, are leaving a void in global governance that emerging and middle-income economies are gradually beginning to fill, Estefanía Marchán, a researcher with Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, located in India, wrote. As these new actors rise to global prominence, however, the standoff also points to the difficult path we face in solving global challenges.
However, Nikhil Seth, Rio+20 Head of Office, maintained that the atmosphere is very friendly and consensus-inducing but progress is somewhat slow, that they (delegates) are not rapidly coming to a conclusion on many of the paragraphs.
We are hoping that the multiplicity of contact groups speeds up negotiations so that we have closure on this as soon as possible, Seth told reporters Thursday.
Meanwhile, thousands of civil society members participated in Rio+20's various side events, voicing their concerns on issues such as marine protection, deforestation, food security and workers' rights, a U.N. report said.
We are here to try to engage young people with the conference and get them to tell legislators and world leaders to stick to the promises they have made, and get them to renew their commitments on marine protection, Ruth Desforges from the Zoos Zoological Society of London said in an interview.
Over 500 side events are scheduled to be held over the coming days, with delegates from all over the world attending talks and workshops on a range of environmental issues.
The conference with the slogan The Future We Want is aimed at putting in place a universal framework interconnecting challenges in economic and social development, poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability.