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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rio+20 in Summary

The general consensus on Rio+20 appears to be it was much ado about nothing. The outcome document largely reaffirms commitments to the actions which were agree back in 1992, with little evidence of any significant new commitments to sustainable or the international policy infrastructure for achieving sustainability. Specific references to climate adaptation occur in three locations in the outcome document, which largely repeat the findings of the IPCC's SREX report and emphasize the urgency of climate adaptation and the need for widespread cooperation:
  • 188. We stress the importance of stronger interlinkages among disaster risk reduction, recovery and long-term development planning, and call for more coordinated and comprehensive strategies that integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation considerations into public and private investment,decision-making and the planning of humanitarian and development actions, in order to reduce risk, increase resilience and provide a smoother transition between relief, recovery and development. In this regard, we recognize the need to integrate  gender perspective into the design and implementation of all phases of disaster risk management.
  • 190. We reaffirm that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time,and we express profound alarm that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise globally. We are deeply concerned that all countries, particularly developing countries, are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, and are already experiencing increased impacts, including persistent drought and extreme weather events, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification, further threatening food security and efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. In this regard we emphasize that adaptation to climate change represents an immediate and urgent global priority.
  • 191. We underscore that the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. We recall that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provides that parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. We note with grave concern the significant gap between the aggregate effect of mitigation pledges by parties in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2° C, or 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels. We recognize the importance of mobilizing funding from a variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including innovative sources of finance, to support nationally appropriate mitigation actions, adaptation measures, technology development and transfer and capacity-building in developing countries. In this regard, we welcome the launching of the Green Climate Fund and call for its prompt operationalization so as to have an early and adequate replenishment process.

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