Weak words winning out at Rio+20



Posted on 16 June 2012  | 
Member of the Fishermens Association of Sena Madureira and Mauel Urbano casts net fishing on one of the lakes in the Purus River system near Sena Madureira. Floorplain Resources Management project int he Upper Purus River Basin, part of one of the WWF Freshwater projects sponsored by HSBC. Acre State, Brazil
© Edward Parker / WWF CanonEnlarge
“No political miracle in sight” is the judgment of WWF on the first attempt at a compromise negotiating text by the Brazilian Government at Rio+20, released Saturday evening.

WWF Head of Delegation Lasse Gustavsson said:

“While we think some of the new text is a good base for the future, such as the language on oceans, we see a lopsided victory of weak words over action words – with the weak words winning out at 514 to 10.

“Diplomats now only have a few days to salvage this process before world leaders show up.

“We’re hoping they’ve stocked up on coffee and sleep because they’ve got some long nights ahead of them if they want to avoid embarrassing their bosses.

 “The negotiating text is peppered throughout with words like ‘support,’ ‘encourage’ and ‘promote,’ and is very short on strong language like ‘must’ and ‘will.’

“‘Encourage’ is used approximately 50 times, while the word ‘must’ is used three times. Apparently, negotiators really like the word ‘support’ – they used it approximately 99 times – but can’t bear to use language like ‘we will,’ which appears only five times.

“The weak words appear in the parts of the text we most need hardened up – the section on green economy launches a process which they already launched in 1992. The language around much needed sustainable development goals and the language around energy, which could have been written by the oil and gas industry, also fall short.

“We don’t need meaningless pages right now.  What we need is a manual to save the world.”

On the G20 Summit:

Meanwhile, world leaders attending the G20 Summit this week in Mexico will be discussing issues that could significantly impact the outcome of Rio+20. With the pace of negotiations here caught in political quicksand, we need world leaders in Mexico to give Rio a boost.

“In particular, we’re looking to world leaders in Mexico to revisit their 2009 G20 pledge in Pittsburgh to reform fossil fuel subsidies. The reform of environmentally harmful subsidies is a strong area for success at Rio+20.

“The G20 is an economic and financial stability forum – and there is no way to achieve economic stability without long-term sustainable development.”
Member of the Fishermens Association of Sena Madureira and Mauel Urbano casts net fishing on one of the lakes in the Purus River system near Sena Madureira. Floorplain Resources Management project int he Upper Purus River Basin, part of one of the WWF Freshwater projects sponsored by HSBC. Acre State, Brazil
© Edward Parker / WWF Canon Enlarge

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required