Here in RioCentro it’s the last day of the Four Days of Dialougue, which is meant to provide civil society with the opportunity to interact with the governments and participate in the negotiations process. However, the Brazilian government has been using these precious remaining days before the final Earth Summit to push for an agreement through informal negotiations, and thus neglecting the civil society. On Tuesday June 19th, the Government released a pre-finalised version which seems to be the final agreement to be handed over to the UN. The host country tried to avoid to carry over open negotiation points into the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, where heads of States, Government and high level representatives are supposed to finally approve it.
Late night negotiation
In the past four days, the negotiator has had to cope with long, exhausting sessions and delayed meetings. These circumstances, combined with a pressure to finalize the document before the summit, leave doubts in the properness of the negotiation process. Some minor changes had to be made since the Brazil government released the first document on June 16th. These include means of implementation of sustainability solutions – a controversial and widely discussed topic. Another crucial issue has been sustainable energy, namely fossil fuel subsidies. An agreement was only made in the final stretch, and with great effort. We anticipate a flood of documents analyzing the final declaration in the upcoming days.
The future we want – The future they want
The long lasting process finally came to an end, and what we have left is a document, almost 50 pages long, and many questions about the UN process. The hesitance and lack of willingness to productively bring the negotiations forward has especially raised concerns. In addition, the last minute rush in negotiations will surely lead to questions regarding the legitimacy of the chosen approach. It is an achievement that different countries seem to have come to an agreement on the final document. However, the rush for agreement among nations leaves civil society with a bitter feeling of neglect. Their influence on the process after Brazil’s takeover has diminished, if not marginalized. With closed doors negotiations, there have been almost no possibilities for them to influence the process. The summit takes place June 20th to the 22nd, and major changes in the final document seem unlikely. Some groups of civil society still hope to continue pushing for their agenda. However, Lucie Rosset, from the Switzerland youth delegate, expresses her perhaps realistic sentiment of disappointment: “Guys, it is finished. Just relax and enjoy Rio.“