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!
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.
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.
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