Sumario: In June 2012 all eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro, where twenty years after the first "Earth Summit", Heads of State and Government will attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or "Rio+20"). It is a unique opportunity for the world - and the EU - to commit further to sustainable development, environmental protection, and improved global governance. Rio+20 could mark the start of a global transition to a green economy as a path to realizing the goals of food security and poverty eradication.
Rio+20 offers an opportunity for our mutually interdependent world to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development. It will assess progress made and address implementation gaps and emerging challenges. It will do so in the context of two intertwined themes: "a 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 a global transition to a green economy as a path to realizing the goals of global food security and poverty eradication.
The EU hopes that Rio+20 can mark the start of an accelerated, profound and worldwide transition towards a green economy - an economy that generates growth, creates jobs and eradicates poverty by investing in and preserving the natural capital on which the long-term survival of our planet depends. It can also launch the needed reform of international sustainable development governance. For the EU, Rio+20 should agree on a global agenda that applies to all countries.
A major outcome for Rio+20 would be a Global Roadmap towards a Green Economy, with measurable deliverables and agreed timeframes. This would ensure all future policies are developed coherently and in a way that transforms the global economy into a sustainable growth model, ensuring quality of life for the highest number of people within the planet's ecological limits. Since two billion of the world's poorest people directly depend on ecosystems such as forest and dry grasslands for their livelihoods, measures to address land and soil degradation, together with resource efficiency, are vital to addressing poverty alleviation. In other words, prosperity for more has to be achieved without tipping us over into misery for all.
With that in mind, the EU proposes to focus initially on a limited number of areas that would have the greatest impact on the transition towards an inclusive green economy:
To achieve success, this cannot be an agenda for developing and emerging countries alone. The EU itself is deeply committed to accelerating its transition to a more resource-efficient economy. The EU is also the world's largest aid donor and the most active supporter of multilateralism in all areas in focus in Rio. We are ready to engage with partners to achieve improvements that deliver a focused outcome document spelling out a clear agenda for the future.
As a basis for further dialogue with EU institutions, civil society, business and countries globally, the Communication from the Commission on Rio+20 sets out initial views on potential concrete outcomes.
Communication from the Commission on Rio+20
European Commission DG Environment
Website for EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik
Rio+20 - United Nations Sustainable Development Conference website