With the start of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro just two weeks away, negotiators are struggling to bring together widely divergent positions among the participating nations.
The conference, dubbed Rio+20 because it falls on 20th anniversary of the historic Earth Summit in 1992 in Rio, will start on June 20 and involve 50,000 people, including world leaders, government officials, members of nongovernment organizations (NGOs), business leaders and scientists.
It has been billed as a key decision point in planning the world’s response to economic, social and environmental issues over the next decade, but preparatory meetings ahead of the summit have underscored acute differences between industrial and developing nations on basic issues.
Rio+20 will evaluate the progress made in the past two decades toward achieving the goals set at the first Rio Summit and discuss a new agenda for moving to a green global economy. A final preparatory committee meeting will be held between June 13-15 to try to hammer out agreements on draft documents to be put to the main conference the following week.
Key industrial nations are arguing that all countries, including developing ones, should embrace the concept of green economics, but a bloc of developing countries maintains that the approach is just one option and that the support of rich nations is needed to move toward the green ideal.
At the Earth Summit two decades ago, countries agreed that the biggest common challenge for the world in the post-Cold War era was environmental destruction and adopted Agenda 21, an action plan to realize sustainable development. It marked the beginning of a new era of global cooperation in addressing environmental challenges.
Now, with the world’s population above 7 billion, the gap between rich and poor growing wider and 900 million people facing famine, such unanimity looks elusive.
Masahiro Sato, an associate professor of sustainable economics at Kyoto University’s Research Center for Advanced Policy Studies, said: “This is an era when we cannot hope for further development unless we work harder to realize a green economy. Under the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities,’ both industrial and developing countries should start taking steps toward a green economy.”
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Japan Pavilion to introduce resource-saving technologies
More than 50 countries will set up pavilions June 13-24 in a venue adjacent to the Rio+20’s main conference hall to promote ideas for sustainable development.
The theme of the Japan Pavilion is "Japan Green Innovation--Driving reconstruction, connecting with the world."
It will introduce energy-saving and resource-saving technologies used in recovery efforts after last year's Great East Japan Earthquake and which will help create an environmentally friendly society.
An event to be held in the main conference hall on June 21 will feature what it takes to create an eco-friendly future city that takes the environment and elderly people into account.
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