Preparations are gearing up for the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development that takes place in June, with the release of the so-called ‘zero draft’ of the conference’s outcome document.
From 20 to 22 June, governments and civil society organizations will descend on the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro to review progress since the landmark UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 and try to generate new momentum towards global sustainability.
“In the draft of The Future we Want document the UN secretariat has done an impressive job structuring and summarizing the hundreds of submissions by governments and other stakeholders with their views on what governments should decide on when meeting in Rio,” says Cyriaque N. Sendashonga, Head of IUCN’s Global Policy Unit.
“The good news is that there are many points on which there is broad consensus and convergence of positions,” says Cyriaque. “These include recognition that a more sustainable economy must be built on a strong and healthy natural resource base, and that broad participation of civil society in decision-making at all levels is essential for sustainable development and good governance. There is also a call to strengthen ways of improving access to information and public participation.”
But there is much work to be done says Cyriaque. “It is also obvious from the document some of the tensions between major countries or groups of countries, especially in regard to the international institutional framework for sustainable development including the future form of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and of the UN Environment Pogramme (UNEP).”
Some of the concrete proposals related to specific issues include: a commitment to provide universal access to minimum energy needs, to double the rate of energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy by 2030 and the agreement to negotiate an implementing instrument for marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Governments would also agree to start a process to decide on a set of Sustainable Development Goals that would closely relate to the UN Millennium Development Goals.
“It is difficult to predict what the document will look like after having gone through the series of informal and further formal discussions planned for the coming months, but the document is certainly a good start for those discussions,” says Cyriaque.
IUCN will issue a brief analysis of the document shortly, which will be posted at http://www.iucn.org/news_homepage/events/iucn___rio___20/.
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