MERCOSUR Adopts Declaration of Buenos Aires on Rio+20
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MERCOSUR's Environment Ministers adopted a Declaration of Buenos Aires, expressing a common stance ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The Ministers outline their views on the definition of a green economy, stress the need to strengthen the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and call for the post-Conference agenda to focus on access to water, health, education, energy and sanitation.

14 May 2012: The 15th semi-annual Regular Meeting of the Environment Ministers (RMMA) of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) focused on sending key messages to the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). It concluded with the adoption of the “Declaration of Buenos Aires” outlining the Ministers’ stance on Rio+20, which Argentina pledged to present to the Conference.

The XV Meeting was held on 11 May 2012, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentina is MERCOSUR’s President Pro Tempore.

Ministers discussed their priority issues for Rio+20 and proposals on which MERCOSUR might take a common position. Brazil, for example, suggested that MERCOSUR take a common position regarding the proposal to draw up sustainable development goals (SDGs), a proposal not taken up by the group.

On green economy, the Declaration warns that a green economy should not substitute for the concept and principles of sustainable development, and that it should not become just a marketing tool that emphasizes the sale of advanced technology instead of the search for solutions adapted to the diverse realities of developing countries.

On the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD), the Ministers stress fortifying and improving coordination among existing UN agencies and programmes, and strengthening the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as the central forum for discussing sustainable development matters while giving equal weight to the economic, social and environmental dimensions.

In addition, in the Declaration, the Ministers call for Rio+20 to result in concrete short- and long-term agendas that focus on access to “essential social services” such as water, health, education, energy and sanitation. They identify water, waste and climate change to be three axes requiring immediate attention and special emphasis in combating poverty. Finally, recognizing that further work is needed to implement Rio Principle 10 on access to information, access and justice and public participation, the Ministers express their willingness to explore the viability of further mechanisms to strengthen its implementation. [Environment Ministry Press Release (in Spanish)] [Declaration of Buenos Aires (in Spanish)]

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