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Remove reference to waste to energy from the Rio +20 final Outcome Document

Written By Krishna on Sunday, June 17, 2012 | 7:15 AM

Press Release

Remove reference to waste to energy from the Rio +20 final Outcome Document

Incorporate intergenerational equity, democratic governance and environmental and occupational health justice in the text

New Delhi 17.6.2012: ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) appeals to Prime Minister to get the positive reference to waste to energy (WTE) in the 50 page text of the final Rio+20 outcome document removed. This relevant text is undesirable and uncalled for. It will give tacit approval to dirty technologies and processes wherein financial investment will go towards this area and it will be really difficult to get alternative technology accepted. Some problematic parts of negotiated text as of June 17, 2012 is quoted below.

TWA appeals to the Prime Minister to ensure that from the relevant text: “220. We recognize the importance of adopting a life-cycle approach and of further development and implementation of policies for resource efficiency and environmentally sound waste management. We therefore commit to further reduce, reuse and recycle waste (3Rs) as well as to increase energy recovery from waste with a view to managing the majority of global waste in an environmentally sound manner and where possible as a resource. Solid wastes, such as electronic waste and plastics, pose particular challenges which should be addressed. We call for the development and enforcement of comprehensive national and local waste management policies, strategies, laws and regulations,” the reference to ‘increase energy recovery from waste’ should be deleted.

TWA holds that the reference to mining in the Rio +20 final Outcome Document is a misrepresentation of facts on the ground. TWA demands that from the relevant text: “230. We acknowledge that minerals and metals make a major contribution to the world economy and modern societies. We note that mining industries are important to all countries with mineral resources, in particular developing countries. We also note that mining offers the opportunity to catalyze broad-based economic development, reduce poverty and assist countries in meeting internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, when managed effectively and properly. We acknowledge that countries have the sovereign right to develop their mineral resources according to their national priorities, and responsibility regarding the exploitation of resources described in the Rio Principles. We further acknowledge that mining activities should maximize social and economic benefits as well as effectively address negative environmental and social impacts. In this regard, we recognize that governments need strong capacities to develop, manage, and regulate their mining industries in the interest of sustainable development”, the sentence in red should be revised. It should incorporate intergenerational equity, democratic governance and environmental and occupational health justice in the mining sector given the fact that mining is accounts for highest number of deaths and accidents among all the industrial sectors.

Another part of the Rio +20 text reads: “231. We recognize the importance of strong and effective legal and regulatory frameworks, policies and practices for the mining sector that deliver economic and social benefits and include effective safeguards that reduce social and environmental impacts as well as conserve biodiversity and ecosystems including during post mining closure. We call on governments and businesses to promote the continuous improvement of accountability and transparency, as well as the effectiveness of the relevant existing mechanisms to prevent the illicit financial flows from mining activities.” TWA demands that the erosion of natural capital and the water footprint of mining activities must be included besides its adverse impact of livelihood and biodiversity of the indigenous people.

The Rio+20 outcome document “The Future We Want' appears to be advancing in the wrong direction.

It is noteworthy that the January 10, 2012 the zero-draft of the outcome document which was sent for consideration by Member States and other stakeholders was only 19 pages long. Its opening line read: “We, the heads of State and Government, having met at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20-22 June 2012, resolve to work together for a prosperous, secure and sustainable future for our people and our planet”.

The zero draft of the outcome document read, “We acknowledge, however, that there have also been setbacks because of multiple interrelated crises – financial, economic and volatile energy and food prices. Food insecurity, climate change and biodiversity loss have adversely affected development gains.…We are deeply concerned that around 1.4 billion people still live in extreme poverty and one sixth of the world’s population is undernourished, pandemics and epidemics are omnipresent threats. Unsustainable development has increased the stress on the earth's limited natural resources and on the carrying capacity of ecosystems. Our planet supports seven billion people expected to reach nine billion by 2050.” The initial text is attached. TWA holds that such pious declarations do not bring equity in the democratic distribution of natural resources because governments are increasing outsourcing their role to private corporations. There is nothing to show that Rio+20 has come out of the shadow of the corporations.

The complete negotiated text as of June 17, 2012 is not available in public domain. TWA demands that it made public before adoption failing which the negotiations will suffer from the taint of democracy deficit.
Issued by

Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com
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