Nations at odds on key issues | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 14, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 14, 2012

Nations at odds on key issues

The final round of negotiations leading up to next week's Rio+20 summit has began yesterday with countries very much at odds on key issues.
The draft agreement would improve energy, water and food security in poorer countries, phase out fossil fuel subsidies and boost ocean protection.
But with three days of negotiations left, only 20% has been agreed.
The summit is widely seen as a crucial opportunity for leaders to put the global economy on a more sustainable footing.
The draft agreement - titled The Future We Want - is riddled with deletions, many instigated by the US and many by the G77/China bloc of developing nations. Russia, Japan, the EU and other parties have also objected to key clauses.
The draft has been criticised in some quarters as being too lenient on businesses, especially major banks and commodity corporations.
There is also a row over the proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs), which would seek to relieve poverty and improve health, education and jobs in developing countries, but along environmentally and socially sustainable lines.
Some aid agencies fear this will result in a watering down of the key commitment to helping people out of poverty, contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
There is also a lack of agreement on whether the SDGs should commit rich countries to curbing their consumption of natural resources, in order to leave more for the poor.
In a widely-circulated editorial, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who now runs Green Cross International, contrasted the "optimism and hope" of the Rio Earth Summit 20 years ago with the "cynicism and despair" surrounding this one.
"I feel bitter when I look at the cavernous gulf between rich and poor, the irresponsibility that caused the global financial crisis, the weak and divided responses to climate change, and the failure to achieve the MDGs," he said.
"The opportunity to build a safer, fairer and more united world has been largely squandered."
The eight rounds of formal and informal preparatory talks since the beginning of the year have been bedevilled by problems of substance as well as of process.
There is widespread disappointment among activists that scores of leaders including the UK's David Cameron, Germany's Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama have chosen to stay away.

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