Initial Consultations on the Zero Draft of the Outcome Document
OPENING REMARKS BY MR. SHA ZUKANG, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE 2012 UN CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
25 January 2012, New York
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be with you today.
We are now beginning the most intensive period of preparations for the Rio+20 Conference.
In your hands, for consideration, is a zero draft of the outcome document, which the Co-Chairs have just introduced.
As you have heard, the draft draws heavily on the Compilation Document, reflecting the different views and proposals of the many submissions.
It is a draft for negotiation, not a negotiated text.
We are convinced that through the upcoming negotiations, member States will raise it to a higher level of ambition and make it more actionable.
When world leaders gather in Rio in 5 months, we need to present them with an ambitious and yet practical outcome that equals the magnitude of today’s challenges.
Eradicating poverty, building socially just and inclusive societies while protecting our fragile ecosystems, remain the defining challenge of the 21st century.
The multiple crises – food, energy, climate, finance, employment – shape the different facets of this challenge. They remind us that our problems are interconnected and must be tackled together.
Therefore, Rio+20 must be a conference on coherence, integration, and implementation.
So what do we need?
We need a robust outcome from Rio+20, with reinvigorated political commitments by all countries.
We need strong decisions on both themes – strong in commitments and strong in actions.
In this connection, allow me to share with you a few issues that I think merit consideration in the upcoming negotiations.
First, regarding the seven plus priority areas, should, how and will member States develop sustainable development goals specific to them?
Will the sustainable development goals – if launched – and related targets and indicators, take into account specific national circumstances and how?
If we are to be guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsiblities, we will need to develop targets and indicators that address specific national circumstances.
It is hoped that whatever process is agreed at Rio on sustainable development goals, the outcome will provide a major building block for the post-2015 UN development agenda.
Second, on the framework for action and roadmap on the green economy, what areas should they encompass? How will trade be used to advance, rather than hinder, a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication? What will the toolkits contain, since experiences vary from country to country? A related question is whether toolkits will be sectoral, covering specific sectors.
Third, on the proposed Sustainable Development Council, its proponents feel that we need the Council to address the weaknesses of the Commission on Sustainable Development, to harness political support and to expedite implementation.
How should we then address the need for complementarity between the Sustainable Development Council and ECOSOC?
Regarding UNEP, how will Member States translate its shared emphasis on strengthening UNEP into specific decisions at Rio?
How will the international financial institutions figure in a strenghtened institutional framework for sustainable development? What enhanced role should they play?
Fourth, on means of implementation, how will Member States address the current financial crisis and austerity measures? It is hoped that the crisis will pass, and that the international community will reaffirm and strengthen the ODA commitments at Rio.
Again in this area, the issue of the role of the international financial insititions, including the Bretton Woods Insititions, should be addressed. Also mentioned has been the role of innovative sources of financing – how will it figure in enhanced means of implementaion?
On technology and capacity building, developed countries possess state-of-the-art technologies. They have been called upon to disseminate and transfer these technologies, on mutually agreed terms, to developing countries. How will Rio+20 drive this process forward with concrete results?
In this regard, how will south-south cooperation be further enhanced at Rio through specific initiatives?
Will the means of implementation be addressed individually in each section, or, collectively in a separate dedicated section?
None of these issues can be resolved easily.
The vast challenges of sustainable development will not be solved in one go at Rio – neither the economic, the social nor the environmental.
But Rio+20 must show us the way forward and put us on an unambiguous course to sustainable development.
Sustainable development is an everlasting process.
We have no choice but to share this one planet. And we must learn to live together, sustainably.
Sustainable development is the only future we share. Sustainable development should unify north and south, east and west. Of course, there will be differences of views and approaches, as national circumstances vary from country to country, and as sustainable development challenges are often complex, inter-linked and systemic challenges.
But let us come to the negotiations with an open mind. Let us hear each other out in good faith before saying “no” to others’ proposals. Let us agree in Rio on as many actions as possible rather than on inactions.
Let us move forward by taking concerted actions.
Please remember the important date of 17 February 2012. Delegations have been requested to send comments and proposals on Sections III, IV and V of the document. This is the meat of the ‘zero draft’. You must send your views to make the draft ambitious and action oriented. This is the most important part of the process ahead.
We cannot afford to stand still while the crises deepen.
History has given us an opportunity to make a difference. Let us seize it. Let us make it happen.
We, in the Secretariat, will do everything in our power to support you: your commitment your ambition and your action.
And we look to you to guide us.
I wish you all a successful three days of discussions.