Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Rio + 20: the countdown has started

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The countdown has started for “Rio +20”, the UN conference on sustainable development (20-22 June).  Aware that time is running short, the environment ministers of the EU27 meeting in Horsens (Denmark) for their informal Council responded to calls by Ida Auken, the president of the Council, on Thursday 19 April, by giving her a clear mandate for the final negotiating session to take place in New York next week (23 April - 4 May).

On the basis of an informal document prepared by the services of the European Commission, the EU27 identified energy, water and the oceans, soil, biodiversity, resources and, in particular, waste as the five areas to be included in the EU's position and serve as an example in the home straight before Rio, to be included, as the EU hopes, in the inclusive roadmap towards a green economy to be agreed upon at the anniversary conference of the Earth Summit.

“We are sending out a very clear signal that will accompany me to New York. The ministers have shown me their political goodwill”, Auken told the press. She went on to add that “creating an inclusive green economy is a step towards sustainable development. We need to create strong DNA to unite the three pillars - social, economic and environmental - of sustainable development.”

Brice Lalonde, the coordinator of Rio + 20 is rather opmistic on the results of the conference in an interview with the French news agency AFP although he admits that the current text “lacks ambition”. He is however, encouraged by how many heads of State and government have declared their intention to particpate in the conference. In total 50,000 attendees are expected.  

« Right now there is a tension between those whose number one priority is development and those who say that the biggest priority is saving the planet ; that we cannot go on like this, «  Mr. Lalonde told AFP.

« We are looking for this magic formula which responds both to the needs of development and the environmnet. »

(Sources : AFP, Agence Europe)

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