The Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) opened on 13 June 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in parallel with the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20). The Pavilion opened with an event presented by the International Institute for Sustainable Development Reporting Services (IISD-RS) on “Roads from Rio,” and followed with a reception sponsored by the Rio Conventions, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This bulletin contains a brief history of the Rio Conventions Pavilion and coverage of the Pavilion event.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE RIO CONVENTIONS AND THE RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION
The RCP was established as a way of exploring the synergies and opportunities to improve implementation of the three Rio Conventions - the UNCCD, the UNFCCC and the CBD. The Pavilion was launched to raise awareness, and share best practices and scientific findings. Focusing on cross-cutting themes, the Pavilion aims to address the common objective among the three Rio Conventions to support sustainable development and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular through the identification of synergies and co-benefits for implementation of the UNCCD, UNFCCC and CBD. This brief history will provide an overview of the Rio Conventions and the Rio Conventions Pavilion.
UNCCD: In 1992, the UN General Assembly, as requested by the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED or Rio Earth Summit), adopted resolution 47/188 calling for the establishment of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the elaboration of a convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa (INCD). The INCD met five times between May 1993 and June 1994 and drafted the UNCCD and four regional implementation annexes for Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Northern Mediterranean. A fifth annex, for Central and Eastern Europe, was adopted during the fourth Conference of the Parties (COP 4) in December 2000. Pending the UNCCD’s entry into force, the INCD met six times between January 1995 and August 1997 to hear progress reports on urgent actions for Africa and interim measures in other regions, and to prepare for COP 1. The UNCCD was adopted on 17 June 1994, and entered into force on 26 December 1996. Currently, it has 194 parties.
UNFCCC: The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC on 9 May 1992. The UNFCCC was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit. The UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, and now has 195 parties. In December 1997, delegates at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a Protocol to the UNFCCC that commits industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emission targets. These countries, known under the UNFCCC as Annex I parties, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005, and now has 193 parties.
CBD: The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. The CBD was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit. There are currently 193 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The COP is the governing body of the Convention. The CBD includes the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which was adopted 29 January 2000 and entered into force on 11 September 2003, with 163 parties. The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol, adopted on 15 October 2010, has not yet entered into force. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) was adopted on 29 October 2010, and will enter into force 90 days after its 50th ratification. The Nagoya Protocol aims to establish greater legal certainty for users and providers of genetic resources and help ensure benefit-sharing in particular covering traditional knowledge.
1ST RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The first RCP was launched at CBD COP 10, held from 19-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The Pavilion was organized around daily themes, including: linkages between biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management; the role of protected areas in climate change; indigenous peoples and local communities; forest biodiversity; water, ecosystems and climate change; land day; economics of ecosystems and biodiversity; ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation; and promoting synergies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
2ND RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The second RCP was convened virtually in parallel with UNFCCC COP 16, which took place from 29 November - 10 December 2010, in Cancun, Mexico. The Pavilion focused on the themes: linking biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management; the role of protected areas in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies; indigenous peoples and local communities; forest biodiversity; water, ecosystems and climate change; marine, coastal and island biodiversity; ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation; promoting synergies for sustainable development and poverty reduction; and linking biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management through finance.
3RD RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The third RCP took place parallel to UNCCD COP 10, held from 10-20 October 2012, in Changwon, the Republic of Korea. The main themes of the Pavilion included: cities and sustainable land management; sustainable forest management and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+); ecosystem-based approaches to climate change; sustainable land and water management; food security and combating hunger; gender; engaging indigenous peoples and local communities; poverty reduction; and synergies for the implementation of the Rio Conventions.
4TH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The fourth RCP took place in parallel with UNFCCC COP 17, held from 29 November - 8 December 2011, in Durban, South Africa. Main themes of RCP 4 included: indigenous peoples and local communities; gender; ecosystem-based adaptation; business, economics and synergies; and REDD+.
ROADS FROM RIO: 20 YEARS OF THE EARTH NEGOTIATIONS BULLETIN (ENB)
David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat, introduced the panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ENB. Langston James “Kimo” Goree, Vice President Reporting Services and UN Liaison, IISD, highlighted the founding of the ENB in the run-up to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the coverage of negotiations since that time, noting that IISD-RS now covers about 70 meetings annually. He described IISD-RS' role as intermediary providing policy makers with the neutral and quality information they need. Goree underscored ENB’s unprecedented access during negotiations at Rio+20 and said distribution would be “paper smart” including through the new handheld application, ENB Mobile. He emphasized the symbiotic relationship between delegates and ENB teams facilitating quality control, cultivation of trusted networks and information sharing. He discussed ENB’s core principles including: the provision of neutral information to strengthen policy formulation; access of information to all parties to help “level the information playing field;” and timely provision of quality information to counteract political spin.
Pamela Chasek, ENB Executive Editor, IISD-RS, and co-editor of “The Roads from Rio: Lessons Learned from Twenty Years of Multilateral Environmental Negotiations” introduced the book, which traces processes covered by ENB since 1992. Highlighting some of the main developments with regard to the evolution of the process, the actors and the issues tackled in the negotiations, she noted that the initial optimism about the promise of multilateral environment governance in shaping a post-cold war world had largely dissipated with the growing awareness of the complexity of multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) diplomacy. She observed that the emerging narrative is likely to involve devising strategies to increase policy coherence between competing interests to effectively tackle the trade-offs that underpin integration of the three pillars of sustainable development. She concluded that by building on the lessons learned so far, Rio+20 could help bring forward the MEA discourse by offering greater “policy space and political will” to integrate environmental issues with development and trade imperatives.
Peter Doran, ENB Team Member, IISD-RS, said it is with a sense of loyalty to the negotiations and their architects that the ENB team will produce their final analysis of the Rio+20 process, given ENB’s long history and close association with the negotiations. He said any analysis must address whether Rio+20 has realized its objectives including securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development and addressing gaps in the implementation of the outcomes from previous summits, including Agenda 21. He emphasized that Rio+20 will inevitably be judged against the success of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which generated much of the status and power that lies behind the idea of sustainable development. He noted that Rio+20 takes place at a fascinating moment in the history of the global political economy, underscoring the challenge the event faces is making meaningful connections between sustainable development and underlying causes of instability and increasing social inclusion and equality in the economic system.
In the ensuing discussion several speakers commended the ENB team for providing critical reflection and analysis of the broader trends. Responding to a question on whether leadership and vision have changed over time, Chasek noted that a consequence of the growing fragmentation of multilateral processes is a reduced capacity to deal with the interrelated nature of the challenges that they set out to address and emphasized the role of independent MEA secretariats and visionary leaders in bridging this growing gap. Remarking that the initiative is increasingly coming from side events, Goree stressed the need to feed back innovative solutions to the main negotiations. Doran highlighted the courage of individuals within some of the pioneer social movements as a critical element in moving the agenda forward.
LAUNCH OF ENB MOBILE: Goree introduced and officially launched ENB Mobile. Available for Smartphones, including iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry, the app will provide real time updates on the Rio+20 negotiations, side events and the Rio Conventions Pavilion through the @IISDRS twitter feed, IISD-RS bulletins including Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), ENB on the Side (ENBOTS) and coverage of the Rio Conventions Pavilion, as well as IISD-RS knowledge management products. The app also includes the latest Rio+20 documents and logistical information associated with the Rio+20 process. The app can be downloaded at http://enb.iisd.mobi/ or by scanning the QR code on the front page of this bulletin.