Rio+20: Multiple Platforms

From the very beginning of my internship I was made clear that Nepal had two clear agendas for Rio+20. First, Nepal being the chair of LDC coordination committee would be highlight and emphasize the challenges of Least Developed Countries in the Rio+20 outcome document and second, building partnerships for Mountain Initiative. Both were crucial for Nepal for its own country and for the countries it was speaking on behalf of. The number of LDCs has increased from 24 to 48 in the last three decades and only three of them have graduated out of their LDCs status.  The plight of LDCs range from socio-economic, political and environmental and needs great efforts from both LDCs and their development partners. LDCs goals and development agenda has been enshrined in the Istanbul Program of Action (IPOA) The Mountain Initiative is the partnership that was been built and carried forward mostly after the 2009 UNFCCC COP 15 where it sought to bring mountainous countries and their neighbors dependent on the resources of the mountains together to work towards a common solution.

After witnessing and being a part of high level side events for LDCs and the Mountain Initiative I realized the Rio+20 is more than its outcome documents and the quick dismissal of what OD has achieved.  During the high level meeting of LDCs and its development partners over 20 representatives from developed countries and LDCs made statement of their commitments to IPOA and their support for LDCs to graduate. Their commitments ranged from increased ODA for LDCs, partnership in “Energy 4 all” initiative and technical support. The LDCs also shared the progress and their own initiatives in their own countries. Belgium said “our assistance should go beyond financial aid to be a true partnership”.

For the first time, an international conference of this magnitude had a mountain pavilion. Mountainous countries and their associated organizations came together to launch new partnerships and learn about each other’s work. Integrated Center for International Mountain Development has been Nepal’s partner to support its effort to be one of the key players in the Mountain Initiative. Because of proactive negotiations for Rio+20, mountain ecosystem has been emphasized in Rio+20 outcome document.

For many countries Rio+20 provided another platform to continue their talks, forge new partnerships and build on initiatives and projects that were launched in another conference. Such platforms along with the 700 voluntary commitments made by states and organizations are a significant part and process of Rio+20. The voluntary commitments should not be overlooked rather celebrated and encouraged. The negotiations process has demonstrated the diverse needs and priorities of countries cannot easily wrapped around the concept of green economy. The tangible outcomes from the process are these voluntary commitments, partnerships and initiatives which need to be recognized for their value in reaching our goals for sustainable development.

Ban Ki-Moon, PM Bhattarai (Nepal), Belgium and Turkey