RIO DE JANEIRO (BRAZIL), June 23: After two days of negotiations, a final draft outcome has now been finalized and awaits the approval from the world leaders. But the news has failed to uplift the spirit of those who are participating in the conference.
Frustration and anger is rife at the Rio Centro, the venue of UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, because the text lacks ambition and commitment.
The outcome document is titled "The future we want", but this is not the future the civil society, major groups and youth want out of the global conference.
The final draft outcome document that was agreed Tuesday was full of weak verbs such as ´take note´ and ´reaffirm´ and has too few action verbs like ´decide´ and ´commit´.
Rio+20 is may be the last chance to hold world leaders accountable as waiting for Rio+40 will be too late. NGOs here in Rio are urging leaders to reopen negotiations and are looking for an agreement that will be more ambitious with commitments and targets.
Wael Hmaidan, speaking for NGOs in a plenary, said, "We stand on the brink of Rio+20 being another failed attempt, with governments only trying to protect their narrow interests instead of inspiring the world and giving us back the faith in humanity that we need."
"If this happens, it would be a big waste of power, and a big waste of leadership opportunity," he said, adding, "The text as it stands is completely out of touch with reality. Just to be clear, NGOs here in Rio in no way endorse this document".
One of the major groups who will be largely affected by the outcome document is children and youth who are enormously frustrated.
They are urging world leaders in the next two days to do what they must for themselves, for youth and for the generations to come.
One of the youth participants here Karuna Rana said, "This is not about the future we want, it is the future we need."
Many young people do not like what is going on here and their livelihoods and future depends on the decisions reached here. Youth have been continuously urging and raising their voice for establishment of ombudsperson (high commissioner for future generations) and end the fossil fuel subsidy.
Some of the agreed outcomes of the document is that the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is not strengthened as much some countries were pushing for during the preparatory meetings and a high level political forum has been created to replace the Commission on Sustainable development process with a weak mandate.
Regarding finance, countries decided to only produce a report that will be brought in discussion later in the General Assembly. Sustainable Development Goals process has been initiated but the document fails to establish clear relationship with MDGs. Technology facilitation mechanism has been created, however this has a strong possibility of becoming something akin to the Technology Mechanism of the Climate Change convention where it does not have the ability to implement and is focused on knowledge sharing; this comes at the call for a strong language on technology transfer.
The outcome document merely reaffirms and reasserts the previously agreed documents. Everyone´s hope for a document of strong commitments, goals, targets and means of implementation has been dashed.
It is likely that Rio+20 will be another failure after the big Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009 if the leaders do not act in the next 48 hrs.
Well-known environmentalist Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace tweeted, "the draft that has come out is a disgrace, far less ambitious than what came out of 20 years ago, this is Rio Minus 20 which fails on equity, fails on ecology, fails on economy text, longest suicide note in history."
Avishek is associated with the Himalayan Climate Initiative, an NGO-based in Kathmandu