Afrique en ligne reports, “The United Nations said that negotiations on the outcome document for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as ‘Rio 20′, resumed on Monday in New York, with countries advancing many new proposals that will shape the direction of how the world will move the sustainable development agenda forward.”

“The UN’s Rio 20 Secretary-General, Sha Zukang, disclosed that the negotiations are divided into a round of ‘informal informal’ negotiations, from 19 to 23 March, and an inter-sessional meeting on 26-27 March.” Blue Planet Project organizer Anil Naidoo is in New York for these meetings.

The news report notes, “Countries have submitted additional comments since the initial round of negotiations for the Rio 20 outcome document began in January. The ‘zero draft’ of the outcome document was based on more than 6,000 pages of submissions from UN member states, civil society groups, businesses and others. This round of negotiations is expected to hone the document further.”

Yesterday, Naidoo issued an urgent appeal warning about how the zero draft is being revised. He is now organizing a sign-on letter so that, “we do not lose the historic recognition of the right to water we achieved in 2010!” He reports, “We need to act quickly because in New York today, Nis Christensen, the Danish Head of the Rio+20 Secretariat confirmed that the European Union is trying to remove the human right to water and sanitation from the Rio+20 negotiating text.” Naidoo adds, “There are 4 countries which are blocking the recognition from the text, Denmark (chair of the EU), the UK, Canada and New Zealand. Thus it is effectively the 27 countries of the EU and Canada and New Zealand. Other will join them if we do not apply pressure and they stick to their positions!”

For more on how the World Water Forum in Marseille last week was used as the staging ground for the assault against the right to water and sanitation in New York this week, please see this campaign blog, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14185.

The Afrique en ligne report adds, “(It was further noted in a statement that) ‘the next steps for finalizing the Rio 20 outcome document will occur during a negotiating session to be held in New York from 23 April to 4 May, with a final round taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13 to 15 June.’”

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