IBON warns vs diluting Rio+20 draft: ‘Don’t delete our rights, don’t bracket our futures!’

Posted on 25 April 2012
As the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) draws near, negotiations on the zero draft of its outcome document have markedly heated up. From March 19 to 23, the first round of “informal-informal” (preliminary) negotiations on the zero draft of the outcome document was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, NY. 
Further, the third open-ended informal intersessional meeting of the Preparatory Committee for UNCSD will be held from March 26 to 27 in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber of the North Lawn Building of the UN Headquarters. Members of permanent missions, government delegates, representatives of international organizations and civil society actors are expected to attend the meeting. 
Paul Quintos of IBON International is currently attending the informal-informal negotiations and the intersessional as one of civil society representatives, as well as participating in several side events of the UNCSD main event. On March 23, Quintos delivered the following remarks at the side event entitled “Towards the Peoples’ Summit at Rio+20” held at the ECOSOC Chamber of the UN Headquarters in New York.
Deleting our rights, bracketing our future 
Why we need a People’s Summit
By Paul Quintos
IBON International
March 23, 2012
I think the best way to appreciate the people’s summit in Rio is to look at what’s happening here in this hall over the last few days. 
Here we have been witnessing a systematic attempt by some powerful states to weaken, or “bracket,” or outright eliminate nearly all references to human rights obligations and equity principles in the text for the outcome of Rio+20.
Let’s take the section on Food.
Text that refers to the “Right to food and proper nutrition” – delete, says one major power.
“Right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food…” – Bracket it!
But increasing agricultural productivity is fine.  Improving access of small farmers to global markets is fine.
Text that says, “Specific attention must be paid to challenges faced by poor smallholders, women and youth including their participation in decision-making…” – Delete!
“Promoting access to land particularly for women, indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups...” – Bracket or delete!
But “promoting open and transparent markets; … promoting secure rights to land and natural resources…” – by “secure rights” they mean property rights – that is fine for them!
“Regulating financial and commodity markets to address price volatility...” – Delete!
The same story goes for water.
“Right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation...” – Delete!
But they agree to “efforts to improve access” because they can always say that they are privatizing water utilities in order to encourage private investments and therefore improve access – whereas insistence on rights assigns the duty to the state.
“Improving efficiency...” – even better.
But it’s not just human rights that are under attack.  Even principles already agreed upon in Rio in 1992 are being bracketed – the Polluter Pays Principle, Precautionary Principle, Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR).
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