Rio+20: Inside the Negociations
Perseverance has finally paid off! The last night of negotiations before the start of the summit of heads of state, Barcelona Consensus was able to be part of the negotiations. Samir Abi joined a meeting of coordination of the African Group. Better late than never!
Our representative in Rio had to realize that the “Badge N” (for NGOs and Civil Society) is a great limitation. It makes it impossible to access certain meetings and buildings. After several unsuccessful attemps Samir Abi was already about to abandon the idea of entering one of these “closed meetings” where the important things are discussed. But then, just after a La Via Campesina workshop on sustainable agriculture, Samir used a moment of inattentiveness by a young security officer and slipped into a meeting of the group of African delegates – just in time to hear the latest information on the African “battle plan”.
The meeting of the delegates lasted less than an hour. Ambassador Macharia Kamau, permanent representative of Kenya to the United Nations and African chief negotiator, gave an update on discussions held with the Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Democratic Republic of Congo has been mandated as spokesman of the African group during the negotiations. The scoop of the evening started during the negotiations on the institutional framework of sustainable development, as the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), an institution whose headquarters is in Nairobi, Kenya, has been been put into question in light of a World Environment Organization requested by the European Union. It is one of the main concerns of the African delegation that the UN headquarter for environmental matters stays on the continent in order to retain its powers.
Another important topic for the African ministers is the political commitment and and the implementation mechanisms related to energy subsidies and the green economy. The last night before the meeting of the heads of states will be a tough night full of fights over articles and reformulations. As usual, the strongest force will be on the side of the North since the G77 countries have not managed to adopt a common position. Every region will have to fend for its own. In this game, it is about the survival of the fittest.