Over the last few years, many of the activities included in Linkages Update have incorporated some relationship with climate change policy. As the annual Climate Change Conference dominated greater and greater international focus (peaking perhaps at the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference with approximately 120 world leaders in attendance and 40,000 registered participants), more and more of the meetings, publications and projects that we report on have involved climate change components.
While climate change connections still play a prominent role in many of the meetings, publications and projects reported in recent issues of Linkages Update (and the scientific reports indicate there is no reason to reduce efforts to address this issue), our readers will see that the themes for the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) – a green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development – are commanding increasing attention.
For example, many of the nine meetings that the International Institute for Sustainable Development has reported from in the last fortnight involved some focus on the UNCSD themes. The Ministerial Meeting on Energy and Green Industry sought to contribute to the UNCSD preparations with its discussion of global objectives for access to clean energy, energy and resource efficiency, and promoting green industry as an integral component of the green economy (more). The UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process (ICP) on Oceans and the Law of the Sea sought to contribute to the assessment, in the context of the UNCSD, “of progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges” (more). The first of three subregional UNCSD preparatory meetings for small island developing States discussed the Rio+20 themes (more). And the International Hydropower Association even discussed the opportunities arising from the growing interest in green growth strategies within the international community (more).
Meetings and publications in the coming months are likely to continue to focus on how the themes could be defined and what the range of possible international actions could encompass, given that 1 November 2011 is the deadline for submissions to the compilation document – which will form the basis of the “zero draft” of the UNCSD outcome document. Initial discussions on the zero draft are expected to commence in January 2012, following which the definition and scope of the international community's possible response will become increasingly focused. The UNCSD themes hold the promise of contributing a holistic approach to sustainable development, incorporating climate change, its many linked topics, and more. We will continue to monitor developments as the intergovernmental approach to sustainable development policy making continues to evolve.