by Kennedy Graham
The Legislators’ Rio+20 World Summit wrapped up today with a Protocol, which goes across to the UN conference this week.
The theatre that was political debate, yesterday, gave way to a time-bound focus, today, on what to say to the world, tomorrow.
Our Final Protocol didn’t occasion much contention. There are, we believe, three reasons for the ‘mixed progress’ in sustainable development since 1992:
- Lack of implementation of the ’92 objectives into national legislation;
- Ineffective monitoring of effective action by governments;
- Lack of engagement by finance and economic ministries.
New Zealand: guilty on all counts.
We recognise the crucial role of legislators in promoting sustainable development: legislating, scrutinising government action, approving budgets, advancing the ‘natural capital approach’ in national accounting, fostering debate, and promoting parliamentary diplomacy.
This is an advance on ’92 which neglected to identify parliamentarians as key players in Agenda 21.
We promise to:
- Push for inclusion of Natural Capital in our national accounts;
- Develop a National Legislators’ Scrutiny Plan to hold governments to account;
- Recommend that governments ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Biodiversity.
The intention is to convene in 2014 in Rio to ensure that legislatures, and governments, step up to the plate.
The overall idea is that MPs need to take a more proactive and vigorous role in ensuring sustainability, given that the executive branches of government have effectively failed over the past 20 years.