A half-day National Civil Society Consultation Meeting on United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) was organised by Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN), in collaboration with National Planning Commission (NPC) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), on 3 June 2012 in Kathmandu today.
Addressing the meeting as the chief guest, Dr. Deependra Kshetry, Vice-Chair of National Planning Commission (NPC) said "while presenting our views at Rio+20, whether it is a representative from the government or the civil society, we must take into consideration that our presentation should encompass the national concern as a whole".
Sharing the major themes and agenda of Rio+20 at the meeting Dr. Madhav Karki, Deputy Director General, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) said "Nepal’s agenda in Rio+20 should be not merely highlighting Nepal’s concerns but also encompassing concerns of other allied countries as well."
Mr. Robert Piper, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal put forward his remarks by saying that "much of the progress that we see in the development sector for the last 20 years is largely due to the contribution and effort of the civil societies. I am convinced that, the Rio summit is where Nepal deserves to take centre stage. It is Nepal’s Summit."
Speaking as the representative of Nepali civil society organizations, Ms. Apsara Chapagain, Chairperson of Federation of Community Forest Users Nepal (FECOFUN) said "while speaking of sustainable development, we must always be aware and understand as to what is sustainable development, who is it for, and why. And have we reached the people that we are aiming to reach?".
Mr. Purushottam Ghimire, Joint Secretary (Focal Point of Rio+20) National Planning Commission (NPC) shared the information about the preparatory country process of Government of Nepal to represent in the Rio+20 Conference.
Dr. Arjun Karki, President of RRN during his concluding remarks as the chair of the meeting, said "we must understand that we have a common yet differentiated responsibility as civil societies in relation to put forward our concerns, issues and agendas in the upcoming UN Conference". He further explained the politics and dynamics of the ongoing negotiation between the various economic and political blocks in relation to upcoming Rio+20 conference.
The meeting was attended by more than hundred participants representing civil society organizations, peasants, women, youth organizations, consumer rights organisation, child rights and human rights defenders, Government agencies, INGOs and academicians.
RRN is leading the national civil society consultation process in Nepal, bringing in the perspectives of people towards the Rio+20 Conference. RRN has already organised regional level consultations in Biratnagar, Chitwan, Pokhara and Nepalganj with the participation of different social groups such as peasants, workers’ groups, natural resources user groups, indigenous groups, dalits, women and other marginalised communities including representatives of different federations and networks working in the field of development. Civil society recommendations resulting out of this national consultation will be handed over to the Government of Nepal and will also feed into the parallel People’s Summit that will be taking place alongside the Rio+20 Conference.