Rio+20 Brazil and Jamaica provide inspiration for Principle 10
Yesterday, November 1st 2011 was the deadline set by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Secretariat, for Governments, International Organisations and civil society to provide their contributions in writing for inclusion in a compilation document to serve as basis for the preparation of a zero draft of negotiation text for Rio +20. The Rio +20 Conference seeks to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges. With over 40 submissions from States ( with more to be uploaded to the UNDESA website (http://bit.ly/vU64D2) and twice that many submitted by civil society organisations it is clear that there is impetus building to achieve major outcomes at this conference. Several Governments have echoed the importance of Principle 10 and transparency, participatory or accountability aspects of decision-making for Sustainable Development among them India, Croatia, Canada, Serbia, Ghana, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Algeria, Argentina and Switzerland. Inspirational submissions were however made by Brazil and Jamaica. Brazils submissions states that “support is proposed for setting in motion a negotiating process at Rio+20, for a global Convention that will ensure the implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration.This principle has already been the object of regional instruments designed to increase opportunities to access environmental information and ensure the transparency and reliability of procedures. Such mechanisms contribute towards improving environmental governance by introducing the element of mutual confidence in the relations between civil society and governments, including the decision-making bodies in the sub-national authorities. The process of developing an instrument of this kind must be able to count on the participation of all civil society sectors and all spheres of government”.
This has also been echoed by Jamaicas submission which states “In terms of access to information, Jamaica already has in place legislation to deal with access to information and the carrying out of environmental impact assessments and has drafted legislation on pollution release and transfer registers, third party rights of appeal, etc. Notwithstanding concerns about the growing number of treaties, Jamaica considers that a regional agreement, taking into account Rio Principle 10, based on the Aarhus Convention would enhance public participation in the decision making process.”
The next Government meeting (Intersessional) will be held December 15-16, 2011 to discuss the compliation of all these inputs and make suggestions toward the drafting of a negotiating text. It is hoped that depite the rhetoric of leaders speaking about the outcome of Rio+20 being a short focused political document that these visionary ideas will be critically examined by all Member States as part of their preparations for RIO +20 and included within the final negotiating text.