Commitments press conference, 22 June

Opening 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)

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press,

Thank you for joining us.

Today’s press conference is an opportunity to share another important update about the achievements of Rio+20.

From the very beginning, we have said Rio+20 is about implementation.

It is about concrete action.  

And the commitments that we share with you today demonstrate that governments, the UN system and the nine major groups are committed and serious about implementation. 

The voluntary commitments are a major part of the legacy of this Conference.  They complement the official outcome of the Conference, which will be adopted later this afternoon at the concluding meeting.

These numerous commitments bring together key actors – united behind the same cause – to advance sustainable development.

Highest expectations may be on Governments, but they cannot get the job done alone.

We need the active involvement and support of civil society and the private sector.

The United Nations is also an important partner – facilitating the implementation of sustainable development on the ground.

By recognizing the role of partnerships and nine major groups in advancing sustainable development, the Rio+20 Outcome document builds on a precedent, including the 2010 MDG summit, which recorded 220 commitments.

So now let me update you on the numbers.

The total figure is now 692 registered commitments.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this brings the estimated total value of commitments, to 513 billion dollars.  This is a major achievement.  

Commitments have been registered by:

  • Member States,
  • UN agencies and Inter-Governmental Organizations,
  • and Major Groups, including leading Fortune 500 companies, universities and educational institutions.

Our invited speakers will provide detailed information in their presentations.

Furthermore, let us not forget the “Volunteer Action Counts”, spearheaded by the UN Volunteers.  They have registered numerous individual actions, which are really a remarkable testament to bottom-up, grassroots engagement.

I am deeply proud that the UN system has come together to facilitate the registration of commitments.

I would like to thank the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UN Global Compact, which concluded the Corporate Sustainability Forum a few days ago, and the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. 

I would also like to commend all those who have put their name to a commitment. Thank you for stepping forward and being part of the solution.

Thank you very much, and now I look forward to hearing from our distinguished speakers.