Rio: We have four environmental winners
June 29th 2012
While many have accused the [Rio+20 outcome] document of being weak on deadlines and benchmarks – for many of the isolated and previously ignored ecosystems in the world, just being mentioned on the document offers an opportunity for governments to turn those words into actions. In particular there are four areas we believe have emerged as minor winners from the summit. Before their impact was not directly recognised but now oceans, deserts, mountains and small islands have pride of place in the sustainability debate.
With over 20 paragraphs designated to them, along with several side events throughout the two week conference, the oceans and seas were one of the big winners of the 2012 Earth Summit. Ocean researchers and campaigners have accused the text of being watered down – but there are still several positive announcements in the text.
The threat of land degradation, desertification and drought around the world are becoming clearer year on year. The outcome document pledges to ‘strive to achieve a land degradation neutral world in the context of sustainable development.’ It also said this aim should act as a catalyst for both public and private finance.
The SIDs [Small Island Developing States] were given a particularly special mention by the outcome document stating they: ‘remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities.’ Those vulnerabilities include their small size, remoteness, narrow resources base as well as their exposure to environmental and economic shocks both from climate change and natural disasters.
Just three paragraphs of the Rio+20 outcome were designated to Mountains, but within these three paragraphs the document set out the global benefits of mountain ecosystems, the vital role mountain people have in ensuring sustainable development and called on international support for mountain development in developing countries.
Read the full article: Responding to Climate Change (RTCC)
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