Rio+20 a dream come true or more of the same
I am an environmental lawyer and transparency activist working in Washington DC at the World Resources Institute. I arrived yesterday to attend the Rio +20 Global Conference on Sustainable Development. I am tired but excited to be attending the conference. A lot is at stake. This conference could potentially set the agenda for the years to come on at what they call the institutional framework for sustainable development. The term addresses institutions and practices that determine how our international, regional and national programs are designed to achieve development that meets the needs of present and future generations. Governments are poised to address issues of implementation of environmental commitments and obligations and accountability. I feel privileged to be attending this meeting. Last night Brazil released a new text of the outcome document to get consensus from governments on a number of issues. I am working on promoting Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on access to information, public participation and access to justice. The new Brazilian text is progressive on the issues we are working on. I am excited by the possibilities it provides. It includes recognition that progress is needed to enhance Principle 10 and encourages this in regional and national processes . The text also explicitly states that this is an issue which is to be addressed by the United Nations Environment Programme and improvements are needed to hear the voices of civil society in international negotiations. A number of these provisions were previously suggested for deletion and now Brazil has explicitly incorporated these into its version of the text. This leadership is welcome. There are two more days of negotiations before the meeting starts. I am holding my breath hoping that these progressive ideas will remain and be strengthened in the text. More to come.