Rio de Janeiro – As the Rio+20 meeting in Brazil draws to a close, World Growth Chairman Alan Oxley notes this meeting is a welcome step change for the UN – away from an unhappy pattern of global environmental meetings marked by division and failure. The reason is leadership by the BRICS, particularly Brazil.
“The communique delivered at Rio is a practicable program that attempts to map out steps towards environmental protection and sustain economic growth. It fairly represents the consensus of opinion among members of the United Nations.”
“It very clearly reflects what most of the world thinks and makes clear what UN climate change officials in Copenhagen obscured almost three years ago: Onerous global environmental regulations that cut economic growth are not acceptable.”
“Nor is there hyperbole about disastrous rates of removal of tropical rainforests, but businesslike re-endorsement of UN programs to promote steady and effective management of forests.”
“The fanciful Green-age economic management tools – ecological economics, natural capital, sustainability indexes – are put back where they belong: at the fringe. They are recognized as measures that will flatten growth, not enhance it. The classical aims of sustainable development – increasing economic growth and protection of biodiversity – are reaffirmed. ”
“In masterful display of conference management, the Brazilian Government set up the Rio+20 Conference to lock the impracticable, pet projects of environmental groups and European environment minister out of the UN agenda.”
“Three days before the conference ended and before global leaders addressed it, the Brazilian co-ordinator closed down the negotiating groups that had been running for months and issued the text of a declaration, effectively telling the more than 150 delegations, ‘That’s it. This is what we will approve.’ ”
“This will be the first major UN conference in memory which has not turned on the results of high-wire antics after time has run out.”
“Green campaigners have protested that Brazil’s chairing of the meeting has been heavy-handed. Experienced multilateral negotiators applaud Brazil for artful conference management.”
“Nothing better illustrates by contrast the mishandling and incompetence of one climate change conference after another for nearly two decades, culminating at Copenhagen in 2009. These fiascos severely damaged the UN brand.”
“This is a return to sanity and a reconnection of the UN system to what most people in most member states want, not what Green minorities in rich countries demand.”
“What brought this change? It was not enlightened leadership by the world’s developed economies; it was energized by the realistic self-interest of the emerging economies. They are the ones to benefit most from proper implementation of sustainable development and lose most from green economy rhetoric. Brazil is to be congratulated for this achievement.”
Alan Oxley is a highly-experienced, former multilateral negotiator. He is a former Ambassador (of Australia) and former Chairman of the GATT, the predecessor of the WTO. During his diplomatic career he also served terms as a diplomat covering UN meetings in both New York and Geneva. He founded the pro-growth and free market NGO, World Growth, with the aim of adding balance to global debate about sustainable development.