[private] Roatan envrionmentalists Ian Drysdale and Jennifer Myton traveled to Brazil in June as technical advisors for the Oceans Working Group of the UN summit held to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). They were part of a nine-person Honduran delegation to the technical preparatory meetings for the summit and the only two dispatched to the oceans group. They were also the the only Honduran delegates from non-government organizations.
Drysdale and Myton, who live in West End and are married to each other, also participated in side events devoted to the Global Partnership for Oceans and the Blue Economy initiative, an effort to establish a sustainable development model for oceans.
Drysdale, who coordinates the Healthy Reefs Initiative in Honduras, described the discussions at the 10 days of meetings as “heated,” with developing countries pushing for “rigorous commitments” and “predictable funding” and the rich countries, who would be asked to foot most of the bill, resisting. Nonetheless he said the outcome “met 80 percent of my expectations.”
“The document could have been stronger,” said Myton, who is Honduran project manager for the Coral Reefs Alliance and sits on the board of the Roatan Marine Park, of the final summit statement. “But it’s definitely a good step in the right direction.”
Both concluded that non-government actors needed to play a more active role in protecting the global environment by pushing governments to comply with their responsibilities and stepping in where governments are unable or unwilling to act.
Drysdale said the meetings showed the world’s oceans are “gaining more attention and being given the importance they deserve.” [/private]
“All in all, it’s another step,” said Myton.