Slow start to negotiations offset by historic inclusion of Major Groups

RIO DE JANEIRO – With the 3rd Preparatory Committee meeting (PrepCom3)—the last round of preparatory negotiations before the final Rio+20 deliberations on June 20-22—scheduled to close by 10pm tonight, June 15, many points of the negotiating draft remain not only contested, but also unattended to.

At last night’s Major Group Debriefing, UNCSD Co-Chair Ambassador Kim Sook acknowledged the common concern major groups have been having over the slow pace of the deliberation process so far.

“Our negotiations are struggling,” Sook admitted.

The debriefing gave Major groups—including Farmers, the Science and Technological Community, Business and Industry, Workers and Trade Unions, Local Authorities, Non-Governmental Organizations, Indigenous Peoples, Children and Youth, and Women—a chance to directly voice their frustrations with the seeming lack of progress made during PrepCom3 to delegates.

Local Authorities specifically held a perceived lack of ambition responsible for prolonging the preparatory process.

According to Business and Industry, the reason for the slow progress is the setting aside by delegates of deal-breaking issues for resolution at a later time.

“The fear is that time is slipping away for meaningful resolution and that the opportunity to alter the course of history will be missed,” said the Business and Industry spokesperson.

The approaching 10pm deadline is bound to put ambition to the test. As of this afternoon, 20 paragraphs are still left for the Green Economy splinter session to address alone. Despite these challenges of completion, however, there is talk that delegates are willing to negotiate until the sun rises tomorrow in order to finalize the preparatory draft.

While in running behind schedule, Prepcom3 is not the most reassuring start to the Rio+20 final negotiations on sustainable development, the involvement of Major Groups in the deliberation process at all is historic for a United Nations conference of this caliber.

By Katrina Sieniuc