The Access Initiative

Well It’s All Over…Or Maybe Just Beginning

By Carole Excell (Posted: June 25, 2012)

Today is my last day in Rio. I am at the airport getting ready to fly back to Washington DC. I have not written a blog in the last two days as things have been too frantic. We at the TAI Secretariat with partners:

•Organized a governance event on advancing Principle 10 that saw almost 300 people prepare an agenda for action

•Successfully held a global gathering of 30 non-governmental organisations from all regions of the world to analyze the Rio +20 text and decide on joint programs to work on for the next two years to advance principle 10.

•Met with our network governance Core team representative organisations in each region of the world to discuss their leadership of the network in the next two years going forward.

After all our hard work we have made some progress on advancing principle 10 in the text, however the news from the main stream media about Rio+20 is all depressing and negative. I have met and ask many people both from government and civil society about their views. Almost all the persons I spoke to said that there was not enough ambition or proposed changes to turn the tide and prevent further destruction of our environment and natural resources. Many lamented the bargaining block of the G77 as it lumps progressive countries in with those who refuse to take action and ensures that we have the lowest common denominator and minimum progress. This needs to be changed. But this aspect has not dominated my Rio +20 experience.

For the Access Initiative we had some things to celebrate.

Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration which calls for transparencypublic participation and access to justice was more than re-affirmed at this conference. The conference provided an opportunity for like-minded countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region to agree that they will move forward with discussing the feasibility of creation of a convention on principle 10. This was announced and declared by Jose Luis Balmaceda, Chilean ambassador to the United Nations and it is great reason to celebrate achievements at Rio +20.

Many of the achievements from this Summit were made outside of the formal process. TAI will continue to work arduously to make this convention a reality to improve environmental decision-making in this region. I have a number of takeaways:-

•Brazil is an amazing country, its beauty, culture and people. I feel that this nation and its natural riches should be cherished and protected for people all over the world to enjoy.It has several challenges ahead to move people out of poverty and appropriately manage its abundant resources including oil.

•People power matters, but it needs to be enabled carefully to drive ambition and change.

•Inspirational people are trying to protect the environment. We have to grow our numbers, embrace young people and work together to make more progress outside of the international process until it is significantly reformed to embrace fundamental principles of environmental democracy.

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