Some Progress at Rio, But No Time to Waste

Contact: Joanna Benn, jbenn@pewtrusts.org, 202.247.5823


Rio de Janeiro, BR - 06/22/2012 - Today, Susan Lieberman, director of International Policy for the Pew Environment Group, released the following statement at the close of the Rio Earth Summit (Rio + 20).

“It would be a mistake to call Rio a failure, but for a once-in-a-decade meeting with so much at stake, it was a far cry from a success.

“We came to Rio with high expectations for action to address the ocean crisis. There was some progress: a large number of countries now recognize the need for international management of the sea and there were commitments to deal with some of the key challenges that are accelerating the deterioration of the marine environment. The final outcome document also contains good recommendations on ending overfishing, taking action to stop illegal fishing, phasing out harmful subsidies, eliminating destructive fishing practices, and protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems.

“There were other groundbreaking moments such as the pledge to ensure protection of the boreal forest in Quebec and the announcement by the Australian government that it was proposing the world’s largest system of marine protection in its waters.

“However, the lack of progress on managing and conserving the high seas, which can and will only be addressed through international action, is discouraging and should have been dealt with here and now. It is frankly astonishing that world leaders all agreed that this is a major problem needing an international, coordinated solution and then deferred any decision on action for another two and a half years.

“Many countries made strong closing statements expressing their concern for the current state of the ocean. We now look forward to future commitments and action both domestically and internationally.”

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