Why means of implementation is a thorny issue at the Rio+20 Conference
6/21/2012 9:30:19 AM -
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, June 21, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The High-Level segment of the Rio+20 Conference went into full gear today with some 100 Heads of State and Government in attendance.
This signals the end to all negotiations on the draft outcome document. But the mood within the African delegation is one of unfinished business, as far as means of implementation is concerned, according to the Congolese Minister for Sustainable Development, Mr. Henri Djombo.
Yesterday, Mr. Djombo admitted at a news conference shortly after the Africa Day event that, in negotiations, 'one party cannot have all that one wants' and that Africa is clearly not satisfied with the way means of implementation has been treated in current text, although it would go along with the outcome document.
He said that all along, African countries within the G77 and China had insisted that renewed political commitment to sustainable development was necessary, but that it should be 'accompanied with a detailed identification of gaps in means of implementation, especially with regards to the green economy.'
In fact, negotiations nearly stalled on 14 June when the Group of 77 and China (G77) wanted to see movement on the means of implementation before continuing the work on the green economy text, according to sources close to the Information and Communication Service (ICS) of the Economic Commission for Africa monitoring the negotiations.
Improvised solutions in response to Africa's concerns might have helped forge a consensus on the outcome document, but Mr. Djombo insisted that none of the agreed outcomes would be easily implemented in Africa without corresponding means of implementation.
'The consensus was necessary to avoid the Rio+20 Conference serving just as a mere commemorative event', he said.
Green economy is one of the main themes of the Conference. For Africa, the transition to green economy would be perilous without time-bound and quantifiable means of implementation which consist of adequate financial resources, appropriate technology transfer and sustained capacity strengthening.
Earlier on, the lead African negotiator, Kenyan UN envoy, Mr. Machiara Makau, had explained why this has been a very thorny issue throughout in Rio, elaborating on why any outcome document that does not address the means of implementation is unlikely to satisfy the African Group.
This, for Africa, is central because, as Makau explains, 'there is nothing you can do with the best declarations or outcomes if you do not have sufficient financial resources to implement; if you lack basic technology to transition to green energy; or if the human capacity is not there to implement what the continent commits to.'
'Delivering on financial commitments, technology transfer and capacity development are all important and you cannot provide one without the other and hope for good results', he explained.
'In the domain of resource mobilization for sustainable development, Africa is on track towards contributing its share', Mr. Josue Dione, Director ECA's Food Security and Sustainable Development Division, explained during a discussion on institutional frameworks.
He cited a report prepared by ECA, which elaborates on Africa's contribution toward the achievement of sustainable development goals on the continent.
The document admits that 'countries are primarily responsible for their own development', but argues that in the case of developing countries such as those in Africa, it is acknowledged that international support is central to accessing the necessary means of implementation and realizing sustainable development outcomes.'
It details different commitments by development partners and African countries to meet incremental costs for the full implementation of the sustainable development agenda on the continent.
For example, in 2005 development partners made specific commitments regarding debt relief and innovative financing mechanisms in. Such commitments on aid volumes were estimated at the time to entail an increase of $US25 billion a year by 2010 from the 2004 baseline.
Further commitments were made in 2009 to increase resources provided by the international financial institutions (IFIs), in response to the global crisis and to reduce unsustainable debt burden through debt relief and debt cancellation.
However, there is no donor-wide commitment in relation to levels of development assistance to Africa beyond 2010, though some donors have made individual commitments
'African governments are ready and have begun the process of mobilizing additional domestic resources, and improving the investment climate in order to attract increased domestic and foreign investment, although no quantified time-bound targets have been set.'