FSC responds to EU consultation on follow-up to Rio+20
On 7 January 2013, FSC responded to the European Commission’s call for contributions to a consultation on “ensuring sustainable development globally”. This consultation focuses on how the EU should act to follow up after the Rio+20 conference in June 2012. Read more>>
John Hontelez, Chief Advocacy Officer, FSC
Many organizations, individuals and even participating governments have criticized the results of the Rio+20 conference. Indeed, the outcome document “the future we want” is not the needed roadmap for effective global sustainable development cooperation. The discussion on a “green economy” was affected by concerns from southern countries and NGOs about this to be a northern concept with a commercialization of nature bias and leading to constraints for the poverty eradication priority that they wanted to see. On the other hand, meaningful decisions were taken to work towards global Sustainable Development Goals, to strengthen UNEP and to bring the regular work on sustainable development at a higher level in the UN.
Trade unions and other social organizations were pleased with progressive formulations about what sustainability should mean in terms of decent jobs. In some specific areas, important progress, although never legally binding, was made. This includes the recognition of access to secure and clean water as well as basic health services as human rights.
But Rio+20 was not only to negotiate government agreements. It was probably the largest meeting ever to discuss progress and failures in moving towards sustainable development and launch new initiatives and commitments. If there is one lesson to draw from Rio+20 is that, while international government agreements are very important to set the right legal and market frameworks, to ensure fair distribution of obligations and opportunities, : companies and societal organizations should not wait for this, but rather point with their own initiatives the road ahead.
FSC got involved in the Rio+20 preparations to call upon governments for more systematic support to forest certification as one of the means to halt deforestation and forest degradation. We called for support on the ground in particular in tropical countries, as well as on the market through public procurement. We got clear support from in particular the European Union and our proposals remained in the draft text till the last week, when in an effort to come to text that everyone could agree with, this provisioned, with many other new ideas, were removed.
FSC was instrumental in increasing the attention for forests, which initially was not amongst the priority issues for the negotiators. The governments agreed on support for “enhanced efforts to achieve the sustainable management of forests, reforestation, restoration and afforestation.” And they called for the urgent implementation of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests, negotiated in the UN Forest Forum (which includes recognition of the role of forest certification).
The discussion on sustainable public procurement, a potentially powerful instrument in the hands of public authorities at all levels to promote sustainable development, including sustainable forest management, was linked to the adoption of a “10-Year Framework of Programmes on sustainable consumption and production (SCP)”. That 10YFP had been negotiated in previous years but had not gotten final approval. In the, successful, strategy to reach agreement it was decided not to highlight any particular element of that Framework, including public procurement. But with this Framework, that issue does indeed become part of further work between the governments involved.
FSC was quite present in Rio+20. It had its own side events to present its work and link it to the themes of the Conference. With the city of Buenos Aires it launched its FSC Cities Campaign. FSC Director Andre de Freitas was panellist in the official civil dialogue on forests, and FSC ensured that sustainable public procurement were amongst the 30 key messages civil society presented to the official conference. In relation to this, FSC also took active part in the launch of the Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative which will be lead by UNEP.
FSC Rio+20 Update
FSC has called for government commitment in the Rio Framework of Actions to support forest certification, including through sustainable public procurement. These proposals have received attention and are likely to end up in the final text. Learn more>>
In Rio, FSC led events on 13, 16 and 20 June. On 17 June, FSC Director General Andre de Freitas was a panellist in the Sustainable Development Dialogue on Forests. He also took part in several other events, including the conference on forests organised by FAO on the 18th. Learn more>>
You can find here all relevant documents and articles about FSC Involvement in Rio+20. Read more>>