15 December 2011
General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Governments to Shape Future for Rio+20 at United Nations


After months of collecting inputs and suggestions from countries, regional groups, civil society organizations and international organizations, United Nations Member States will meet 15‑16 December to discuss the structure and format of the outcome document that will be finalized by world leaders at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development — Rio+20 — to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.

The December meeting will mark an intensification of the process to hone in on global decisions that can help countries and communities move towards a green economy while continuing and accelerating efforts to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development.  Countries will also be considering measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of global institutions that support sustainable development — development that simultaneously promotes prosperity, improves the quality of life and protects the environment.

Today’s meeting will be the first step leading towards the negotiations, which will start with a “zero‑draft outcome document”, combining the suggestions, comments, proposals and ideas of more than 600 contributors, including Member States, international agencies, non‑governmental organizations and political groups.  The first negotiating draft, or “zero draft”, will become the primary document to be agreed to by world leaders at the conference to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development.

“Rio+20 is our best chance to define pathways to a sustainable future,” Rio+20 Secretary‑General Sha Zukang said.  “Taken together, these submissions present a rich variety of perspectives, viewpoints and positions.  They provide a tremendous wealth of ideas and proposals for deliverables and actions emerging from Rio.”

Mr. Sha will introduce the compilation document to Member State delegates and civil society participants tomorrow morning.  Statements from Member States and political groups, including the European Union and the Group of 77 and China, will follow.  Continued negotiations will move the more finely tuned draft global agreement forward in 2012 with a series of one‑week meetings every month until May.  The negotiations will be completed at the final Rio+20 Preparatory Committee planned for 13‑15 June, just ahead of the Rio+20 conference to be held 20‑22 June.

The open‑ended and transparent process for collecting inputs to the conference was decided at a Preparatory Committee meeting held earlier this year.  The Preparatory Committee is led by a 10‑member Bureau and two co‑chairs for the Rio+20 preparatory process, Kim Sook ( Republic of Korea) and John Ashe ( Antigua and Barbuda).

Twenty official side and related events are scheduled to take place at the United Nations concurrent with the two‑day intersessional meeting.  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be attending an event organized by the Ford Foundation on building sustainable cities.  There will also be a briefing by the Secretary‑General's High‑level Panel on Global Sustainability on Thursday, 15 December at 9:00 a.m.

Background information on the session, as well as full texts of more than 600 submissions to the zero‑draft outcome document, can be found at www.uncsd2012.org

A listing of side events is available at www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/content/ documents/332Intersessional%202%20preliminary%20programme%20-%20web_new.pdf.

To join the global conversation on Rio+20:  The Future We Want, visit www.un.org/sustainablefuture.  For interviews and more information, contact Dan Shepard of the UN Department of Public Information, +1 212 963 9495, shepard@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record