15 March 2012 – In Marseille’s Forum, 100 days before Rio+20 Izabella Teixeira, Environment Minister of Brazil, calls for a true political consensus. Around 50,000 participants and 80 country and government leaders are expected at a summit where water crystallises attention as a cross-cutting issue.
From 20 to 22 June, the United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development, Rio+20 takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is organised around the two themes of institutional framework and green economy. Seven key issues, including water, are being discussed ahead of the summit. For many, the water nexus is garnering support.
“It is time for action; the time for speeches is over”, urges Izabella Teixeira, Environment Minister of Brazil. She adds: “consensus is the only way”. To this extent, she insists on the absolute need to involve civil society in the discussions. Brazil, which came to Marseille with the largest delegation, aims at making Rio+20 the stepping stone for the new paradigm for sustainable development.
Heading Towards an Institutional Evolution?
The Brazilian Minister underlines “the necessity to put into place a process that better coordinates the different activities of the United Nations around water […] and takes into account the initiatives not linked to the UN, such as the World Water Forum”. The reform of the institutional framework is nevertheless left to the will of parties. To this extent, Brice Lalonde, Executive Coordinator of Rio+20 process leads “a campaign of commitments”. Thus, he insists on the importance that political decision-makers give a true mandate to diplomats to negotiate on the road to the conference. “Solutions have been known since 1992”, he says, “it is time now to implement them”.
For the International Union for Conservation of Nature, environmental protection asks the question of how to preserve nature as a basic infrastructure to human activities. However, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the current context of budgetary restrictions seriously constrains governmental action and threatens sustainability negotiations. Jean Leonetti, French Minister for European Affairs concludes, “Rio+20 triggers both hopes and fears”.