Will compliance and enforcement be adequately addressed at Rio+20

 As part of the preparatory process for the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (dubbed Rio+20) to be held in Rio de Janeiro in mid-2012, over 600 organizations have made submissions for inclusion in the "compilation document" which will be used to draft the final "outcome document".  The second intersessional being held in New York, during December 2011, will review the compilation document and agree on the outline of the draft outcome document.  Accordingly, it is of interest to AECEN members to assess the extent to which environmental compliance and enforcement is likely to be adequately addressed in what will be a fairly brief outcome document.

A quick search of the compilation document finds the following key words mentioned:

  • compliance - 315 times in 117 submissions
  • enforcement - 369 times in 119 submissions
  • environmental justice - 71 times in 35 submissions
  • environmental court - 30 times in 17 submissions

Amazingly, the "environmental judiciary" was not mentioned directly in any of the submissions.  Hence it is of interest to note that UNEP (and others) intend to bring the issue of environmental justice firmly to attention at Rio+20. "UNEP, in conjunction with other development partners, will convene the World Congress on Justice, Governance, and Law for Sustainability (World Congress), immediately prior to the Rio+20 Earth Summit. UNEP convened a preparatory meeting for the World Congress in Kuala Lumpur, in October 2011, chaired by the Prime Minister of Malaysia. During that meeting, participants developed the Kuala Lumpur Statement (http://www.unep.org/dec/worldcongress/docs/klstatement.pdf) as an input to the World Congress preparatory process. Asian Judges have embarked upon important and path-breaking work on the environment in Asia in general, and in some Southeast Asian countries, in particular. Concrete examples from this work, and any consensus on a Southeast Asian Chief Justices’ Vision on Environment could serve as precedent setting inputs for other regions into to the global process leading up to the World Congress."

Exactly how the World Congress will influence the Rio+20 outcome document if there is not at least a "place holder" in the draft document is unclear.  So, the AECEN Secretariat will continue to follow this dilemma and keep you informed on progress.  In the meantime, you may be interested in reading INECE's submission for the compilation document at:  http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?page=view&type=510&nr=332&menu=20.