|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Progress on Rio+20 Preparations as New York Talks Conclude; Countries to Finalize
Negotiations in Rio on New Sustainable Development Actions
Negotiators concluded the last round of “Rio+20” preparatory talks in New York on Saturday, making progress that will pave the way for many outcomes and initiatives on major global sustainability issues later this month at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from 20 to 22 June.
The latest round of talks was added to give negotiators additional time to reach agreement on more of the text, and the result was an increase in the number of paragraphs agreed to by Member States.
“I sense a real dialogue — a real willingness to find common ground,” said Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang. “This spirit is encouraging, and we must carry it to Rio.” But he added that the pace of the talks still needed to be accelerated in order to complete the negotiations by the end of the next and final Preparatory Committee meeting, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from 13 to 15 June, just ahead of the Conference.
“We have accomplished much,” said Ambassador Kim Sook of the Republic of Korea, co-chair of the Preparatory Committee. The latest negotiations, he added, have given the process a sense of confidence “that we can deliver to the world an outcome document that would be worthy of our Heads of State and Government signing.
Mr. Kim said that, before the negotiations, only 6 per cent of the text had been agreed upon. Now, that number has jumped to more than 20 per cent, with many additional paragraphs close to agreement.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the latest round of talks, telling negotiators that the “world is watching with anticipation — high anticipation — but also with great concern. It is up to you to show leadership and produce an ambitious agreed outcome; an outcome with an inspiring vision for sustainable development. The world is relying on you to create a road map that leads to universal human development, while staying safely within the ecological limits of our shared planet.”
At the closing session of the informal negotiations, Mr. Sha said: “I see a half dozen, or so, key deliverables that could really make a difference.”
“First, we can — I dare to say, will — launch a process at Rio to define sustainable development goals as a central feature of a post-2015 development framework,” he said, noting that there were a few crucial issues still to be resolved. Those included how to ensure that the goals integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, the process to develop the “SDGs” — sustainable development goals — and, perhaps most importantly, the priority areas for possible goals.
Other areas where Rio+20 can make a difference, he said, would be agreement to explore and share experiences and knowledge of “green economy policy options” as tools to advance sustainable development and poverty eradication, and to make decisions on key elements of the international institutions needed to support sustainable development.
Mr. Sha also called for strong, action-oriented outcomes that would advance progress on key issues, such as food security and sustainable agriculture, energy, oceans, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and education. He said there must be progress on the means of implementing action, including initiatives to strengthen financing, technology transfer and capacity-building in support of sustainable development.
Strong engagement of civil society and the private sector, he said, will be crucial to implementing the framework for actions agreed in Rio, adding that he was encouraged to see progress towards strengthening corporate sustainability reporting and accountability.
Both inside and outside of the official negotiations, many major commitments and initiatives are expected to be announced during Rio+20, including substantial actions to make transport more sustainable, drastically reduce hunger, improve the health of oceans and support the Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
Governments, business, civil society organizations and others are expected to announce new initiatives and commitments aiming to make sustainable development and green economies a reality at Rio+20. The Conference is expected to set the agenda for a more sustainable future for decades to come.
“We need action,” said Mr. Sha. “We need Government commitment to action, in the outcome document. And we also need voluntary commitments from all stakeholders.”
The Rio+20 secretariat has opened a registry of commitments on the Rio+20 website that is designed to complement the Government-ratified outcome document.
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