The Storm Before the Storm: A Day of Rest (?) at Rio+20

June 19, 2012 | 5:56 pm
Calen May-Tobin
Former contributor

Today is a bit of a rest day at RioCentro. Late last night/early this morning, the Brazilians closed their negotiating session by presenting a consensus text which was approved by all of the countries, although there still is a lot of concern about the content.

rio + 20 summit

This is part of a series of posts straight from the Rio +20 Summit.

Since today is an armistice before the heads of state arrive tomorrow, I’ve asked Doug Boucher, UCS Director of Climate Research & Analysis, who, like Alden, is also a veteran of may tough negotiation fights, to help translate some of the UN double talk coming out of Rio. His post, Negotiation Nostalgia, does a great job of deciphering the UN negotiating process.

riocentro courtyard

A quiet moment at RioCentro. Starting tomorrow the pavilions and courtyards will be crowded with heads of state.

But just because today is the calm before the storm at RioCentro, it doesn’t mean all is quiet in Rio. A number of groups have taken this break in negotiations to hold all day meetings to address issues which have been largely ignored at the official sessions.

One of the most exciting (to me at least) is the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) meeting, humbly titled Forest: The 8th Roundtable at Rio+20.  Since forests are not one of the topics being discussed in detail by the UN process, CIFOR and other groups decided it was necessary to hold an event to highlight the importance of forests in sustainable development. The meeting will bring together high-level thinkers and government officials to discuss the policy implications for the latest forest research. The outcomes should be very interesting.


Today most of the action is taking place back in central Rio.

Today also marks the 4th annual Agriculture and Rural Development day, being held at SulAmérica Convention Center.  This all day meeting will highlight effective case studies in sustainable agriculture that could help transform the global agricultural system. The entire session will be taken up discussing the role of science in a food-secure future.

For those interested in these issues should check out the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which will also be having a number of events this week to continue the discussion on agriculture.

fao booth

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) booth at the Athletes Park.

Also, if you are interested in the “inside baseball” approach to the negotiations be sure to check out these publications:

Outreach. This publication is only produced at certain high-level international meetings. During Rio+20 it features ECO corner which is a scaled down version of the CAN newsletter, which is published during the climate negotiations.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin. Produced by the International Institute for Sustainable Development – Reporting Services.