Rio+20, the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development: Making it Happen

Rio+20, the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development: Making it Happen

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On 4 to 6 June 2012, the world’s nations will come together in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development, to assess the progress and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and to address new and emerging challenges.

It is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference will result in a focused political document.

The Conference will focus on two themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

The Conference will also mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

According to the UN, this conference on sustainable development came about as the world experienced the economic and commodity shocks of 2008 that caused much social distress and the reversal of developmental gains that threaten to replace hope with despair.

Yet, the first decade of the new millennium also gave signs of hope that includes the acceleration of development and poverty eradication, adoption of integrated programmes, policies and measures (including green economy sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, afforestation, integrated water management, drylands rehabilitation, and sustainable agriculture), and emergence of new ideas and leadership, and institutional frameworks by emerging economies, businesses, city governments, civil society organizations, and the media.

Many of these are linked to innovations at the 1992 Earth Summit that crafted a new global social contract, Agenda 21, based on a positive, integrative, equitable, and sustainable vision of progress.

The preparatory process is ongoing with preparatory and inter-sessional meetings to discuss substantive and procedural issues in preparation for the Conference. Accompanying these meetings is an inclusive preparatory process involving various stakeholders at different levels. This process is geared towards achieving an outcome that will make notable contributions in advancing the goal of sustainable development.

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