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Press release |

Global environment policy

Rio +20 sustainable development summit fails to deliver concrete response to ecological crises

The UN sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro - Rio plus 20 - will draw to a close today with a declaration, the contents of which were agreed earlier in the week between negotiators before the high-level ministerial segment of the summit had even begun. Commenting on the summit and the declaration Green environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout (MEP, Netherlands) who attended the summit said:

"This declaration and the manner in which it was shunted through means Rio +20 will represent a monumental failure for the necessary global action to respond to the global ecological crises. The EU tried to push for negotiations to continue among ministers, with a view to producing a more substantial agreement with some ambition but it stood alone. This outcome represents a collective global failure to grasp the reality of the ecological tipping points being surpassed in spite of all the evidence out there.

"Instead of making a step change in international environmental governance, the declaration merely restates former aspirations. While the text includes some new elements on high seas, it falls far short of what is necessary to address the urgency of protecting ocean biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions, in particular due to the opposition of US and Canada.

"Unfortunately many developing countries fear that solutions to stop depleting natural resources effectively mean limits on their economic development - rather than the imminent consequences of the depletion itself. As a consequence, the multilateral process will not deliver the decisive action needed to bring economies within our planet's limits.

"The EU must now forge ahead with greater urgency to develop the tools and technologies to respond to these environmental crises and ensure we do not fail future generations. The EU should also push forward with other progressive countries (like Mexico, South Korea etc.) in a coalition of the willing, in the hope that early action by this group will convince laggards elsewhere."

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Bas Eickhout
Bas Eickhout
Vice-President

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