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IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) is producing daily reports and daily web coverage from selected side events at the Second Informal-Informal Meeting. To download our reports, please click the HTML/PDF icons below.
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Sustainable Development Policy & Practice
Coverage of Selected Side Events at the Second Round of ‘Informal-Informal’ Negotiations on the zero draft of outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20)

23 April - 4 May 2012 | UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America
DAILY WEB COVERAGE

Rio+20
Coverage on Friday, 27 April 2012
The Rio+20 banner outside the United Nations building.
Sphere within a sphere, a sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro in the United Nations Art Collection.
 
Briefing to Member States on “The Sustainable Development Dialogues”

Co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN, the Rio+20 Secretariat, the UN Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) and DESA
 
Julio Bitelli, Minister-Counselor, Brazil, explained his Government’s initiative to solicit recommendations on sustainable development from civil society.

Brice Lalonde, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator, stressed the importance of having an open dialogue.

Mitchell Toomey, UNDP, encouraged participants to enrich the discussions by submitting recommendations online.

 

This side event considered the Sustainable Development Dialogues, which will be hosted by Brazil during the Rio+20 Conference.

Julio Bitelli, Minister-Counselor, Brazil, noted the large interest in the proposed sustainable development goals. He explained the Brazilian Government’s effort to provide a space for civil society to discuss the major issues on the sustainable development agenda, including: sustainable development, as an answer to the current economic and financial crises; poverty alleviation; water; oceans; forests; sustainable energy for all; food and nutrition security; the economics of sustainable development; sustainable cities and innovation; and unemployment, decent work and migration.

Together with Brice Lalonde, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator, he outlined some of the logistics and responded to questions regarding the proposed facilitation process. Bitelli said that a ten-member team will be assigned to each topic, the members of which will be selected by the Brazilian Government, assisted by the Rio+20 Executive Coordinators and the UN. He pledged equal gender and geographic representation in these teams, saying that the major organizations at the UN will send proposals of candidates to the Brazilian Government. On the outcome of the civil society discussions, he said a set of recommendations will be submitted to the High-Level Roundtable sessions to be held at Rio+20.

Mitchell Toomey, UNDP, presented the practicalities of the platform, which will take the form of a virtual dialogue on the internet whereby civil society can participate in voicing recommendations and vote for preferences on each of the ten topics.

During the discussions, participants addressed: the physical arrangements of the venue; how to ensure representation from each country; audience composition; selection of participants and topics; possible overlaps with other side events; and other logistical concerns.

 
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L-R: Mitchell Toomey, UNDP; Elizabeth Thompson, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator; Brice Lalonde, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator; Julio Bitelli, Minister-Counselor, Brazil.

 
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More Information:

http://www.riodialogues.org/
http://www.unscd2012.org/

Contacts:

Mette Bloch Hansen
<mette.hansen@undp.org>
Pierre Cannet <cannet@un.org>

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Key Findings of the Fifth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5) Assessment Report and Recommendations from the GEO-5 Summary for Policy Makers (SPM)

Organized by the Permanent Missions of the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Switzerland and the US to the UN, and the UNEP
 
John Matuszak, US Department of State, stressed data collection as a critical element that is currently lacking.
Jorge Laguna-Celis, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN, said UNEP’s environmental assessment capacities need to be strengthened.
Marc Levy, Columbia University, emphasized that humanity is living in unprecedented times of rapid change.
 

This side event deliberated on the outcomes of GEO-5, which provided an analysis of the successes and failures of the world’s implementation of the internationally agreed environmental goals.

John Matuszak, US Department of State, reflected on the differences between GEO-5 and previous reports, noting that there was engagement from both the political and scientific community when drafting the SPM. He outlined the report, which focuses on the status and trends of the global environment in terms of key goals, policies undertaken by governments to implement these goals, and additional actions and drivers that might influence the ability to meet these goals.

Jorge Laguna-Celis, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN, spoke on the key messages of the GEO-5 report, inter alia, that: internationally agreed goals have only been partially met; there is continued deterioration of the global environment, noting that some critical thresholds have already been exceeded; lack of data remains a major barrier; there is a need to shift the policy focus; and solving environmental problems with environmental policies remains a fallacy.

Marc Levy, Columbia University, lamented: the 36% rise in global emissions, with 80% of emissions being emitted by only 19 countries; the steady decline of Arctic sea ice as well as forests; and the major long-term environmental impacts of persistent pollution.

Daniel Ziegerer, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, highlighted some innovations, including the formally negotiated SPM, which strengthened the science-policy interface, and the addition of important new themes to the GEO process.

Jose Almonte, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Dominican Republic, underscored the relationship between poverty and environmental crises, with poverty as a driver of environmental change.

John Matuszak, emphasizing that policymaking requires more reliable data, said for 14 goals no data existed, and insufficient data existed for approximately 80% of the remaining goals.

Participants deliberated on: shifting the policy focus to include non-environmental issues; integrating the many different sustainable development policies and programmes; incorporating solutions such as resilience to climate and disaster; and data integration of existing information and indicators, combined in novel ways.

 
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L-R: Jose Almonte, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Dominican Republic; Jorge Laguna-Celis, Permanent Mission of Mexico; Daniel Ziegerer, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment; Marc Levy, Columbia University; John Matuszak, US Department of State.
 
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More Information:

http://www.unep.org/
Contact:

James Sniffen <sniffenj@un.org>
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Planet Under Pressure

Organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), UNESCO, and International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP)
 
Elizabeth Thompson, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator, underscored the role of scientists at Rio+20.
Gisbert Glaser, ICSU and Coordinator of Science and Technological Major Group, underscored the importance of capacity building for developing countries.
Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO, noted the need for increased capacity building in the science, technology and innovation sectors worldwide.
 

Moderated by Bedřich Moldan, UNCSD Bureau Member for the Eastern European States Group, this event discussed the State of the Planet Declaration that was adopted at the Planet Under Pressure conference, held from March 26-29 2012, in London, England.

Sybil Seitzinger, Executive Director, IGBP, in her keynote address, saying that the first State of the Planet Declaration had sober findings, noted that due to increasing urbanization, future choices and policies will be central to sustainable development success. She highlighted that humanity is living in an era of anthropocene and urged for collaboration and synergistic solutions, as well as a strengthened science-policy interface to solve the sustainability crisis that is currently being faced.

Elizabeth Thompson, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator, noting that many themes discussed at the Planet Under Pressure conference were similar to those mooted for possible sustainable development goals. She said that it is critical for a dialogue between social and political dimensions to take place. She called for credible solutions at Rio+20 that are underpinned by scientific data.

Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO, noted that solutions for sustainability should involve the engineering community. She hoped that the final outcomes from Rio+20 would include text on the need for observations. She called for further support for capacity, education and science, and said that while the zero draft of the outcome document for Rio+20 has an increasing emphasis on science-based approaches, this must be further emphasized.

Gisbert Glaser, ICSU and Coordinator of Science and Technological Major Group, observed that the problems facing the environment, economics, equity and social justice are intrinsically linked. He advocated for: a greater understanding of interconnectedness of natural and socio-economic systems; and policy integration and coherence from the Rio+20 outcomes.

Amb. Jean-Francis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin to the UN, highlighted the need for globalized research, which is results-driven and focuses on the urgent problems that humanity currently faces. He reiterated the call for increased collaboration and suggested that the use of indigenous knowledge be “revitalized” and encouraged its use at the international level. He noted that the current situation requires all of humanity to “adjust and adapt.”

 
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L-R: Gisbert Glaser, ICSU and Coordinator of Science and Technological Major Group; Amb. Jean-Francis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin to the UN; Sybil Seitzinger, Executive Director, IGBP; Bedřich Moldan, UNCSD Bureau Member for the Eastern European States Group; Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO; Elizabeth Thompson, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator.
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More Information:

http://www.planetunderpressure2012.net//
Contacts:

Owen Gaffney <owen.gaffney@igbp.kva.se>
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Photographs from the NY+20 Event
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Related Links
UNCSD or Rio+20 resources
*Meeting website
*Zero draft document
*Compilation document

IISD RS resources
*IISD RS coverage of the First Round of ‘Informal-Informal’ Negotiations on the zero draft of the outcome document and Third Intersessional Meeting of the UNCSD or Rio+20, 19-23 and 26-27 March 2012, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America
*IISD RS coverage of Selected Side Events at the First Round of ‘Informal-Informal’ Negotiations on the zero draft of the outcome document and Third Intersessional Meeting of the UNCSD or Rio+20, 19-23 and 26-27 March 2012, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America
*IISD RS coverage of the Initial Discussions on the “zero draft” of the outcome document for the UNCSD or Rio+20, 25-27 January 2012, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America
*IISD RS coverage of the Second Intersessional Meeting of the UNCSD, or Rio+20, 15-16 December 2011, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America
*IISD RS summary report of the Economic Commission for Europe’s Regional Preparatory Meeting for the UNCSD or Rio+20, 1-2 December 2011, Geneva, Switzerland (HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary report of the UNCSD or Rio+20 African Regional Preparatory Process, 20-25 October 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary report of the UNCSD or Rio+20) Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Asia Pacific Region, 19-20 October 2011, Seoul, Republic of Korea (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS coverage of the UNCSD or Rio+20) Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Arab Region, 16-17 October 2011, Cairo, Egypt
IISD RS coverage of the Seventh “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference, 21-23 September 2011, Astana, Kazakhstan
*IISD RS coverage of the UNCSD or Rio+20 Regional Preparatory Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean, 7-9 September 2011, Santiago, Chile
*IISD RS summary report of the UNCSD or Rio+20 Subregional Preparatory Committee for the Pacific Countries, 21-22 July 2011, Apia, Samoa (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary report of the UNCSD or Rio+20) Subregional Preparatory Committee for the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea Countries, 7-8 July 2011, Mahé, Seychelles (HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary report of the UNCSD or Rio+20) Subregional Preparatory Meeting for the Caribbean, 20 June 2011, Georgetown, Guyana (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary report of the Keeping the Green Economy Blue: A Workshop in Preparation for the UNCSD or Rio+20), 29 April 2011, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary and analysis of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee for the UNCSD or Rio+20, 7-8 March 2011, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary and analysis of the First Intersessional Meeting of the UNCSD or Rio+20, 10-11 January 2011, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary and analysis of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the UNCSD or Rio+20, 17-19 May 2010, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)
IISD RS coverage of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), 26 August - 4 September 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa
*IISD RS coverage of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, 3-14 June 1992, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
*IISD RS archive of sustainable development meetings
*SDG - A mailing list for news on sustainable development policy
*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
*Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of Sustainable Energy Activities
*SIDS Policy and Practice - A Knowledgebase on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
*Biodiversity Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing International Biodiversity Policy
*Climate Change Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing Global Climate Change Policy
*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
*African Regional Coverage
*Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage
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