Closing Session of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

Concluding Remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have now completed our work here in Rio.

I have not the slightest doubt that the outcome document you have adopted will provide an enduring legacy for this historic Rio+20 Conference: The Future We Want.

During this Conference, you, the world’s leaders, renewed your political commitment for sustainable development.

You signed on to a framework for action that will drive us forward.

The major groups stakeholders have actively contributed to the preparatory process.

Together, we must take great pride in this extraordinary accomplishment. And let us recognize once again the extraordinary leadership of Brazil.

Now we move to the next stage of our work.

It is time to take that framework and use it to guide our actions as an international community, as national governments, as engaged stakeholders from all sectors.

Twenty years ago here in Rio, we put in place key principles and international agreements to guide our efforts.

We built on those foundations through the work of the Parties to the Rio Conventions, as well through landmark meetings like the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Rio+20 carries on that tradition, and has laid out a framework for action to expedite implementation.

I see the process to launch Sustainable Development Goals as a concrete expression of our commitment to the Future We Want.

These aspirational goals must guide us and keep us on course.

There are other very important outcomes of Rio+20.

You laid down the ground-breaking guidelines on applying green economy policies as a useful tool in advancing sustainable development and ending poverty.

You agreed to strengthen the environmental pillar of sustainable development by enhancing UNEP.

You decided that we need a high-level political forum to address the three pillars of sustainable development in an integrated way. 

And you agreed: 

  • to strive for sustainable consumption and production,
  • to ensure food security, clean water and sanitation, and affordable, and sustainable energy for all,
  • to  act on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity,
  • to curtail marine pollution, overfishing and ocean acidification,
  • to strengthen social protection floors and tackle global unemployment, especially youth unemployment,
  • to build more livable and sustainable cities and communities with decent housing and sustainable transport for all,
  • to enhance support to small island developing States, the least developed countries and other countries in special situations

You agreed to develop a strategy for mobilizing financial resources for sustainable development.

You tasked the United Nations to explore options for accelerating technology transfer to developing countries.

You stressed the vital role of the major groups in advancing implementation.

And finally, through the combined efforts of all Conference participants, the Secretariat has registered 692 voluntary commitments to advance sustainable development.  These can complement the official outcome that you just approved. 

These are only some of the important results achieved here in Rio.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sustainable development is the only option for humanity, for our shared planet, and for our common future.

Let the spirit, partnership, and commitment of Rio be with us all as we continue our shared journey to a sustainable future.

For me, these past two years of preparatory process have been a personal journey of discovery, renewal, and reinvigoration.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all delegations, UN colleagues and major groups friends for your support and friendship.

As we bid farewell to Rio, I wish you a safe journey home.

May the Rio Spirit be with you!

Thank you!

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