Initial Consultations on the Zero Draft of the Outcome Document


Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are now on the last leg of our journey toward Rio+20. 

It is encouraging that the zero draft tabled by our two Co-Chairs is viewed as a starting point for negotiations.

And indeed, now you have begun to negotiate.

We will need to keep up a brisk pace if we are to complete this work in a timely manner. We must make every effort to conclude negotiations by the 3rd Preparatory Committee Meeting.

We must present to the world leaders and, indeed, to the world’s people, an outcome that will make a difference in our shared undertaking to achieve a sustainable future – a future we all want.

We cannot afford to run out of time and fail to reach agreement on the big decisions – the ones which will define Rio+20.  

So we need to be very efficient and focused.

One of the themes I heard during the past three days is that the zero draft lacks ambition.  Another is that it needs to be more action-oriented. 

Now it’s in the hands of your Governments.

You must make this the ambitious and action-oriented document that we all want.

So, what is the short list of MUST HAVES for Rio+20? What decisions will make a real difference to implementation, integration and coherence?

If I were to interpret what I heard over the past 3 days, I would flag the following:

Sustainable development goals could well be one of the important contributions of Rio+20. At the very least, the Conference should launch a process to define these goals, in a clear timeframe.

These goals could help guide a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. So, they would give clear direction to efforts to build green (and in the case of oceans, blue) economies.

Of course, we cannot simply state goals without saying something about how we will get there.

So, we need to agree on a robust framework for action, including:

  • mobilization of financing from all sources;
  • technology cooperation and transfer;
  • capacity building; and
  • engagement of all stakeholders in implementation, including through innovative partnerships.

I also heard a strong call for putting in place a strengthened institutional framework to advance integration, implementation and coherence.

So, at Rio+20, we must agree definitively on how to do this.

We do not yet have consensus. And, some have asked for further guidance on the options – in particular, what makes most sense: strengthening the CSD transforming it into a Sustainable Development Council, and enhancing the role of ECOSOC?

We in the Secretariat stand ready to do whatever we can to support Member States’ deliberations on this and other matters. 

Finally, many of you have emphasized the importance of ensuring accountability.

And this is important: we must not go home from Rio and forget our commitments the next day.

In addition to the outcome document, a number of you would like to see a compendium or registry of commitments. 

Who will ensure that there is genuine delivery on these commitments?  This will need to be spelt out clearly.  

What we agree to in June and in the years ahead is our promise to the world. And we must honour that promise.

Dear colleagues,

Looking ahead, I invite all delegations and major group stakeholders to remain actively engaged, to consult with each other and to continue your dialogue. I urge all groupings and delegations to submit your amendments to the rest of the zero draft by the deadline of 27 February, as just announced by the Co-Chairs. This will help expedite the preparation and pace of negotiations. Let me take this opportunity to reassure all participants that the Secretariat will do everything we can to provide you with all necessary substantive and technical support.

When we began this process, we invoked the spirit of Rio – the “can do” spirit of 1992. And we said that we would revive that spirit in 2012.

Now we must decide on the big decisions our leaders must take in June:

  • decisions that show the world we mean business, but not business as usual;
  • decisions that make a difference to the lives and well-being of all people, particularly the poor and most vulnerable;
  • decisions that protect vital ecosystems, for the well-being of both present and future generations. 

The moment of truth has arrived.

And, as a few of you said in your intervention, we also need to see the forest before we get immersed in the trees.

Only then can we set our priorities right and ensure that we lay the groundwork for our leaders to deliver on the big decisions needed in Rio.

Only then will we be able to craft an outcome document that makes Rio+20 the conference we want — and need — to build the future we want.  

And I know you will rise to the occasion.

Thank you.