ENB Vol. 27 No. 7 – UN Conference on Sustainable Development Regional Preparatory Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean – Final Summary

kristy Green Prosperity

Volume 27 Number 07 – Monday, 12 September 2011


7-9 SEPTEMBER 2011

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) Regional Preparatory Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) convened at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile, from 7-9 September 2011. Approximately 250 participants, including government ministers and delegates, and representatives from UN bodies, intergovernmental organizations, Major Groups, and the press, attended the first regional preparatory meeting for Rio+20, which will take place in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The meeting provided an opportunity for LAC ministers and heads of delegation, as well as members of civil society and the UN, to share their views on the main themes of the UNCSD—a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the global institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD)—as well as on progress to date and gaps in implementation since the UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. As the first of the regional preparatory meetings, the UNCSD LAC meeting delegates faced the challenge of setting a high standard for the other regions both in terms of process and outcome, especially as the Rio+20 host region.

The meeting process was, in some respects, precedent setting, in particular by the inclusion of Major Groups, who participated actively and were given a prominent voice in the meeting, including being allowed to make statements first during the opening plenary. The final conclusions of the meeting recognized the relevance and contribution of civil society in sustainable development.

On green economy, different views persisted among countries. While some strongly opposed the concept for a variety of reasons, including the risk of trade barriers and protectionism, others saw it as a flexible means to achieve sustainable development that can be adjusted to national circumstances. The conclusions did not include any reference to the issue.

On IFSD, some countries suggested strengthening the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to provide a space for high-level dialogue on sustainable development issues. Cuba proposed strengthening the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and eliminating the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, among other modifications. The conclusions affirm commitment to achieve a global institutional framework for sustainable development, which is efficient and flexible, and ensures the effective integration of the three pillars of sustainable development.

A proposal by Colombia and Guatemala on defining sustainable development goals (LC/L.3366) was supported in principle by a number of countries, and along with proposals by Cuba (institutional framework for sustainable development) and Bolivia (Rights of Nature) were referenced in the conclusions, with delegates agreeing to take them home for further examination and consideration as contributions to the Conference.

The conclusions from this meeting will be submitted to the Rio+20 Preparatory Committee, which is receiving inputs for the draft negotiating document until 1 November 2011.

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