Saturday, 23 June 2012

Final blog by Brianna Fruean

L-R Kathleen Leewai and Brianna Fruean

Brianna Fruean, a 14 year old environment advocate has worked as part of the Pacific Rio+20 media team, this is her last blog post of a journey that has been documented while in Rio (column on right)

"It’s now time to say good bye to Rio. An event that I aimed for is now a memory that I’ll never forget. I was so lucky to have been given this opportunity to attend Rio+20. Today I am grateful, happy and I have no regrets. I am honoured to have been in the Samoan delegation and proudly represent our youth. Yesterday I met the Ulu of Tokelau,it meant so much to me because my grandma is full Tokelauan so I am glad that I got to meet his Excellency. Rio+20 has been a chance of a lifetime to share with the Pacific my experience through my eyes.

From my last perspective, Rio+20 is a promise, it’s a promise to the islands, it’s a promise to the youth, it's a promise to all those affected by the doings of mankind. There were a lot of people around the conference today saying that they were disappointed with the outcomes of Rio+20. My opinion is that signatures on a document will not save the world but going out there and actually doing something about it,will.

This conference has taught me what real hard work means. It was hard work but I will do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I am humbled and thankful for all the support from my friends, family, my Samoan community, 350 Aotearoa, Samoa Observer and of course the generous help of PACMAS, SPREP who helped bring me here.

To my team that brought me to Rio,thank you from the bottom of my heart, this experience I will take with me wherever I go from here. You know what they say “all good things must come to an end” and this is the end of my blogs from Brazil. Rio+20 is now over for me,but not for things to come. I have learnt so much and met so many wonderful people. It’s hard to say goodbye but I leave Rio with no regrets but only good memories and hope for the future."




My Rio Journey comes to an end


Kathleen Leewai on Right


By Kathleen Leewai, an intern at SPREP with the Communications and Outreach Unit.  Kathleen was jointly funded by PACMAS and Conservation International Pacific Island Program as part of a professional development activity.  Kathleen produced news articles on Rio+20, helped document with images and provided support for a Pacific side event featuring 5 Pacific leaders.  This is Kathleens final blog post about her journey.

"This is my last day in Rio; we’re starting the voyage back to Apia tonight.

It has been an unbelievable experience for so many reasons, but it has also taught me a lot about what’s happening in the world and where I fit in.

Some of the highlights of this journey have been meeting some incredible people from all over the globe and working with some very talented people, not to mention coming halfway across the world and seeing as much as I could! I don’t know when I’ll be in this neck of the woods again so I’m going to savour my last moments in Rio with relish.

As daunting as this trip has been, seeing it come to an end is also quite sad. Nevertheless, it’s homeward bound from here on, with a long, long, journey back to Apia. There’s no hopping across the pond for this one; we’re travelling the same route we took to get here.

The funny thing is, whenever I see these beautiful advertisements about travelling overseas, especially ads for airlines, it always looks so glamourous and comfortable. That’s only because they never show economy class! However, believe me when I say that for some trips, it’s definitely worth it.

See you back in the ocean!"



Pacific Women Activist bear witness in global protest in Rio de Janeiro

Statement by Pacific NGOs in Rio de Janeiro


21 JUNE 2012 RIO DE JANEIRO ---- Women activists from around the world took to the streets of Rio De Janerio to bear witness to the growing inequality within and between nations, ecological and economic injustices and gender injustice across the globe.

Activists took to the street to bring the human face to negotiations and remind negotiators that the world is watching. There is a major disconnect between the text of the Rio negotiations and the reality faced by the majority of people across the world but especially in the Pacific.

“We are not here to ask! We are here to demand for ecological justice, for economic justice, for gender justice. We are here to demand justice for all”, said Noelene Nabulivou of the Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era.

For the Pacific delegation the mining text is significantly weak thanks to pro-mining nations such as Australia and Canada. Supported by the G77 who called for the deletion of any reference to mining industries being managed, regulated and taxed and on improving revenue and contract transparency.

The current text does great injustice for its failure to capture the destructive, and exploitative nature of mining to communities, their livelihoods, environment and health by simply downplaying these impacts. It also fails to capture the ongoing human rights abuses perpetuated by the state and private security firms of mining companies against communities who exercise their right to reject mining as a ‘sustainable development’ option.

Governments simply imply in text of technological fixes such as effective legal and regulatory frameworks to minimize the negative effect. The operative word here being “effective” as communities in PNG, the Solomon Islands can attest to the continued failure of legal and regulatory frameworks to address the growing injustices, and human rights violation around mining as experienced for example at Ok Tedi, Porgera and on Bougainville.

There are no reference to any of the Rio Principles such as the Precautionary Principle, Do No Harm Principle, the Polluter Pays Principle, and Prior and Informed Consent nor does it make any reference to compliance with Indigenous Peoples rights.

The Brazillian government have attempted to improve the text by adding new language around clean up but this offers little comfort to many of the communities where the companies have left communities to bear the cost of contamination, destruction of environment and livelihoods.

Whilst we grapple with how to deal with land-based mining the Pacific is at the forefront of an experimental mining on the seabed a new frontier in mining. Our message to our governments remain strong – we the people reject experimental seabed mining in the Pacific.

Instead the text focuses very heavily on the growing importance and benefits of mining to the economy and its role in reducing poverty. It goes on further to link the role that mining has to reduce poverty and assist countries in meeting internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals.

“We have a moral duty to speak truth to the ongoing human and ecological disaster that mining and extractive industries to our people, communities and environment, said Maureen Penjueli, of the Pacific Network on Globalisation”.

As Pacific CSOs we continue to reaffirm the position, that all mineral extractive industries, including experimental seabed mining, are examples of old-school mal-development. What is needed in Rio is a strategic refusal by small island states and allies to participate in this false development course.

In allowing essential ecosystems to be mined, we are part of a global industrialization process that views the environmental process that views the environment as a means to profit, with environmental degradation, social exploitation, biodiversity loss, and violence as its consequence.


Governments Gamble with our Future:  Statement by South Feminists
22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro
 


Rio+20 : 50 000 personnes manifestent contre l'économie verte from Alter-Echos on Vimeo.


While governments were locked in their semantic battles in the Rio+20 process, women’s and other social movements continue to fight on multiple fronts for human rights, justice and sustainability. These struggles take place on diverse territories and geographies including the body, land, oceans and waterways, communities, states, and epistemological grounds. Each of these terrains is fraught with the resurgent forces of patriarchy, finance capitalism, neo-conservatism, consumerism, militarism and extractivism.

An understanding of the deeper structural roots of the crises we face today and analytical clarity on the interlinkages between different dimensions are both critical. There is no core recognition that the multiple crises we face are caused by the current anthropocentric development model rooted in unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and financialisation of the economy that are all based on and exacerbate gender, race and class inequities.

In sharp contrast to twenty years ago at the historic Earth Summit when linkages between gender and all three pillars of sustainable development were substantively acknowledged, the Rio+20 outcome document has relegated women’s rights and gender equality to the periphery without recognition of a wider structural analysis.

Over the past few months we have witnessed and confronted attempts by a small group of ultra conservative states (with the strong support of an observer state – the Holy See), to roll back hard won agreements on women’s rights. We are outraged that a vocal minority have hijacked the text on gender and health and blocked mention of sexual and reproductive rights, claiming that these have nothing to do with sustainable development. Meanwhile most states concentrate on what they considered their 'big ticket' items of finance, trade and aid with little interest to incorporate a gender analysis into these macroeconomic issues.

There is a reference to women’s “unpaid work” but without recognizing the unequal and unfair burden that women carry in sustaining care and wellbeing (para 153). This is further exacerbated in times of economic and ecological crisis when women’s unpaid labour acts as a stabilizer and their burden increases. For example, reference to the root causes of excessive food price volatility, including its structural causes, is not linked to the risks and burdens that are disproportionately borne by women (para 116). Development is not sustainable if care and social reproduction are not recognized as intrinsically linked with the productive economy and reflected in macroeconomic policy-making.

Reference is made to the critical role that rural women play in food security through traditional sustainable agricultural practices including traditional seed supply systems (para 109). However these are under severe threat unless governments stop prioritising export oriented agribusiness. The reason why such wrong-headed policies are not adequately addressed is because of corporate interests that are protected in the Rio+20 outcome.

Northern governments advocating for such corporate interests have warped the sustainable development paradigm in the so-called ‘green economy’ that is skewed toward the economic pillar, emphasising sustained economic growth over equitable development and without any ecological limits. Within this section women are regarded as either welfare recipients or as a supplier of labor for the green economy, but not acknowledged as rights holders, especially of economic, social and cultural rights (paras 58k & l).

The ‘green economy’ concept is somewhat challenged in the text by an affirmation of diverse visions, models and approaches to development as well as the policy space to integrate all three dimensions of sustainable development (para 56). While the recognition of policy space and sovereignty over natural resources, is important, there is a need to deeply question a development model that is based on extractivism and that fails to take into account social and ecological costs.

While the Rio principles including common but differentiated responsibilities are reaffirmed at Rio+20, the outcome is imbalanced across the three pillars of sustainable development without sufficient attention to gender and social justice, including women’s rights. It fails to tackle the systemic inequities of the international monetary, financial and trading systems; and prioritises economic growth over the ecology and equity.

Feminists across the global South will continue to demand that governments stop regressing on their commitments and begin to seriously address the structural transformations that are required for genuine sustainable development.

Endorsed by:
DAWN Executive Committee:
Nicole Bidegain – Uruguay
Cai Yiping – China
Gigi Francisco – Philippines
Noelene Nabulivou – Fiji
Anita Nayar – India/USA
Kumudini Samuel – Sri Lanka
Gita Sen – India

DAWN Team at Rio+20:
Sophea Chrek, Social Action for Change/ GEEJ–Asia Alumni – Cambodia
Hibist Kassa, Socialist Worker Student Society/ GEEJ–Africa Alumni – Ghana
Rosa Koian, Bismark Ramu Group – Papua New Guinea
Romyen 'Mo' Kosaikanont, Mae Fah Luang University – Thailand
Mónica Novillo, Coordinadora de la Mujer/ DTI Alumni – Bolivia
Maureen Penjueli, Pacific Network on Globalisation – Fiji
Lalaine Viado, DAWN Associate – Philippines
Wang Jue, DTI Alumni – China

For more information -
DAWN Media Focal Point: Cai Yiping
Email: caiyiping2000@gmail.com Tel (Brazil): +55-21-6944096













Fijian community bird conservation project wins global award at Rio+20 conference


By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor


Silion Lalaqila of Fiji after receiving his Equator 2012 prize with Fiji delegation

22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - A community bird conservation project in the two tikinas of Tunuloa and Natewa in Cakaudrove, on Fiji’s northern island of Vanua Levu has received the global Equator Prize 2012 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The prestigious award, which includes a prize money of USD$5,000 was presented to the tikina representative, Silio Lalaqila at an award ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, co-hosted by actor, Ed Norton and Brazilian actress and environmental advocate, Camilla Pitanga.

The Sisi Initiative manages natural resources around the periphery of the Natewa Tunuloa Important Bird Area (IBA). Its work involves the establishment of a 6,000 hectare community managed forest and developing alternative livelihood options for the areas indigenous landowners.

Te project was originally developed to respond to problems of illegal logging, forest fires, overgrazing, agricultural encroachment and invasive alien species around the IBA, which included large tracts of old grown rainforest that support globally threatened birds.

Receiving the award Wednesday, Lalaqila was overwhelmed by emotions, travelling from his humble day job as a farmer in the village across the globe to receive the award in front of many world leaders.

“I am so thankful to BirdLife International for all the help they gave us to manage and conserve our natural resources.

“I felt proud to be a Fijian receiving this award on behalf of all the communities in Fiji that are actively engaged in conserving their natural resources. It was more special getting the award in front of my own Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Lalaqila told PACNEWS Editor, Makereta Komai, after the award ceremony.


Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama (middle) accompanied by Minister for Youth and Sport,
Viliame Naupoto (left) and Fiji Ambassador to Brazil, Cama Tuiloma (right)

The Equator Prize is a biennial award that recognises outstanding local sustainable solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

The project is an example of strong partnership with the local communities, said Miliana Ravuso, Programme Coordinator, BirdLife International Pacific Secretariat.

“Over time, and with much dialogue and awareness-raising conducted by BirdLife and other stakeholders, the communities came to realise the importance of protecting an endemic bird, the silktail (Lamprolia victoriae) and its habitat, and recognized the potential for an ecotourism birding venture. The communities understood the destructive impacts of unsustainable logging and land-management practices, and realized that they could better manage existing natural resources and still derive income from them through alternative livelihood projects,” Ravuso said.

The initiative is a learning model for community-based conservation and forest management across Fiji.

“We are proud to support organisations such as the Sisi Initiative Site Support Group (SSG), which empowers indigenous communities to protect, manage and steward the natural resources in their communities, said Patricia Zurita, executive director of Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

Tetepare award winner encourages Solomon Islands women to champion conservation

By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon



22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Solomon Islands’ recipient of the prestigious Equator Award is encouraging women to champion conservation in the Solomon Islands.

Allan Tipet Bero of the Tetepare Descendants Associations says women because of their role in society their maternal responsibilities are in the right position to lead the way in conservation.

“Conservation affects the well being of families, it is the women who care about what is happening around them and their families.

“It is the women who struggle and form associations to find solutions to feed and educate their families,” he said.

Mr Bero says this was evident at the awards, since most of the recipients were women.

The Tetepare Descendants Association was one of 25 projects selected from 800 entries from around the world recognized in the Equator Awards at Rio de Janeiro, on Wednesday.

The UNDP funded awards are aimed at promoting local solutions for sustainable development.

“The way forward is that we in the community must take the front line in the fight to ensure sustainable development.”

The Tetepare Descendants Association looks after Tetepare Island, the largest uninhabited islands in the South Pacific that has earned global recognition for its unique biodiversity and the variety of plant and animal species on the island.

“We’re still haven’t found out all the species of animals on the island and we are encouraging researchers from around the world to come and study the biodiversity there.”

The island has been uninhabited for almost 200 years with the association having to fight off interest by logging companies to harvest the island’s forests.

Mr Bero says descendants of the original landowners were reluctant about the benefits of conservation but over time have been convinced by the success of the Tetepare Islands.
“Conserving biodiversity is very important to our livelihood. It empowers the community to manage their own resources to improve their lives.”
The association was formed in 2002 and now provides employment for the local community, scholarships and community funds for its 3000 plus members.

Eighty students from the community are now studying on scholarships at secondary school, vocational institutes and at tertiary level.

Apart from the funding it receives from donors, the association has an eco-lodge which provides income for the association’s operations.

Solomon Islands Minister for Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Minister, John Moffat Fugui says Tetepare’s success shows that Small Islands Developing States from the Pacific have important lessons to contribute to the world.

“What the Tetepare Descendants Association has done has had huge impact in global conservation.

“Although we’re a small country their success has put us on the map in terms of conservation and sustainability.

Your views: The Future We Want

By Kathleen Leewai, SPREP, 22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro -

Q.  What are your views on the Rio+20 outcomes document awaiting endorsement by world leaders, and who do you think the “we” is in The Future We Want?



"There are things that I’ve read about it in the newspapers that say that there are not many compromises being done because the principle countries of the world are not interested in doing this.

The “we” in The Future We Want is not we; they are thinking only about themselves."


Group opinion: Fanny Boeraeve (Belgium), Amal Hamich (Belgium), Laura Orliz-Rougé (France)

"On one side it’s really good and we have been able to go to some really interesting side events that showcase some nice initiatives. On the other hand, we have noticed that at Rio+20 there are a lot of big brands, we see Coca-Cola everywhere and at Athletes Park we see big companies like BMW who are not totally not sustainable and they are trying to pretend that they are sustainable.

We are quite disappointed in that because we thought that Rio+20 should be neutral, it should only be about the politics and talking with involved people, civil society, the NGOs, those really involved in sustainable development issues, not big companies.

So on one side it is really interesting, but on the other side it’s also very disappointing to see that because when you get here and you see those big companies, and you see they are also involved, you start to doubt the decisions that have been made."



Julian Jala (Bolivia)

"For us it’s important that they put our issues forward and that they give more respect to these issues as these are important to us, but we think that we still have to do more work on the issues around Mother Earth, food security, water, and rights for mothers.
We would like to prove to others that we are concerned about the green economy and we like that this is addressed in the document, we are happy about that. This is going to help us to keep working on the green economy to help our people."


Dr. O. Sofola, Africa Women’s Alliance, MDG Global Watch, Tiye International, Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (Nigeria)

"There’s still a long way to go as the document seems to be the lowest common denominator of what the official governments will agree to. But the world cannot deal with a minimum document because there are serious issues happening and that’s why the NGO movement and the African group are pushing for more substance in the outcome document.

The bigger people who don’t want to spend money say things like they need to have a more effective document or it means they will have to pay more money; they are really the ones blocking it. But they shouldn’t forget that their own children will be in this world too. Let’s all agree on what will make the world more sustainable for everybody so that can develop you can eradicate poverty and we can look after this planet that we’re all sitting on.
We don’t want a minimum denominator document; we want one that will help the world.

I’m very proud to say that the African group is pushing for more than the minimum so I’m for what the African group & Bolivia are saying. You can’t have 110 heads of state here and come up with something that has no meat in it, we don’t want that."



Bam Bridget Anyafulu, Executive Director, International Centre for Women Empowerment & Child Development (ICWECD) (Nigeria)

"If we look at the term “the future that we want”, you’ll find that it’s really the Africans and developing countries that are talking. Now if you look at what the developed countries are discussing in this programme, we have a long way to go.
 
It is not the future that we want that is being discussed, so it is not acceptable to us from the civil society organisation side. We want a future for the children, a huge future for women and youth. With what is on the ground that has been endorsed I do not think that is the way forward for these groups.

Now the whole bulk of the decisions lie in the hands of the governments, the heads of states that are here, and I do hope that those superpowers will sit down and look into this matter critically and not go for the less. I use this avenue to plead with the head of states and the superpowers to look at this document properly and sit down and think about the future of the children, the future of the women, the future of the youths, and the future of the African continent and the world in general.

The future we want is philosophical and I think that this generation has failed. If we need to have a great future we should be looking at the women, should be looking at the children and at the youths especially. I’m so happy that the youths are here for it is now time for the youths to decide. If the youths want to sit down and watch things go the way it is, then there is no future, because we are already gone.

So this future that we are talking about is the future of the youths, the future of the children, who are indeed the leaders of tomorrow."



Felipe Grisola, Instituto Informa (Brazil)

50 percent of LCD's must graduate by 2020: Lilo

By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands

22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Half of the world’s 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) must graduate within 10 years time, as required by the 2011 Istanbul Programme of Action, says Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

For this to happen developed nations must fulfill past commitment and those made at Rio+20, said Mr Lilo.

“Clean technology transfer is now needed and must be made affordable with a rural focus and community based. Sufficient finance is needed to allow LDCs economies to make the necessary transformation. This will mean making new financial commitments from 2013-2017 for thirty billion dollars so that there be no gap in financing as agreed to under the fast start financing commitment.

“Large foreign investors will need to be more responsible in exploiting natural resources more responsibly, stop destructive fishing practices to preserving the health of fish stocks and reducing harmful green house gas (GHG) emissions to ensure corals and marine life survives.”

LDC countries have over 880 million people and account for the majority of the world’s poor.

The 49 LDC members are guided by the 2011 Istanbul Programme of Action.

“The link between the Istanbul Program of Action and the Rio outcome document is deep and strong. Rio document shares the same vision with the eradication of poverty, the central element of sustainable development.

In the Pacific, Samoa is expected to graduate from being an LDCs by 2014.

“I am indeed pleased to see many of us have developed National Strategic Development Goals. All of these strategies point to the same direction, sustainable development must be inclusive and people centred.”

For the Solomon Islands the priority sector for sustainable development is agriculture, fisheries, tourism, renewable energy and the mining sectors.

Mr Lilo said the Solomon Islands relies on the health of the environment and its ecosystems for their livelihood and are impacted by on-going climate change, from increased frequency of natural disasters, sea level rise, relocation of populations, food, health and water security.

"It is there fundamental that reform of international institutions cannot solely focus only on one pillar of sustainable development, environment but all three pillars economic, social and environment.”






Q&A with Iosefa Maiava, the Head of the UN ESCAP Pacific Centre based in Suva, Fiji Islands


By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor


Iosefa Maiava, Head UN ESCAP Pacific Centre

22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - The UN ESCAP Pacific Centre was instrumental in assisting Pacific Island Countries prepare their positions in the lead up to the Rio+20 conference. It convened a PrepCom meeting in Apia, Samoa in July 2011 to assist Pacific countries formulate a regional negotiating position. After following the two weeks conference here in Rio de Janeiro, the Head of the Pacific Centre, Iosefa Maiava shares his thoughts on the final outcome document with PACNEWS Editor, Makereta Komai.

Maiava: I think the Pacific positions that were agreed to in the Pacific PrepCom meeting which was endorsed by the ESCAP Commission session in May have been fairly well reflected in the Outcomes document. For example, the reaffirmation of the special case for small island developing states (SIDS), the importance of oceans, green economy in a blue world, climate change in sustainable development andmeans of implementation like additional and new finances, transfer of appropriate technology as well as capacity building. In terms of those four key issues that the Pacific countries wanted to highlight, they have been reflected very well in the outcomes of the Rio+20 meeting.

I get a sense from Pacific Island delegates and regional organisations that they are fairly happy with the outcomes. Off course the document does not provide the specific ideas, tools and ways and means to implement this except in areas of finances, technology and capacity building. But the side events have been very useful in discussing specific ideas and tools for strengthening these things. For example in the case of oceans, the importance of scientific studies to deal with degradation of the oceans. There was a side event on things like marine protected areas, and there were those on things like debt swap which is an interesting tool for helping protect the oceans. There was also side event on the use of economic things like perverse subsidies and how to deal with it. That’s an area that the Pacific had highlighted in presenting their outcomes to the meeting. We may have to look at perverse subsidies as a way that we don’t over fish and over exploit because these subsidies under price and under value the fish.

Makereta Komai: Now that the draft declaration has been endorsed as the outcomes of Rio, what happens now, especially for the Pacific?

Maiava: We can go back to our regions and implement these outcomes in a way that is suitable. The Outcomes document is every clear on what role the regional commissions will play. I think it says that regional commissions will help compile national inputs into the establishment of sustainable development policies. The document is also very clear that green economy for sustainable development and poverty eradication is to be implemented in accordance with certain countries circumstances, which means that it’s now up to each country to decide on how it implements the outcomes from Rio.

Makereta Komai: What is the role of UN ESCAP and regional organisations in implementing the Rio outcomes?

Maiava: The regional commissions and regional CROP organisations have been given strong mandate to co-ordinate the implementation of sustainable development at the regional level. Given those strong mandates, there is a clear role for regional organisations and the UNESCAP regional commission. There are plans already with regional organisation on how to organise the process developing the sustainable development goals (SDGs). That is one of the major outcomes of Rio is the agreement to launch a process that will lead to the establishment of SDGs to merge with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Makereta Komai: What is the difference between SDGs and MDGs?

Maiava: The MDGs will continue up until 2015. There are already some discussions on the post2015 agenda and what it will look like. This outcomes document says the sustainable development goals will be considered launched in a way that is co-ordinated and coherent with the post 2015 development agenda. So I think the feeling right now is that the SDGs and MDGs will be merged into a post 2015 development agenda into what is going to be one set of global goals for sustainable development.

Makereta Komai: Are the goals between MDGs and the proposed SDGs the same?

Maiava: The SDGs are going to be different in the sense that the outcomes document refers to some new thematic areas like renewable energy, oceans and climate change. For Small Islands Developing States these kinds of issues are not clearly articulated in the MDGS because there are no targets. The other difference is the recognition of the need to balance the three pillars of sustainable development. It’s not very clear from the MDGs that there is clear balance between the use of economic instruments to bring about greater protection of the environment and to bring about greater social equity, which is what green economy is really about. From the outcome, there is a section on thematic and sectoral priorities. At the end of that is a section on sustainable development

Makereta Komai: What does that mean?

Maiava: All those thematic and sectoral identified in that section will make up these sustainable development goals. So the outcomes document already gives priority areas that will be covered in the SDGs, whatever goals that we end up with post 2015 will cover all those areas.

Helen Clark launches World Sustainable Development Centre

By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands



22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Former New Zealand prime minister and the administrator of the United Nations Development Fund, Helen Clark has launched a new World Sustainable Development Centre in Brazil.

The centre was launched at a side event in the final day of Rio+20, as organizers confirmed the conference’s status as the biggest UN meeting in history with the attendance of over 45,000 participants.

Ms Clark says the centre will take forward the gains made on sustainable development at Rio.

“Rio+20 ends today but the journey to sustainable development goes on. We all know we have to do better than we’ve done in the last 20 years.

“How do we do better – one way of doing better is to know how others are doing better. To share experiences, to share ideas, to share knowledge to actively promote cooperation.”

The Rio+ Centre will facilitate research, knowledge exchange and promote international debate about sustainable development.

It will bring together government agencies, United Nations agencies, local governments, NGOs, universities, think-tanks and the private sector.

Brazil’s environment minister Izabella Meixeira said the setting up of the centre in Rio de Janeiro would be one of the legacies of the Rio+20 conference.

“Our universities, various sectors of society, the business community and everyone here wants to work hard for this legacy,’’

Brazil has already secured $5 million in seed money for the centre’s operations.

On the outcome of the Rio+20 Ms Clark said she agreed that there are concrete steps made in oceans, the issues of fossil fuel and fuel subsidies.

She said the onus is now on countries to build low carbon and climate resilience societies.

In the end, action must be taken by, leaders, politicians, civil society, businesses so that they go away from here inspired, she added.

“We go away from Rio with a lot of work to do.”


Vanuatu PM commends commitment of global leaders to find common ground on Rio Delcaration


By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor


PM Sato Kilman of Vanuatu with his delegates

22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - The efforts of world leaders put their national interests aside to agree to what is now still a draft Rio Declaration has been highly commended by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu.

Addressing the High Level Segment of the Rio+20 conference, Prime Minister Meltek Sato Kilman Livtivanu said negotiators must be congratulated for their hard work in mapping the “Future We Want’ declaration, now expected to be endorsed here in Rio de Janeiro Friday.

"My delegation is very pleased that, regardless of the different national interests, we as the family of nations can still work together and develop a road map for the years to come.

“It is my hope that we will continue to move away from a reactive style of managing development, that has only provided short-term band-aid solutions.

PM Kilman said ‘our decisions will provide the opportunity to better guarantee our citizens and their future generations, a future they deserve.

The reaffirmation of the special case of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the draft agreement has been praised by the Vanuatu PM.

“We commend our G77 family for their ongoing solidarity with us on this issue.

However, what remains to be seen is the commitment by developed countries to mobilise financial resources including technology, which will build our capacity to progress sustainable development in Vanuatu and other SIDS.

“This, I believe, has been considered under many aspects of the planned “Future We Want” and the “Future We Will Have”. We urge all development partners to help us facilitate the implementation of our decision, so that it does not become another declaration.

PM Kilman said his country also, like other Pacific SIDS supports regional and global efforts related to the sustainable management of the Pacific Ocean.

"To that end, Vanuatu being part of the large ocean state believes a green economy is mostly possible with a blue backbone.

“The ocean can sustain us only if there is a concerted global effort to conserve and manage oceans resources wisely enough, guided by the wisdom of the precautionary approach to ensure that these resources sustain this generation, and those to come.

The Future We Want Declaration, to form the outcomes of Rio+20 conference will be endorsed by leaders on Friday.

Lilo commends Coral Triangle Initiative Partners

By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands

22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has commended the six countries that form part of the Coral Triangle Initiative for the progress made towards conserving 5.7million square kilometers of ocean water.

The Coral Triangle Initiative is comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

Speaking at a Rio+20 side event, Mr Lilo said the need to conserve an area hosting 76 percent of the world's known coral species, 37 percent of the world's reef fish species, more than half of the world’s coral reefs as well as the greatest extent of mangrove forests in the world and the spawning and juvenile growth grounds for the world’s largest tuna industry, is more vital than ever.

 

“Today with increasing economic and social challenges – high population, food costs and effects of climate change, our marine resources are harvested and exploited to meet the ever increasing needs and wants. These challenges warrant a call for CT6 governments to make right decisions for sustainable use of these resources. This also calls for the collective effort of all stakeholders.”

Pacific Island countries relying on the coean for food and livelihood

With Pacific Island countries relying on the ocean for food and livelihood, the conservation and protection of the ocean has been one of the key issues for Pacific nations at Rio+20.

“Solomon Islands recognises the need to improve and effectively manage our marine resources, to ensure the inhabitants and users of these resources can continue to benefit, manage and adapt to threats occurring today and in the future.”

Prime Minister Lilo said his government has adopted the Coral Triangle National Plan as a strategy to manage Solomon Islands’ marine resources.

With over 500 species of coral organisms, Solomon Islands coral diversity is one of the highest on earth, paralleled only by Raja Ampat in Indonesia.

A recent survey result showed that Solomon Islands has one of the richest concentrations of reef fishes, a total of 1019 reef-dwelling fish species in the world surpassed only by three sites in Indonesia.

Mr Lilo said with the help of donor partners such as the Global Environment Fund, USAID, AusAID and the Asian Development Bank, his government was supporting policies and legislation to promote community-based resource management activities.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

SPREP signs agreement with Indian Ocean Commission



21 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Ocean Commission in Rio de Janeiro. This now cements working partnerships across all the Small Island Developing States as an agreement was signed between SPREP and the Caribbean Climate Change Community Center (5C’s) last year.

“It’s groundbreaking in the sense that it’s the first formal agreement like this,” said Sefanaia Nawadra, the Director of Environmental Monitoring and Governance.

“The commitment has always been there to work together, now we are all at the stage where we have lessons that we can share with each other to help each other.”

A meeting today followed the signing of the MoU’s between IOC and the 5C’s, this is the start to paving the way forward for a stronger partnership. The IOC have indicated interest to attend the SPREP annual meeting in New Caledonia this year and a team from the 5C’s will be in Samoa over the next two months.

For one person in particular this momentous occasion is like a dream come true. Arthur Dahl was the one person secretariat of SPREP when it was first established in the 1970’s, before that he also worked on coral reef research in the Caribbean islands. Seeing how far the organizations and partners have come over the years has been a highlight for him at the Rio+20.

“This has been a dream for almost 40 years when we were first in the Pacific trying to build collaboration across the regions, having this dream that at the global level all the islands are working together, this is happening more and more, it’s the power between these that drives many environment agendas forward today.”

The signing took place at a side event coordinated by the Commonwealth Secretariat hosted at the Rio+20 meetings.













Fiji bids to host 2014 global conference on SIDS


By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Rio de Janeiro


Members of the Fiji delegation
21 June, 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Fiji has formally registered its interest to host the third global conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in 2014.

Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama declared Fiji’s bid when he addressed 130 world leaders here in Rio de Janeiro Wednesday.

“We in Fiji are happy to note that SIDS remains a key reflection in the Rio+20 outcomes document. As such, I’ve also noted the proposal for a Third International Meeting on SIDS in 2014.

“As we continue in partnership within the Pacific Island region in climate change initiatives through dedicated time, human resources, and capital, Fiji offers host the Third International Meeting on SIDS and continue the dialogue, said Commodore Bainimarama.

The convening of the 2014 conference is contained in paragraphs 178-180 of the draft declaration of the Rio+20 conference, recognising the importance of co-ordinated, balanced and integrated actions to address the sustainable development challenges facing small island developing states.

The draft declaration reaffirmed the ‘unique and particular vulnerabilities in terms of their small size, remoteness, narrow resource and export base and exposure to global environmental challenges. It also noted the concerns of the international community that SIDS have made less progress than most other groupings, or even regressed in economic terms.

It acknowledged that sea level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change continue to pose a significant risk to SIDS and their efforts to achieve sustainable development.

“For many SIDS, climate change represents the gravest of threats to their survival and viability, said the draft declaration.

Given that previous SIDS meeting have been held in Barbados (Caribbean) in1994 and Mauritius (Indian Ocean) in 2005, it is now the turn of the Pacific to host the high level conference in 2014.

The Fijian Prime Minister also highlighted Fiji’s efforts to maintain sustainable development on the country’s national agenda.

“Recent global developments, such as the financial, fuel, and food crises have served to underscore this reality, particularly as we move forward together in facing the adverse impacts of climate change, climate variability, and rising sea levels. Our vulnerabilities have increased, whilst our capacity to cope has not.

He told world leaders Fiji like other Small Island Developing States continues to face significant challenges in safe energy supplies, biodiversity and disasters related to climate change.

To address some of these challenges, Commodore Bainimarama suggested to using the holistic approach of the ‘Pacific Way.’

“For Pacific islanders, the “Pacific Way” invokes dialogue and collaboration in sharing our island heritage, independence, and right to self-governance, as we strive to establish effective communications, strengthen social networks and promote environmentally friendly, sustainable economic development.

The “Pacific Way” concept points Fiji and its island neighbours toward the path that will lead to the “Future We Want” – if I may refer to the proposed title of the outcome document from Rio+20.

“If re-invigorated today, it is my belief that the concept behind this term will help the Pacific islands region further develop and strengthen its ability to work together toward its sustainable development goals.

However, Commodore Bainimarama admits the Fiji and the region still look towards the leadership and guidance of the world’s most advanced nations in addressing matters of environmental and economic development and security.

Commodore Bainimarama and his delegation, which includes the Minister of Youth and Sport, Commander Viliame Naupoto leave Brazil at the weekend.

Solomon Islands commends Pacifc hosting of SIDS meeting


By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands


21 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has commended the decision by countries meeting in Rio de Janeiro to give the Pacific hosting rights for a key meeting on sustainable development in 2014.

In his country address to world leaders at the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil, Mr Lilo, said the Pacific’s hosting of the Third Sustainable Development Conference for Small Islands Development States (SIDS) will highlight the special situation of SIDS.

The Pacific’s hosting of the SIDS meeting was one of the outcomes of negotiations at Rio+20.

“Solomon Islands welcomes the recognition by all leaders that climate change is undermining sustainable development.”

He Lilo said vulnerable countries in particular Small Islands Developing States and Least Developed countries, both of which Solomon Islands is a member of, have an uncertain future given the intensity and frequency of various natural and global crisis.

“From climate change impacts, growing global inequalities to unsustainable consumption by a broken international economic system.”

Solomon Islands prime minister also gave his country’s support for a SIDS initiative to convene a ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the United Nation’s 67th General Assembly.

Mr Lilo said the event would build on the current political momentum at Rio and garner support for the UNFCCC’s campaign of keep global temperatures from rising over 1.5 degree Celsius.

“Small Islands Developing States must not be seen as expendable because of their smallness, nor be regarded as collateral damage because of global inaction.”

As for the Rio+20 itself, Mr Lilo said the Solomon Islands recognized some of the key deliverables.

“We will be launching three process decisions; first, the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals. These goals will safe guard, life-giving resources needed for humanity's survival.

“Second, an institutional framework for sustainable development, to better coordinate the implementation of decisions emanating from the conference.

“Third, the means of implementation that should translate decisions into action with relevant technology transfer, and a financial mechanism to ensure resources are available for implementation.”

He said the conference gives countries the opportunity to renew our collective commitment to the Rio principles with a focused and concise set of agreed actions that should guarantee the future of the planet, for the present and future generations.

Julia Gillard at Rio+20

By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands


21 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Australia will continue to do its part in preserving the natural ecosystem and in conserving the natural environment.



Ms Gillard is among the world leaders attending the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil.


She says the outcome of Rio+20 is an agreement between all the 193 UN country members and is geared towards delivering change in the long term.


Julia Gillard at Rio+20 from Wasuka Media on Vimeo.

In Rio, Ms Gillard has been appointed the co-chair with Rwanda global efforts to encourage countries to increase government aid to fight poverty, by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

It comes despite Australia delaying by one year its pledge to meet the target by 2015.

Mr Ban also said Australia had been leading by example" on the need to tackle climate change.

"I really count on the Prime Minister's strong visionary leadership and commitment," Mr Ban said.

"She has been eloquently contributing to the global community."

Rio+20 High Level Statements: Tuvalu

Statement on behalf of Tuvalu

Rio+20 High level Statements: Fiji

Commodore Josaia Voreqe Banimarama- Prime Minister


Ban Ki Moon says Rio+20 political document must be matched with action


By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor

 
21 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says the global roadmap for sustainable development to ne endorsed by world leaders here in Rio should be matched with actions.

“Whilst time is not on our side, world leaders must rise above narrow national interests. Global interests must be their own national interests.

“We must be united for our common good and united for unity, pleaded Ban Ki Moon in his statement to 130 world leaders gathered at the Rio+20 conference in the Brazilian city.

SG Moon said the world would have expected bolder and ambitious commitments from leaders.

“Negotiations have been very difficult and slow, because of conflicting interests and ideas. Some have tried to be bolder while some Parties have strongly expressed their own views and interests. It has been such a long and delicate process of negotiations, Ban Ki Moon told journalists.

As the convener for the Rio+20 conference he was encouraged by the strong leadership shown by Brazil in achieving the outcome now before world leaders.

This political statement by world leaders, no matter how good, will mean nothing if these actions are not implemented.

If these commitments are not translated into action, it means nothing. All these outcomes should be implemented without further delay, said the UN top diplomat.

“20 years ago in a breakthrough here in Rio, world leaders put sustainable development on the world map but those bold words and good intentions were not enough.

“We cannot continue to burn and consume our way to prosperity at the expense of the world’s poor and the global environment. Let us not forget that Rio +20 is about people who hope for real improvements in their daily lives for the poor, women and young people and future generations.

One of the achievements of Rio+20 will be the establishment of the universal sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Commenting on the draft outcomes text, the Secretary General of the Rio+20 conference, Sha Zukang said the document will be put to Heads of State on Friday for adoption.

“Like all negotiations, there will be some countries that feel the text could be more ambitious. Or, others who feel their own proposals could be better reflected, while still others might prefer to have their own language,” he said.

“But, let’s be clear: multilateral negotiations require give and take.”

The agreed outcome document spells out action points such as the need to establish sustainable development goals and mobilize financing for sustainable development, as well as the promotion of sustainable consumption and production, among others.
 
It also stresses the need to include women, non-governmental organizations, and indigenous groups in the sustainable development agenda, and calls on the private sector to engage in sustainable corporate business practices.
 
In addition to the outcome text, there have been over 400 voluntary commitments for sustainable development by Member States in the lead-up to the high-level meeting of Rio+20, which officially starts on Wednesday with an address by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“The spirit of compromise is the mark of a good consensus, and crucial if all countries are to be on board, take ownership, and share a collective commitment,” Mr Sha said. “This is the only way forward if we want to harness the necessary action for advancing together on a path of sustainable development.”
 
Rio+20’s high-level meeting runs from 20-22 June, and is expected to bring together over 100 heads of state and government, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders to shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.