Bureau comments on zero draft; schedule of negotiations

Stakeholder Forum has passed on the following information from the Bureau minutes concerning consideration of the Zero Draft of the Rio+20 outcome. Note that the first two sections will be discussed on 25-27 January, and sections II-V will be commented on up to 17 February for negotiations in March. This should help us to prioritize our own consideration of the draft.
Note also that politically-sensitive issues were excluded from the zero draft to avoid controversy. It should be the role of civil society to raise those issues that should not be ignored and to push for courageous action by governments leading up to Rio. We should try to contribute to that process.
The Bureau minutes discuss the Zero Draft and the process for the coming negotiating meetings in New York: http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/content/documents/390Minutes%20of%2021st%...
These sections are worth noting (including two dates):
5. Amb. Kim then invited the Bureau members to share their views and comments on the zero draft, while urging them to view the document in its entirety, rather than commenting on its specific aspects. Comments made by several Bureau members are summarized below.
a. The draft puts more emphasis on the environmental pillar than on the other two pillars. Social justice aspect deserves more attention.
b. The draft should be more action-oriented, going beyond the reaffirmation of past commitments.
c. The draft is a bit long and can be shortened if the section on sectoral issues is kept shorter and formulated in a more leader-like language. Consolidating “frameworks of action” presented in different sections into one section will further help in shortening the document.
d. Stronger emphasis needs to be placed on good governance, rule of law, transparency, accountability, gender issues, the role of youth and education as means to achieving sustainable development.
e. The language to present the following issues needs to be included or made stronger: (i) foreign occupation, (ii) international action regarding green economy, and (iii) energy—especially access to sustainable energy for all.
f. More emphasis on resource efficiency.
g. Integration and implementation should feature more prominently in the document.
h. The commitments of developed countries vis-à-vis developing countries need to be reflected in a more balanced manner.
i. Attention should be devoted to all the Rio Principles.
j. There should be more emphasis on the political will of developed countries.
k. As is done in the case of SIDS, explicit reference to other categories of countries such as LDCs, LLDCs and Middle income countries should be made in the text.
l. The issues of land degradation and desertification should be treated separately, and not be mixed up with marine/biodiversity-related issues.
m. There should be more emphasis on ECOSOC reform, as well as about the added value of establishing SDC relative to ECOSOC.
n. Means of implementation are not sufficiently addressed. New ideas should be presented, including mentioning of the green climate fund as well as more efficient use of existing resources.
o. Role of private sector needs to be highlighted especially in relation to financing and technology transfer for sustainable development.
p. Some members asked to avoid mentioning new and innovative sources of funding in the text while others wanted to keep the reference and stressed its importance.
6. While appreciating the comments/proposals made by Bureau members, Amb. Kim mentioned that politically sensitive issues were excluded to avoid controversy and that many of these comments could be further fleshed out during the negotiations. He announced that the co-chairs will circulate the polished version of the zero draft of the outcome document to all Member States on 10 January 2012 after taking into account the factual comments. The zero draft will be presented with a letter requesting the Member States to submit their written comments and proposals on sections I (Preamble/Stage Setting) and II (Renewing Political Commitment) of the zero draft to the Secretariat by 23 January 2012. These proposals will be reflected in the text of these two sections prior to the meeting of 25-27 January 2012.
9. It was further agreed that after the meeting of 25-27 January 2012, written comments of the Member States will be sought on the rest of the document (sections: III, IV, V) by 17 February 2012. These comments/proposals will be reflected into the zero draft which will serve as basis for negotiations in the next round of informal-informal negotiations in March 2012.