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The Rio+20 Summit
The objectives and themes of the Rio+20 summit
The objectives of the Rio+20 Summit were to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development, to assess progress towards internationally agreed goals on sustainable development and to address new and emerging challenges. Two specific themes were agreed: Green Economy in the Context of Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development, and Institutional Frameworks for Sustainable Development.
To prepare negotiations, the UN Secretary General compiled country reports into a Synthesis Report on Best Practices and Lessons Learned on the objective and themes of the Conference. Four shortcomings stood out:
- The sustainable development agenda often remains separate from the core of policy formulation that takes place in single-issue departments.
- Monitoring and enforcement of agreed sustainable development strategies at all governance levels are weak and usually undermined by short-term economic growth concerns.
- Some sectors and policies remain almost untouched by sustainability concerns and accountability is weak, in particular the financial sector.
- Transparency and disclosure of information on the underlying trade-offs of policy choices are insufficient in particular with concern to long-term trends.
Why was Rio+20 a Key Opportunity for Change?
The original Rio Earth Summit in 1992 produced the following statement:
“We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying… We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions.” World Commission Sustainable Development Report Our Common Future, 1987″
We were hopeful that the Rio+20 conference would translate these words into actions. Over 45.000 people from Governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and others congregated for this event in Brazil in June 2012. The Future Justice campaign focused on integrating intergenerational justice into the concrete outcomes of the Summit. Going into the conference the High Level Representative for Sustainable Development and Future Generations remained one of the proposals on the table. Unfortunately despite many vocal supporters among civil society and governments we did not see commitment to establish this institution.
Instead, after much discussion the outcome document titled “The Future We Want” included an invitation for the Secretary General of the United Nations to commission a report on the subject in paragraph 86:
“We will also consider the need for promoting intergenerational solidarity for the achievement of sustainable development, taking into account the needs of future generations, including by inviting the Secretary General to present a report on this issue.”
We hope to work with those commissioned to write the report and see concrete calls towards intergenerational justice emerge as a result.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row el_position="last"][vc_column][quote name="Our Common Future" title="Brundtland Report 1987" photo="1326" thetext2="The integrated and interdependent nature of the new challenges and issues contrasts sharply with the nature of the institutions that exist today. These institutions tend to be independent, fragmented, and working to relatively narrow mandates with closed decision processes. Those responsible for managing natural resources and protecting the environment are institutionally separated from those responsible for managing the economy. The real world of interlocked economic and ecological systems will not change; the policies and institutions concerned must. Ch. 12, para. 2 (WCED, 1987)" el_position="first last"][/vc_column][/vc_row]