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Rio+20 must address global economic governance: Page 2 of 2

Posted on 27 April 2012
be sued by the big multinational corporations if they feel that their profits are adversely affected by new laws or regulations including environmental standards. 
 
Unfair intellectual property rights regimes built into the WTO and other so-called free trade agreements (FTAs) – rules that none of the developed countries adhered to when they were industrializing – also prevent the more rapid adoption, dissemination, and further innovation of new technologies and production methods, including low-carbon alternatives in developing countries.  
 
So clearly, there needs to be major reforms in the area of international trade, finance and investments if countries, particularly developing countries, are to fulfill their human rights obligations to their citizens and if we as a global community are going to address the challenge of sustainable development. 
 
And yet this dimension of international cooperation is being banished from the Rio negotiations.  For instance developed countries (or at least some of them) are striking out language calling for reform of the global financial system [paras 13 sext, pre 25, 54 bis].   Or language stressing the development mandate of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations [para 65 bis]; or underscoring the need for special and differential treatment for developing countries [para 124]; or calling for transfer of technology [para 125].
 
We are also concerned with ‘inconsistencies’ in some developed countries who, on the one hand, champion human rights – but on the other hand also earnestly support mechanisms such as REDD(+) that uphold carbon markets, enclosures of commons, and lead to displacement especially of indigenous communities and local communities.  This is a perversion of the Rio ‘polluters pay’ principle – and allows developed countries’ a convenient excuse to evade their historical responsibility for the overexploitation of the atmospheric and biospheric space.
 
The developed countries also appear consistently opposed to references to the Right to Development – which best expresses this international dimension -- despite it being endorsed by the General Assembly in the 1986 Declaration on Right to Development, the 1992 Rio Declaration as Principle 3, and in numerous other political declarations endorsed by heads of state. 
 
We thank you for the progressive positions taken in these negotiations that uphold and promote human rights, and we sincerely hope that you will remain steadfast with these positions despite many pressures.  However it is not enough for you to endorse or support SOME human rights language in the outcome document, but not others.  You cannot be selective on the set of human rights that you will support.
 
We call on governments to support the right to development and in so doing, support proposals for reforming international finance and trade to uphold commitment to human rights, freedom and genuine sustainable development.  We need you to ensure that references to human rights are not only kept in the Rio+20 outcome document but also reinforced by participatory monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
 
Twenty years after the Rio 1992 Earth Summit, surely we should expect more, nothing less! 

 

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