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Sustainable Development Policy & Practice
Economic Commission for Europe’s Regional Preparatory Meeting for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20)

1-2 December 2011 | Geneva, Switzerland

Highlights for Thursday, 1 December 2011
UNCSD
The fifth and final regional preparatory meeting (RPM) on the road to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development opened at the UN’s Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe Regional Preparatory Meeting was opened by Jan Kubiš, Executive Secretary, UNECE. He was first of several speakers to address the impact of the current financial, economic and solvency crisis on the availability of resources to address social and environmental issues and the Millennium Development Goals.

Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary General of Rio+20, called on participants to lay the foundations for long-term sustainable prosperity. He noted the upcoming Second Intersessional Meeting of the UNCSD Preparatory Committee to take place in New York on 15-16 December 2011 when participants will comment on the structure, format and content of the draft outcome document. He looked forward to mid-January 2012 when a draft of the first UNCSD negotiation text or ‘zero draft’ is expected to emerge.

Jens Wandel, UN Development Programme (UNDP), argued that the sustainable development conversation is not a fringe discussion for ecologists and humanitarians. The green race is on, and inequality may not only be a social injustice, it can impede growth in a knowledge economy. Subsidies for fossil fuels do not benefit the poor and renewable energy should be the default option for increasing energy access to the 3 million people in this region who lack electricity.

The meeting elected Co-Chairs by acclamation. They are Janusz Zaleski, Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of the Environment, Poland, and Ruslan Bultrikov, Vice Minister, Ministry for Environment Protection, Kazakhstan.

Co-Chair Bultrikov explained that the aim of the Regional Preparatory Meeting is to identify the specific challenges and priorities of the UNECE region with regard to the UNCSD, including policy recommendations and good practices. The meeting will address: assessment of progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges; a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

On the first day of the RPM participants will engage in interactive sessions on the outcomes of major summits on sustainable development and a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

The first day of the meeting was given over to two substantive interactive discussions, led by panels of keynote speakers. During an assessment of progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges, delegates heard from Professor Bedrich Moldan, Vice-Chair of the Preparatory Bureau for Rio+20 who acknowledged the contribution of the ECE in defining responses to sustainable development through such initiatives as Regional Environmental Centres. While Fitz Holwarth, Deputy Director General Water Management, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, called for a new emphasis on global rather than sectoral approaches and perspectives.

On Thursday afternoon discussion moved on to the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. Daniel Ziegerer, Head of Global section, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland, proposed elements for a green economy roadmap and the EU reaffimred its support for the concept. During the morning debate on summit outcomes the US had put down a marker, announcing that she was not prepared to endorse a roadmap for the green economy.
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Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary General of Rio+20, noted the current economic climate and called on participants to lay the foundations for long-term sustainable prosperity. While noting differing views on the green economy, He observed that proposals are leaning towards the possibility of defining an inclusive green economy roadmap that each country could use to chart its own path to sustainable development, and the elaboration of aspirational sustainable development goals (SDGs).
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Michele Candotti, Chief of the Executive Office, United Nations Environment Programme, called for a move away from the “silo mentality” adopted for the three pillars of sustainable development and governance as a pre-condition for advancing a green economy.
Jan Kubiš, Executive Secretary, UNECE, opened the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM) for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The fifth and final RPM on the road to next year’s Rio+20 conference is taking place at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. Kubiš was one of several speakers who noted the adverse impact of the current economic, financial and solvency crisis on the availability of resources for the social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and funding the Millennium Development Goals.
Co-Chair Janusz Zaleski, Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of the Environment, Poland, led a discussion on progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.
Co-Chair Ruslan Bultrikov, Vice-Minister, Ministry for Environment Protection, Kazakhstan, recalled his country’s proposal at the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly for a Green Bridge initiative to take forward discussions at Rio+20 on the transition to a green economy by addressing the need for a stable investment environment and the creation of green jobs.
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L-R: Monika Linn, Principal Adviser and Head of Development Policies and Cross-Sectoral Coordination Unit, Office of the Executive Secretary of UNECE; Daniel Ziegerer, Head of Global Section, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland; and Peter Poschen, Director, Job Creation and Sustainable Enterprise Department, International Labour Organisation
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A number of NGO representatives during a discussion on the Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication on the first day of the UNECE Regional Preparatory Meeting for UNCSD.
Geneva
Participants in one of two roundtables on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication convened in the afternoon.

Side event on smart cities
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Related Links
Meeting resources
*Meeting website and documents
*Meeting annotated agenda
*Meeting organization of work
*Greening the Economy report
*Role of education in the green economy
*UN Conference on Sustainable Development website

IISD RS resources
*IISD RS summary report of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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 summary report of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Arab Region, 16-17 October 2011, Cairo, Egypt (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Arabic: PDF)
IISD RS coverage of the Seventh “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference, 21-23 September 2011, Astana, Kazakhstan
*IISD RS summary report of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) Regional Preparatory Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), 7-9 September 2011, Santiago, Chile (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary report of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (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
*UNCSD-L - 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
*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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