Human rights remain under threat in Rio+20 negotiating text, warns IBON International

Posted on 1 June 2011

New York, Friday, June 1, 2011

Real commitments on human rights, financing and macroeconomic reforms that would help developing countries, and regulation of the private sector remain absent from the draft document of the Rio+20 outcome document, warns international civil society organization, IBON International.
After the third and final “informal informal” prior to the meeting of the United Nations Committee on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) to be held Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, delegates from member states of the United Nations failed to make any significant headway towards renewing focus and commitment on sustainable development after five days of intense negotiations in New York. 
The New York meeting is the third in a series of negotiations to produce the document to be agreed to by heads of state from across the world at the Rio+20 summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this month
IBON International, one of the civil society organization officially observing the intersessional meeting and coordinating NGOs advocating for a rights-based approach to sustainable development, recognises that there has been progress in terms of the inclusion of language referring to human rights in the text, such as the right to water and basic sanitation. This has been largely due to constant pressure from civil society organizations, as well as from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Nations Special Rapporteurs.
However there are still no real commitments to establish enabling conditions for the protection, respect and fulfilment of human rights in the context of the current economic and ecological crisis.
  • Countries are still shifting the burden to the private sector at the same time removing language that would subject the private sector to stricter public or social regulation.
  • Developed countries are still opposing any commitment to ensure adequate public financing for sustainable development, especially for developing countries, in line with the Right to Development.
  • There are still no commitments to undertake systemic macro-economic reforms in trade, finance, investments policy which currently prevent countries, particularly developing countries, from generating decent jobs, providing basic health and education, and developing green productive capacity.
  • There are still no clear commitments to rights-based accountability mechanisms. 
Paul Quintos, program manager at IBON International and coordinator of the NGO Cluster on Rights and Equity, said:  “Whatever nice pledges come out of Rio will mean nothing if people cannot hold our states accountable for them.”
“If Rio+20 merely pays lip service to the vision of sustainable development but leaves the private sector in the drivers seat, then many civil society groups and social movements are likely to denounce and disown Rio+20 as a corporate green agenda.”
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