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Rio +20

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio 20 20-22 June
At the Rio 20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, came together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) was being organized in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 64/236 (A/RES/64/236), and took place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
The Rio 20 Conference was a high level Conference, which included Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference resulted in a focused political document.
The objective of the Conference was to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges
The Conference focused on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.
The outcome of Rio 20, titled “The Future We Want” (A/CONF.216/L.1) contains 283 paragraphs and is 53 pages long.  It is organized into the following six sections:
Section I: Our common vision  
Section II: Renewing political commitment
Section III: Green economy in the context of sustainable development & poverty eradication
Section IV: Institutional framework for sustainable development
Section V: Framework for action & follow-up
Section VI: Means of implementation
Rio 20 Negotiations
Malta participated in the Rio 20 negotiations as an EU member state. The foundation for the EU position at Rio 20 was agreed during the EU Environment Council Meeting of 2nd March 2012.
For the EU, the Rio 20 Conference was a once in a decade opportunity to be fully grasped. It presented a unique opportunity to secure renewed political commitment to move the sustainable development agenda forward worldwide.
During the March 2012 European Council, European Ministers clearly expressed their support for an ambitious outcome at Rio 20, while underlining the following matters in particular:
  • The Conference should advance the global transition towards a green economy, thus promotion environmental protection, contributing to poverty eradication and stimulating low carbon and resource-efficient growth;
  • It should work towards clear operational targets and concrete actions at national and international level within agreed timeframes;
  • It should contribute to a strengthened global institutional framework for sustainable development which should include the upgrade of UNEP to a specialised agency;
  • It should advance the work on global and coherent post-2015 goals for sustainable development, also having regard to the review process of the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Sustainable development cannot be achieved without respecting and promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law, good governance, education, the role of youth and gender equality.
During the informal meeting of EU Environment Ministers in April in Horsens, Denmark, there was a clear understanding that the EU and its Member States should present concrete goals and targets in the forthcoming Rio 20 negotiations starting in New York 23 April. These proposals would be indicative and illustrative of what kind of goals, targets and actions the EU would like to see agreed upon in Rio.
For further information regarding the ongoing negotiations in the run-up to the Rio 20 Conference, please see the official Conference website.
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