CAN Input: Rio+20 Agenda, April 2012

The current negotiating text for Rio+20 does not fully and explicitly recognise the urgent need to act on climate change as part of a global action plan for delivering sustainable development.

This paper outlines the elements CAN believes essential to be dealt with by leaders at the Rio+20 Summit. In summary Rio plus 20 must:

1. Increase political will and ambition

a       Ensure strong legally binding commitments and real urgent action to rapidly transition to  a low-carbon and climate resilient future that includes development of renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed clean energy (excluding coal-based power plants, nuclear power plants and mega-hydropower plants);

b       Acknowledge the lack of delivery on previous commitments agreed at Rio, including the UNFCCC commitments for all countries to reduce emissions to allow ecosystems to adapt and to ensure that food production is not threatened, and that developed countries would provide sufficient finance and other support to enable developing countries to undertake mitigation and adaptation. Acknowledgement of the now urgent need to address the current environment, development and climate change crisis by committing to ambitious levels of binding action, in line with science and equity and with clearly measurable outcomes and milestones.  Rio+20 can provide political impetus to the relevant fora - the UNFCCC and others - on the appropriate level of ambition of these commitments;

c       Recognise that delivering sustainable development requires tackling both the roots of the environment crisis and the poverty crisis simultaneously;

d       Fully recognise  historic responsibility and equity issues associated with addressing the current global environment and development crises and that solutions to these crisis must be based on principles of equity including common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability;

e       A renewed emphasis on the poorest people and those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, acknowledging that all countries will be impacted by climate change, with developing countries the least able to cope;

2. Facilitate a fair green economy

a       Support a rapid global transition to fair green and sustainable economies;

b       Endorse the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative with a strong call for action and a 2020 milestone;

c       Commit to reorient wasteful consumption patterns towards sustainable ones, including by adopting indicators other than GDP that integrate social and environmental costs and benefits, promoting themore efficient use of resources and improving waste reutilization;

e       Commit adequate and predictable new and additional long-term finance to support developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change with a particular focus on addressing the current structural underfunding of adaptation needs;

d       Remove fossil fuel subsidies, beginning with production subsidies;

f       Support the integration of an increased focus on resilience in the context of climate impacts,  market shocks, food price hikes and increasingly frequent and/or intense weather-related disasters; increased action on disaster risk reduction and the inclusion of food security, rights and justice;

3. Agree to true Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

a       The Sustainable Development Goals currently being discussed need to i) be universal, ii) be based on equity and fundamental human rights, iii) embed climate change as a cross-cutting issue,  and iv) be formulated through open and inclusive processes;

4. Protect forests and REDD

a       Agree to stop deforestation and degradation of natural forests, as well as restoring degraded natural forests by 2020 at the latest;

5. Realise sustainable agriculture and food security

a       Build the adaptive capacity of smallholders to the long-term impacts of climate change and ensure agricultural policies address food security and take into account environmental limits, carrying capacity, equity and social issues, particularly gender equity.