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Rio +20 concludes calling for sustainable future

Brazil : The three-day high-level United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, popularly known as Rio+20, has come to an end with the adoption of outcome document titled ‘The Future We Want’ after intensive negotiation among the Member States, Friday.

The conference attended by more than 188 heads of State and Government and high level representatives held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 20-22 renewed their commitment paving the path for social, economic and environmental well-being and called for wide range of action to ensure sustainable future of the Mother Earth.

The call for action includes beginning the process to establish sustainable development goals; detailing how the green economy can be used as a tool to achieve sustainable development; strengthening the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); promoting corporate sustainability reporting measures; taking steps to go beyond gross domestic product to assess the well-being of a country; developing a strategy for sustainable development financing; and, adopting a framework for tackling sustainable consumption and production.

“The outcome document provides a firm foundation for social, economic and environmental well-being,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “It is now our responsibility to build on it. Rio+20 has affirmed fundamental principles – renewed essential commitments – and given us new direction.”

It also focuses on improving gender equity; recognizing the importance of voluntary commitments on sustainable development; and stressing the need to engage civil society and incorporate science into policy; among other points.

The 49-page document has come up with the commitments to freeing humanity from poverty and hunger and launched the inter-governmental process to situate the post-2015 global development agenda in the Sustainable Development framework.

Reaffirming all the previous commitments related to sustainable development including the Rio Principles, Agenda 21, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation as well as their outcomes, the document has identified the role of major groups and stakeholders , including civil society, private sector, women, children and youths and encouraged their active participation and meaningful involvement for sustainable development at all levels.

The international framework for sustainable development has strengthened the role of the UN General Assembly, states the declaration.

The Rio+20 common vision paper has envisioned two separate processes for establishing mechanism for sustainable development: financing and technology transfer to the developing countries.

Underscoring special challenges of sustainable development faced by the LDCs, the internationally agreed document has given due priority to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in a separate sub-section under the thematic area for the first time.

“We reaffirm that the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs for the Decade 2011-2020 outlines LDCs’ priorities for sustainable development and defines a framework for renewed and strengthened global partnership to implement them. We commit to assist LDCs with the implementation of the IPOA as well as their efforts to achieve sustainable development’, reads the document.

The Rio+20 outcome document has also highlighted the need for sustainable mountain development in developing countries and that of global support to that end. ‘States are encouraged to adopt a long-term vision and holistic approaches, including through incorporating mountain-specific policies into national sustainable development strategies.

“Sustainable development is the only option for humanity, for our shared planet, for our common future,” Rio+20’s Secretary-General, Sha Zukang, said in his closing remarks. “Let the commitments of Rio be with us all, as we continue our journey towards a sustainable future.”

During the Conference, some 513 billion US Dollar in funding has been committed by governments, the private sector, civil society and other groups to achieve a sustainable future. “The commitments that we share with you today demonstrate that governments, the UN systems, and the nine major groups are committed and serious about implementation, said Rio+20’s Secretary-General, Sha Zukang, at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Our job now is to create a critical mass, an irresistible momentum. Because the road ahead is long and hard,” Mr. Ban noted. “Rio+20 has given us a solid platform to build on. And it has given us the tools to build with – the work starts now.”

“The speeches are over. Now the work begins,” Mr. Ban said at the closing ceremony of the three-day summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It is learnt that thousands of events were held in the lead-up to and during Rio+20, including more than 500 official and side events at the Riocentro Convention Center, where the conference was held.

More than 40,000 people – including parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders – attended Rio+20, which was biggest UN conference ever held. The event followed 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.

Over 50 million people from all over the world also participated in the Conference through social media platforms, voicing their comments, opinions and ideas, making the platforms a key component in establishing a conversation on sustainability issues during the Conference, the UN official media centre stated. RSS

Published Date: Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 | 06:30 AM

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