By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After the final stage of preliminary negotiations dubbed “Third Prep Com” over the UN’s Rio+20 Outcome Document ended, less than half of the proposed text had been agreed on. Officials have been negotiating to get member countries on board, struggling to make necessary adjustments to the raft of policies and goals and form consensus.

The UN's Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang (center), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
UN Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang (center) says there is still much work to be done and urged participating member states to make the Conference historic, photo by UN/Maria Elisa Franco.

The Outcome Document is an agreement for all member states to sign up to during this week’s High-Level Summit of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which runs for three days from June 20th to 22nd.

As of Saturday afternoon, the last-ditch attempt to reach a formal consensus ended with agreement on just over forty percent of the text, and the lack of unity has already led to two major points being abandoned: the attempt to grant the UN’s Environmental Program (UNEP) “agency” status, and the setting-up of a US$30 billion fund.

Over 135 heads of state are now beginning to converge on Rio ahead of the Summit amid tight security protocols that are being test-run for future “mega-events”.

At the end of Saturday’s meeting, the Mr. Zukang said that negotiations are not yet where they need to be: “There is still too much work to be done. Our hard work must not be in vain. We cannot accept that. Rio+20 can and must be the historic Conference we envisioned.”

Zukang also emphasized that developing countries in particular need support to have the confidence to make bold choices for our planet’s future, as well as economic growth across the board.

Analysts have said that it now appears that the final document, and therefore the future goals set by the summit, will be molded by strong representation from emerging economies such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group, all of which will be represented by their respective presidents or prime ministers.

Some of the biggest economies will not be represented by their highest-ranking politician, such as the UK and Germany, and the U.S. recently revealed it will be represented at the summit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; however, although increasingly unlikely, some rumors remain that President Barack Obama will make a surprise visit.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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