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Climate Change and Green Economy

Rio+20: the "Seoul Outcomes" fall short on Asia-Pacific workers’ needs

On 24th October, delegates from 41 countries of the Asian and Pacific region along with representatives of civil society concluded the Asian and Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio +20) in Seoul.

A report from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) member Hyewon Chong, of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU-KCTU).

The Seoul meeting ended with "outcomes" but no statement. From the beginning of the meeting, a consensus slightly emerged that there would be no strong meeting Statement, only a "Meeting Outcome" document based on the lowest common denominator. Trade unions are disappointed that those outcomes simply reiterate the grounds for having the preparatory meeting and lack political content on implementation gaps or other major sustainable development issues.

"This preparatory meeting seemed more a political exercise to build political commitment to Rio+20 Rio+20 Rio+20 was a UN conference of the highest possible level, including the heads of state and government or other high-level representatives. It was coordinated by UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA). Rio+20 was a follow up of two important events: the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The conference took place 20 to 22 June 2012 and was accompanied by a number of side events (People’s Summit, Dialogue Days, Trade Union Assembly on Labour and Environment, etc.). One of the outputs of Rio+20 was the Sustainable Development Goals. ", sister Hyewon said.

Trade union interventions focused on precarious work as the daily reality for the majority of people in Asia and Pacific and the rise of social inequity. Trade unions also stressed the COP16 recognition of the importance of ensuring that the transformation towards a low-carbon economy involves a ’Just Transition’ and the creation of decent jobs. Workers also called on countries to identify targets on green jobs to be reached in the next 5 - 10 years accompanied by a package of decent work policies to secure jobs quality.

Workers also stressed how Rio+20 Rio+20 Rio+20 was a UN conference of the highest possible level, including the heads of state and government or other high-level representatives. It was coordinated by UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA). Rio+20 was a follow up of two important events: the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The conference took place 20 to 22 June 2012 and was accompanied by a number of side events (People’s Summit, Dialogue Days, Trade Union Assembly on Labour and Environment, etc.). One of the outputs of Rio+20 was the Sustainable Development Goals. presents a unique opportunity for the leaders of the world to decide on long term solutions including universal access to social protections systems and to decide on a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). However, the social protection floor initiative is seen by some negotiators in the region as "green protectionism" and the possibility of financing social protection and decent jobs through a FTT has yet to be reviewed in many countries of Asia Pacific.

In terms of the principles of the Green Economy, one of them was picked up by an Australian government representative: gender equality but not many of the Asia Pacific governments supported this call for women’s equality in inheritance, pay, access to education, etc. The Chair’s Summary below summarises the overall discussion:

Member States are scheduled to submit entries on Rio+20 Rio+20 Rio+20 was a UN conference of the highest possible level, including the heads of state and government or other high-level representatives. It was coordinated by UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA). Rio+20 was a follow up of two important events: the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The conference took place 20 to 22 June 2012 and was accompanied by a number of side events (People’s Summit, Dialogue Days, Trade Union Assembly on Labour and Environment, etc.). One of the outputs of Rio+20 was the Sustainable Development Goals. by 1st November 2011 in preparation for the Second Intersessional Meeting of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), slated for Mid-December in New York. The draft outcomes of the New York meeting will be the basis for negotiation. Trade unions are encouraged to be in touch with the ITUC in this process.

You can download the speech on behalf of Workers and Trade unions and the Seoul Outcomes below:

For more information, please contact the international department of the KMWU-KCTU, inter@metal.nodong.org