Brazil’s delicate balancing act at Rio+20

June 12, 2012

T. V. Padma

T. V. Padma
South Asia regional coordinator, SciDev.Net

The BASIC countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – are trying their best to hold together as they tackle their common problem of how to maintain their current growth rates and yet not be accused of contributing to global environment problems.

It’s worse if one of them happens to host a once-in-20-years global environment summit – that country has to maintain the delicate balance between addressing the BASIC countries’ concerns and finding a global consensus that could go against the BASIC countries’ interests.

Back home in India, local dailies reported last week on Indian officials’ concerns that Brazil, as host to the Rio + 20 meet, could feel the need to break away from the BASIC group during the Rio+20 Summit.

Brazil’s minister for science, technology and innovation Marco António Raupp voiced the BASIC group’s views in a keynote address on the opening day of the Forum here in Rio de Janeiro.

Raupp mentioned three shifts of the past 20 years. There is the huge global interconnectivity and the emergence of the anthropocene age of human impact on Earth systems.

The third, said Raupp, is of a geopolitical nature: Brazil, China and India are now critical to global sustainability in the next two decades.

Raupp said that in the global quest for a green economy, the economic crisis that started in 2008 posed additional challenges, not only for the developed countries, but also to the emerging economies which needed to continue their fight against poverty in their societies.

The Brazilian minister described the green economy as a “controversial subject”, adding that it should be an inclusive green economy covering the three dimensions of sustainability: economical, environmental and social.

It must promote new jobs, technological innovation, science, social inclusion and the conservation of natural resources.

Each country must develop its own strategy for transition to a green economy, he added.

So far, echoing what many developing countries are saying not just BASICs. What emerges next week as Brazil hosts Rio+20, remains to be seen.

This blog post is part of our Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development blog which takes place 11-15 June 2012. To read news and analysis from the conference please visit our website.

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