Frank-Jürgen Richter says a US-China-India meeting could achieve more
than a talkfest in Rio
Let me turn my back on the euro zone crisis. There have been 18
summits in the last two years with no real outcome, or rather no
lasting solution. And each time there is a summit, the media react
with hair-trigger headlines. Of course the euro zone is crucial for
global financial stability, but there are other meetings about to
may have global portent.
The Rio+20 meeting will take place later this month. It was there in
1992 that the UN Conference on Environment and Development was held;
the Earth Summit, as it
was dubbed, was attended by over 100 heads of state over 10 days. They
agreed on 27 principles for everyone to work towards.
Rio+20 will be a weak affair by comparison. Few senior figures have
indicated that they will attend, and a three-day event will be too
short to agree on anything. Of course, this is a difficult time, with all the financial worries
around the world.
The first Rio meeting proclaimed that "human beings are at the centre
of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a
healthy and productive life in harmony with nature". Yet, over the
last 20 years, we have raped our globe in pursuit of resources and in
so doing have unleashed tonnes of pollution into the air, rivers and
seas - spending little on clean-up measures, while failing to follow
the Rio agreements.
The original accord was broken by George W. Bush who refused to ratify
the 2005 UN Kyoto Protocol as he believed pollution controls would
cost the US jobs. At the 2011 climate change meeting in Durban, many
statesmen argued for more stringent pollution controls given the
rising sea levels and flooding threats to their countries. Few seemed
to care - certainly not the general public.
This malaise has now spread to Rio+20 with its "zero draft text"
issued by the United Nations in January, suggesting leaders would not
have to sign anything that was
not in the Rio declaration 20 years ago. I don´t think this is
progress. There are too many people in these meetings, all with their
own positions, resulting in meaningless
accords. But, what if there were only three parties discussing the
issues; might they not come to an accord quickly?
This may be the situation in the future if China, India and the US
come together for trilateral dialogue, as US Secretary for State
Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested
during her Asian trip in May. These nations are all heavy polluters
and economic heavyweights. Such a meeting should feature sensible
accords on achievable targets on a massive spectrum of trade. A new
common geopolitical purpose would stabilise much of our global anxiety
- and maybe create a good basis for meetings like Rio+20.
Frank-Jürgen Richter is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global
Horasis is a global visions community committed to enact visions for a sustainable future. (http://www.horasis.org)
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