At a recent presentation by the Special Advisor to Executive Coordinator of UNCSD 2012 Rio+20, the following information was shared:

It is hoped that Rio+20 will take the sustainability discussion to a level of implementation, action and commitment.  Because of the high number of heads of countries that are attending, the conference is now considered a  Summit.  It is not clear who the United States is sending, but it is hoped that the representative would be President Obama.  However, it is  felt that  this is unlikely based on U.S. action in previous events.  It was  suggested that NGOs contact and urge the White House to participate. The League of  Women Voters of the United States has  generated letters to the White House on  key environmental issues (most recently on the Keystone Pipeline).  Meaningful representation and participation are critical as climate issues are urgent.

Major thrusts for Rio:

  • Renew commitments to millennium goals (sustainability is contained in these) – renew commitments to all declarations and conventions and funding on climate  (there are over 300 such agreements)
  • Foster a green economy – efforts to eradicate poverty are being moved into a Green Economy movement with the focus on job creation and new models of economic development.  Hopes for the green economy  are that it becomes the ‘new industrial revolution’
  • Create metrics – GDP is insufficient as it is solely based on return on investment (ROI).  New measurements of how standards of living are proceeding must include broader concerns which include resource accessibility
  • Institutional framework – there is talk of creating an Environmental Agency in the UN that will coordinate efforts relating to the three columns of sustainability (economics, social development and environmental)

Outcomes:

  • That participants move beyond discussion – that  initiatives are put forth and metrics created to enable measurement of efforts, accountability – to hold countries to their promise
  •  Creation of sustainability development goals (SDGs)
  •  Creation of a registry where commitments by countries are registered and monitored