Monday, June 18, 2012

Rio+20 deal weakens on energy and water pledges

Richard Black in BBC News: Governments are set to weaken pledges on boosting access to water and energy after a new draft negotiating text was issued at the Rio+20 meeting. The text was issued by the Brazilian host government after it assumed leadership of the talks from the UN. It affirms that nations must not slide back on prior pledges and names ending poverty as the "greatest challenge".

Brazil wants the text signed off before 130 heads of government and other ministers arrive on Wednesday. The new text was not officially distributed to journalists, despite pledges that the meeting here was "accessible".

Preparatory talks were supposed to end on Friday evening, but at that stage only 37% of the UN's draft text had been agreed - which led to Brazil's decision to issue a revamped document.

The 50-page text, obtained by BBC News, gives developing countries much of what they have been asking for in terms of principles without agreeing to their demands for firm pledges of financial and technological assistance from the West.

In response to charges that richer countries were attempting to weaken prior commitments on aid and other issues, the text is explicit: "We emphasise the need to make progress in implementing previous commitments... it is critical that we honour all previous commitments, without regression"...

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