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MERCOSUR Leaders Discuss Sustainable Development Post-Rio+20

29 June 2012: The Presidents of the Southern Cone Common Market (MERCOSUR) Member States have issued a declaration addressing sustainable development, climate change, global mercury negotiations and mining. The leaders were meeting during a semi-annual summit, held on 29 June 2012, in Mendoza, Argentina. Immediately thereafter, a summit with the Associate States of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru adopted two additional declarations.

In a Joint Communiqué, the leaders of the MERCOSUR States of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela note the outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and welcome the renewal of commitment to the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI). They stress the importance of: the three pillars (economic, social and environmental) of sustainable development; the principle of common but differentiated responsibility; respect for Mother Earth; and the right of States and peoples to choose their own path to sustainable development. The leaders call for ambitious cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by developed countries, as well as the provision of more climate-related financial resources and facilitated transfer of clean technologies. They also pledge to work constructively in the global mercury agreement negotiations.

A separate Joint Communiqué with Associate States contains identical text on the aforementioned subjects, with additional language pledging to, inter alia: promote women's empowerment so they can fully realize their potential in administering ecosystems and controlling environmental degradation; actively participate in the Cairo+20 preparatory process; and deepen the region's energy integration process. They also underscore their "permanent" commitment to maintaining a whale hunting moratorium, and full support for creating a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary under the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The declaration also takes note of the April 2012 high-level meeting on culture and sustainable development held in São Paulo, Brazil, and its call for culture to be considered the fourth pillar of sustainable development and the concept of "buen vivir" (living well) to be embraced.

The Associate States also issued a separate "Declaration of Mendoza on the Sovereign and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Riches." In it, the nine countries note their intent to hold consultations and information exchanges, and when needed take joint positions regarding "situations or activities developed by third countries or groups of countries" that intend to affect or could affect the "sovereign right" of those countries over the natural resources within their territory, as well as its conservation and sustainable use. [Communiqué of Member State Presidents (in Spanish)] [Communiqué of Member and Associate States (in Spanish)] [Declaration of Mendoza (in Spanish)]