2nd Intersessional meeting of Rio+20 !

It was a great opportunity to work with NRDC through the course on ‘International Organizations and Conferences’. It enabled me gain deeper insights into Rio +20. Green economy and Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development are the main themes of the conference. Rio +20, the second earth summit being held after 20 years of the first earth summit, will determine the future of environmental governance and thereby the future of “Our” course of action!

As a part of Yale delegation, I attended the 2nd Intersessional meeting of Rio+20 in New York during 15-16 December 2011. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the structure and format of the zero draft of the outcome document. All the member states and other organizations submitted their inputs on zero draft by Nov 1. However, compilation of this document is under progress and it is hoped that it will be circulated in mid-January 2012.

I would like to share some of my experiences and observations. During this meeting, I met delegates from various countries. It was interesting to hear their diverse concerns. While India emphasized that all countries “together” should commit to achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication, Mongolia’s focus is on seeking inter-governmental cooperation of South Korea, Japan and China for combating desertification. Japan’s main concern is disaster reduction.

There were many side events being organized simultaneously. But I couldn’t attend all of them due to schedule conflict (as is the case of some of the Yale courses!). I would like to share two interesting events which I attended. One was on “Achieving implementation – accountability, engagement and multi-stakeholder cooperation” organized by NRDC, BU Pardee Center, Adelphi Research, NYU and MIT. NRDC and BU Pardee Center are working on an online global registry that aims to capture the commitments made by countries at various environmental summits. It is indeed a great initiative to record main issues, commitments made over the years to address these issues and progress so far.

Another event was on “Implementing green growth: the role of policy action and the multilateral trading system” by World Trade Organization and OECD. Simon Upton, Director of the Environment Directorate, OECD gave presentation on green growth indicators. The following categories have been proposed by OECD to monitor progress towards green growth:

  • indicators monitoring the environmental and resource productivity of production and consumption;
  • indicators describing the natural asset base;
  • indicators monitoring the environmental dimension of quality of life, and
  • indicators describing policy responses and economic opportunities.

Representatives from Netherlands and South Korea also presented their policy assessment report based on OECD indicators and highlighted identified areas of improvement. I believe that it is very important to monitor national policies to understand where we are headed and what are the gaps which need attention and further action. Other countries should also consider conducting assessment based on these indicators.