juni 2012


UN Conference on sustainable development, Rio+20, is over and goes down in history as an unsuccessful conference in our eyes. We are now drained from too many long days with a lot of hard work and are trying to find out if it was all worth it. Did we achieve anything at all?

We had a meeting with some norwegian parliamentarians here in Rio the other day, and they expressed a dissatisfaction with the weak outcome text as well, but they pointed out that the real work begins now. Now this document has to be filled with concrete measures. We can look at the text as a minimum for what has to be done and then hopefully do much, much more than is stated in the outcome document called «The Future We Want». I think they have a point and I am glad to hear that our politicians are ready to work further with this, however, we know that there need to be binding agreements to get everyone to work towards a clear and common goal and thus achieve change. With no clear commitments in the «Future We Want» post-Rio work will be challenging.

But we are the youth and we cannot give up! We are the present generation and many of us might soon be the ones negotiating the terms of the future. So we’ll just have to put our disappointment aside and look ahead. We did not get a high commissioner for future generations in this round but that does not mean that the battle is lost. We knew that it would not be easy.

Ban-Ki Moon said in the opening plenary of the Rio+20 that «our scarcest resource is time, and its is running out». Sadly the UN-system seems to be too slow of a mechanism and precious time has been wasted discussing how to avoid commitments for a susatinable future.

Meetings postponed and no guts to make commitments in Rio+20. Waste of precious time. Photo: Mona Wærnes, ForUM

 

Paragraph 86 in «The Future We Want» states: «…We will also consider the need for promoting intergenerational solidarity for the achievement of sustainable development, taking into account the needs of future generations, including by inviting the Secretary General to present a report on this issue.»

So this is what we have to work with now, a report that Ban-Ki Moon will write. Hopefully he will remember his own words from the opening plenary at the Rio+20 and acknowledge the need of an institution that will bring the long-term perspective into the work of the UN, namely a high commissioner for future generations, that can ensure that development will be truly sustainable.

 

We rely on you now, Mr. Moon, to be visionary and have the guts to make things happen.

 

We’ve started a process that hopefully will give some tangible results, and we have met a whole bunch of people who work towards the same goal as us and have the same visions for the future as we have. It has been extremely valuable and inspiring to work with these people and we have made some good contacts. In addition we have been talking to Heikki Holmås, the norwegian minister for international development, and the rest of the norwegian delegation about Spire’s further efforts to establish a national ombudsperson for future generations. So I guess we achieved something, but we are far from finished. Like the parliamentarians said, the real work has to start now!

 

Some of the hard working norwegians who’ve been attending Rio+20. Photo: Mona Wærnes, ForUM

 

-Siv Maren Sandnæs

 

 

 

 

 

Hanna Bjørgås er tidligere medlem av Spire og deltar på Rio+20-konferansen, hvor hun hovedsaklig fokuserer på mat og jordbruk. Hun arbeider for tiden med å forske på GMO i Brasil. Her har hun skrevet litt om sine inntrykk og tanker omkring Rio+20:

Til en FN-konferanse å være, er paneldebattantene rørende enige. På et sidearrangement er åtte ledere for bonde- , kvinne- og urfolksorganisasjoner over hele verden samlet, pluss framstående forskere på matsikkerhet, for å diskutere matvarekrise og sult, og retorikken er radikal, selv om organisasjonene favner bredt. Det produseres nok mat i verden. Vi trenger ikke en ny grønn revolusjon eller nye teknologiske løsninger, utviklet fjernt fra bøndene som skal bruke dem. Eksportsubsidier må fjernes. Samtlige talere løfter fram kvinners rolle i matproduksjonen.

På utsiden av forhandlingslokalene er forskere, organisasjoner og sivilsamfunn gjennomgående enige om virkelighetsbeskrivelsen: Det er familiejordbruk, kvinner og småbønder som i hovedsak forer verdens befolkning. Vi må styrke dem for å stoppe sult og feilernæring.

Bak de bredskuldrede brasilianske sikkerhetsvaktene, på innsiden av forhandlingslokalene, er imidlertid retorikken en annen. Brasil fjernet gode formuleringer i den siste versjonen av teksten, noe som førte til at landet ble kåret til dagens fossil av rundt 100 representanter fra NGO-svermen her i Rio. Teksten som skal opp til diskusjon i morgen inneholder vage formuleringer med lite gjennomslagskraft. Flere jeg snakker med sier at sammenliknet med formuleringene fra Rio-møtet i 1992 likner det hele mer på en trasig tango – To skritt fram og tre tilbake.

Frørettigheter og småskala
Blant noen lyspunkter er at tradisjonelle frøsystemer blir vektlagt i dokumentet. Det samme blir rettferdig fordeling av utbytte fra genetiske ressurser og kunnskap tilknytta slike ressurser. Småskalaprodusenter, kvinner, urfolk og tradisjonell jordbrukspraksis blir også nevnt. Det kan virke som om retorikken har endret seg svakt i retning av å vektlegge tilgang og fordeling framfor økt produksjon.

Selv om spriket mellom retorikken på utsiden og innsiden av forhandlingslokalene er store, er ikke teksten på jordbruk så ille som den kunne vært. Det gir håp. Men hvor lang tid skal det ta før enigheten fra grasrota, blant forskere og helt opp til toppen i organisasjonslivet siver inn i hodene på verdens ledere?

Den brasilianske delegasjonen etter møtet hvor de presenterte det ferdige tekstforsalget som mest sannsynlig blir godtatt av FNs medlemsland. Brasilianerne er fornøyd med det de kaller en god tekst, men svært mange er uenig i at dette er noe å feire. Foto: IISD

Denne våren har det vært opphetet diskusjoner rundt norsk klimapolitikk. Regjeringen la i april fram den etterlengtede Klimameldingen. Spire ble ikke imponert. Sammen med Changemaker skrev i Dagbladet om 10 grunner til ikke å date Jens Stoltenberg. Klimameldingen gjorde nemlig ikke Statsministeren vår til en pikenes Jens! Spire ønsket seg derfor et Klimaforlik. Et forlik som kunne gi en mer ambisiøs og langsiktig klimapolitikk. Sammen med over 70 andre organisasjoner krevde vi skjerpet forhandlinger om et ambisiøst Klimaforlik på Stortinget. På torsdag forrige uke la partiene på Stortinget, med unntak av FrP, fram Klimaforliket – ble vi imponert denne gangen?

Foto: Natur og Ungdom

Forrige klimaforlik fikk vi i 2008. Da ble de sammen partiene som i det nye forliket enige om de overordnede målene for norsk klimapolitikk. Regjeringens Klimamelding og det nye Klimaforliket skulle komme med tiltakene for å nå målene vi satt oss i 2008. Mål om 30 prosent kutt inn 2020, herunder å ta 2/3 av disse nasjonalt, og mål om et karbonnøytralt Norge innen 2030. Tverrpolitiske forlik sikrer forutsigbar og langsiktig politikk, noe som er veldig viktig i klimapolitikken.

Foto: Dagbladet

Men har Klimaforliket gode nok tiltak? Det er noen gode tiltak i Klimaforliket. Blant annet bevilges det mer penger til kollektiv transport og et klimateknologifond, og oljefyring gjøres forbudt. Spire er også glad for at Stortinget skal utrede en norsk klimalov. Spire har krevd en klimalov helt siden 2007, da vi hadde dette som kampanjekrav. En klimalov vil lovfeste mål om utslippskutt, og vil derfor kunne skape enda mer forutsigbarhet og langsiktighet i klimapolitikken.

I kronikken i Dagbladet skrev vi om at Jens fortsatt flørter med eksen, altså oljeindustrien. Selv om det er noen gode tiltak i Klimaforliket viser det at samtlige partier også er litt «hang up» på ekskjæresten. Klimaforliket rører ikke oljeindustrien, og lar dermed Norges største forurenser slippe unna (oljeindustrien står for ¼ av norske utslipp)

Det er positivt at Klimaforliket kom og tiltakene er et sted å begynne for å kutte norske klimautslipp. Samtidig må ikke glemme at vi trenger mer ambisiøse mål og tiltak som også tør å utfordre oljeindustrien.

– Kari-Anne Isaksen

We returned to Rio Centro today ready to keep on working for the revival of paragraph 80, which is the only hope to include the concern for future generations in the text that paradoxically is to be titled «The Future We Want».

We arrived in time for the first round of negotiations for Institutional Framework on Sustainable Development (IFSD). The new Brazilian chairman was really strict about what he would allow to be raised in the meeting and not. He wanted comments to the text, but was not very pleased when additions to the text were suggested. We were happy to hear that the EU raised the issue of the removal of paragraf 80 concerning a High-level representative for future generations. Norway followed up with expressing that the former paragraph 80 hadn’t even been up for discussion and stated that «We owe it to the children and youth to discuss the suggestion of a High Commissioner or a High-level representative for future generations». We were really pleased that Marianne, the Norwegian negotiator, commented on this and that she even used the term «High Commissioner» which is exactly what it should be called in the text.

We are pleased that we have been able to convince Norway, however the real problem is still the G77 and especially Brazil and Venezuela. There has been some intense lobbying from the youth since last night and we have had positive signals from several G77-countries, but the major players are still not showing their support. The chairman clearly stated that there has to be concensus for anything to be added to the text, and things are not looking too bright at the moment. But we are still not giving up hope!

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Remember me, the High Commissioner for Future Generations? Photo: Spire.

Besides lobbying we have been focusing our efforts on what the youth do best – arranging actions! Brazil told us to keep the pressure up, and we certainly have been doing that. Hopefully it will help us convince Brazil and with it the G77.

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Major Group for Children and Youth want High Commissioner for future generatiosn back in the text. Photo: Spire.

The IFSD negotioations were scheduled to continue at 18:00, and the youth lined up outside the meeting room with posters and flyers waiting for the delegates to arrive. We taped our mouths with gaffa tape to express that we, the youth, feel that we are not heard. We want an institution in the UN that will concider the lives of our children, this is the very essence of sustainable development, yet negotiations on sustainable development avoid adressing this.

At 20:30 the meeting had still not begun, the chairman was sitting in the room next door talking to the Mexican delegation and nothing seemed to be happening. We gave up waiting and decided to go home to catch up on some sleep.

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Photo: Spire

It is heartbreaking to see the lack of will and aspiration to adress the problems we are facing as a global community. These problems can only be solved through collaboration, and only through collaboration can we find a new and better way of proceeding post-Rio. The outcome of Earth Summit in 1992 was several important documents; such as the Agenda 21, the Convention on Biodiversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2012 the outcome document seems like it will be a short, shallow and not very specific text with no real ambition.

Things are looking bleak, but we cannot afford to give up yet. We will be back at Rio Centro tomorrow morning to keep on fighting for the future we want!

-Siv Maren Sandnæs

Today, most of the time has been spent in confusion as to what is going to happen further on in the process. When we arrived at RioCentro, everybody were sitting in the food court waiting for something to happen.

Yesterday was the last official day of the PrepCom, and so now the Brazilians have taken the lead and is chairing the future negotiations until the high level segment with nation leaders  is starting on the 20th.

We spent the morning waiting for the first official meetings at RioCentro and enjoying some vitamins on the way:

Siv is drinking something really healthy

Finally, at the plenary at 15.30 today (15 1/2 hours after original plan mind you) the Brazilians basicly made it clear that from now on there would be no squabbles about details in the text and that «there will be no brackets», which have been occupying each little part of the text up til now. So far – good news. Brazil obviously wants this text to be completed.

Then they said that a new, consolidated text would be put forward after the meeting. When the text finally came (also about three hours late), it quickly became apparent that the original paragrapgh 80 was GONE. There was NO mention of an Ombudsperson, a High Commissioner or a High Level Representative for future generations what so ever. In short, this is disatrous, as the agreement on this would be one of the few positive and concrete outcomes of the conference whatsoever. Since the paragraph hasn’t been discussed yet during the negotiations, there hasn’t even been a good reason to delete it due to strong opposition.

In addition to this paragraph, a lot of other things has also been lost. Participation of Civil society is weaker than before, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has lost its coordinating role over Multilateral Environment Agreements. Moreover, while efficiency is quoted 14 times and ecomonic growth 20 times, there is not a single quote on sufficiency, planetary boundaries or limits.This is not good enough. The people of the world, especially civil society and youth, will see this outcome as a failure.

Concerned youth working for a better text

We are now combining all our efforts to strengthening the draft document so that we can get some improvement on these points. Especially the Ombudsperson will for our part be a non-compromising issue. For all of you reading this during the next days, please take some seconds to sign and share this petition, giving a clear message to world leaders that this is not the future we want, and that we deserve and demand better!

– Mari Gjengedal

Whereas we still see a major focus on specific wordings in the text draft and the negotiations are still moving slow, we do – as the day is soon coming to an end – see some improvement from yesterday. The state delegates participating in the different negotiations do now show some signs of speeding somewhat up their glacial pace. It may have something to do with overcoming some of the logistic problems of yesterday, for example the lack of internet connections in several negotiation rooms.

We have mainly been following the IFSD Splinter Group negotiations today. As yesterday, not much progress has been done, but at least now the problem is that people don’t really agree, as opposed to yesterday where people just didn’t say anything.

G-77/China delegates during the IFSD discussions. Photo: iisd

The negotiatiors has been more more willing to show their strength today, but although they get stuck quite often (as the case often is between G77 and other parties), there is also sometimes signs of flexibility.

We have now finally succeeded in getting into the agriculture negotiations. Agriculture is one of Spire’s main priorities, and we are especially concerned about the right to food, fair food trading systems and agriculture for development and environment. The agriculture splinter group negotiations have a far lighter feel about it than the IFSD. It may have something to do with the fact that it is a witty american being the Chair, but it also may be that the room is smaller and more informal. Either way, there is a more optimistic feel in the discussions here, and we do see that they move forward in the text. Norway and the US are most visible in the discussions. There has now been a long discussion about the right to food. That, however, did not seem to be resolved. We will try to work with MG of farmers on the agriculture points.

We are excited about what will happen tomorrow – will the negotiations speed up when the delegates feel the press of time, or will the ambitions be kept low and the negatiations keep on going until the 20th? Either way, we will let you know.

Posing with the UN flag

By the way, for more information on what happened yesterday, read the IISD earth bulletin.

Best regards,

– Mari Gjengedal

Yesterday was the first day of the last round of negotiations before the high level meeting starts the 20th. The negotiations has begun, but was incredibly slow. It is several reasons for the slow pace of the negotiations, logistical problems has been a pain in the ass for us and for the negotiators. Access to internet is crucial in the meetings as the delegates has to be able to look up references and keep in contact with other people in their delegation if something is unclear, and the lack of proper internet connection did put a halt to the first meetings of the day. In addition to this meetings has been cancelled in the last minute or delayed which is confusing for all especially for us norwegians who are used to everything being on time, and not on brazilian time!

The G77 and EU discussing while others are waiting patiently…

We have been following the group working on institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD) when the group overcame the logistical problems and finally could get to work, not much happened then either. At one point the representative for EU and for the G77 had to stop the meeting to have a private talk while the others just sat there staring out into the air for 15 minutes. One might think that it is a good thing that they are thorough but the problem seems to be that some states are too concerned about the particular wording rather than the larger structures of the text.

On tuesday, the last day of the Youth Blast, mr Zha Zukang the general secretary for the Rio+20 came to speak to the youth. He was as worried as us about the slowness of the previous negotiations and told us that we should not let the negotiators out of the building if they could not finish in time. If things continue like they have today we might have to take mr Zha’s words seriously and barricade the doors!

We are still working with the Major group for children and youth (MGCY) task force on governance, which is very constructive. There are a so many experienced and clever youth in the group and it is so inspiring to work with these people. Right now we are working on convincing the G77 to go with the proposal for paragraph 80 concerning the high commissioner for future generations. It is really challenging to influence a group consisting of so many different countries…
Today we are hoping that the negotiations concerning agriculture and food security, which were supposed to be yesterday but were suddenly cancelled, will take place. So far we have only been focusing on working on the high commissioner so its about time that we start thinking about agriculture which is also a crucial point in Spires positions.

Just in case someone haven’t read our positions you can find them here.  

Bilde

We had a long day yesterday but it was perfectly rounded up with a show with some nice and very danceable brazilian music and free wine! We are now ready for a new day hopefully with more productive negotiations than yesterday and some real ambition!

– Siv Maren Sandnæs (Spire´s representative in Rio)

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