The UN Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio+20” ended in Brazil last Friday.
It marked the 20th anniversary of the “Earth Summit”, held in Rio in 1992, and It concluded with an outcome document “The Future We Want” and almost 700 voluntary commitments.
During the whole negotiating period, the debate was dominated by diverging interests between rich and developing countries, which watered – down some of the most ambitious issues. Overall, the document reaffirms the commitment to the Rio Declaration and other past agreements, clearly asking to accelerate progress on previous commitments particularly in the areas of finance, debt, trade and technology transfer. Strongly supported by G77 and China, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities was also reaffirmed.
Concerning “Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”, which was one of the two key themes, the final text represents a compromise among opposite opinions on the green economy concept. Green economy policies should be regarded neither as a rigid set or rules nor as a mean of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination on international trade. In this context, each country has the right to pursue its own development paths.
The future of UNEP was another big controversial issue; countries finally agreed on a general commitment to strengthen the role of UNEP.
Crucially, the Conference launched a process to define the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will support the definition of the post-2015 development agenda.
Views on the outcome were somewhat mixed and many participants and observers suspended judgment waiting to see how commitments will be implemented.
The final document is available here.
Photo by Commonwealth Secretariat.