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15 Jun 2012: Sharp Divisions Emerge
As Rio+20 Negotiators Seek Consensus

With the United Nations Rio+20 summit on sustainable development set to open next Wednesday, negotiators from developing nations walked out of a key working group over disagreements with wealthier nations about funding environmentally responsible development and the transfer of green technology. As negotiators attempted to forge a lengthy written agreement, the G77 bloc of developing nations, led by China, proposed that wealthy countries finance a global fund for sustainable development with an initial annual budget of $30 billion. But the nations of the European Union said they were unable to afford such a sum because most EU member states faced an economic crisis. Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, undersecretary of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, rejected that argument, saying, “We cannot be held hostage to the retraction resulting from financial crises in rich countries.” As 130 world leaders — with the notable absence of the leaders of the U.S., Britain, and Germany — prepared to arrive, a top Brazilian diplomat lamented the conference’s many disparate blocs, saying the traditional north-south divide was only one of many divisions.

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