To grow, include and protect
Developing proposals and actions for sustainable development
From June 13 to 22 the city of Rio de Janeiro hosted the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20.
The conference marked the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development - Rio 92.
Rio+20 was the fourth event in a series of meetings that began in 1972 in Stockholm with the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which was followed by Rio 92 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002. In 2010 the UN General Assembly approved the Brazilian proposal to host the event in Rio de Janeiro.
By decision of UN Member States, the Rio+20 agenda included only two central topics: (i) green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (ii) institutional framework for sustainable development.
The Conference was divided into three stages: Third Meeting of the Preparatory Committee, when the document to be submitted to high-level representatives was discussed; civil society events; and the High Level Segment, where the national delegations were led by the Heads of State and Government themselves.
Thousands of events were held during the nine days of the conference, including more than 500 official events. Rio+20 had broad participation of business, government and civil society leaders, as well as of UN representatives, academics, journalists and the general public, totaling 45,381 participants.
• Delegations from 188 countries and three observers
• 88 Heads of State and Government
• Approximately 12,000 delegates
• NGO and main groups: 9,856
• Media: 4,075 • Security staff: 4,363
• 5,000 people working daily at Riocentro
• 2,200 volunteers: 700 young people from vulnerable communities in Rio de Janeiro and 1,500 students from technical schools and public schools in Rio de Janeiro, university students and professionals from all over Brazil.
RESULTS: THE FUTURE WE WANT
The document adopted by acclamation at Rio+20 entitled “The Future We Want” was negotiated in meetings of the Preparatory Committee, the last of which was held in Rio de Janeiro in the days leading up to the High-Level Segment.
Finalizing the text within the timeframe had a special meaning to Brazil, which was responsible for coordinating the negotiation process in Rio de Janeiro. The unanimous approval of a complex, 283 paragraphs long document, broke the usual dynamics of large UN conferences, i.e. long deadlocks at the time of finalizing a document and even the absence of agreements.
This result was also a vote of confidence in the Brazilian negotiators, in recognition of the open, transparent and inclusive procedures on which the negotiation was based. The document reflected the commitment of Brazil – in the role of host country - to overcome differences through solutions that ensured the best balance between the various interests of all the parties involved.
Main topics of the document
Ratification of Principles
• Ratification of the Principles of the Rio Declaration of 1992, of the 2002 Johannesburg Summit, and of all commitments made in other UN conferences. In particular, the principle that commitments to sustainable development are common but differentiated between developed and developing countries, remained unchanged.
• Affirmation of poverty eradication as the biggest global challenge. Overcoming poverty, promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns and improved management of natural resources are fundamental conditions for achieving sustainable development.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
• Rio+20 determined the inception of an intergovernmental process to be conducted within the United Nations General Assembly with the participation of civil society, to establish the Sustainable Development Goals by 2015. Fulfillment of the SDG will be voluntary and universal, but will take into account different national realities as well as the capacities and development levels of countries. The SDG will complement the Millennium Development Goals.
High-Level Political Forum
• Establishment of a high-level political forum to promote sustainable development, with broad participation of civil society and formed by all UN member countries.
• Commitment to explore options for creating a mechanism to facilitate the transfer and dissemination of clean and environmental technologies.
• Recognition of the need to advance new national accounting measures complementary to GDP, so as to facilitate the integration of economic, social and environmental pillars into the countries’ strategic planning.
Strengthening UNEP and ECOSOC
• Strengthening the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
• Strengthening the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in its role as coordinator of actions within the entire UN system in the coordination of the economic, social and environmental pillars into which the concept of sustainable development is divided.
• Inclusion of green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and recognition that it is a tool, among others, for achieving sustainable development.
Oceans ad Seas
• Recognition of the need to act on behalf of the conservation and sustainable management of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including through international instruments in the framework of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
• Commitment to significantly reduce waste in seas and coastal environments, especially plastics, by 2025, thus complying with the recommendation most voted by civil society in the Dialogues for Sustainable Development.
Production and Consumption Patterns
• Adoption of the Ten-year Plan of Sustainable Consumption and Production programs. Final approval of the plan had been expected since the Johannesburg Summit (2002).
Subsidies for Fossil Fuels
• Ratification of the commitment to the progressive reduction of inefficient and harmful subsidies to fossil fuels.
• Recognition of the critical role of energy in the development process and the importance of increasing, in the respective energy matrix, the share of renewable, cleaner or more efficient energy, including in the context of climate change mitigation.
• Commitment to promote sustainable modern energy services at all national and subnational level.
• Launch of the UN Secretary-General’s initiative on Sustainable Energy for All.
• Recognition of human health as both a prerequisite and an indicator to measure progress on the three pillars of sustainable development.
• Commitment to universal access to prevention, treatment and monitoring of patients with HIV.
• Commitment to strengthen health systems with a view to equitable and universal coverage and promotion of access to the prevention and treatment of and support for non-communicable diseases.
Financing of Sustainable Development
• Launch of an intergovernmental negotiating process to develop, by 2014, an effective strategy for financing sustainable development, to be reviewed by the UN General Assembly.
• Support for the adoption of private sector business practices based on sustainable development, such as corporate social responsibility programs.
Registration of Voluntary Commitments
• In order to give visibility to the efforts of society and increase the mobilization of all sectors, the UN Secretariat was instructed to compile and disseminate voluntary commitments on sustainable development within the framework of the Conference. See Registration of Voluntary Commitments on the UN website at http://www.uncsd2012.org/ rio20/voluntarycommitments.html.
• 713 voluntary agreements for sustainable development registered by governments, corporations, civil society groups, universities and others;
• More than US$ 513 billion in promises of investment in sustainable development, including the areas of energy, transport, green economy, disaster reduction, desertification, water, forests and agriculture.
World Center for Sustainable Development
• Rio de Janeiro will host the World Center for Sustainable Development (Rio+ Center), a joint project of the Federal Government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the State and Municipal Governments, the private sector, academic institutions and various other civil society organizations.
Brazil has committed US$ 6 million to the UNEP Fund for developing countries and other US$ 10 million to address climate change in vulnerable countries in Africa and small developing island countries.
SOCIAL PARTICIPATION IN RIO+20
Dialogues for Sustainable Development get 1.3 million votes
The Dialogues for Sustainable Development held from June 16-19 were an unprecedented initiative of the Brazilian government in the context of UN Conferences, which strengthened social participation in Rio+20. The dialogues were held in two formats and moments:
• Web-based platform that served as a broad and interactive venue for the exchange of information between representatives of social movements, academics, NGO and entrepreneurs around the world.
• Face-to-face discussion based on the most voted recommendations approved in the first phase, concerning the ten priority topics on the international agenda for sustainable development, with the participation of more than 60,000 people from 193 countries. The recommendations voted on the virtual platform, which received 1.3 million votes, shaped the face-to-face discussions in Rio de Janeiro.
Three recommendations on each priority topic were submitted to the Heads of State and Government participating in the roundtable discussions of the High Level Segment of the Conference.
The event, which was organized by civil society with the support of the Brazilian government, took place from June 15-23, on the sidelines of Rio+20. It was attended by about 25,000 people from various countries, organizations and social movements, urban and rural areas, who participated in discussion groups at the Permanent People’s Assembly. The People’s Summit was a venue where social organizations and movements had the opportunity to talk about their experiences and projects for sustainable development. The main topics discussed during the plenary meetings are summarized in the document available at www. cupuladospovos.org.br.
One of the initiatives of the Federal Government during Rio+20, the Socio-environmental Arena was held from June 16-22 as a democratic venue for dialogue between the Federal Government and civil society. Social inclusion and environmental protection issues were discussed, and the progress of the Brazilian sustainable development policy was shown. It was also a venue for exhibitions, cultural activities and a fair showcasing the products of Brazilian socio-biodiversity.
Socio-environmental Arena in figures:
• 100,000 visitors • 15,000 people participated in Global Meetings
• 7,200 people visited the Portinari+Brasileir@s exhibit • R$ 300,000 traded at the Biodiversity Square
• 54 debaters with the presence of 11 Brazilian federal Ministers
• 42 hours of live broadcast via the internet
• 458,000 visitors to the Socio-Environmental Arena blog