Rio+20: countries announce agreement on Conference’s outcome document

Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. UN Photo/M. Garten

19 June 2012 – Members States today announced that they have reached an agreement on the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

“We now have a text which will be adopted at the Conference,” Rio+20’s Secretary-General, Sha Zukang, said in a statement. “We think the text contains a lot of action, and if this action is implemented, and if follow-up measures are taken, it will indeed make a tremendous difference in generating positive global change.”

On Friday, the responsibility of the negotiations was handed over to the Brazilian Government, which holds the Presidency of Rio+20. Delegations worked on the consolidated text presented by the South American nation until late last night, before announcing their agreement on Tuesday.

Mr. Sha stressed that since the document is the result of intensive and prolonged negotiations, it is a “compromise text,” in which countries have had to both give and take to achieve progress.

“Like all negotiations, there will be some countries that feel the text could be more ambitious. Or, others who feel their own proposals could be better reflected, while still others might prefer to have their own language,” he said. “But, let’s be clear: multilateral negotiations require give and take.”

The text will now be put forward for adoption by Heads of State at the conclusion of Rio+20 on Friday.

The agreed outcome document spells out action points such as the need to establish sustainable development goals and mobilize financing for sustainable development, as well as the promotion of sustainable consumption and production, among others.

It also stresses the need to include women, non-governmental organizations, and indigenous groups in the sustainable development agenda, and calls on the private sector to engage in sustainable corporate business practices.

In addition to the outcome text, there have been over 400 voluntary commitments for sustainable development by Member States in the lead-up to the high-level meeting of Rio+20, which officially starts on Wednesday with an address by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“The spirit of compromise is the mark of a good consensus, and crucial if all countries are to be on board, take ownership, and share a collective commitment,” Mr. Sha said. “This is the only way forward if we want to harness the necessary action for advancing together on a path of sustainable development.”

Rio+20’s high-level meeting runs from 20-22 June, and is expected to bring together over 100 heads of state and government, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders to shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.


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