Leaked Rio documents show UN development goals

A leaked document reveals the sustainable energy goals that nations will be asked to sign up to at the Rio earth summit.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

A draft copy of the agenda for the first 'earth summit' in twenty years to take place in Rio, Brazil, has been leaked.

The Rio+20 earth summit will ask nations to agree to ten goals, and promise to press forward in promoting greener, more renewable economies. Priority areas are expected to dominate the summit -- such as ocean protection, food, water, and sustainability in global economic growth. Changes are not expected to be introduced until 2015.

To view the leaked draft agenda, click here.

The Rio+20 conference on sustainable development is designed for countries to meet and mutually agree on development goals and promote renewable energy sourcing. To be held in Brazil, June, the summit is expected to be attended by dozens of heads of state, public figures and political leaders.

At Rio+20, leaders will not be asked to sign any document that would legally bind their representative countries to specific targets or deadlines. Instead, they will be asked to set their own targets and work towards a more sustainable, green economy on a voluntary basis. The effectiveness of this approach is debatable and has received a mixed reaction from environmental groups.

The 20-page document recognises that the majority of countries have failed to meet developmental and environmental promises that were made at the last summit, almost two decades previously. It may not be the case that allowing countries to volunteer in making changes will have any tangible effects.

Some of the proposed goals mentioned in the leak include:

  • Set up a new global environmental agency, complete with its own global 'ombudsman'.
  • Increase protection legislation for ocean safety and responsible farming.
  • Approve an annual report on global environmental concerns.
  • Provide increased assistance to developing countries.
  • Prioritize intensifying and sustaining additional agricultural development.
  • Create a more robust and understandable framework for chemical lifecycle regulation.

Job creation and creating a strong global economy is supported throughout the document. It states:

"We recognize that the development of human capacity is essential to achieving broad-based economic growth, building strong, sustainable communities, promoting social well-being, and improving the environment. Workers must have the skills and protections necessary to participate in and benefit from the transition to a green economy, which has great potential to create decent jobs and eradicate poverty."

Natural resources are showing the warning signs of becoming thin. It is likely that in order to preserve these energy resources as long as possible, countries will be requested to utilize and economize these sources, as well as begin serious investment in to renewable energy projects.

Speaking to The Guardian, Ruth Davis, chief policy adviser at Greenpeace UK stated:

"This Rio summit comes after two decades of delays and broken promises on sustainable development which has left millions in poverty and pushed ecosystems to the brink of collapse. Whilst this draft text covers the key issues, it also demonstrates a dismal lack of urgency in tackling them."

Countries will have their progress measured -- however, in light of the promises made at the last summit and voluntary participation, one has to consider whether poor results will result in any consequences. A vague, voluntary commitment is not going to be enough.

(Via: The Guardian)

Photo credit: Dominic Alves/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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