Preparing for the future we want

2nd Intersessional Meeting of Rio+20 was held in New York on 15-16 December

“Let us not for a moment lose sight of the gravity of the task before us. There are high expectations for Rio+20. We must resolve to deliver. Failure is not an option. At Rio+20 we must chart a clear course to the future we want,” said Rio+20 Conference Secretary-General and DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang as the 2nd Intersessional Meeting of Rio+20 opened.

The two day meeting focused on the compilation document and the structure and format of the outcome document. The first day, participants discussed “Compilation document: comments and guidance for the zero draft outcome document,” and on the second day, they addressed “Structure and format of the zero draft of the outcome document.” 

At the opening session, Conference Secretary-General Sha Zukang introduced the compilation document to delegates, which was followed by statements from political groups including the European Union and the Group of 77 and China.

Based on a call for submissions to contributions to the compilation document, with the 1 November 2011 deadline, Members States and other stakeholders submitted over 672 contributions to this process. These will serve as a basis for the preparation of zero draft outcome document.

“We need to decide how ambitious we want to be at Rio. The Secretary-General and I have reiterated many times that for the United Nations this is a hugely important Conference. At stake is no less than the effectiveness of multilateralism in addressing humanity’s common future,” Mr. Sha stated further.

“We all know that we face huge sustainable development challenges in the coming decades. Thanks in no small part to Rio 1992, the international community has processes underway to address some of the most pressing challenges – the climate change, biodiversity and desertification conventions; the forest principles and the permanent forum on forests, to name a few.”

Mr. Sha urged for governments to be ambitious and to aim high at Rio+20. He also highlighted proposals made in the submissions, saying that “some common messages and common priorities are beginning to emerge.”

“One of the most interesting – and I dare say unanticipated – developments is the broad interest in measuring progress through a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs for short),” said Mr. Sha.

He also mentioned other priority issues with support including promoting sustainable consumption and production, energy for all, water, oceans, food security, sustainable agriculture, sustainable cities, green jobs, employment, social inclusion, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity and forests.

More information: http://www.uncsd2012.org

Opening remarks by Sha Zukang, Rio+20 Conference Secretary-General and DESA’s Under-Secretary-General: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/usg/statements/2nd-intersessional-of-uncsd.html