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  • Published on: 27 Feb 2012
  • Submitted by: Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment
  • More information

Amendments to Zero Draft from the Norwegian Forum for development and Environment.
The Norwegian Forum for Development and the Environment (ForUM)
on the Zero draft (?The Future We Want?) of the outcome document for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro June 20-22 2012 (Rio+20).
Oslo, February 10th 2012

The Norwegian Forum for Development and the Environment (ForUM) welcomes the work and efforts of the Rio+20 Secretariat in extracting the main themes and goals delivered by governments, intergovernmental agencies and civil society/major groups as a basis for further negotiations.
However, we are concerned that the Zero draft in its current form lacks sufficient ambition and clarity. The draft outcome document must be radically transformed into a ?living document?, with details on the implementation aspects of all the good intentions articulated as common goals by the stakeholders. As a world community we must proceed from the visions and goals already formulated in Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals and other outcome documents from global summits leading up to this zero draft - to a commonly agreed upon ?program of action? for the implementation of these goals.
To attain balance and resilience, both socially and environmentally, on the global level, we need a bold approach particularly on the part of rich countries. We must dare to articulate measures that are binding and that will result in changes in our unsustainable lifestyles.
We welcome the inclusion of the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBRD) in the outcome document, and underline the importance of this being a core element in the final outcome document from Rio.
We also recognize the crucial role of gender equality in effecting a real change towards sustainable development. Gender equality must be at the forefront and an over-arching theme in the outcome document. This issue is well addressed in the report of the United Nations Secretary-General?s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability.
Please find below our detailed comments and suggestions with regard to the Zero draft.

Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication
Framing the context of the green economy, challenges and opportunities
With the ongoing economic, climate and food crises, it has become clear that neo-liberal economic policies, including unfettered trade liberalization, do not promote human well-being for all. Rather, these policies are part of the cause of the crises and at the same time limit countries? opportunities to respond to them.
ForUM welcomes an intensified process of transforming the world economy into a green and inclusive economy that can be a strong driver for developing social equity and sustainable management of natural resources.
The draft document describes green economy in relatively general terms as a means to achieve key sustainable development goals and as a ?decision-making framework? rather than a ?rigid set of rules? (paragraph 27).
While we accept that transition to a global green economy will not be achieved by a strict set of rules, we believe that a robust delineation of the key underlying principles of a green economy is required. This is currently lacking in the draft document. Without a clear definition of these principles, proposals for strategies and measures to achieve a green economy will run the risk of being arbitrary and insufficiently rooted in the ideals and values that the concept of the green economy is built upon. Defining the key underlying principles of a green economy will therefore enable the international community to identify the best and most relevant measures to achieve a green economy, and correspondingly identify measures which do not fulfill this ambition.
ForUM requests in the strongest possible terms that the Zero draft includes (under section III. A) a clear statement of the key underlying principles of a green economy. Fundamental to these principles is the integration of ecology and the economy. These principles should include, as a minimum, the following:
? Ecosystem services (natural capital) are integrated into economic analyses and decision-making processes
? Life cycle management of natural resources, rather than linear management
? Biodiversity provides vitality and resilience
? Energy comes from renewable sources
? Prices of goods and services reflect their true cost (including in terms of extraction, production and consumption)
? Equitable access to natural resources and equitable distribution of wealth creation

Equity and redistribution, particularly between the North and South, are inadequately addressed in the draft document.
ForUM suggests the addition of the following points after paragraph 30:
? We urge member States respectively and in cooperation with each other to investigate the practical consequences of reaching a balance between a reduction in exploitation and consumption of natural resources in the North and the need for increased access to basic goods and services in the South.

? We recognize the need to initiate in-depth studies on the concept of ?growth? in order to identify in which circumstances growth is necessary and in which circumstances growth can be detrimental to sustainable development.

Toolkits and experience sharing
ForUM suggests an additional point after paragraph 33:
? We resolve to establish an international committee to carry out research on and consider measures aimed at reform of the banking and financial sector at the global level, drawing on the resources and experience of organizations, such as the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

Framework for action
ForUM suggests the addition of the following text to the end of paragraph 38:
? concert with national low carbon development plans.
?Greening the sectors? includes greening the financial sector. We suggest the following additional points after paragraph 40:
? We strongly encourage banks and financial institutions primarily to reflect and serve the real economy.

? We urge member States to work for a radical reduction of speculative and unproductive financial instruments, as well as speculation in natural resources and common goods.
ForUM suggests the addition of the following text to the end of paragraph 42 a):
?.., including a tax on financial transactions earmarked for development and climate adaptation. We also emphasize the importance of established funding mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund. In this regard, we reaffirm the commitment of US$ 100 billion per annum for climate finance and urge industrialized countries to reach this goal, mainly through public funding, well before 2020.
ForUM suggests the addition of the following text to the end of paragraph 42 e):
?.., in coordination with the newly established Center for Technology Transfer (of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).
ForUM suggests an additional point h) to paragraph 42:
h) To discuss the role of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as a hindrance to just economic development in developing countries.

Institutional framework for sustainable development
ForUM supports the creation of a Sustainable Development Council parallel to winding down the Commission on Sustainable Development.
ForUM suggests that paragraph 57 should read as follows:
? We resolve to establish an Ombudsman, or High Commissioner for Future Generations, with an agenda setting and monitoring role, to act as an advocate and representative for promoting sustainable development, helping to provide an integrated approach at the highest level of UN decision making and functioning in close co-operation with civil society.

Framework for action and follow-up
Food security
ForUM suggests an additional point after paragraph 64:
? We recognize the right of countries and regions to protect and stimulate food production and markets. In this regard, we:
a) recognize the particular importance of smallholders and coastal fisheries as food producers and providers of jobs and economic activity. We commit to improve their access to inputs, markets and technical assistance, and to assure their rights to traditional land and waters;
b) commit to strengthening sustainable, agro-ecological farming, and boosting significantly participatory research in this field;
c) emphasize the role of farmers? and fisher folk?s organizations;
d) recognize the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) as the principal arena for policy making and regulation of food security issues.
ForUM suggests that the title of this section should be amended to Water and Sanitation.
ForUM suggests the following textual amendments to paragraph 67:
We underline the importance of the right to safe, and clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation as a human right?.
ForUM suggests an additional point after paragraph 67:
? We recognize the importance of innovation and investment in sustainable sanitation systems, including replacing water-based systems with waterless alternatives, and urge member States to allocate increased resources to this purpose.

ForUM suggests the following textual amendments to paragraph 70:
? We propose to build on the Sustainable Energy for All initiative launched by the Secretary General, with the goals of providing universal access to a basic minimum level of modern affordable sustainable energy services for both consumption and production uses by 2030;?..

ForUM suggests the addition of the following text to paragraph 70 (ideally, as a second sentence):
In this regard, we agree that developing countries should double the share of renewable energy in their energy mix, and developed countries should increase production of renewable energy and reduce production of fossil fuel-based energy, in order to reach the IPCC target for developed countries of reducing emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, and for the world to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
ForUM suggests the addition of the following text to paragraph 71:
Decentralized off-grid-solutions must be given high priority.

ForUM suggests the following as an additional point after paragraph 71:

? The majority of people lacking sustainable energy solutions today are women living in rural areas. Governments must stress the importance of intensifying support for women?s access to energy.

Climate change
ForUM suggests the addition of two new points after paragraph 88. Alternatively, these points can be incorporated into paragraph 88:
? We reaffirm our support for a new international climate treaty that includes all member States and respects the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities, to be signed in 2015, and urge all member States to ratify the treaty promptly.

? We urge all members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to establish ambitious targets for emission reductions and adaptation, in line with the IPCC?s recommendations.

Land degradation
ForUM suggests the addition of the following text to the end of paragraph 92:
?.. and call for the best possible coordination with other adaptation measures.

Chemicals and waste
ForUM suggests the following additional point under this section:
? We recognize the potential dangerous risks for irreversible environmental damage, and impacts on human health from insufficiently tested new technologies and products, as well as the unintended mix of such products. We resolve to negotiate a new treaty or mechanism for the assessment of new technologies and products.

Militarism (new issue)
The current draft outcome documents lacks any mention of the impact of militarism on sustainable development. The socio-economic opportunity cost of annual global spending of US$1.6 trillion on defence is enormous. ForUM believes that the omission of this key area from the document is critical and must be amended. ForUM suggests the addition of a new section under Priority/key/thematic/cross-sectoral issues and areas, and suggests the inclusion of the following points under this section:
? We recognize that progress in securing a sustainable future for our people and planet is constrained and threatened by the ongoing massive use of resources for military purposes and that annual spending of US$1.6 trillion a year on defence spending represents an enormous socio-economic opportunity cost.

? We recognize that military activity, including research, development and production of weapons systems, testing of weapons, military exercises, proximity of military bases, dumping of dangerous waste, destruction of agricultural land and water resources, first and foremost through war itself, bears massive negative consequences for people, the environment and our collective heritage. Unbridled military spending and military activity represents a threat to the livelihoods of current and future generations.

? We urge member States to intensify efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully, to direct resources away from military spending towards sustainable development and poverty eradication, and to ensure strict regulation of the international weapons industry.

ForUM suggests the addition of the following text to the end of paragraph 112:
We confirm that climate financing agreed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) must be additional to official development assistance.

ForUM suggests that the following point should be the first point of this section:
? We acknowledge that if trade is to contribute to sustainable development, the global trade framework must be modified in order to secure policy space for governments to pursue a positive agenda for development, job creation and food security. Trade rules must facilitate, rather than hinder, efforts in any country to ensure sustainable economic development and financial stability, as well as access to health and medicines. All trade rules must be aligned with UN conventions and, if in conflict, the latter should prevail.
ForUM suggests that the first sentence of paragraph 124 should read as follows:
We urge the members of the WTO to redouble efforts to achieve a multilateral trading system which grants developing countries policy space and special and differential treatment; delivers on ?duty free, quota free? access for Least Developed Countries, and solves the implementation and cotton issues raised by developing countries.

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