Delegates falling asleep in the final plenary, as captured via screen cast, at the ambiguity in the text on June 22, 2012.
SPEAK YOUR MIND/Linh Do.
By Tim Hall
Rio+20 has ended with world leaders approving the “Future We Want” declaration.
The document, which came under intense criticism from civil society and some nations, was approved by over 100 heads of state and high level ministers.
However civil society was scathing.
“Governments have failed to produce the historic deal we need to address the perfect storm of crises: of equity, ecology and economy,” said Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo.
Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam, added, “Rio will go down as the hoax summit. They came, they talked, but they failed to act.”
“The poorest people on earth are paying the highest price.”
Nations recognised the document as a stepping stone towards a process to ensure a sustainable future balanced with a “green economy”.
The United States applauded the document saying, “The outcome document we have just adopted marks a real advance for sustainable development.”
Over 100 heads of states spoke during the summit, while hundreds of round-tables and bilateral negotiations worked furiously behind closed doors.
Notable attendees included United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
However the absence of US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meant the summit lacked serious political clout.
“We didn’t get the Future We Want In Rio, because we do not have the leaders we need,” said Greenpeace’s Naidoo.
Many governments were unhappy with aspects of the text, however approved it to avoid reopening delicate negotiations.
“The result is a squandered opportunity - an agreement that does not set the world on a path toward sustainable development,” said Jim Leape, director general of the WWF.
Some positives were noted by civil society, including some action to protect forests and the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals, although Australian Prime Minister Gillard expressed disappointment that they will not be finalised in Rio.
The US also applauded the inclusion of women and reproductive rights in relation to sustainability and poverty reduction, despite the Vatican's persistent objections.
UK Deputy Prime Minister Clegg has also expressed disappointment with the text calling it "insipid".
“There is exciting leadership happening in communities, cities, governments and companies that are laying the foundation to protect our environment, alleviate poverty, and move us toward a more sustainable planet,” said Leape.
But ultimately, he added, “We need to all take the responsibility world leaders failed to act on in Rio.”