The outcome document or the Rio+20 text — adopted after an informal and protracted debate by 191 member-nations, — took shape on the basis of consensus for its adaptation on Friday, even as the leading spirits behind the document conceded that it was a “compromise.”
Yet the much fought-over document, ‘Future we want,’ carries hope for the humanity and an assurance not to go back on the principles agreed upon in the historic Earth Summit of 1992.
If Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, at the ceremonial opening of the three-day summit, termed it a major effort at establishing compromise solutions, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed out that the old model of economic development and social advancement was no more workable.
And the overwhelming feeling at the conference venue, on a day when it rained intermittently and the presence of VVIPs added to the traffic woes of Rio citizens, was one of relief, if not elation. Brazil could carry out the process transparently, in the spirit of multilateralism. It is surely a document which achieved a certain level of political commitment from the member-nations when the going is tough for many of them.
While Algeria, Chair of G-77, and China termed it the “optimum possible” document, the U.N. and Canada appreciated the “hard work” put in by the host nation. Denmark and the European Union, while saying the document could have been better, accepted it in its entirety.
It was interesting that Bolivia, Venezuela and Argentina — known for their defiance of the policies of liberalisation — termed the document a recognition of the rights of Mother Earth and a finely balanced text for collective future action. It acknowledged the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, and the rights of indigenous peoples, but the absence of any commitment from the developed countries to finances and technology transfer was a drawback, they said.