Rio+20 Must Result In ‘Concrete’ Decisions to Advance Sustainable Development – Ban

New York, Jun  6 2012  1:05PM
With just two weeks until the start of a major United Nations sustainable
development conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries
to step up efforts to achieve concrete decisions to reduce poverty while
promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of
resources.

“Rio+20 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make real progress towards
the sustainable economy of the future,” Mr. Ban told a press conference at
UN Headquarters in New York, referring to the UN Conference on Sustainable
Development (Rio+20) that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to
22 June.

More than 100 heads of State and government, along with thousands of
parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, Chief Executive Officers and civil
society leaders are expected to attend Rio+20 to shape new policies to
promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and
environmental protection.

The gathering follows on from the Earth Summit in 1992, also held in Rio de
Janeiro, during which countries adopted Agenda 21 – a blueprint to rethink
economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.

Mr. Ban said that there is still much work ahead, but foundations are in
place for agreement on the remainder of the negotiating text that is
expected to become the outcome of the conference.

“I expect the negotiators to accomplish this in the days before ministers
and world leaders arrive in Rio. Leaders will then act to resolve all
outstanding issues,” he stated. “Their job is to achieve renewed political
commitment for sustainable development. We aspire to nothing less than a
global movement for generational change.”

Negotiators concluded the last round of Rio+20 preparatory talks – focussed
on the gathering’s outcome document – in New York last Saturday, and they
have now reached agreement on more than 20 per cent of the document, with
many additional paragraphs close to agreement.

The Secretary-General cited several “concrete outputs” he expected from
Rio+20, which he said will improve the lives of real people around the
world.

The first is to agree to define a path to an inclusive green economy that
will lift people from poverty and protect the global environment, he said,
adding that this requires international collaboration, investment, and an
exchange of experiences and technology among countries.

Second, leaders should agree to define sustainable development goals with
clear and measurable targets and indicators.  These so-called “SDGs” will be
a central part of the post-2015 global development framework, he stated.

Also needed are decisions on key elements of the institutional framework for
sustainable development, as well as strong, action-oriented outcomes on a
wide range of cross-cutting areas, such as food security and sustainable
agriculture, oceans, gender equality and women’s empowerment, education and
energy.

Progress is also needed in the area of implementation, including reaffirming
past commitments and initiatives on trade, financing for development,
technology transfer and capacity building, the UN chief said.

In addition, more partnerships with civil society and the private sector –
strategic alliances that can galvanize global public support and drive
change – are important.

“Ultimately, Rio+20 will be measured in the transformation it sets in motion
– the lives it changes for the better,” said Mr. Ban.

“Our hopes for future prosperity, health and stability rest on finding a
path that integrates the economic, social and environmental pillars of
development,” he added. “Sustainable development is an idea whose time has
come. It is the future we want.”

Following the latest round of negotiations in New York, the next and final
preparatory talks will be held in Rio de Janeiro from 13 to 15 June, just
ahead of the Conference.

“I sense a real dialogue – a real willingness to find common ground,” said
the Secretary-General of Rio+20, Sha Zukang, in the wake of the New York
talks. “This spirit is encouraging and we must carry it to Rio.”

Addressing a press conference at UN Headquarters today, the President of the
General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said that it is important that
the negotiations focus on the “big picture” and not just individual national
interests or individual group interests.

“Rio+20 is about setting the world on the right course for sustainable
growth for future generations,” he told reporters. “The real work will begin
after the conference is over, when we will need concrete action on various
key areas of concern.”
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