More Ambition for “The Future We Want”

by Cristina Tirado

There are just 130 days left before the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), commonly called Rio+20, will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The zero draft of the outcome document for RIO+20, titled “The Future We Want,” will serve as the basis for negotiations between now and the Conference.

The zero draft is the result of approximately 6000 pages of input from member states and other stakeholders, as well as comments sent to the UNCSD Secretariat in December 2011.

The initial discussions on the “zero draft” of the outcome document for Rio+20 took place in New York from 25-27 January 2012.

At the conclusion of the initial discussions, the participants noted that the goal of an ambitious and action-oriented document will require equally ambitious negotiations between the end of the January consultations and the first day of Rio+20.

The Center for Public Health and Climate Change at PHI has submitted initial comments on the zero draft through the Women’s Major Group. We consider that this could be a promising zero draft, but as it currently stands the draft does not reflect the future that we want. The draft mentions key issues such as public health, food and nutrition security, poverty, gender equity and human rights and other critical issues, but only superficially. It does not give a sense of urgency to address them. The zero draft needs to provide mechanisms for the implementation of specific actions towards sustainable development.

The future we want needs to integrate public health, food and nutrition security, gender equity and human rights as key pillars of climate resilient – sustainable development.  Climate change will impede nations’ abilities to achieve sustainable development as measured, for example, by long-term progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The draft will benefit from proposing a more comprehensive human rights-based framework in order to address this. We want to create a climate for health, nutrition security and equity. We want progress towards universal health care and free education. We want to place climate justice, human rights and women empowerment in the center of sustainable development. We need to be more ambitious when defining the future we want.

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