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Volume 27 Number 35 - Monday, 7 May 2012
SUMMARY OF THE UNCSD INFORMAL INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS
23 APRIL – 4 MAY 2012

The second round of “informal informal” consultations on the draft outcome document for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) took place from 23 April to 4 May 2012, at UN Headquarters in New York. The negotiations resumed consideration of a draft outcome document for Rio+20, which was originally developed by the Co-Chairs and Bureau of the UNCSD Preparatory Committee (PrepCom). Titled “The Future We Want” and 19 pages in length, the original document was released on 10 January 2012. This version of the draft incorporated input received by the UNCSD Secretariat from member states and other stakeholders, as well as comments offered during the Second Intersessional Meeting of the UNCSD PrepCom in December 2011.

Following its release, the zero draft was discussed at meetings held at UN Headquarters in January and March, when delegates proposed numerous amendments. At the conclusion of the March meeting, the draft had grown to 206 pages in length, including all of the proposed amendments.

From 23 April to 4 May, delegates endeavored to make progress on the draft text, in what was originally slated to be the last round of informal informal negotiations prior to the Preparatory Committee’s third and final meeting in Rio de Janeiro in June, just prior to UNCSD itself.

Delegates made some progress in clarifying positions and finding compromise text, agreeing on 21 paragraphs ad referendum (pending agreement on the final text). However, this represented only a small percentage of the text, which stood at more than 420 paragraphs. At the end of the meeting 400 paragraphs remained bracketed. This lack of agreement on most of the text was the result of longstanding divisions, which persisted on key issues such as green economy, the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD) (including the future status of the Commission on Sustainable Development and the United Nations Environment Programme, and a proposal to develop sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Recognizing the considerable work that was still required, the Bureau decided on 4 May to hold an additional negotiating session prior to the UNCSD. This session will take place from 29 May to 2 June 2012, at UN Headquarters in New York.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCES

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) will mark the 40th anniversary of the first major international political conference that specifically had the word “environment” in its title. Taking place in June 2012, the UNCSD seeks to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess progress and implementation gaps in meeting previously-agreed commitments, and address new and emerging challenges. The conference will focus on the following themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD).

STOCKHOLM CONFERENCE: The UN Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 5-16 June 1972, and produced three major sets of decisions: the Stockholm Declaration; the Stockholm Action Plan, made up of 109 recommendations on international measures against environmental degradation for governments and international organizations; and a group of five resolutions calling for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons, the creation of an international databank on environmental data, actions linked to development and the environment, the creation of an environment fund, and establishing the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which was charged with providing the central node for global environmental cooperation and treaty making.

BRUNDTLAND COMMISSION: In 1983, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) established an independent commission to formulate a long-term agenda for action. The World Commission on Environment and Development—more commonly known as the Brundtland Commission, named for its Chair, Gro Harlem Brundtland—subsequently issued its report in 1987, Our Common Future, which stressed the need for development strategies in all countries that recognized the limits of the ecosystem’s ability to regenerate itself and absorb waste products. The Commission emphasized the link between economic development and environmental issues, and identified poverty eradication as a necessary and fundamental requirement for environmentally sustainable development.

UN CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT: UNCED, also known as the Earth Summit, was held from 3-14 June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and involved over 100 Heads of State and Government, representatives from 178 countries, and some 17,000 participants. The principal outputs of UNCED were the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 (a 40-chapter programme of action) and the Statement of Forest Principles. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity were also opened for signature during the Earth Summit. Agenda 21 called for the creation of a Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) as a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, enhance international cooperation, and examine progress in implementing Agenda 21 at the local, national, regional and international levels.

UNGASS-19: The 19th Special Session of the UNGA for the Overall Review and Appraisal of Agenda 21 (23-27 June 1997, New York) adopted the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21. It assessed progress since UNCED and examined implementation.

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The WSSD met from 26 August - 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The goal of the WSSD, according to UNGA Resolution 55/199, was to hold a ten-year review of UNCED at the summit level to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable development. The WSSD gathered over 21,000 participants from 191 countries. Delegates negotiated and adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. The JPOI is designed as a framework for action to implement the commitments originally agreed at UNCED. The Johannesburg Declaration outlines the path taken from UNCED to the WSSD, highlights challenges, expresses a commitment to sustainable development, underscores the importance of multilateralism, and emphasizes the need for implementation.

UNGA 64: On 24 December 2009, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 64/236 and agreed to convene the UNCSD in 2012 in Brazil. Resolution 64/236 also called for holding three Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings prior to the UNCSD. On 14 May 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang as Secretary-General for the Conference. The UN Secretary-General subsequently appointed Brice Lalonde (France) and Elizabeth Thompson (Barbados) as executive coordinators.

UNCSD PREPCOM I: This meeting was held from 17-19 May 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York. The PrepCom assessed progress to date and the remaining gaps in implementing outcomes of major summits on sustainable development, as well as new and emerging challenges, a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the IFSD. Participants also organized their work in the lead-up to 2012, and considered the UNCSD’s rules of procedure.

FIRST INTERSESSIONAL MEETING: This meeting convened at UN Headquarters from 10-11 January 2011. Delegates listened to a summary of the findings of the Synthesis Report on securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development. Panel discussions were held on the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and on the IFSD.

UNCSD PREPCOM II: This meeting took place from 7-8 March 2011, also at UN Headquarters. Delegates discussed progress to date and remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, addressed new and emerging challenges, discussed the scope of a green economy and the idea of a “blue economy,” and debated the IFSD. At the end of the meeting, a decision was adopted on the process for preparing the draft outcome document for the UNCSD.

UNCSD REGIONAL AND SUB-REGIONAL MEETINGS: During the second half of 2011, a series of regional and sub-regional meetings were held to prepare inputs for the UNCSD preparatory process. These included three sub-regional preparatory meetings for small island developing states (SIDS), as well as regional meetings organized by the UN regional economic and social commissions.

During the Regional Preparatory Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago, Chile, from 7-9 September 2011, delegates called for better ways to measure the wealth of countries that adequately reflect the three pillars of sustainable development, and a flexible and efficient global IFSD ensuring effective integration of the three pillars. They also discussed a proposal from Colombia and Guatemala to launch a process to develop sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting took place from 16-17 October 2011, in Cairo, Egypt. Delegates highlighted the lack of a universal definition of green economy and agreed that it should be a tool for sustainable development rather than a new principle that might replace sustainable development. Participants also highlighted the need for balance among the three pillars of sustainable development.

The Regional Preparatory Meeting for Asia and the Pacific took place from 19-20 October 2011, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Although many found merit in the idea of a green economy, some noted that it should not lead to protectionism or conditionalities. On IFSD, while many favored “strengthening” UNEP, there was no consensus on whether this should be done through transforming UNEP into a specialized agency. Some participants also expressed interest and support for establishing a sustainable development council.

The Regional Preparatory Meeting for Africa took place from 20-25 October 2011, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On IFSD, while there was some opposition to the idea of transforming UNEP into a specialized agency, all participants agreed on the need to strengthen the programme. Delegates supported the concept of a green economy while indicating that it needs more definition, should not result in protectionism or trade conditionalities, and should include the concept of sustainable land management.

The Regional Preparatory Meeting for Europe and North America convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1-2 December 2011. Participants called for improvement in monitoring and evaluation of progress on sustainable development, better integration of the three pillars of sustainable development, and stronger regional cooperation. They discussed SDGs and a green economy roadmap, while acknowledging the need to accommodate the unique challenges of different countries. On IFSD, many supported upgrading and transforming UNEP, creating a sustainable development council, strengthening the regional commissions and national sustainable development councils, and engaging civil society. There was both support for and opposition to a new international convention elaborating Rio Principle 10 on access to information and public participation.

SECOND INTERSESSIONAL MEETING: This meeting convened at UN Headquarters in New York from 15-16 December 2011. Participants discussed the compilation of submissions from States, UN bodies, intergovernmental organizations and Major Groups, and provided comments and guidance for the development, structure and format of a “zero draft” of the outcome document to be adopted at the UNCSD in June 2012.

INITIAL DISCUSSIONS OF THE ZERO DRAFT: This meeting took place at UN Headquarters from 25-27 January 2012. In their opening statements, delegates agreed that the zero draft would serve as the basis for negotiations. They had submitted written comments on the first two sections—the Preamble/Stage Setting and Renewing Political Commitment Sections—prior to the January discussions, and began negotiations on these sections.

FIRST “INFORMAL INFORMAL” CONSULTATIONS AND THIRD INTERSESSIONAL MEETING: Negotiations resumed from 19-27 March, again at UN Headquarters. Delegates engaged in lengthy discussions on the text, proposing amendments and responding to other delegations’ suggestions. By the end of the meeting, most sections of the text had been reviewed and discussed more than once, with the text expanding to more than 200 pages.

REPORT OF THE MEETING

The second round of “informal informal” consultations on the draft outcome document for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development opened on Monday morning, 23 April. UNCSD Preparatory Committee Co-Chair John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) informed delegates that a compilation draft outcome document had been prepared, explaining that this version now included additional suggested text from the Co-Chairs, which was their attempt to help bridge gaps between diverging positions and proposals. He proposed that two working groups meet in parallel throughout the session: Working Group 1 would address Sections III (Green Economy) and V (Framework for Action and Follow-up); and Working Group 2 would discuss Sections I (Preamble), II (Renewing Political Commitment) and IV (IFSD).

Negotiations began in the two working groups almost immediately, and continued throughout the two-week session. During the first week, Co-Chair Kim Sook (Republic of Korea) facilitated Working Group 1, while Co-Chair Ashe managed Working Group 2. During the second week, the Co-Chairs switched, with Co-Chair Ashe in Working Group 1 and Co-Chair Kim in Working Group 2. 

For most of the two weeks, delegates engaged in paragraph-by-paragraph discussions on the text. During the first week, the Co-Chairs offered suggested text, referred to as Co-Chairs’ suggested text (or “CST”), which they had developed following the March meeting with the aim of helping delegates find common ground. This text was mainly used as the basis for discussions during the first week, with delegates exchanging views and making numerous proposals to add, subtract, move or amend the text, and to change some section or paragraph titles. By the end of the first week, the document had been reduced from 278 to 156 pages.

During the second week, the Co-Chairs continued their efforts to reduce the text to a more manageable size, and both proposed compromise language for many paragraphs, which they referred to as “new Co-Chairs’ suggested text” (or “NCST”). The efforts of delegates and the Co-Chairs ultimately resulted in agreement on 21 paragraphs ad referendum. However, in spite of this progress, the text was 171 pages long, and approximately 400 paragraphs were still bracketed by the meeting’s end. 

This summary of the meeting follows the structure of the draft outcome document. Each section of this summary contains two elements: an overview of the negotiations, focusing on key points of discussion and/or divergence; and a brief review of the draft outcome document as it stood at the conclusion of the meeting on 4 May 2012. Where there were proposals for changes in section or paragraph titles, this summary generally uses the titles as originally drafted, except where there was broad agreement on a proposed change. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily issues from this meeting offer a more detailed review of the deliberations and can be found online at http://www.iisd.ca/uncsd/iinzod2/.

I. PREAMBLE/STAGE SETTING

Delegates in Working Group 2 completed five readings of the five paragraphs in this section, which contained many sub-paragraphs and proposed alternatives. Discussions focused on five main issues: poverty eradication; human rights definitions; reference to the Rio Principles; good governance; and harmony with nature.

On poverty eradication, the European Union (EU) and Switzerland argued that changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, and protection and improvement of the environment are critical to addressing poverty. They proposed the text explicitly mention environmental concerns. The Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) maintained that poverty eradication requires focus on all three pillars of sustainable development, and cautioned against disproportionate attention to the environmental pillar.

On human rights and principles for action, the EU, US, Republic of Korea and others cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, considering this to be a foundational document. The G-77/China opposed singling this out and, supported by the Holy See, proposed text on the right to development and the right to food. The US eventually accepted “the right to development” but not to food, viewing this as only one of a number of necessary sectors. Japan proposed including “human security,” and the US requested further clarification of the concept.

Delegates discussed at length the G-77/China’s reference to Rio Principle 7 on common but differentiated responsibilities, with the US, EU, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand and Canada opposed to singling this principle out. To break the deadlock, Co-Chair Kim recommended referring just once in the text to an issue or Rio Principle. The G-77/China eventually proposed two paragraphs: one on general principles and obligations under international law, and another mentioning the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and issues including the need to combat racism and xenophobia.

On good governance, the EU proposed mentioning an enabling environment for investment. The G-77/China expressed concern over focusing on investment but not other issues important to developing countries such as debt, trade and finance. The G-77/China also called for the fair representation of developing countries in the governance of multilateral institutions.

Working Group 1 discussed harmony with nature, agreeing to move the relevant text from Section V-A to this section. On the rights of Mother Earth, proposed by Ecuador, and supported by Bolivia, no agreement was reached.

At the final Working Group meeting on the afternoon of 4 May, the EU presented revised text on high-level aims, and the US proposed minor textual changes. Co-Chair Kim cautioned against reintroducing text at this stage. Many countries placed general reservations on all new proposals made at the final session.

Draft Outcome Document:Delegates agreed ad referendum to two paragraphs: an introductory paragraph renewing commitment to sustainable development, and a further sub-paragraph elaborating on that commitment. Other paragraphs remained bracketed, or remain in the text as individual country or group proposals that are not yet agreed.

II. RENEWING POLITICAL COMMITMENT

Working Group 2 discussed this section, which recalls previous commitments and sets the stage for further action. The draft contains three subsections, on: reaffirming Rio Principles and past action items; assessing progress and remaining gaps, and addressing new and emerging challenges; and engaging Major Groups. A fourth subsection, titled, “A Framework for Action,” was in the original version of the draft outcome document. However, the text contained in this section was redistributed to Sections IV and V prior to this meeting, on the grounds that the subject matter fit better there and it would help avoid duplication.

A. REAFFIRMING RIO PRINCIPLES AND PAST ACTION PLANS: This subsection was read twice over the first two days, with delegates exchanging views and adding textual suggestions. Differences were expressed on three main issues: which conference and summit outcomes to reaffirm; whether to specify certain Rio Principles; and participation of developing countries in global decision making.

On conference outcomes, the G-77/China retained text on the Monterrey Consensus on International Financing for Development, bracketed by a number of developed countries.

Canada, the US, the EU and Japan expressed concern regarding G-77/China’s singling out of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, with some parties noting that this principle applies in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) but not in the other two Rio Conventions.

Regarding participation in global decision making, the US disagreed with the G-77/China’s proposal to mention “particularly developing countries,” stating that all countries should participate equally, and discouraging mention of backtracking on earlier commitments.

The text was revisited on the final day of negotiations, without delegates reaching agreement.

Draft Outcome Document: None of the four main paragraphs and multiple sub-paragraphs in this section was agreed to. On the Rio Principles, the draft text retains all the key options proposed. On common but differentiated responsibilities, the G-77/China revised its proposal, limiting its mention specifically to the UNFCCC. The US bracketed this reference.

B. ASSESSING PROGRESS TO DATE AND REMAINING GAPS, AND ADDRESSING NEW AND EMERGING CHALLENGES: Delegates discussed the draft document on 23, 25 and 30 April, and again on 4 May. Differences centered mainly on aid commitments or the lack thereof; and also stemmed from differing perspectives on the root causes of poverty. The G-77/China requested retaining earlier text on official development assistance (ODA) targets, unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and better regulation of the financial sector, while the EU, US and Canada reiterated their reservations.

The US, the EU and Japan expressed concern regarding G-77/China-proposed text underscoring lack of political commitment to implement previously-agreed international commitments. The Co-Chairs’ suggested text, in an attempt to seek agreement, mentioned implementation gaps, urgency and the need to fully implement commitments, and reference to internationally-agreed commitments. The EU and the US reserved on this proposal. Developed countries also did not support a suggestion by the Russian Federation and Belarus to list middle-income countries among the groups of countries requiring support in their efforts to promote empowerment of the poor.

On text highlighting areas where pressing challenges need to be addressed, Australia and New Zealand identified fisheries subsidies, while Iceland and Canada bracketed fisheries text. Issues of poverty and population were also raised, with the Holy See maintaining its reservation to mentioning population dynamics, and the G-77/China not supporting a US reference to access to sexual and reproductive health.

Draft Outcome Document:Four paragraphs were agreed ad referendum on: recognizing examples of progress in sustainable development at regional, national, subnational and local levels through the commitment of governments since the adoption of Agenda 21; recognizing the dependence of the poor on ecosystems for their livelihoods, and the need to generate decent jobs; reaffirming the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for the Decade 2011-2020; and acknowledging the world’s natural and cultural diversity.

Other unresolved options remained on the table, including the G-77/China’s original proposal on meeting ODA targets; linking of the economic and financial crisis with the international financial system; and the right of peoples to self-determination, in particular those living under colonial and foreign occupation.

C. ENGAGING MAJOR GROUPS: Delegates discussed this section on 23 and 25 April, and again on 3 and 4 May. Differences centered mainly on access to information, and different perspectives on the roles of civil society, the private sector and women.

On information, the US proposed, and the G-77/China opposed, the inclusion of text on making relevant information based on environmental monitoring and assessments available to all stakeholders.

On women, developed countries, including Israel, referred to women’s leadership, while the G-77/China and Russian Federation preferred mentioning women’s empowerment.

On the private sector, the G-77/China proposed that the private sector “can contribute” to sustainable development, noting that its roles differ among its country members. The EU and the US preferred language reflecting a stronger role for public-private partnerships.

On the role of civil society, the US, supported by Canada and New Zealand, proposed that access should be to “legitimate” information, viewing proprietary information of commercial value as an exception.

On sustainability reporting, delegates agreed to defer discussion of national sustainability accounting to Section V (Framework for Action). Switzerland and the EU supported retaining a paragraph on corporate sustainability reporting, while the G-77/China expressed reservations, and the US preferred mention of best practices. At the final session, the EU introduced an alternative paragraph, which remains bracketed, calling on the UN Secretary-General to launch a process requiring large companies to report on their sustainability impacts, mentioning existing frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative.

Draft Outcome Document:Of the five main paragraphs and multiple sub-paragraphs in this section, two were agreed ad referendum: on women’s leadership role, gender equality and women’s empowerment; and on the participation of indigenous peoples in achieving sustainable development. Other options remain bracketed. 

III. GREEN ECONOMY

Working Group 1 completed a first reading of this section on Monday, 23 April, and concluded a second reading on Tuesday, 1 May. Main points of contention revolved around, inter alia, whether green economy should be discussed as one of several approaches to achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication.

During the discussions, the G-77/China stressed green economy as one of several approaches, and said the section must, inter alia: include adequate provisions on means of implementation (MOI); respect other development models; not focus solely on market-based solutions; include social policies; include a leading role for the State; and elaborate on both what green economy should and should not be.

The EU supported green economy as an essential tool in the context of a proposed paragraph on approaches, visions, models and other tools to achieve poverty eradication and sustainable development, and on green economy as a tool for sustainable development. The G-77/China said it could be a useful tool. The G-77/China also supported reference to common but differentiated responsibilities in the context of a paragraph on general guidance for green economy policies, but many developed countries opposed singling out a specific Rio Principle.

Another point of contention related to text on efforts towards an equitable and inclusive transition towards green economy, with the G-77/China supporting efforts towards “sustainable development” rather than “green economy,” and inclusive “future” instead of “transition,” adding that efforts be undertaken in line with national sustainable development plans and priorities. The US and Japan preferred retaining reference to green economy.

The G-77/China: supported the sovereign right of states to exploit their own resources in text on each country choosing an appropriate path towards green economy; and proposed developed countries undertake significant lifestyle changes in text on managing natural resources in a green economy.

On how green economy can help advance sustainable development objectives, proposals included respecting the Earth’s limited natural resources, and advancing a human rights-based approach, based on the principle of free, active and meaningful participation, accountability, nondiscrimination, empowerment, and the rule of law.

There was much discussion related to text on what green economies should do, with the G-77/China also reiterating a number of times its preference for an additional paragraph on what green economy should not do. Some of the issues where parties diverged included reference to “voluntary” technology transfer “on mutually agreed terms and conditions,” which the US supported. In addition, the G-77/China said developed countries should take the lead on sustainable consumption and production (SCP), which the EU opposed, and supported text on the right to development, which the US opposed. Japan and the EU supported text on green economy being a common undertaking for all countries. The EU supported moving the paragraph on supporting developing countries’ transition to a green economy to the subsection on MOI and deleting references to specific types of support.

A number of paragraphs in the text address tools and experience sharing. Specifically on strengthening countries’ capacity to design and implement policies related to green economy, the EU highlighted improving knowledge sharing between all countries and setting up a capacity development scheme, and supported reference to indicators to measure progress and the development of sustainability standards for production and resource extraction. Switzerland supported the Secretary-General establishing an international platform for sharing knowledge and best practices, but the G-77/China stated this was too prescriptive.

The EU, Switzerland and Norway supported reference to frameworks that promote a socially and environmentally responsible private sector, which the G-77/China did not support. Switzerland proposed specific examples of policy options and regulatory frameworks for green economy, including economic and fiscal instruments, investment in green infrastructure, subsidy reform, sustainable public procurement, and information disclosure and voluntary partnerships between business, civil society and the public sector. The EU sought language on public-private partnerships and on governments creating the necessary enabling environment regarding appropriate actions to promote policies related to green economy.

The G-77/China stressed market-based growth strategies as insufficient, and the importance of a national framework of social policies, and opposed integration of social and environmental costs in economic decision making, which Norway and the EU preferred to retain.

Draft Outcome Document: This section, as it stands, has 24 paragraphs, all of which have many brackets and unresolved issues. The paragraphs include language on, inter alia:

  • approaches, visions, models and other tools to achieve poverty eradication and sustainable development, and on green economy as a tool for sustainable development, with bracketed references to it as an “essential” as opposed to “useful” tool;
  • general guidance for green economy policies, with, inter alia, a reference to common but differentiated responsibilities remaining in brackets;
  • green economy having the potential to drive growth and innovation, which remains bracketed;
  • what green economy should be, such as creating an enabling environment, respecting the sovereign decisions of countries and being a common undertaking for all countries, with many options remaining in brackets;
  • efforts towards an equitable and inclusive transition towards green economy, with bracketed references to “sustainable development” versus “green economy,” and inclusive “future” versus “transition”;
  • each country choosing an appropriate path towards a green economy;
  • managing natural resources in a green economy;
  • job creation potential of green economy;
  • a mix of policies and measures to build a green economy, integrating social and environmental costs in economic decision making and encouraging governments to develop policy options and regulatory frameworks that encourage SCP, with bracketed references to, inter alia: a list of specific policy options; adopting policies and measures in accordance with national priorities, measures and circumstances; and regulatory measures, voluntary approaches and market-based mechanisms;
  • international support to facilitate the transition to green economy, with references to “transition to green economy” versus “achieving sustainable development” remaining in brackets;
  • what green economy should avoid, such as trade barriers, conditionalities on ODA, financing and other forms of cooperation, shifting the financial burden onto developing countries in satisfying the basic needs and wellbeing of people, and financialization of natural resources;
  • communication technologies and innovative applications to promote knowledge exchange and capacity building;
  • international platforms and partnerships or a capacity-development scheme, with both options remaining in brackets;
  • the role of business and industry;
  • networking and experience sharing;
  • implementation of national sustainable development strategies and plans;
  • investment, skills formation, capacity building and technology development, voluntary transfer and access with an important role for both the public and private sectors;
  • States consulting with relevant Major Groups and national legislatures in their decision-making processes; and
  • gathering relevant environmental, social and economic data to assess policy and programme effectiveness and providing support to developing countries in this regard.

IV. INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Working Group 2 negotiated this section, which aims to set out the vision of the framework for sustainable development governance, particularly within the UN system. The draft outcome document contains four subsections (as defined in the “zero draft” document of 10 January 2012) on: strengthening/reforming/integrating the three pillars; the UNGA, ECOSOC, CSD, sustainable development council (SDC) proposal; UNEP, the specialized agency on environment proposal, international financial institutions (IFIs), and UN operational activities at the country level; and regional, national and local issues/activities.

In four readings of most of this section, delegates proposed various additions and amendments. The exception was a number of particularly contentious paragraphs on ECOSOC, CSD, SDC and UNEP, which were only considered once, on 4 May. By the close of the meeting, five paragraphs had been agreed ad referendum, with more than 90 paragraphs—including those on the most contentious issues—remaining bracketed.

STRENGTHENING/REFORMING/INTEGRATING THE THREE PILLARS: An initial exchange of views on this subsection started on 23 April and further readings took place on 25-26 April, 30 April and 2-3 May. On 2 May, Co-Chair Kim made compromise proposals on the text, with no paragraph ultimately agreed ad referendum, although delegates appeared to be close on text underscoring the importance of a strengthened IFSD and on strengthening the science-policy interface, with the G-77/China’s approval pending.

Discussions were also held on the functions of IFSD (or what IFSD should do). This included debate on a proposal by the EU to share experiences and lessons learned through a mechanism of periodic peer review on a voluntary basis, which was opposed by the G-77/China because of the lack of clarity regarding this mechanism (it was also opposed by the US). Delegates also discussed another EU proposal, which was supported by Switzerland, to “regularly review” progress “against clear objectives.” This suggestion was opposed by the G-77/China, which preferred language on monitoring and reviewing progress made on the implementation of sustainable development commitments contained in Agenda 21 and the JPOI.

Draft Outcome Document: This subsection of the draft outcome document does not contain any agreed text but retains several proposals by delegates, including: periodic peer review on a voluntary basis; the engagement of high-level political leaders and identification of specific actions to promote the effective implementation of sustainable development; and the enhancement and strengthening of the monitoring and review of the implementation of all commitments related to SIDS and other commitments.

UNGA, ECOSOC, CSD, SDC PROPOSAL AND UNEP: On 24 April, delegates engaged in an initial exchange of views and made various proposals on inter alia, recognizing universality of the UN, what IFSD should do, the UNGA and ECOSOC. Further readings took place on 26 April and 3 May, and Co-Chair Kim started making compromise proposals on the text on 3 May, with two paragraphs ultimately agreed ad referendum.

During these discussions, the most contentious paragraphs on ECOSOC, CSD, SDC and UNEP were not taken up by delegates, since the G-77/China indicated that it was not yet ready to present its collective position. Therefore, an exchange of views of delegations on IFSD options was held on 27 April without the active participation of the G-77/China. Delegates presented key elements of their positions, including the EU and Kenya’s support for upgrading UNEP; a strong US preference for working with existing institutions; Kazakhstan and Norway’s preference for SDC; Japan’s proposal to reform the CSD; and Canada’s call for ECOSOC to play a more integrated role in sustainable development. 

On 3 May, the G-77/China announced that it was ready to present its proposal, which included: the establishment of a high-level political forum with an intergovernmental character, building on existing relevant structures or bodies, including the CSD; and strengthening UNEP’s capacities.

On Friday morning, 4 May, other delegations reacted to the G-77/China proposal. While reserving their positions, several welcomed it as a useful contribution with some valuable elements. The EU suggested that it was not sufficiently ambitious.

Later that day, the G-77/China withdrew its entire proposal after Kenya, for the African Group, announced in Working Group 2 that some elements of the African proposal had not been incorporated into the G-77/China position, especially with regard to strengthening and consolidating UNEP into a specialized agency based in Nairobi. The G-77/China, which until then had been speaking with one voice on this issue, was unable to continue to present a collective position. Peru, along with many other countries, requested reinstating the G-77/China proposal. However, a number of other members of the G-77/China, including Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Morocco, expressed support for Kenya’s proposal. A few countries provided initial reactions, including Switzerland and the EU, which noted commonalities between the original G-77/China proposal and proposals made by other countries, and said that these commonalities could represent building blocks for future work. At the end of the meeting, the entire text remained heavily bracketed.

Draft Outcome Document: The latest version of the draft outcome document includes numerous options, including: a system-wide strategy for sustainable development in the UN system, strengthening the role of ECOSOC; improving the CSD; transforming the CSD into an SDC; strengthening the capacity of UNEP; establishing UNEP as a UN specialized agency for the environment, with universal membership; and supporting the establishment of an Ombudsperson, or High Commissioner for Future Generations. The IFSD proposal presented by the G-77/China on 3 May has also been kept in the document with the attributions of the various countries that supported this proposal.

The two paragraphs agreed ad referendum in this subsection relate to: an improved and effective IFSD that should take into account, inter alia, shortcomings, relevant implications, synergies and duplication; and reaffirming ECOSOC as a principal body for policy review, dialogue and recommendations.

IFIs, UN OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES AT COUNTRY LEVEL: An initial exchange of views on paragraphs related to IFIs, UN operational activities at the country level and other related matters started on 23 April with further readings on 27 April, 1 May and 3 May. Based on the proposals brought by delegates, Co-Chair Kim made compromise proposals on the text on 3 May, with one paragraph ultimately agreed ad referendum.

Among the issues discussed was a proposal related to the reviewing of the state of the planet for which Switzerland, supported by the EU and the US, requested deleting reference to “continuation” of a regular global sustainable development assessment, saying no such process is in place. The G-77/China reserved its position, and noted a need to highlight initiatives addressing all pillars of sustainable development. At a later stage of the negotiations, the US, Switzerland and New Zealand expressed their support for this initiative, while the G-77/China preferred dealing with it in the context of discussions on UNEP. Discussions were also held around retaining text on building on lessons learned from ongoing initiatives including “Delivering as One,” which the G-77/China opposed, while New Zealand and other countries asked to retain. They also focused on a Canadian proposal to strengthen the role of the UN resident coordinator in support to country authorities. This proposal was supported by the EU, New Zealand, Norway, US, Montenegro and Australia, while the G-77/China and Russian Federation opposed it.

Draft Outcome Document: As at 4 May, the document retains key options proposed by delegations including a regular review of the state of the planet; enhancing coordination and cooperation among multilateral environmental agreements; further mainstreaming the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the UN System; strengthening operational activities in the field; and encouraging action to promote access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

The paragraph agreed ad referendum refers to giving due consideration to sustainable development by the IFIs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and other relevant entities.

REGIONAL, NATIONAL, SUB-NATIONAL, LOCAL: An initial exchange of views on this subsection started on 23 April. Further readings took place on 27 April, 1 May and 3 May. On 3 May, Co-Chair Kim made compromise proposals on the text, taking into account amendments brought by delegates, with two paragraphs ultimately being agreed ad referendum.

Key issues discussed included regional and sub-regional organizations and calling on countries to undertake actions to enact clear and effective legislation for sustainable development.

On regional and sub-regional organizations, Mexico proposed additional text urging the strengthening of UN regional commissions and sub-regional offices, and emphasizing “resource allocation.” The EU, US and Japan did not support this proposal. At a later stage of the negotiation process, Mexico withdrew its proposal on resource allocation, but asked to retain reference to strengthening UN regional commissions and their sub-regional offices in their capacities to support governments in implementing sustainable development. Compromise text accommodating this request was agreed ad referendum.

Based on an earlier proposal from Switzerland, a new paragraph was suggested on ensuring long-term political commitment and calling on countries to undertake actions particular to their national circumstances to enact clear and effective legislation for sustainable development. Later on in the negotiations, the EU expressed support for this paragraph. Canada, supported by Australia and the Republic of Korea, proposed to replace “call on” with “encourage.” The G-77/China and the US asked to delete reference to enacting legislation for sustainable development, but Switzerland opposed.

Draft Outcome Document: The draft text addresses, inter alia, developing and utilizing sustainable development strategies; more coherent and integrated planning and decision-making; and regional and cross-regional initiatives for sustainable development.

The draft contains two paragraphs that were agreed ad referendum. One acknowledges the importance of the regional dimension and that it can complement action at the national level; the other emphasizes the significant role of regional and sub-regional organizations in promoting a balanced integration of sustainable development.

V. FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION AND FOLLOW-UP

Section V of the draft text, titled “Framework for Action and Follow-Up,” comprises about half of the entire text of the draft outcome document. It contains three subsections, focused on: priority/key/thematic/cross-sectoral issues and areas; accelerating and measuring progress; and means of implementation. This summary provides an overview of negotiations on key topics that generated the most discussion or debate, and presents a brief outline of the draft outcome document as it stood at the conclusion of the meeting on 4 May.

A. PRIORITY/KEY/THEMATIC/CROSS-SECTORAL ISSUES AND AREAS: This subsection constitutes more than one-third of the entire text of the draft outcome document. By 4 May, it contained approximately 240 draft paragraphs (including alternative drafts) proposed by delegations and the Co-Chairs, and from the original zero draft. The subsection identifies various issue areas and proposed text on each, which delegations added to during the course of the meeting. As of 4 May, the list included: 

  • eradication of poverty;
  • sustainable agriculture and food security;
  • water and sanitation;
  • energy;
  • sustainable tourism;
  • sustainable transportation;
  • harmony with nature;
  • sustainable cities/human settlements;
  • health;
  • jobs;
  • oceans and seas;
  • small island developing states;
  • least developed countries;
  • land-locked developing countries;
  • Africa;
  • other groups and regions with sustainable development challenges;
  • disaster risk reduction and resilience;
  • climate change;
  • forests;
  • biodiversity and ecosystem services;
  • desertification, land degradation and drought;
  • mountains;
  • chemicals and waste;
  • atmosphere;
  • sustainable consumption and production;
  • mining;
  • education;
  • family;
  • gender equality and empowerment of women;
  • private sector; and
  • sustainable innovation and investment.

Delegates conducted a paragraph-by-paragraph reading and review of the text, considering all of these issues in turn, and completed a second reading on most of the paragraphs. Issues that proved the most controversial and took up the most time included: sustainable agriculture and food security; water and sanitation; energy; oceans and seas; sustainable tourism; sustainable transportation; harmony with nature; and gender equality and empowerment.

Working Group 1 addressed sustainable agriculture and food security on 24 April and 2 May. The G-77/China pressed for its texts on market access, price volatility, empowering rural populations, the Doha Agriculture Mandate, and unsustainable consumption patterns in developed countries. Japan and Switzerland sought references to the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment, on which several reserved because the Principles are not yet agreed. The US, Switzerland, Japan and the EU proposed different language regarding the Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, which the G-77/China opposed.

Delegates discussed water and sanitation on 24 April and 3 May, with the G-77/China wishing to retain its prior proposals on access to water and sanitation as a human right and on increased support to developing country efforts to accelerate progress towards water access and management, and suggesting references only to “basic” sanitation. The US suggested referencing “safe” rather than “clean” drinking water, Japan sought reaffirmation of the need to develop integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans, and Switzerland sought referencing tools, such as the water footprint and payments for ecosystem services. The EU proposed goals on access to safe and clean drinking water, reduction of water pollution, increasing water efficiency and promoting the use of nonconventional water resources.

The Working Group took up energyon 24 April and 3 May, with debate focusing on: whether to reduce or phase-out energy-related subsidies, and which types; whether to refer to access to “modern energy services” or “sustainable energy” or some combination of the two; the status of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative; energy source diversification, particularly the role of renewable sources; energy efficiency; and what national energy policies should address. The EU introduced, supported by Canada and New Zealand but opposed by the G-77/China, new text emphasizing that each country should implement national energy policies and low-emission development strategies.

Delegates considered proposed text on harmony with nature on 24 April and 2 May. This section was the subject of protracted discussions, with Bolivia and Ecuador at first proposing text that the G-77/China then took on board, about: promoting harmony with nature and the Earth; launching discussions for a universal declaration on the rights of nature; and recognizing the rights of Mother Earth to life, regenerate biocapacity, continue vital cycles and processes, maintain the diversity of components, be free of contamination or pollution, and be restored from harm. The NCST considered by Working Group 1 during the second week spoke generally about the need to balance eradicating poverty while promoting harmony with nature and protecting ecosystems, but omitted discussion of a possible universal declaration of the rights of nature or endorsing the rights of Mother Earth, so the G-77/China asked to retain the earlier text. At the urging of several delegations, this subsection was moved to Section I.

Working Group 1 discussed oceans and seas on 25 April and 3-4 May, with negotiations proving to be particularly contentious. Disagreements surfaced within the G-77/China, with Venezuela opposing text on a possible UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) instrument on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction and a group of developing countries, led by South Africa, supporting negotiations for such an instrument.

Other sources of disagreement in Working Group 1 discussions included, inter alia: access to fisheries; market access for fish products from developing countries; referencing blue economy; considering the assessment findings of the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment in formulating national, regional and global oceans policies; calling for ratification of UNCLOS; listing regional cooperation initiatives on conservation and sustainable management of oceans; commitments regarding marine protected areas (MPAs); referencing International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions and regulations; fisheries-related subsidies; ship emissions; how best to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; ratifying or acceding to and implementing the 1995 Agreement on the Conservation of Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks; referencing the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; and eliminating harmful fishing practices.

On ocean fertilization and acidification, the G-77/China sought to retain its paragraphs from the March version of the draft outcome document. The EU added goals regarding IUU and conservation and sustainable management of oceans.

Delegates debated text on gender equality and empowerment of women on 26 April. While there was general consensus on the need for a strong subsection on this topic, opinions differed on phrasing and which initiatives and aspects to highlight. Among the proposals were references to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Norway, the G-77/China, EU, US and Liechtenstein); putting women on equal footing with men on sustainable development decision-making roles (Norway, Liechtenstein, New Zealand and the EU); increasing the number of women in leadership positions to at least 40% (Iceland); giving women the right to inherit property (Norway); and committing to use gender-sensitive indicators (Norway and the EU).

Draft outcome document:The draft outcome document contains 240 paragraphs under this subsection, covering 30 different issues proposed by various delegates, as well as suggestions for how to order the paragraphs and topics addressed. Except where indicated, these proposals remain bracketed.

On a preambular opening paragraph, several proposals were submitted, focused on issues such as assessing progress to date and gaps in implementation of existing outcomes and agreements, the need to focus on all three pillars/dimensions of sustainable development and “planetary boundaries.”

On poverty eradication, the various texts highlight issues such as the MDGs, social protection and the right to development.

On sustainable agriculture and food security, the text highlights issues such as fisheries, the right to be free from hunger, trade, agricultural productivity and the role of science and technology, the role of rural communities, indigenous peoples and women, possible goals and targets, land tenure issues, and the Committee on Food Security.

On water and sanitation, the document addresses integrated water resource management, access to safe and clean drinking water and basic sanitation (including a possible 2030 goal and mobilizing resources in this regard), capacity building, water pollution and transboundary cooperation.

On energy, the draft highlights the role of energy in development and poverty eradication, access to modern energy services, national sovereignty in determining suitable policies, energy efficiency, renewable energy, the goal of limiting temperature rise to 2°C, the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, and phasing out subsidies.

The proposed section on sustainable tourism is the only thematic area agreed ad referendum. It contains two paragraphs that: call for enhanced support for sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity building in developing countries; encourage the promotion of investments in sustainable tourism; and underline the importance of establishing, where necessary, appropriate guidelines and regulations.

On sustainable transportation, the two relevant paragraphs address the role of transportation in enhancing economic growth and supporting sustainable transport systems, including energy efficient, multi-modal, public mass transportation systems, and clean fuels and vehicles, as well as improved transportation systems in rural areas.

On harmony with nature, the various proposals cover issues ranging from poverty eradication to promoting a life in harmony with nature and “recognizing the rights of Mother Earth.” These various proposals remain bracketed, and there was also a proposal to move this text to Section I (Preamble).

 On sustainable cities/human settlements, the text focuses on issues such as slum upgrading or urban regeneration, integrated and sustainable urban planning, empowerment of local authorities and residents, and partnerships.

On health, the text focuses on universal health coverage, rights, communicable diseases, prevention and treatment, the Doha Declaration on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and Public Health, family planning and sexual and reproductive rights/health, and maternal and child mortality.

On jobs, proposals include a focus on social protection, the need to create hundreds of millions of decent jobs, youth employment, indigenous peoples, women, poverty eradication, sustainable livelihoods, public and private investments, migration, and an intergovernmental process under UNGA for a global employment strategy.   

On oceans and seas, proposed text relates to: protecting and restoring ocean and marine ecosystems; marine protected areas; pollution; coral reefs; ocean acidification; maintaining or restoring fisheries; subsidies; IUU; capacity building; fair access to fisheries; transparency and accountability in fisheries management by regional fisheries management organizations; small-scale fishers; funding mechanisms; the blue economy; and marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction and a possible implementing agreement to UNCLOS. 

On small island developing states, proposals deal with their unique and particular vulnerabilities, climate change, and relevant treaties.

On least developed countries, text includes a commitment to assist with a goal of enabling half of them to leave this class of countries through poverty eradication and accelerated, equitable growth and sustainable development.

On land-locked developing countries, text addresses transportation and trade challenges.

On Africa, proposals address poverty, investment, market access, ODA, disease, and relevant commitments under various existing treaties.

On other groups with sustainable development challenges, proposals address the needs of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Quito Declaration, poverty eradication in Asia-Pacific, the MDGs, and progress and challenges in Arab countries.

On disaster risk reduction and resilience, paragraphs consider resilient cities and communities, resource scarcity and climate change, risk assessments, early warning systems, cross-border cooperation, and the Hyogo Framework for Action.  

On climate change, the text highlights the many challenges and vulnerabilities, the outcome of the Durban Climate Change Conference, the goal of limiting temperature rise to 2°C, funding, mitigation and adaptation.  

On forests, proposals cover such issues as sustainable forest management, the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on all Types of Forests, biodiversity and conservation, livelihoods and financing.

On biodiversity and ecosystem services, the text addresses the severity of global biodiversity loss, traditional knowledge, genetic resources, poor and indigenous peoples, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and relevant treaties, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

On desertification, land degradation and drought, proposals highlight the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Africa’s vulnerability, soil and land management, monitoring and early warning systems, and partnerships.

On mountains, paragraphs deal with mountains’ crucial role in providing water resources, vulnerability to climate change and mountain ecosystems.

On chemicals and waste, paragraphs address the JPOI goal of sound management by 2020, strengthening the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Montreal Protocol, and negotiations on a mercury instrument.

On atmosphere, a short text addresses transboundary air pollution and scientific knowledge.

On sustainable consumption and production (SCP), various paragraphs address disparities between rich and poor and North and South, sustainable procurement, and the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP.

On mining, the text notes its catalytic/potential role in economic development and poverty alleviation, while urging comprehensive legal and regulatory frameworks and policies.

On education, the text covers the right to education, curricula on sustainability, universal access to primary education, vocational training and lifelong learning, and values.

On family, this text supports the family’s role as “the basic unit of society.”

On gender equality and empowerment of women, various proposals highlight women’s vital role in sustainable development, barriers to full participation in the economy and decision-making, rural women and girls, and family planning and other sexual and reproductive rights.

On the private sector, the text addresses corporate reporting and accountability.

On sustainable innovation and investment, proposals deal with long-term regulatory certainty, sustainability standards for resource extraction and production, and making prices reflect true environmental and social costs and benefits (including payments for ecosystem services, carbon pricing and phasing out harmful subsidies).

B. ACCELERATING AND MEASURING PROGRESS: Working Group 1 completed a first reading of this subsection on 26 April, and began, but did not complete, a second reading on 4 May. This section mostly addresses the proposal on sustainable development goals (SDGs). Some of the main points of contention revolved around the relationship between SDGs and the MDGs, principles and characteristics of SDGs, and the process to develop such goals. Not everyone agreed with the proposal to develop SDGs or to call them SDGs per se, but most supported some kind of goals for sustainable development.

During the discussions, the G-77/China: noted their willingness to explore the SDG concept; said the goals would have to be based on the three pillars and be time-bound; and stressed the process must be intergovernmental, inclusive and under the UNGA. Acknowledging technical expertise may be utilized, he highlighted that governments should be firmly in control of the process, and said the MDGs are and will continue to be relevant alongside SDGs.

The EU said discussions and this process must not prejudge or interfere with review or implementation of the MDGs. Many delegates stressed SDGs should be universal in application and should complement not replace the MDGs. A number of countries said that SDGs are critical in forming a post-2015 development agenda.

Mexico said a meaningful Rio+20 outcome on SDGs depends on four critical elements: principles guiding their elaboration; process; thematic areas; and a reporting system. On process, he proposed: establishing a group of experts, supported by the UN Secretary-General; creating a Sustainable Development Outlook for assessment that reports to ECOSOC; and mandating the UN Statistical Commission to identify appropriate indicators.

Regarding a paragraph containing approximately 20 principles and characteristics proposed by the G-77/China that should guide SDGs, positions diverged over whether the list should be concise or more prescriptive. The G-77/China stressed that having a list of principles and characteristics, as well as specific MOI linked to achieving SDGs, was critical to agreement on SDGs in Rio.

Delegates also discussed a paragraph on establishing a country-driven intergovernmental process on SDGs that is inclusive, transparent and open to participation of all relevant stakeholders and that draws on relevant expert advice and evidence. Switzerland said the process should be driven by relevant expert advice and evidence. The US: expressed concern over language on coordination and coherence with the MDG review process, noting this could imply two processes competing for one set of resources; and proposed language requesting the Secretary-General to launch and coordinate a process on the post-2015 UN development agenda, which integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development. Norway said technical experts would be needed and feared drawn-out negotiations would impede coming up with precise goals.

Delegates also diverged on whether to include a list of indicative thematic areas to help guide the process to develop SDGs, with the G-77/China, the US, Japan and others opposing. Switzerland called for SDGs in areas that have a global impact.

Draft Outcome Document: The title of the subsection remains unresolved, with bracketed references to “Accelerating and measuring progress,” “Sustainable development goals” and “Integrating sustainable development in a post-2015 development framework.” This subsection has a number of paragraphs, most of which refer to the proposed SDGS, although the term itself remains bracketed alongside reference to “any goals.” Most of the paragraphs in the document have many brackets. A number of paragraphs were not discussed during the second reading. These paragraphs address, inter alia:

  • the MDGs as a useful tool in focusing achievement of specific development gains as part of a broad development vision and framework for the development activities of the United Nations;
  • the need for a set of goals that addresses all three dimensions of sustainable development and their interlinkages;
  • principles and characteristics, many of which remain bracketed, that should guide SDGs or any goals, including that goals should be concise and readily communicable and focused on priority areas, apply to all countries, achieve poverty eradication, complementing or building upon the MDGs, and respect the sovereignty of States over their natural resources;
  • the process to develop such goals under the UNGA, with language on this process remaining bracketed alongside reference to a process for the post-2015 UN development agenda; a reference to “intergovernmental” process remains bracketed as well; and
  • a list of indicative thematic areas that can help to guide the process to develop the SDGs.

The following new Co-Chairs’ proposed paragraphs were not yet addressed during the second reading of this subsection. They address:

  • measuring progress towards SDGs by an agreed set of indicators and assessing them on the basis of specific targets that could be differentiated depending on countries’ levels of development and national specificities; and
  • the limitations of GDP as a measure of wellbeing and sustainable growth, and the development of science-based and rigorous measurement methods.

C. MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: Working Group 1 only addressed Section V-C on MOI on 24 April, working mostly on the Co-Chairs’ Suggested Text (CST), although the G-77/China asked to retain many of its proposals in the draft outcome document resulting from the March 2012 informal consultations. New CST (NCST) introduced by the Co-Chairs during the second week in an attempt to streamline heavily bracketed CST, was not discussed. Working Group 1 addressed five components in the CST for Section V-C: finance; science and technology; capacity building; trade; and the proposed registry or compendium of commitments.

On finance, the G-77/China sought texts on honoring past ODA commitments, debt relief, providing additional and predictable sources, increasing the core resources of UN funds and programmes, and a specific dollar target for fund mobilization by 2020 in support of the goals agreed at Rio+20. Developed country delegations sought to reference mobilization of private sources, innovative financing and the UN Convention against Corruption.

On science and technology, Working Group 1 debate focused on CST texts on an appropriate mechanism to facilitate clean technology dissemination, international cooperation to promote investment in science, innovation and technology, and whether or not to establish an intergovernmental panel of experts on sustainable development and/or ask the UN Secretary-General to report on options for strengthening the science-policy interface. There was little discussion of the G-77/China proposal retained from the compilation text, opposed by the EU, US, Japan, Canada and New Zealand, for an international technology transfer mechanism.

Regarding capacity building, delegates discussed CST on building capacity regarding resource-efficient economies and promoting SCP patterns, enabling developing countries to undertake effective adaptation strategies, human resource development, supporting South-South and triangular cooperation, and promoting public-private partnerships.

On trade, Working Group 1 debated CST on subsidies, aid for trade, and World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on environmental goods and services. The G-77/China asked to retain its proposals from the March draft outcome document on market access, access to medicines, WTO inclusiveness and transparency, and implementing aid for trade commitments.

The US introduced its proposal for a compendium of commitments and encouraged all participants to register voluntary commitments and make them publicly available. While Switzerland generally supported the idea, it asked to retain an earlier proposal from the draft outcome document detailing a follow-up mechanism. The G-77/China asked to delete this subsection.

Draft Outcome Document:Currently only the titles of two of the subsections, Finance and Trade, are agreed.

The finance section contains NCST, heavily bracketed CST and G-77/China proposals from the March draft outcome document on prioritization of sustainable development in the allocation of resources, fulfillment of ODA commitments, aid effectiveness, aid to Africa, financial commitments related to climate change, new credit facilities by IFIs, coherence and coordination among funding mechanisms related to sustainable development, debt relief, Global Environment Facility (GEF) reform, the UN Convention Against Corruption, innovative sources of financing, and the role of the private sector.

Beyond proposals to add innovation and R&D to the title, the draft science and technology section contains NCST, heavily bracketed CST and G-77/China proposals from the March compilation text on: access to environmentally sound technologies, know-how and expertise; an enabling environment for the development, adaptation and dissemination of technologies; strengthening national scientific and technological capacities; international cooperation to promote investment in science, innovation and technology for sustainable development; intellectual property rights; an “appropriate” mechanism to facilitate clean technology dissemination to developing countries; space-technology-based data and geospatial information; a possible window at the Green Climate Fund to facilitate the transfer of green technologies, including on the area of new and renewable energy resources; international, regional and national capacities in technology assessment; the science-policy interface; and the G-77/China proposal for an international technology transfer mechanism.

The capacity building section is all CST and NCST, with the most heavily bracketed CST concerning how the UN System should support developing countries in capacity building for resource-efficient economies and promoting SCP. Texts with few brackets include those on human resources development, North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, the Bali Strategic Plan, and encouraging the participation of male and female scientists and researchers from developing countries in processes related to global environmental and sustainable development assessment and monitoring.

The trade section contains competing CST, NCST and G-77/China proposals from the March draft outcome document on: the Doha Round, including the negotiations regarding trade in environmental goods and services; WTO inclusiveness and transparency; market access; resisting protectionist tendencies; access to medicines; trade capacity building and facilitation; subsidies; and aid for trade.

Beyond the US presentation and initial reactions, the compendium of commitments was not discussed in detail.

CLOSING PLENARY

Co-Chair Kim Sook convened the closing plenary late on Friday afternoon, 4 May. While noting some progress, he acknowledged that much work remained, with about 400 paragraphs still bracketed and just 21 agreed ad referendum. He reported that the Bureau had met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier in the day, and had discussed the large amount of work remaining. He indicated that the Secretary-General had told the Bureau that UNCSD was a once-in-a-generation opportunity. With this guidance in mind, the Bureau decided to hold one more week of negotiations prior to Rio+20, which will take place at UN Headquarters in New York, from 29 May to 2 June 2012.

Co-Chair Kim suggested that, to achieve its goals, the group must change its working methods dramatically. He indicated that by 22 May, the Co-Chairs would produce a new, streamlined text for delegates’ consideration. He also stated that the workload of the working groups would be divided more evenly, with one group focusing on Sections I-IV, while the other focused on Section V. In addition, he noted that he would be unable to attend this meeting due to prior commitments, and informed delegates that Vice-Chair Keith Christie (Canada) would replace him as Co-Chair. In closing, he indicated that he was “cautiously optimistic” of success in Rio, in spite of the hard work ahead.

The G-77/China endorsed the Bureau’s recommendation to hold an extra week of negotiations, expressed frustration at the lack of compromise “from time-to-time” during the meeting talks and hoped the Co-Chairs’ new text would assist in moving negotiations forward.

Denmark, for the EU, thanked all involved and looked forward to receiving the Co-Chairs’ new text.

Co-Chair Kim invited Major Groups to speak. Farmers expressed concern about delayed accreditation processes for the UNCSD, which could compromise Major Groups’ participation unless urgently addressed. She supported inclusion in the outcome document of issues, such as aquaculture, sustainable fisheries and land tenure, and said the WTO should not be referenced under the section on agriculture and food security.

The Scientific and Technological Community argued that whatever new IFSD emerges from Rio, the science-policy interface should be clearly established and part of the structure.

Business and Industry highlighted the need to redouble efforts on innovation, collaboration and governance. Highlighting the role of business in many of Rio+20’s themes, she urged greening all sectors in all countries.

Workers and Trade Unions said the global jobs crisis must be tackled, especially for youth, women and the unemployed. Noting that “there are no jobs on a dead planet,” she said jobs that reduce environmental impacts should be at the core of global initiatives. 

Local Authorities highlighted the importance of text on public participation, Major Groups and sustainable cities, and urged a goal of sustainable cities for all.

NGOs called for an outcome from Rio+20 that includes civil society, participatory practices, and strong, binding agreements. Warning against producing “another empty document,” she said Rio+20 may be the last opportunity for decisive action before the global situation becomes irreversible.

Children and Youth said “failure has been too common” during the past two weeks. She called for a Rio+20 outcome that establishes a genuine blue and green economy and establishes a strong framework for human development.

Women expressed concern at the bracketing and deletion of text on rights. She advocated strong text on the Rio Principles, SCP, climate change, women’s rights and equality across all three dimensions of sustainable development.

Indigenous Peoples expressed concern about green economy, which she said should not be used by the private sector to continue exploitative practices. She urged a paradigm shift that recognizes indigenous peoples’ holistic view of development, and consideration of the rights of Mother Earth.

Observing that all Major Groups were represented by women, Co-Chair Kim noted striking evidence of women’s empowerment.

UNCSD Secretary-General Sha Zukang thanked everyone for working “tirelessly” on such important and complex matters. He urged delegates to move forward with a sense of urgency, and supported a change in the working method, since much remains to be done. He observed that the text as it stands is far from being the focused political document mandated by the UNGA, with too much repetition and the various calls for action lost among so many words. He said participants should arrive in Rio with at least 90% of the document ready and only the hardest 10% or less remaining for high-level political attention.

Thanking all participants, Co-Chair Kim adjourned the meeting at 7:15 pm. 

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE MEETING

WHAT’S AT STAKE IN RIO?

As delegates entered UN Headquarters for the second round of “informal informal” negotiations on the Rio+20 outcome document on Monday, 23 April, most were acutely aware that they faced a weighty text, daunting workload, and deep divisions on key issues such as the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD), green economy and even, perhaps, sustainable development goals (SDGs) that many hope will become a concrete outcome of the conference. Since these consultations were supposed to be the penultimate stage in the Rio+20 process, the picture looked somewhat bleak.

Some delegates also arrived with the shattered expectations of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference still fresh in their minds. For them, Copenhagen could help explain the apparently low level of ambition for Rio+20 and why many governments are approaching it with caution. And yet, not everyone agrees that caution is either warranted or wise. Both stakeholders outside the negotiations and some within continue to argue that Rio is a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity of a different order to, say, an annual Conference of the Parties. In this context, progress at this second round of “informal informals” was viewed by many as essential for success in Rio.

Can Rio deliver the sort of outcome many are hoping to see? Or will it serve up only a lukewarm, unappetizing result? This analysis considers these questions and the contribution of the latest meeting in the preparatory process.

THE CONTEXT: A SHIFTING NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE

The classic fault lines in the North-South divide were apparent over the two-week meeting, particularly in debates over language on rights, governance and poverty. Developing country delegates referred frequently to disappointment at the lack of implementation of previous commitments, and emphasized that Rio will be an opportunity to reaffirm such commitments. For its part, the North largely refrained from endorsing calls for increased development funding flows, and preferred to look “forward rather than backwards.” In this respect, the enthusiasm of many developed countries for the green economy continued to meet a somewhat frosty reception from the G-77/China, which called for it to be “inclusive” and focused on poverty eradication. Differences also persisted on the Rio Principles, with the G-77/China’s desire to refer frequently to Principle 7 (on common but differentiated responsibilities) continuing to elicit an unenthusiastic response from the North. Similarly, the US, EU and OECD countries’ support for referencing Principle 10 (on access to information and public participation) was not particularly well received by the South.

Fractures were evident not just between North and South, but also within each group. As usual, the North displayed its own differences, particularly on matters relating to state intervention and regulatory frameworks, with the EU, Switzerland, Norway and Republic of Korea generally lining up across from the US, Canada, and (sometimes) New Zealand and Australia.

As the meeting wore on, the internal coordination challenges faced by G-77/China became increasingly evident, with Working Group sessions frequently suspended for consultation among members. “The current situation echoes the UNFCCC process, where G-77/China consensus has become increasingly difficult,” said a long-time observer of climate negotiations. “G-77/China countries have different social, economic and political realities,” said another. On the sidelines, some questioned whether and to what extent a grouping of such diverse members can continue to be relevant in multi-layered, complex negotiations of such broad scope as this.

In particular, the G-77/China “package proposal” on IFSD was extremely difficult to negotiate within the coalition, according to those involved. Because of this, questions about strengthening of ECOSOC, the status of UNEP and the future of CSD were not discussed in Working Group 2 until Thursday of the second week, as the negotiating groups did not have coordinated positions. The G-77/China proposal, among other points, recommended “strengthening” rather than “upgrading” UNEP. But by Friday, it proved impossible for the G-77/China to paper over the cracks, with its fragile consensus breaking down as Kenya led African nations in a breakaway faction in support of upgrading UNEP into a specialized agency, in contradiction to the previous day’s proposal.

However, as the meeting drew to a close, veterans cautioned less experienced participants not to read too much into the loss of consensus on G-77/China’s IFSD proposal, recalling that group solidarity had been broken before, yet outcomes have almost always been salvaged.

Countries of the North also have different, well-established perspectives. The received wisdom remains that the US will not throw its weight behind the EU on UNEP reform, particularly in light of the current domestic political and economic climate in the United States.

On the proposal to develop sustainable development goals (SDGs) as a concrete deliverable from Rio, there were mixed expectations. Developing countries expressed willingness to engage in a process under the UN General Assembly towards developing SDGs that incorporate the three pillars of sustainable development and with time-bound means of implementation, emphasizing that governments alone will set the agenda for final adoption of such goals. However, some countries were wary of launching such a process. “SDGs would apply across the board, to developed and developing countries alike,” said an observer. “As such, they represent a new set of negotiating challenges.” An NGO representative highlighted the dilemma, “How can you establish universal sustainable development goals if there are common but differentiated responsibilities?”

A TESTING GROUND FOR IDEAS

Despite the many acknowledged shortcomings in negotiations on the draft outcome document, lobbying around the meeting was still intense. Many Major Groups and international organizations are using the Rio process as a way to get a hearing for ideas and policies. Epistemic communities of development and environment practitioners and policy makers have drawn attention to relevant ideas such as “beyond GDP” approaches, planetary boundaries, and sustainability accounting, through seminars and presentations. Even if the related proposals do not leap over the final hurdle and into the text, they were intensely discussed in the corridors. Observers point to the return of “limits to growth” arguments, discussion of resource scarcity, and references to population limits. “Issues that for some time were off the table are getting an airing again,” said one, noting that not all ideas were warmly received. Discussion of population limits, for example, should not occur outside the framework of sexual and reproductive rights, warned one delegate from a Major Group. 

Although Rio+20 is widely regarded as being more than just about the draft outcome document, the importance of the negotiations to many participants was evident in New York. In a subtle recognition of the ongoing power of state actors, many civil society participants spoke of drafting and redrafting proposals, and shopping them around to the delegations. Those whose proposals had already made it into the negotiating text spoke of playing a watchdog role as they attempt to shepherd “their” text to the safety of a final agreement.

NOT ENOUGH PROGRESS, BUT NOT GIVING UP HOPE

During the closing plenary, Co-Chair Kim Sook reminded delegates that the two weeks of negotiations had resulted in ad referendum agreement on just 21 paragraphs. By contrast, a staggering 400 remain to be concluded. For many, this was evidence of a failing process undermined by a lack of flexibility, urgency and spirit of compromise. “The chickens are coming home to roost,” said one civil society participant.

Although these two weeks were intended as the last stop before the final negotiating days in Rio itself, there was general recognition of the inadequate progress, culminating in the Bureau’s decision to hold an additional week of “informal informals” from Tuesday, 29 May to Saturday, 2 June.

Will this extra time help solidify the Rio outcome? In spite of uncertainty over what Rio will produce, many still believe it remains an important policy venue. “It’s an opportunity for a really comprehensive look at all the issues,” suggested one observer. Meanwhile, many stakeholders are “venue-shopping”; there is still hope, said one delegate, that the Rio process could be remembered by two or three very specific “front-page” decisions currently in the text—such as a moratorium on new fisheries subsidies, stronger commitment to corporate sustainability reporting, and a decision related to SDGs.

Some observers are also talking of “crowdsourcing Rio,” in the sense of soliciting creative ideas, knowledge and specific contributions towards shared aims and objectives, suggesting that multiple actors could agree on their own sustainable development-related outcomes that are separate from the text under negotiation. They refer to a scenario in which the intergovernmental process is just one element of the broader picture of Rio.

Some delegates also support this view. A developing country delegate active in the negotiations explained her government’s interest in the green economy, saying, “There are many ideas here that we can use, as long as the text is not restrictive.” A number of developed countries also expressed their desire to share knowledge and forge new partnerships alongside the intergovernmental process, using the momentum that the scale of Rio will generate.

Others note that it’s too early to give up hope for a strong multilateral outcome. Seasoned observers provide reminders that package deals and compromises are rarely made until the eleventh hour. “Yes, the situation is grave,” said one participant. “But that’s why we should engage in Rio… and keep negotiating until the very last minute!”

UPCOMING MEETINGS

Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to Study Issues Relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction: The fifth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction will take place in accordance with General Assembly resolution 66/231 of 24 December 2011, paragraph 168.  dates: 7-11 May 2012   location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea   phone: +1-212-963-3962   fax: +1-212-963-5847   email: doalos@un.org www: http://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversityworkinggroup/biodiversityworkinggroup.htm

World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2012: This Forum is organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). It will focus on sustainable development trends and information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives in some key focus areas of the MDGs, such as health, education, gender empowerment and the environment. dates: 14-18 May 2012  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-5111  fax: +41-22-730-6453  email: wsis-info@itu.int  www: http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2012/

European Union Foreign Affairs Council: The Foreign Affairs Council sets the course for the EU’s external action and ensures coherence of the EU’s different efforts in the area. The Council deals with issues concerning common foreign and security policy, security and defense cooperation, and trade and development policy. This meeting will address preparations for Rio+20. date: 14 May 2012  location: Brussels, Belgium  contact: Michael Mann, Spokesperson  phone: +32-2-299-9780  email: Michael.Mann@ec.europa.eu  www: http://europa.eu/newsroom/calendar/event/338120/foreign-affairs-development-council

UNGA Thematic Debate on Preparations for UNCSD: The President of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) will convene this thematic debate on preparations for the UNCSD on the theme “Road to Rio+20 and beyond.” The thematic debate will also consider the role of the General Assembly in supporting the objectives of Rio+20. Two panel discussions will focus on the centrality of political commitment, the importance of a sustained and meaningful engagement of all stakeholders for a successful outcome in Rio and the post-2015 Development Agenda.  date: 22 May 2012  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office of the President of the General Assembly   phone: +1-212-963-3577  fax: +1-212-963-3301  email:bahamdoun@un.org   www: http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/66/Letters/PDF/Rio+20%20-%2020%20April%202012.pdf

Third round of informal-informal negotiations on the zero draft of the Outcome Document: This round of informal informal negotiations was announced on 4 May to continue to negotiate the draft outcome document for Rio+20.  dates: 29 May - 2 June 2012  location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UNCSD Secretariat  email: uncsd2012@un.org www: http://www.uncsd2012.org/

101st Session of the International Labour Conference: This session is expected to consider employment and social protection in the new demographic context, sustainable development, decent work and green jobs.  dates: 30 May - 15 June 2012  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: ILO Secretariat  phone: +41-22-799-6111  fax: +41- 22-798-8685  email: ilo@ilo.org www: http://www.ilo.org/ilc/ILCSessions/101stSession/lang--en/index.htm

Youth Blast: This event is organized by the UNCSD Major Group of Children and Youth as the official young people’s event for Rio+20. The objectives are to: empower children and youth present at Rio+20; provide information and training for leaders; and provide a space for young people to share best practices for implementing solutions and participating in decision-making at the international level. dates: 7-12 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  email: uncsdmgcy@gmail.com www: http://uncsdchildrenyouth.org/rio20/youth-blast/

Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development: This Forum will provide a space for interdisciplinary scientific discussions, and dialogue between scientists, policy-makers, Major Groups and other stakeholders. Key messages and conclusions from the Forum will be reported to the UNCSD.  dates: 11-15 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: Maureen Brennan  phone: +33-1-4525-0677  fax: +33-1-4288-9431  email: Maureen.Brennan@icsu.org www: http://www.icsu.org/rio20/science-and-technology-forum

Third PrepCom for UNCSD: This meeting will take place in Brazil prior to the UNCSD.  dates: 13-15 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: UNCSD Secretariat  email: uncsd2012@un.org www: http://www.uncsd2012.org/

Global and Regional Research Workshop on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Systems: This workshop is organized by the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production, and will focus on the production of SCP research, as well as its communication and application in practice. The workshop is by invitation only.  dates: 13-15 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: Philip Vergragt  email: pvergragt@tellus.org www: http://grfscp.wordpress.com/

Rio Conventions Pavilion at Rio+20:This event is a collaborative outreach activity of the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions (UNFCCC, UNCCD and CBD), the GEF, and 25 other international, national and local partners. It aims to promote and strengthen synergies between the Rio Conventions at implementation levels by providing a coordinated platform for awareness-raising and information-sharing about the linkages in science, policy and practice between biodiversity, climate change and combating desertification/land degradation.  dates: 13-22 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: Rio Conventions Pavilion  phone: +1-514-288-6588  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: info@riopavilion.org www: http://www.riopavilion.org/

SD-Learning: This capacity-building event provides participants with practical knowledge and training through multiple courses on aspects of sustainable development.  dates: 13-22 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: UNCSD Secretariat  email: uncsd2012@un.org www: http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/meetings_sdlearning.html

ICLEI - 2012 World Congress: This triennial congress will address themes including: green urban economy; changing citizens, changing cities; greening events; and food security and how biodiversity protection can be integrated into municipal planning and decision-making.  dates: 14-17 June 2012  location: Belo Horizonte, Brazil  contact: ICLEI World Secretariat  phone: +49 228 97 62 9900  fax: +49 228 97 62 9901 email: world.congress@iclei.org www: http://worldcongress2012.iclei.org

First GLOBE Summit of Legislators: The summit will be hosted by the Government of Brazil, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, GLOBE International and GLOBE Brazil on the weekend prior to UNCSD, attended by heads of Senates, Congresses, Parliaments, and Chairs of relevant parliamentary committees, to negotiate a legislators’ protocol to be ratified in the respective legislatures of the participating parliaments.  dates: 15-17 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: GLOBE International  phone: +44-0-20-7222 6955  fax: +44-20-7222- 6959  email: info@globeinternational.org www: http://www.globeinternational.info/world-summit-of-legislators/

Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum: Innovation and Collaboration for the Future We Want: The forum will give business and investors an opportunity to meet with governments, local authorities, civil society and UN entities in highly focused workshops and thematic sessions linked to the Rio+20 agenda.  dates: 15-18 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: UN Global Compact Office  phone: +1-212-907-1347  fax: +1-212-963-1207  email: rio2012@unglobalcompact.org www: http://www.unglobalcompact.org/

Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice in Defense of the Commons: The Peoples Summit is being organized by 150 organizations, entities and social movements from various countries, and is scheduled to take place alongside the UNCSD. The objective of the Summit is to request governments to give political power to the Conference.  dates: 15-23 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  email: contact@forums.rio20.net www: http://rio20.net/en/

Fair Idea: Sharing Solutions for a Sustainable Planet: The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is working with partners in Brazil and with international networks and alliances, to organize a series of simultaneous meetings, presentations and discussions around four key themes: shaping Sustainable Development Goals; urbanization that improves lives; business models for sustainability; and transforming economic systems for people and planet.  dates: 16-17 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: IIED  phone: +44 (0) 20 3463 7399  fax: +44 (0)20 3514 9055 email: info@iied.org www:  http://www.fairideas.org

Sustainable Development Dialogues: Organized by the Government of Brazil with the support of the UN, this civil society forum will be held in the context of the UNCSD. Civil society representatives will debate: sustainable development for fighting poverty; sustainable development as an answer to the economic and financial crises; unemployment, decent work and migration; the economics of sustainable development, including SCP; forests; food and nutrition security; sustainable energy for all; water; sustainable cities and innovation; and oceans. Their recommendations will be conveyed to the Heads of State and Governments present at Rio+20.  dates: 16-19 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  email: support@riodialogues.org www: https://www.riodialogues.org/

Oceans Day at UNCSD: The Global Ocean Forum will organize “Oceans Day” during the thematic days immediately preceding the UNCSD.   date: 16 June 2012location: Rio Conventions Pavilion, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   contact: Miriam Balgos, Program Coordinator, Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands   phone: +1-302-831-8086   fax: +1-302-831-3668   email: mbalgos@udel.edu   www: http://www.globaloceans.org/sites/udel.edu.globaloceans/files/Rio20-GOF-Event-Flyer.pdf

World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability: This event, organized by UNEP, aims to promote global consensus among relevant stakeholders engaged in the development of law, Chief Justices and senior judges, Attorneys-General and Public Prosecutors involved in the interpretation and enforcement of law. dates: 17-20 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: Cristina Zucca  email: Cristina.Zucca@unep.org www: http://www.unep.org/dec/worldcongress/

Global Town Hall at Rio+20: The meeting is convened by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.  Discussions will address how local governments can best contribute to global targets for protecting global common goods, how to “green” the urban economy and how to improve global and local governance systems.  dates: 18-22 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: Monika Zimmerman  phone: +49-228/976 299-30  email:GlobalTownHall@iclei.org www: http://local2012.iclei.org/iclei-and-rio-20/rio-20-global-town-hall/

Rio+Social: This event, organized by Mashable, 92nd Street Y, Ericsson, Energias de Portugal (EDP) and the UN Foundation, is an “in-person gathering and global, online conversation on the potential of social media and technology to power a more innovative and better future for our world”. It is set to feature addresses from, among others, Ted Turner and Gro Harlem Brundtland.  date: 19 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and worldwide  contact: Aaron Sherinian  phone: +1-202-887-9040  www: http://rioplussocial.com.br/en/

Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) 2012 Business Day: This is the official UN Major Group Business and Industry event, organized by the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the UN Global Compact. It is intended as a platform for interaction between business leaders and policy-makers with the theme: “Achieving Scale.” It will feature a series of concurrent sector-oriented dialogues on, inter alia, agriculture, chemicals, oceans, energy and forestry, a high-level luncheon, and dialogues and panel discussions on such themes as access to energy, food security, green economy, sustainable consumption, and international governance.  date: 19 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: Peter Paul van de Wijs, WBCSD  phone: +41-22- 839-3141  email:vandewijs@wbcsd.org  www: http://basd2012.org/564/basd-2012-business-day/

Partnership Forum at Rio+20: The Partnership Forum will consist of sessions showcasing the contributions of partnerships to the implementation of sustainable development. The goal of the Forum is to build on the mandate agreed at the 11th session of the CSD and to “reenergize, revitalize and strengthen” partnerships to make them more effective and accountable vehicles for implementation. Sessions will: showcase best practices; discuss how partnerships can advance the implementation of the agreements reached at Rio+20; identify successful models and opportunities for replication and scale up; and promote discussions on more effective accountability measures. dates: 20-22 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: UNCSD Secretariat  email: uncsd2012@un.org www: http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/partnerships.html

 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20): The UNCSD will mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), which convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. dates: 20-22 June 2012  location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contact: UNCSD Secretariat  email: uncsd2012@un.org www: http://www.uncsd2012.org/ 

GLOSSARY

CBD
CSD
CST
ECOSOC
IFIs  
IFSD
IUU
JPOI
LDCs
MDGs
MOI
NCST
ODA
Rio+20
SCP
SDC
SDGs
SIDS
UNCCD
UNCED
UNCLOS
UNCSD      
UNCTAD
UNEP
UNFCCC
UNGA        
WTO

Convention on Biological Diversity
UN Commission on Sustainable Development
Co-Chairs’ suggested text
UN Economic and Social Council
International financial institutions
Institutional framework for sustainable development
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
Least developed countries
Millennium Development Goals
Means of implementation
New Co-Chairs’ suggested text
Official Development Assistance
UN Conference on Sustainable Development (or UNCSD)
Sustainable consumption and production
Sustainable development council
Sustainable development goals
Small island developing states
UN Convention to Combat Desertification
UN Conference on Environment and Development
UN Convention on Law of the Sea
United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (or Rio+20)
UN Conference on Trade and Development
UN Environment Programme
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
UN General Assembly
World Trade Organization

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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Leila Mead, Delia Paul, Keith Ripley, Nathalie Risse, Ph.D., and Chris Spence. The Digital Editor is Manu Kabahizi. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). General Support for the Bulletin during 2012 is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute – GISPRI), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022, United States of America.

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