EU Priorities at Rio+20: UN Conference on Sustainable Development (15/05/2012)

The Rio+20 Conference, short name given to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), will be held in Rio de Janeiro, on 20-22 June 2012. This event will mark 20 years since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) – Rio Earth Summit 1992; and 10 years since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. After Rio 1992, where the Declaration on Environment and Development, the Agenda 21, the Forest Principles, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change were adopted, world leaders, together with other participants from governments, the private sector, and the civil society, will come together again to rethink and act in order to reduce poverty, advance social equity, and ensure environmental protection for the planet and its ever growing population. The Conference will assess progress made since Rio 1992 and secure renewed political commitment for Sustainable Development. Two focus themes of the Conference will be Green Economy in the context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, and the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development.

The EU sees Rio+20 as the start of the global transition towards the green economy, a path to realizing the goals of global food security and poverty eradication. This kind of economy will generate growth, create jobs and eradicate poverty by preserving and investing in the natural capital on which our, and the planet's, long-term survival depend. It should also launch the long-needed reform of the Sustainable Development governance in the world.

The EU expects the major outcome of the Rio+20 Conference to be a Global Roadmap towards a Green Economy. This means that all future policies will be developed coherently and in a way that transforms the global economy into a sustainable growth model. This model is to ensure the quality of life for the highest number of people within the planet's ecological limits.  

Therefore, the EU proposes to focus initially on a limited number of areas, which are considered to have the most impact on the transition towards an inclusive green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. These areas are:

  • Sustainable energy;
  • Water;
  • Oceans (marine environment and fisheries);
  • Sustainable management of land ecosystems;
  • Resource efficiency, including waste management.

For the EU, this is not seen as an agenda for developing and emerging countries alone. The EU is committed as well to making transformations towards a more resource-efficient economy. Therefore, the EU is open to suggestions and engaging with partners to achieve improvements in order to deliver a focused outcome document that will give a clear agenda for the future. The EU is also the world's largest aid donor and the most active supporter of multilateralism in all areas in focus in Rio. 

Rio+20: Pathways to a Sustainable Future - Council conclusions

UNSDC, Rio+20, Contribution by the European Union and its Member States to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS - Rio+20: towards the green economy and better governance

European Parliament resolution of 29 September 2011 on developing a common EU position ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

DG Environment – Rio+20 page

Brazilian Ministry of Environment - the official Rio+20 portal

Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - the official Rio+20 portal

Sustainable Development Dialogues - the on-line forum

Summit of the People