Monday, March 26, 2012

How Much “Green” Does it Take to Make the Green Economy? G77 Derailing the Green Agenda at the UN

From Turtle Bay and Beyond:

How Much “Green” Does it Take to Make the Green Economy? G77 Derailing the Green Agenda at the UN

by Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
Are you wondering how many businesses have to become "green" before the dream of the "green economy" becomes a reality? It seems like everything is turning green, whether its green jobs, green energy now there is even green dry cleaning. Duh!
If you feel like this is going to far, then you are in good company.
Today the G77 asked for the deletion of half a dozen usages of the word "green" during negotiations over the outcome document of the Rio Conference on Sustainable Development to be held this summer in Brazil. The speaker on behalf of the group representing 132 countries spoke her mind. She said that G77 had agreed to accept the term "green economy" after some reluctance. But they had no clue as to what the myriad of other "green" mentions in the draft document referred to! For example: green skills, green innovation, green professional training, green jobs, and more.
On a more serious note, this is not just about a delegate cracking a joke and de-greening the outcome document. The G77 seems hell bent on de-railing the green agenda at the Rio Conference. It is insisting, strongly and repeatedly, on having its concerns take central place for the future of development. A good thing altogether, considering that it represents almost every singly developing country in the world.
G77 is especially insisting on SOVEREIGNTY. That elusive word that means so much in international law, but is only mentioned when it matters the most. In almost every proposal G77 has made it clarifies that sovereignty cannot be trampled upon by the Rio sustainable development platform. So for instance, in the context of the green economy, the G77 mentioned the need to take account of the sovereign right of nations to implement the green economy when and how they want.
The fact is, and remains, that new international law can only be created by treaty and countries cannot be forced to assume obligations they do not want to assume unless they are parties to a treeaty. But the Rio process is the UN way (funded almost entirely by developed countries) to try and create a treaty body without having a treatyt. This is because, while we have a lot of green things in the world (trees, jobs, energy, dry cleaning...) there is actually no "green treaty." Climate negotiations in the past failed, usually because of developing countries', and the US', need for development whether it be green, blue or black. Now that the Obama admin is totally on board with the "green agenda" the UN system has sensed its opportunity to try and make an environmental splash. But the possibility of finding agreement on "green norms" to be included in a treaty is impossible, so the next best thing is to create a policy making/shaping body.
The G77 countries know this, and instead of trying to halt the process, they are trying to control it. So they are willing to negotiate everything, even an institutional framework for development, that would include a body with some political clout to establish policy, and maybe even norms. But they will want to be sure that the body, whether it be a new body of the GA or ECOSOC or simply a revamped CSD, cannot impose new obligations on them when it comes to economic and social development, and instead will favor developing countries and their concerns.
Let's just hope that the Rio outcome will be a genuine step forward for humanity, instead of a just another colossal waste of money on "green" subjects.
Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | March 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Categories: TurtleBayUN | URL:

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