Major Groups: NGO, Women, Farmer’s, Workers and Trade Unions, and IPs, Youth and Children, (science and technology) at the Asia-Pacific Regional Implementation Meeting on Rio+20
The following statement was made on behalf of the following major groups: NGO, Women, Farmer’s, Workers and Trade Unions, and IPs, Youth and Children on April 23rd, 2013.
We thank the Chair and the Secretariat for their hard work.
We express our disappointment with the failure to agree a strong outcome document in the Asia-Pacific Regional Implementation Meeting on Rio+20. The Chair’s Summary is the weakest outcome. We regret that member states did not use the opportunity to set a regional plan for implementation of the sustainable development agenda and Rio+20 outcomes.
While we recognize that the Chair’s Summary reflects the various views that came out of the meeting, we emphasize that the following issues are not adequately reflected.
Human Rights are recognized but we reaffirm that these are guiding principles for sustainable development and the sustainable development goals must be firmly grounded in a human rights-based approach. We welcome the recognition of gender equality and women’s autonomy of their bodies and sexual health and reproductive rights. We also emphasize that Indigenous People’s Rights as enumerated in UNDRIP must also be respected, protected and realized. We strongly emphasise that peace and security are highly important issues in the Asia-Pacific Region and are an integral element for sustainable development.
High Level Political Forum: We reiterate that the HLPF should be the highest political and decision making forum for the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner. Governments at the highest level agreed in Rio+20 to establish an universal intergovernmental HLPF which means that universal membership must allow for the participation of all states on an equal basis, in particular in decision-making. Member states must have a role in negotiating and drafting outcomes containing recommendations and decisions.
Means of Implementation: We recall that the Rio+20 outcome established a sustainable development financing strategy for mobilizing additional resources. It also established a technology facilitation mechanism to promote the development, transfer and dissemination of environmentally sound technologies. We regret that these two outcomes are not mentioned in the Chair’s Summary. Concern about the current intellectual property rights regime were raised by both governments and major groups but is regrettably not reflected. We also recall the polluter pays and precautionary principles, technology assessment and taxes for polluters in addition to a financial transaction tax are critical elements for means of implementation.
Agriculture: We welcome the recognition of food sovereignty and agrarian reform but we reiterate that agrarian reform must be genuine and farmer centered. We express serious concern with the recommendation of “doubling agricultural production without increasing land use” unless clearly stated that this excludes large-scale industrial, chemical, energy and water and grain-intensive agricultural, livestock and food production. We strongly call on governments to adopt biodiverse, ecological agriculture. There should be recognition and measures to address the alarming global trend of land, resource and ocean grabbing and exploitation.
Inclusion: Asia- Pacific is very diverse and vulnerable countries including SIDS and LDCs should be fully and meaningfully included and not relegated to annexes. Special efforts should be made to include marginalized and vulnerable groups within sustainable development.
Participation: We welcome the support for multi-stakeholder processes throughout the Chair’s Summary but emphasize that engagement with the private sector must be complemented by accountability. We call on the governments to recognize the contributions that civil society is making and call for our participation to be formalized. There can be no sustainable development without full, meaningful and effective participation of civil society and people’s movements.
We appreciate the inclusion of the need for a transformative development agenda which rethinks the concept of growth and tackles the root structural causes of inequality alongside reform of economic governance and within our strained planetary boundaries. We challenge governments in the region to be bold and embrace this agenda as an example to other regions of an alternative way forward to achieve sustainable development.